Monday, February 4, 2008

Remember Me?



I go to Starbucks every morning on my way to work. I go to the same one. I go at the same time. I order the same thing. From the same person. Everyday I watch as the people in front of me in line are greeted by the Starbucks employees as though they are old friends. Not just greeted. Remembered. And not only are they remembered - but their drink, no matter how complicated, is remembered also. Every day it's the same thing. I hear things like,

"Hey Mardrianna - haven't seen you here in a couple of weeks! Are you going with the double tall, half non-fat, half soy, decaf, no foam, sugar-free vanilla late with a pinch of nutmeg today - or are you going to live dangerously and get it with a dollop of whipped cream and a pump of cinnamon?"

And everyday I wait my turn in line, eagerly anticipating the moment when the same girl that I see behind the same counter at the same time every day will look at me and greet with that same sort of recognition and enthusiasm.

But everyday my hopes are brutally smashed to bits as I step up to that same counter, to the same girl that I see at the same time every day - and without any trace of recognition or warm familiarity in her eyes at all, she looks at me as if seeing me for the first time in her life, and says,

"Can I help you?"

Um, hello?

In my mind I'm screaming, "Yes. YES - you can help me. You can tell me why it is that you can remember a girl who hasn't darkened your door for days and days, who has a name as complicated as Mardrianna, and a drink that requires a dual Masters Degree in Metaphysics and Chemistry to assemble, but you can't remember something as simple as the name Heidi and the fact that my drink of choice is a Grande Red Eye!"

But.... Everyday I let it pass. Everyday I stare into that same blank, little face, smile the same smile and say the same thing: "Grande Red Eye, please."

Everyday. Until today.

Oh, today started out no differently than any other day. I was greeted with the same blank stare to which I have so sadly become accustomed; the same lack of warmth and familiarity; my blood began to boil the same way it does every day as she apathetically took my money without ever making eye contact, while simultaneously greeting the person in line behind me by name and and talking to him about the varying nuances of his drink (which was even more complicated than what's her name's was in front of me). I was prepared to walk away quietly like I do everyday.

But then something happened. She said something new. She didn't just say, "Can I help you?" She said, "Can I help you..... Ma'am."

Ma'am.

MA'AM!

I don't really remember what happened after that. Somehow I managed to make it back to my car without the police being called. I thought about clobbering her with my purse - I bet she'd remember that... Actually, she probably wouldn't. With my luck, she'd wind up with amnesia. But hey, at least that way she wouldn't remember anyone. I would no longer be the only one who gets ignored at the Starbucks counter! But truthfully, I'd rather be ignored than Ma'am'd. I think tomorrow I'll go to Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf....

4 comments:

Don said...

Oh no, oh no, oh no! I remember that pain. When I started teaching in college I was all of 25. When 18- and 19-year-olds called me "Mr. Sewell" I felt like flunking them for the semester, even though it was technically appropriate for them to do that.

Recently some barely post-adolescent restaurant cashier asked me if I'd like their senior discount. I wanted to throw coffee on her.

But in your case, I know the barista just needs glasses.

VikingMom said...

Oh Heidi! You are not forgettable! The girl needs her brain adjusted or whatever. Maybe you have to pay her off to remember your name...making it even more expensive coffee. Or, how about this: perhaps your not whiney and over-complicated- therefore she doesn't live in fear of forgetting your name or order. Or, she's doing it on purpose waiting for you to whack her with a purse. Or...she's just an idiot.

The latter is probably truth.

Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf sounds great to me!

Kristi said...

hilarious...wear a big bright bow in your hair tomorrow...she'll remember you the next day for sure! :o)

seriously though - here is what you have to do. Start the conversation...ask her something about herself...then the next day ask her about that again...in no time you will be bff's and she will be on your blogroll! :o)

John said...

I agree with Laurel...because your drink is simple, uncomplicated and probably is a snap to make, she can't remember - not that that's any excuse. Here's another idea (if you haven't already started going to CBT), start calling her by her name, presumably on her name tag (or on your receipt) and make it very obvious that you know her name. At least then she'll feel guilty about not knowing yours and want to learn it. As for the "ma'am" that's just bad training - any customer service person who knows what there doing would say "miss."