Friday, June 25, 2010

Starbucks is cool after all

Sometimes it pays to stay at Starbucks for more than two hours. I met a group of people at one of their locations this afternoon. My friend brought to our meeting a whole pan of brownies covered with ganache that made the Starbucks brownies look pathetic. Fortunately, three of us bought drinks soon thereafter, so we weren't just a bunch of people sitting around eating outside brownies. Whew.

We talked for over two hours, exhausting our drinks in the process. The manager in the green apron came over and asked us, do you need anything else? Business was slowing down, and I was thinking, this is our cue to leave. We all said no except one guy who had the audacity to ask for a glass of water. Oh geez. Then, to make matters worse, my friend, who had kind of covered up the brownies, not only uncovered the foil from the pan, but offered one to the manager. I was ready to hide under the table. Here comes the scolding: "You're not supposed to have those in here."

Instead, the manager got a napkin and took one. He went behind the counter then brought out the water and said to my friend who made the brownies, that was really good. Then to top it all off, he brought us four cups of free coffee and a cup of creamer. What?! I guess Starbucks is supposed to be a different kind of corporation, but to actually reward us for breaking the rules?

Not that I'm complaining. Maybe this is some sort of counterintuitive strategy to get us to go back there and tell all our friends to go there? If it is, looks like it worked. I am writing a whole blog post about it after all. I doubt if all managers are that flexible about the rules, but I did leave the place thinking that Starbucks is very cool, even if it is a ubiquitous corporate chain and I laugh inside every time I order a "tall" anything.

1 comment:

Ken said...

Perhaps there is a larger lesson here.