Tuesday, June 5, 2007
My life is in retail. And all the risk and rewards that come with that. I feel like I live on my street, in my shop. I have gotten to know the other merchants. We share our small pieces of information, and support, and help. The street is charming, like a 'proper High Street' in an English Village, only, we're in San Francisco. There are still boutiques mixed in with the chains. Customers are happy to see the mix. One of the shops on the street is Starbucks. And I know that while Starbucks as a chain may incite an emotional response in some people, it is certainly a part of our street, and this little neighborhood.
I stepped in this morning and was planning to go "way off the grid" with a fancy-pants coffee that takes 3 sentences to order. That makes it a super special morning. I went in, and stepped up to start my long and involved recipe, and the gal started winching apologetically to me. "Oh, I'm sorry" she shook her head "we are out of Dulce flavor." She paused. I acted all mock horrified, as if 'what was the world going to come to'. It's not like there are not 20 other things I could order. "We're also almost out of cups." I smiled. She had Super Size cups, and dixie shot glass size cups, and that was it. She was still wincing in pain, politely. And then she added "and today we are listening to Paul McCartney, all day." Then she smiled genuinely. And really what eles could she do? Starbucks has its own collection of CD's for sale. For heaven sake, put a different one in the system. Oh, no, she explained that the Paul McCartney thing was a promotion. So those gals were going to have to listen to the same 5 songs all day.
I ordered a 3 word drink, and shared my sympathy with the charming Baristia.
And I left with my simple drink, and went to my shop.
I am somehow relieved to know that those kinds of things happen to big players. I would have thought that they had some sort of global atomic sensor that detected when they were out of cups, and just did a molecular adjustment, and produced more cups. Or, really, couldn't a manager just drive to one of the other 1495 Starbucks locations in the city and borrow some cups?
The staff was charming, and chipper despite their near torture conditions that they were faced with for the rest of the day.
It's a good reflection that for me that the corporate giants are still refining their game. Just as I will continue to refine mine.