Please disable your Ad Blocker to better interact with this website.

Starbucks, NYC and Common Core: How they are similar


I love Starbucks blended mocha frappaccino. And the fact that you can customize it thrills me cuz I’ve always been a rebellious free spirit, being from California. What I don’t like is being corrected by the barista when ordering my customized beverage. I prefer freedom of expression.

My most recent trip to a Starbucks was especially irritating. Apparently the young man behind the counter had been duly Starbucketized during his new employee orientation. He totally understood the concept of It’s the Starbucks way or the highway.


Say it our way.

Here’s what happened:

Me:          I’d like a medium sized blended mocha frappaccino, with additional ice and only half the syrup.


Barista:   [leaning forward, looking directly into my eyes like a scolding mother] You mean “grande” with “extra” ice, and “1 pump.”


Me:          Sounds good. Oh, and a toasted bagel with cream cheese.


Barista:  No, no, no, first you give me your name for the frappaccino cup. Then you can request another item.


Me:          Tina


Barista:  Spell that slowly for me.


Me:          T-I-N-A


Barista:  Okay, now your next item?


Me:          [thinking, “oh, brother” but saying very slowly and with careful enunciation] A. Toasted. Bagel. With. Cream. Cheese.


Barista:  Okay.


Me:           Toasted extra well, plesase.




Me:           Nevermind.

Gimme a break!


My rebel California nature really showed itself on my first trip to New York City. I was all wide-eyed and giddy about being there. The bakeries, the outdoor flower shops, Time Square, Broadway. So exciting!

Then reality struck. I was in line at a deli  pondering in line what to order. Maybe pastrami on rye, or perhaps tuna on wheat.

I found out quickly that by the time you reach the counter, you’d better know the routine that is strictly enforced:  Know what you want, place your order, move aside. Do not deviate from the sequence. Place your order, move aside.  Next person: place your order, move aside. And so on.

I get that people are rushed and don’t want any unnecessary delays. But, oh my fricken gosh, I just asked if there was onion in the tuna salad before I committed to spending $12.50 for a sandwich.  Nazis.

Gimme a break!


The most comical food ordering experience I’ve had, however, occurred in a Panera Bread, which specializes in all manner of baked goods (bread, cookies, muffins). I really wanted a bran muffin. What better place to get one than a quality, dine-in bakery restaurant.

Here’s what actually happened:Starbucks2

Me:          Do you have any bran muffins?


Young Man at Register: Um, uh, I don’t know. Is bran a flavor? What is bran?


Me:          Well, it’s a part of the wheat plant. Bran muffins are really common, usually they have raisins.


YMR:       Oh, wait, just a minute. [He stepped over to the muffin case, and came back beaming, muffin in hand] I think this has bran in it.


Me:          No, hon, that’s a currant scone. Forget it. [Note to self: Never order a bran muffin from a 16-year-old.]

Gimme another fricken break!


What do my food ordering odysseys have to do with Common Core? Just look at this question from a Common Core math assignment:

If one customer orders one pump instead of three, how many other customers are standing in line to get a cappuccino?

Someone shoot me!

THBby T.M. Burroughs


Join the conversation!

We have no tolerance for comments containing violence, racism, vulgarity, profanity, all caps, or discourteous behavior. Thank you for partnering with us to maintain a courteous and useful public environment where we can engage in reasonable discourse.

About Author

Baron Von Kowenhoven

Baron was just a shy kid with a dream, growing up in the 40's with a knack for story-telling. After a brief career in film, Von Kowenhoven went to Europe in search of fringe-scientific discoveries and returned in the 90's to unleash them on the entertainment and political landscape of America.

Send this to a friend