Every Monday and Wednesday after my workout at the gym I run across the parking lot to the Starbucks located in the same shopping complex. There’s usually a line of about six or seven people, but if my favorite barista is working she’ll usually nod her head or wink at me indicating that she’ll get my drink started when she’s finished with those ahead of me. When I get to the cashier she’ll turn to him or her and say, “Grande iced nonfat latte for Heather.” Then she’ll ask me how my day is going. I haven’t yet told her this, but I hope I’m doing as good of a job as her mom did with her.
I’ve learned not to say “skim” or “skinny” because when a cashier repeats it back to me to make sure they’re going to prepare the right drink they always change it to “nonfat.” Last April I was at a Starbucks in Palm Springs when this happened:
Barista: Do you want 2% or nonfat milk in your skim latte? Me: ….
— Heather B. Armstrong (@dooce) April 17, 2014
Some of you are like, wait. I thought milk wasn’t on the Paleo diet. And you are correct. It is not. Neither is the seven-pound helping of homemade cornbread stuffing I am going to shove down my maw on Thursday afternoon. And when you shake your finger at me I will bite it off and eat that, too.
When the weather suddenly shifted a few weeks ago I sadly had to switch to hot coffee. Sure, hot coffee is comforting on cold mornings and… I’m trying to think… is there another time when hot coffee is better than iced? I can’t think of another instance. One does not exist. I would drink iced coffee during winter if I didn’t immediately get a chill that I cannot get rid of. You can try to convince me that hot coffee is better than iced and I will examine the inside of my brain as my eyes roll in that direction.
I realized on one of those first cold mornings that Keri, this barista who goes above and beyond and never fails to add light to my morning, would assume that I wanted my regular. So I hopped around the line and told her I’d be asking for a hot latte this time. She slowly shook her head at me and said, “I don’t know who you are anymore.”
This is the kind of customer service I want from every company I patronize: friendly with a dose of good humor. For instance, I was on a call with a representative from my cable company on a Saturday a few weeks ago concerning a few channels that were not showing up. I have a subscription to cable for two shows only. I know, that’s indulgent of me, but if I ever fell behind on either “Game of Thrones” or “Homeland” my entitled whiteness would collapse in on itself and engulf half of Utah.
The representative was being incredibly nice and apologetic and didn’t once try to sell me something I didn’t want. I explained that the only reason I was calling on a Saturday was to ensure that “Homeland” would record the following evening. She laughed and said, “Honey, don’t I know. I’d be mad at you because I’m missing the homecoming game at my school right now! But I love me some Mandy Patinkin.”
I then asked her if she wanted to come over for a glass of wine so that we could dissect what the hell went wrong in season three.
Last Wednesday Keri was making my hot grande nonfat latte when I noticed that there was a new “Customer of the Week” posted to the community board. It was a picture of a woman holding a thirteen-year-old abandoned goose that she had adopted.
When Keri motioned that my drink was ready I walked over, leaned just a tiny bit toward her and whispered, “The customer of the week adopted an abandoned goose?”
She put her hand over her heart, closed her eyes and took just a moment to indicate the reverence she felt. She then cupped her hands together.
“It was abandoned as an egg. She hatched it in her hands.” She held out her cupped palms to indicate how small it must have been.
“Keri, I didn’t even know geese were being abandoned as eggs. That woman deserves to be Customer of the Year, if you ask me. I suddenly feel very useless.” And I was not kidding whatsoever.
“Aw, stop,”’ she assured me. “Submit your photo for next week. I’m sure you’ve got something interesting you could feature.”
“I have never adopted an abandoned goose,” I said. “Impossible to top.”
Unless I print out every single time I have talked about my butt on my internet website mommyblog, then maybe.