Starbucks Struggles

I had a bad day. Scratch that. I had a horrible day. Mondays always suck but I was most definitely on the Monday struggle bus. I didn’t want any more problems. By mid day, all I wanted was a latte.

Starbucks has always equated happiness for me. Especially since the recent reintroduction of the red cups. So what better way to get rid of my sorrows, if not by drowning them in espresso?

I arrived at my favorite coffee shop at 2:15, just enough time to grab my drink, get back to campus, and sit down in my PR class approximately 10 minutes early. (I always say, if you’re not early, you’re late!). I waited in the short line, ordered my regular (tall skinny caramel latte) and wandered over to the bar to wait for my insta-happiness.

Within the short few minutes of my waiting, it became abundantly clear that the barista was also riding the Monday struggle bus. He was spilling things, dropping things, running out of coffee sleeves and grande cups. He seemed behind and flustered. It was okay. I understood. I waited, politely chatted with the woman next to me, checked my watch, scrolled through Facebook on my phone. Patiently.

Five minutes go by. The woman next to me got her latte, the several “mistos” got grabbed (none of us were sure what a “misto” was which probably explained why they sat there for so long), and a girl with very particular dietary restrictions (totally lactose intolerant but the dairy powder in the green tea frappucino mix is completely fine) received her frozen drink. Yet there I was, waiting for my very simple, humble, skinny caramel latte.

“Excuse me!” (The cashier suddenly called for everyone’s attention) “Who’s driving the Toyota?”
Sheepishly (probably with a bright red face) I raised my hand, “Me! I’m sorry, is there a problem?”
“Oh well it’s just that you’re blocking me in!” Explained a kind-faced older woman. “I figured it was someone who was waiting for a drink.” She smiled. I smiled back.
“Of course, I’m so sorry, I wanted to be in and out! I’ll move right away!” She left. I waited.

Ten more minutes go by. The barista didn’t seem to see me waiting.
“Hi!” I announced, politely. “Is there a tall skinny caramel latte coming up?” The Barista, that I mentally named AJ, looked confused.
“Um… No… Sorry, I’ll get right too it.” He continued to make a drink at a glacially slow pace.
“It’s okay, it’s just that I’m in a rush..” (Thinking of that kind old lady whom I was preventing from leaving) “But thank you! I appreciate it.” I gave him my best smile.

Well AJ didn’t seem too concerned about me blocking the old lady in. A guy named Ted got his iced chai latte that was literally the  Crayola color “desert sand,” a woman looking a houses with her real estate agent got her Americano, and the lanky 12 year old Catholic school girl, with her rolled down plaid skirt and tall brown Ugg boots (same color as Ted’s chai) got her no-whip-non-fat-double-chocolate-chip-caramel-frappucino, and yet I was still empty handed.

I looked toward the door, wondering how that old lady was faring and lo and behold! she stormed in, her kind-looking face replaced with an extremely hostile looking one. I held up my hands and she shook her head. I turned back to flustered AJ.
(Me: slightly impatient) “Hey, is that caramel latte coming up yet?”
(AJ: Annoyed) “Yes I’m making it now. Hold on.”
(Me: Cheery) “Okay thank you so much!” (Half laughing) “I’m just blocking someone in! I’ve sorta kept them waiting!”
(AJ: more annoyed and dully) “Well you park at your own risk here.” *slams latte on counter.* “Have a nice day.”
(Me: shaken and flustered) “Um yea you too” *bolts out door to get to car*
I spent about 7 minutes trying to get out of the ridiculously small, congested parking lot (I guess that’s what you get for transforming a gas station into a Starbucks), avoided two accidents (crazy PA drivers…) and made it back to campus in record time, 3 minutes early for class. And my latte was hot. So I guess that’s always nice.
Maybe I’ll go to the other Starbucks next time.
Here’s to Monday struggles &  savoring lattes.

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