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Starbucks- I just don't get it

I usually go to the Starbucks near my school or office once a day. They can never make anything I order correctly. I usually order a sugar-free soy cinnamon dolce latte with no whip. They just don't get it- sometimes I get whole milk, sometimes regular syrup, sometimes just a cinnamon latte. Even if I order a plain cup of coffee I get the wrong size or the wrong blend.

Does this happen to anyone else? Or is it just a curse?!

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  1. Maybe you should stop going to Starbucks ;)

    1. I have to agree with tonicart. They always get my order right. I'm not sure why yours is always wrong, your drink is not that difficult. Maybe you should talk to the manager.

      1. When I order a plain cup of coffee, at one of the more than 50 Starbucks locations I have gone to across the USA, the cashier grabs a cup in front of me and turns around to one of three pots of brewed coffee to pour it. If you see them doing something incorrectly, you are standing there watching them do it. Tell them it is the wrong size cup or wrong pot they are taking from.

        Also, they write down your special ordered beverage on the cup. They repeat it back to you before you pay. This is uniform in all locations.

        The person who has made the beverage is stating what they made out loud while placing it on the counter. If you hear it stated in correctly, you don't even bother grabbing it and ask if that was what was written on the cup. If there has been a mistake made it will be corrected

        This all said, if you constantly are having problems, daily, then write a letter, speak to the manager, TELL THEM. Your story is not the norm.

        10 Replies
        1. re: Cathy

          I've been going once a day (to one of the few near me) for a while now.

          I noticed that sometimes when I correct the barista calling out the drink, I get a nasty look or they tell me I didn't clearly express what I want. I tried writing down what I want on a post-it and just handing it to them, but it doesn't work either.

          Whenever I spoke to the manager or called to complain they just offered me a free drink.

          A few times I noticed the barista making my drink in the steamer labeled "whole milk" when I asked for soy. They always claimed it was soy milk in the wrong steamer container... but how can I know for sure?

          Granted they have a system- and it works well sometimes- but maybe it's the few lazy employees who don't pay attention who always end up helping me.

          1. re: cheesecake17

            Most Starbucks locations are company-owned. If the manager doesn't resolve the problem to your satisfaction and if you are getting attitude from the staff, go over their heads. Call the district manager or email them...many locations have the DM's business card at the bar.

            I'll bet there's also a way to email top or central management via the Starbucks website, although I've never had to do that myself.

            If there's a poorly-run starbucks, their management should know about it, especially as they're closing some locations, they should put that one on the list or can the store manager if this is a widespread problem.

            1. re: Ralphie_in_Boston

              I'm definitely going to ask for the DM's card next time I have a problem.

              In the past, I usually called up customer service.. but I'm not sure exactly how my complaints were passed on and to whom.

              But for now, I'm still stuck at SBUX the days I'm on campus- the school cafeteria "brews" instnant!

              1. re: cheesecake17

                "on campus" hmmm I wonder if it's not a company-owned starbucks. that might make a difference. I didn't realize you'd already called customer service. Perhaps they're slipping regionally.

                Here in the Boston area they are generally managed very well.

                1. re: Ralphie_in_Boston

                  It's a company owned store. it's about 10 feet outside the campus gates, but everyone just refers to it as 'on campus.'

                  I've been to a few Starbucks' last time I was in Boston- they truly did seem run better than the ones in NYC. But, in Hampton, NH (40 min) outside Boston- there was no Starbucks!

                2. re: cheesecake17

                  Yeah. It doesn't sound like a company owned store. Is it a full sit down location/stand alone store or inside of someplace else?

                  I'm sorry it hasn't been right for you. I do understand the need for a good cup of coffee. Daily.

              2. re: cheesecake17

                I don't understand why you keep going back. Why should they get it right if you reward their mess ups with your continued business. However, Starbucks has some policy that they will remake your coffee, if you are not satisfied, at no charge to you. They even took out an ad in the NYT declaring this to all.

                Personally, I'd find a locally-owned coffee shop to give my hard-earned dollars.

                1. re: lynnlato

                  I've been avoiding Starbucks when I'm at work because there are many good coffee shops around. But at school my choices are the cafeteria, Starbucks, or a bagel store that serves burnt coffee. There's a Dunkin Donuts a few blocks away, but I personally don't like their coffee.

                  My school also has a 'we brew Starbucks coffee' stand, but the line is always forever since they have one women taking orders and making the drinks. They also don't have a full menu of drinks.

                  I guess I'm lucky I only have one more semester :)

                  1. re: cheesecake17

                    Yikes! Persevere cheesecake! Sounds like slim pickin's. :-)

                    1. re: lynnlato

                      It's pretty bad. I only have till the end of May! After that I'll be working in Manhattan every day... with plenty of coffee shops to choose from.

                      But, the good thing about Starbucks near campus is that I can buy one cup of something and sit for a few hours and study. My only other option is the library, and last time I tried to sneak a cup in, I got caught when it tipped over in my bag and started leaving a trail of coffee behind me.

            2. How long have you been going once a day?

              1. I think it might just be your local Starbucks. The service at the one I go to every day is great. It gets really crowded during certain hours, but they manage to move the line along quickly, and the employees know me by my regular order and start making it as soon as I walk in the door.

                1. In the past I've had trouble getting short coffees at Starbucks..finally they stores seem to be educated on it(though I do rarely stop in as its not my favorite tasting coffee at all).

                  That said, I do stop in regularly at a small independent shop near where I go to school. I go in before class for a 16 oz decaf americano....this should not be a hard drink to make...yet the last four times I've been in they've managed to mess it up. This morning I even repeated three times to the clerk what I wanted...she got it right, the barista just never got it made and when he finally did it wasn't decaf so he had to make it again.

                  Again, moral of the story...not just Starbucks. Maybe the nature of the business?

                  1. I think the real outrage here is a college cafeteria that doesn't brew their own coffee. In my day, there weren't many students who could afford $5 cups of coffee on a regular basis.

                    8 Replies
                    1. re: Vladimir Estragon

                      Thank goodness the cup of coffee I got at Starbucks the other day was $1.50.

                      1. re: Vladimir Estragon

                        I can't afford the $5 cup of coffee but I get it anyway. There's no dorming at the school.. so maybe they don't think it's important to brew real coffee that tastes good. Also, the cafeteria doesn't offer soymilk (not even for an extra charge) so I won't even bother with their bad coffee if I have to drink it back.

                        Surprisingly, Starbucks got my drink right the other day. But the barista wanted to charge me for a grande since I was getting a tall in a grande cup.

                        1. re: Vladimir Estragon

                          Yeah...same for back in my day. Of course, there also weren't many students paying $40K+ per year for tuition either.

                          1. re: Vladimir Estragon

                            It makes more sense to buy a decent coffeemaker. Sure it's expensive to start out, but you'll recoup the cost pretty quickly if you're spending $20+ a week on coffee. I have a single serve pod coffee maker, which is nice because I can mix things up everyday, but it still isn't anywhere near as expensive as going out.

                            1. re: queencru

                              I like the idea of a pod machine but hate the idea of drinking coffee that was ground that far in advance.

                              1. re: Ralphie_in_Boston

                                I think it's a good midpoint if you don't necessarily want to make your own drip coffee, but at the same time don't want to fork out $20+ a week to buy coffee out everyday. The pods are pricy, but I probably spend in a week on pods what I'd spend on one small latte.

                                1. re: queencru

                                  Yeah I hear ya. What I find myself doing is grinding beans quickly and making a smaller pot of coffee, which drip brews while I'm doing other things getting ready for work. ON my way out the door I pour and run.

                                  And believe it or not (drifting back towards being on-topic) a cheap source of whole beans is the Starbucks house blend they sell at Costco.

                              2. re: queencru

                                True, but your own coffee doesn't come in fancy to-go cups w/ neat lids all packaged and sold in a cool shop w/ hip music and pretty people taking your money! (tongue in cheek)

                            2. It's 6 a.m., you're a hung over pimple-faced high school dropout barista, and a customer rattles off a nine word-long drink that costs the equivalent of 45 minutes of your hourly wage.

                              I would probably hose up your drink too (usually on purpose).

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: MSPD

                                Just make sure to order triple generalizations and stereotypes in your beverage of choice. They taste sweeter than the banana, I hear.

                                1. re: ccbweb

                                  I actually had five generalizations/stereotypes:

                                  - Time of day
                                  - Education of a Starbucks barista
                                  - Appearance of a Starbucks barista
                                  - Lifestyle of a Starbucks barista
                                  - Hourly wage

                                  And I totally missed the opportunity to top it off with the "getting a tall in a grande cup" that was added later and would make for at least a 13-word drink.

                                  1. re: MSPD

                                    Ah, see, I didn't count time of day (mostly because the OP is a college student, so clearly the notion that this person was ordering such a drink at 6am was entirely facetious...there's no way this person is up at 6am and ordering such a drink). Other than that, you're entirely right...a quadruple shot, not a triple. I think this qualifies me to work at Starbucks and get orders wrong.

                                    If the OP would only add "decaf" to their drink description I think we could get out of the whole problem....it would all cancel itself out. Sugar-free, dairy free, caffeine free....

                                    1. re: ccbweb

                                      ccweb, I am up at 6am- I prepare lunch for myself and my husband before he leaves for work at 7:30. I buy disposable cups and bring a cup of tea or coffee with me for my first class of the day (leave the house at 8:30 to get there at 9). But at 3pm when I'm tired and need coffee, I can't exactly run home and brew a cup. I buy freshly ground beans from Fairway, and that's what I make in the morning, but for my afternoon cup (sometimes midmorning, late afternoon, and evening too) I need something that I can buy on or near campus.