I feel it’s important that I now point out a positive of working at Starbucks. My previous blog on S-Bucks was a bit of a downer, reflecting how I was feeling that week. HOWEVER, I must emphasize that a PERK of working at Starbucks is the great people I get to meet.
The regulars. The ones who come without fail, order the same drink, know MY name, and appreciate the connection, no matter how brief.
It took several months for me to build the regulars’ trust, however. I was the new girl, the one still figuring things out, the one who didn’t know who THEY were yet. But over time, I started noticing a change in my relationships with the regulars. They started trusting me to make their drinks, to relate their stories, to share in their celebrations or disappointments. There’s Todd from the Idea Lab, who is such a loyal customer, he dresses up as a venti mocha every year for Halloween. George from Forever21 (but doesn’t like to admit it), Evik from Barnes and Noble who’s lived in SoCal her whole life, Ari from Kenneth Cole who loves his daily espresso shots, David the artist with a show next month, Jason the Bentley dealer who likes to help David the artist on his pieces, David the homeless man who always leaves a tip, and Kevin the server from the Argentinean restaurant next door (I really could go on and on).
One of my favorites, however, is Ron. Ron used to come in every morning around 5:30 and order a tall peppermint mocha, nonfat, no whip. But Ron retired last week. Normally, a very quiet and reserved customer, Ron could hardly wait to tell the great news the morning of his retirement. I knew immediately he needed to share his excitement with someone and I happened to be the one at the bar making his drink. It was such a huge life moment for him, and I was happy to share in it! He communicated about the many years spent in his career, his plans to travel, the extra time he’ll spend with his daughter, and the like. I felt it was a great break-through in our Starbucks friendship.
It’s like Nate said in HIS blog, these regulars come because they feel cared for. We know their names, their drinks, about their jobs, and a few details of their lives. We follow up, we ask questions, we make them feel important. We become their “third place”. Home, work, Starbucks. And I have to admit, it’s been fun to be a part of their lives (not to mention the lives of my fellow co-workers), no matter how brief.