I am not the typical Bostonian who stops at a Dunkin’ Donuts or Starbucks every weekday as part of a morning ritual. Don’t get me wrong, I am an avid coffee drinker who
requires enjoys a hot cup of joe to start the day, but I will either drink coffee at home or make some at work. So, whenever I do pop in to a coffee shop and order some liquid energy, I certainly lack the obvious go-to order that everyone else apparently does not.
This morning, counter to my typical routine, I popped into a Dunkin’ Donuts near my office. The line was at least 5 people deep so I didn’t really “prepare” my order right away since I assumed I had time, so I plugged away on my phone. I was wrong about the line. Working in a fast-paced city like Boston requires a fast-paced service experience and I was woefully unprepared to give my order when the “Who’s next?” call rang out and it was suddenly my turn to go.
Startled, I did that thing where you walk ever so slowly as you look up at a surprisingly daunting menu in the sky that all quickly blends into one amorphous black abyss. As I frantically searched for anything to stand out from the darkness, my mouth, aware of the situation, just said “Coffee.”
My barista, upon hearing me, proceeded to ask me a series of questions that sounded became one big mumble of nothingness so I simply said, “Tall.” And, before I could allow another rambling cacophony of questions, I said “Black.” Obviously, as anyone who has ever ordered coffee-to-go knows, tall means different things at different places. So, when a second barista, who appeared out of God knows where, suddenly appeared holding two different sized cups, I just pointed, which of course led to one more question, “Room for cream and sugar?” Temporarily stumped, I just gave the ol’ “No thanks” wave and shook my head.
Having satisfied all ordering requirements, I began to get out my wallet , but I noticed that my main barista, the other had just as quickly disappeared, was looking at me quizzically. When I met her gaze, she asked, “You’re a regular at Starbucks, right?” Before I could answer, she added “Me too, it’s just so good. I go all the time.” Giving my best wry smile and knowing nod, showing obvious agreement that I knew to be obviously incorrect, I accepted her incorrect assessment.
Given the inconsistency of everything I’ve ever experienced at Dunkin’ Donuts, which I don’t necessarily love which is blasphemous for any true Bostonian to admit, it didn’t surprise me in the least that my barista would openly proclaim love for a competitor. What did surprise me, which perhaps shouldn’t, was that somehow I gave off a Starbucks vibe. Was it my blue-eyed, blond spikey-haired look? Was it the untucked, striped button-up paired with khakis and white kicks look? Was it my oversize iphone6? Perhaps it was all these in one, my overall appearance somehow displaying that of a typical Starbucks customer. I guess I can see that.
But, what if was it my method of ordering? Did my lack of preparation, coupled with my poor ordering skills, somehow imply that I was “above” Dunkin’ Donuts? I sincerely hope not, but my gut says it was. I never hope to give a certain air or act above a person or place, so if my perceived callous and indifferent ordering displayed that, well crap. Me, this inexperienced orderer of simple things just acted like, as the The Weeknd would say, “Ha, ha, I’m a motherf’n Starboy.”