It's like family, only weirder…

Starbucks: Eco-Unfriendly

I have a sordid history with Starbucks and my mug. I can speak singularly about my mug even though years have passed because I’ve been using the same mug now for…jeez…probably 5 years or so. Before that, I had another one. And before that, I think it was the mug I used in High School. Needless to say, I’m a regular mug user and expect some respect for it.

For as many years as Starbucks has had a drive through in Atlanta, I have had difficulty getting across the understanding that I have a mug and I’d like coffee poured into it. No cream, no sugar, no flavors – just coffee. Isn’t that what Starbucks is famous for? Countless times, there is simply no understanding my simple request over the drive through speaker.

Me: “I have a mug I’d like to get filled with coffee.”
Starbucks: “You’d like a spiced tea latte and what?”

That’s just one very memorable example of my problem. This evening, I asked for a small milk and a fill-up for my mug. What I got surprised me beyond anything I could have imagined. I handed over my mug, confirming that I need a small milk too (for the boy). They handed back my mug, but no milk. Without thinking much about it, I drive forward (I’m not much of a “let me tell you how to do your job” kind of guy) realizing at the same time that they forgot the boy’s milk. Then I take a sip from my mug and realize that’s no more than a mug full of pure, white milk. I’m not against milk – I enjoy it as much as the next 4-year-old. It’s just a bit of a shock when you pay $2.00+ for 16oz. of Mayfield milk. And expect 180°F dark roasted coffee. Come on Starbucks! You totally screwed me! And damn it – I’m not the guy that bothers to fix my food order in a drive through.

The thing is this: Starbucks should support the environment a little better and have some expectation that their customers will have mugs they’d like to reuse for coffee products. Don’t fill a paper cup and hand it to me to pour into my mug. Don’t make me repeat myself like I’m an unintelligible buffoon at your drive up. For god’s sake – don’t fill my coffee mug with virgin-white milk! Surely there are other customers out there that have some secret handshake with the speaker attendant to get their request handled accurately and efficiently. What is your secret?!?