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Disgusted at Starbucks…Twice

April 4, 2009
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Morning Trip to Starbucks

This morning on our way to the MS Walk at Piedmont Park we stopped at a local Atlanta Starbucks in a shopping center known for it’s disco.  I placed an order for Martha and told the barrista that I had my own cup…and she said that was fine.  So we pull up to the window and I hand her my cup…she takes it, grabs another cup, pours it into mine and throws the paper cup away.  I am floored…  So I say “did you just make my drink in a paper cup, pour it into my cup, and throw yours into the trashcan”?  She says “yes”.  I say “well doesn’t that defeat the purpose of a reusable cup”?  She says “well when I get busy I don’t have time to wait for you to come to the window to make it”.  I then look behind me in the drive-thru line and notice that I am the only car in line…  As she turns away she says “It don’t matter anyway”…  Well that made me very sad and very mad and I may never visit that Starbucks again.  I’m sure many people have their own reason for having a reusable coffee mug but mine is to prevent waste.  At this point I’m not really sure what to do next.  If she didn’t have time to wait for me to drive from the ordering machine to the window, she should have told me that it was a problem instead of saying “that’s fine”.

Just Before Lunch Trip to Starbucks

Several hours later after the walk we bypass the before mentioned Starbucks location and go to another one closer to our  house.  This time I go inside to get my iced Latte and the Barrista is somewhat hidden behind her machine but I can barely see her as she takes a plastic cup with which she made my drink and pour it into my cup…floored again.  What the hell is going on here?  Again I approach her and say, “did you just make my drink in a plastic cup, pour it into mine and throw the plastic cup away”?  She says “yes, I made it in a grande cup and then put it in your cup”.  Unable to control myself I show my disgust and walk out.  I am begging your input.  What should I do?  At some level Starbucks is trying to do something positive by discounting the use of reusable mugs but if the employees don’t understand the concept, it means nothing.  They are effectively losing money and cups.  Maybe Starbucks should take another day off and teach all of their employees about reusable mugs, why they give a 10 cent discount, and how to make coffee in said cups (which I bought at Starbucks).  It’s not like I came in with a cup from Mars…It’s a grande (20 ounce) Starbucks cup. 

How You Can Help

I would really like to know your thoughts on this and any suggestions you have for getting this confusion resolved…  Please leave your comments below (if you are reading this in an email, click on the title and visit the site to leave your comments.

Thanks,

Carson

19 Comments leave one →
  1. April 4, 2009 11:03 pm

    Do Caribou, Aurora, or San Francisco Coffee allow you to use your own mug?

  2. April 4, 2009 11:21 pm

    yes, yes and yes…But I don’t like Caribou and would have to drive 6 miles to the nearest Aurora or San Fran coffee (which happens to be my favorite).

  3. April 4, 2009 11:21 pm

    Friends don’t let friends drink corporate coffee!

    Find a local cafe’. Talk to the manager/owner, if they don’t already use recyclable find them the source, Let them know why you are choosing them. And USE THEM! Blog, pimp, give their gift certs at open houses/tour, whatever.
    And call the manager of the two starbucks to let them know that they lost you and why!

    Good Luck!

  4. April 5, 2009 12:40 am

    might just start making my own again…which opens a new subject…who’s got the best beans? I’m thinking since San Fran is my favorite, should probably look there.

  5. April 5, 2009 8:26 am

    The best? You might try here: http://www.martinezfinecoffees.com/

    I like the Allegro beans that Whole Foods carries. I usually end up buying Seattle’s Best or Paul Newman stuff from Publix though.

  6. cnk permalink
    April 5, 2009 9:48 am

    It is an issue of speed vs being green. while you may be the only one in line, drive thru or cafe, the barista does not know if you are checking them for speed of service and if you are and it takes longer than 3 minutes to move you thru the process, they are in trouble. BECAUSE, Starbucks is responding to customer surveys which in turn drive the barista’s behavior. They are: Speed of Service, Quality of beverage, clean facilities and connecting with the customer. So, please go back to those stores and ask for a customer comment card or go online and make you wishes know to the powers that be in Seattle.

  7. April 5, 2009 3:14 pm

    It’s a little easier for me to understand this happening in the drive thru but the second time I actually walked inside, handed her my cup as I ordered and she made it in a plastic cup, poured it into mine and threw the other away… It’s a lack of education as to why they have systems in place and discounts for using your own cup… They lose 20 cents instead of 10 cents for each cup…not too good Starbucks.

  8. sydney shipps permalink
    April 5, 2009 8:05 pm

    It’s back to education. They don’t know any better – YET!!!!
    Call or write the manager – write Schultz – that’s nuts….pretty sure Schultz is green and would get some kind of freak on if he heard this….

  9. April 6, 2009 8:39 am

    This is a newsworthy piece for a station looking for a green angled story…..and it seems that they all are!
    I’d say to call one of those investigative reporters and you may just “be the change you want to see”. Gandhi

  10. April 16, 2009 12:50 am

    This is a systems issue first and an education issue second. Starbuck’s systems are designed to grow and retain their customer base, and these situations suggest that Starbuck’s customers want speed over green. Go figure—caffeine!

  11. April 20, 2009 9:03 pm

    Too bad that Starbuck’s just does not “get it!” But, maybe we need to contact Starbuck’sCEO Howard Schultz and see what he thinks about this disgusting practice. As they are trying to keep the business going, this might really get on his radar! Does anyone have Mr. Schultz’s eamil? We could all send an email to him!

  12. April 21, 2009 10:18 pm

    The do not recycle inside any of their stores either. They do let you take their ground coffee beans for use in your garden though!

  13. May 24, 2009 8:06 pm

    Carson- let’s give them a green audit so they know what to do to become greener. We all assume that corporations have a clue. I have been telling local Starbucks managers about going solar and the tax credits for doing so and they are amazed.

  14. May 24, 2009 10:49 pm

    sounds good to me Matt, what about grey water collection? Rumor has it that every Starbucks wastes about 600 gallons of water a day… and it’s probably all hot…solar thermal!🙂

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