April 26, 2011

Wasteful Becomes Useful...and Other Ways Starbucks Completes Me

Let's just get it out there: I'm insane about Starbucks. I know this may come as a bit of a shock to, well, anyone who has never met me or read my blog before. (At this point, I was going to subtly slip in a link which shows if you Google this site and the word "Starbucks," you get six pages of results--to reiterate my point. But instead, I did it in a very non-subtle way: subtle link.)

**See footnote for a slightly funny, but mostly rambling, story about the beginning of my love for Starbucks.**

One thing I do not love about Starbucks is their wasteful nature. Sure, paper cups are necessary for a coffee shop. But the java jackets? The java jackets! They pass those out like STDs at a high school party. You know, Starbucks, my hands are tough. In fact, they are long-standing champions of the Holding Hot Stuff For a Really Long Time competition. I don't need java jackets and, my friend, neither do you.

When I think about it, I take the time to remove the jacket before leaving the store or quickly say, "Oh, no, I don't need one" before the barista slips one on. Most of the time, however, I simply don't notice until I'm throwing it away and thinking, "Sigh! I wish I could figure out something to do with all of these."

Well, the time has come. I figured out a way to reuse these stupid java jackets. I borrowed a tag puncher from Kortney, pulled out a single-hole puncher and an ink pad:

Then I ordered my very own Bitter o'Clock stamp:

Then I punchpunchpunched:

And stampstampstamped...and voila! Hat tags:

This serves several purposes. Not only did it alleviate my consumeristic guilt about needless waste, but I also needed some kind of tag since *cough* my hats will be carried at several local boutiques this year.

But does this mean I'm going to slip into a Starbucks and steal their collection of java jackets to keep this marketing ploy going? Of course not. If I were going to break into a Starbucks, I'd steal their supplies for making tasty beverages. And maybe a barista.

Since I made the decision to keep the jackets instead of tossing them, my collection has grown extremely fast. This collection--which has taken over my desk at work, my purse, and my workspace at home--serves as a reminder to decline, for the love of god, just decline the java jacket.

So, upon moving to Colorado, I had never had coffee or tea before. (Remember the whole Mormon thing?) At 18, I started working at a Borders with an in-store coffee shop. This was before Seattle's Best took over and brought in their own employees. Back then, Borders employees were cross-trained all over the store, so a typical day would have me working in the coffee shop for a few hours. It was around this time that I finally tasted tea. It tasted like crap.

Well, I eased into with all the milk and syrups at my disposal. I grew to love it and eventually found I liked it without all the frou-frou-ness added in. From there, I tried coffee. It tasted like crap.

Nevertheless, I saw the possibilities. Being a barista, I got to experiment to my heart's content. My crowning achievement (no, not like while giving birth...gross) was the Vachocochalatte: a mixture of chai, espresso, milk, vanilla syrup, and pumps of Ghiradelli's chocolate. It was amazing. From there, it was on. Like a child who never gets candy will overindulge at Halloween, I was overly caffeinated from that moment forward.

Now, working at a coffee shop had its woes (and its whoas). Namely: Starbucks customers. These people were always very snooty, very uninformed, and very demanding. These were the people who got mad when a drink did not taste like it did at Starbucks. These were the people who ordered four large drinks, filled with nothing but a shot of espresso and foam. I grew to hate them.

You could pick them out by the way they ordered a "venti macchiato," then yelled when you informed them that a macchiato was just a shot of espresso with a dollop of milk. They insisted I was an idiot. Because of these people, I was determined to never go to Starbucks. Well, and because there were six (yes, six!) Starbucks within a square mile of my cafe. This fact irritated me, since I was sure at least four of those must have put an independent coffee shop out of business at some point, right?

But then one day, I had to meet up with some classmates to go over a school project. Where did they choose to meet up? Starbucks. I grumbled but relented...however, I would not order anything. Of course, once I got there, droopy-eyed and unmotivated, I realized I needed a fix. Blame me if you want, but could you work on a Statistics project uncaffeinated? I don't freakin' think so. I ordered a mocha-something-or-other. And god dammit, it was delicious.

I still resisted Starbucks for a long time after that, but my resolve wavered month by month. Within a couple years, I moved into an office job. The cafe was no longer there for me to swipe free drinks or to create bold new masterpieces. I was forced to go to coffee shops like everybody else. And what was the most convenient? Well, if I sneezed and accidentally passed one Starbucks, I could just stop at the next one. Then when I discovered their five-pump chai, I became the fiend I am today. Despite my love of Starbucks, though, I refuse to use their stupid lingo. I can't help it. Years of dealing with those jerky Starbucks customers forced me into a permanent rebellion. I am now the jerky customer you will find asking for a medium chai with--oh wait, can you make that nonfat?--yes, medium, um, with whip cream. Ha, take that, Starbucks.


Anonymous said...

I have a fabric reusable java jacket that I carry with me every where, as soon as the barista is handing me my brew I slip it on before they can even reach for the cardboard ones.

Kelli said...

Some coffee shops just leave a basket of jackets sitting out, in case you want to take one. I think that's the ideal way to do it...rather than assuming everyone needs one.

Jodi said...

I don't have any coffee shops fancy enough to need sleeves. You get a styrofaum cup and deal with the burns. ;-)

I LOVE your tags.

Kelli said...

Thanks, Jodi! Does this coffee come from a gas station or is it an actual shop? Either way, I want to visit! "Deal with the burns" sounds like my kind of coffee shop.

Jodi said...

Gas station or McDonald's - though I hear Tim Horton's is supposed to be opening up shop in town. So far, this is unconfirmed gossip. (I'm sure you can get coffee at the cafe and bakery in town but I have no idea what their to-go situation is as they are both fairly new and I've been to neither yet. ;-)