Ten Things Not to Do in a Fancy Coffee Chain Store


The inspiration for this list was a visit to a very busy Coffee chain and then a need to put down in words some of the thoughts that have bothered me since.

Top Ten Things Not to Do in a Fancy Coffee Chain Store

10 Do not try to maintain your individuality by insisting your name be spelled correctly on your cup.If you do, at best your exact words will be handed back to you with your drink. (see above) At worst, the rest of the room will take notice of your insecurity and cover you with eye rolls. (You are bothered by eye rolls, or you wouldn’t have been so particular about your name. Right?)

9 Do not order a fancy drink believing it makes you a superstar. If you do, at best the drink will be wrong. At worst, the drink will be wrong, and you’ll not know it. (Exactly what that twenty-something was counting on when she handed you that regular coffee)

8 Do not look at the pastries while you are standing in the longest line ever. If you do, at best your stomach will announce to those in front and behind that you are an animal. At worst, you pick one up and suffer from calorie and budget overload. (How could something so small cost so much?)

7 Do not offer to pick up something for your co-workers. If you do, at best they’ll order strange coffees and give you money. At worst, they’ll order several breakfast sandwiches and give you enough money to cover about half. (The reaction when you ask for the rest is like you embezzled the funds)

6 Do not go to the drive through with less than a half a tank of gas. If you do, at best you will need to shut the car off several times. At worst, you will forget and run out of gas before you reach the window. (Makes you wonder why you didn’t just go in the first place.)

5 Do not attempt to strike up a conversation with the barista. If you do, at best you’ll realize you are talking to yourself. At worst, the barista will be distracted and make your drink the way the previous person ordered it. (Just try and get that corrected)

4 Do not stand in line and then start thinking what you want when you reach the point of ordering. If you do, at best the audible groan from your fellow fancy coffee drinkers will make you nervous. At worst, you will be the recipient of the kind of insults last heard during the NFL season directed at the commissioner. (You are not making the kind of money to put up with that abuse)

3 Do not pass the tip jar without making a deposit. If you do, at best you will be marked for special treatment next time. At worst, you are still waiting for your drink and everyone behind you has left. (Yes a tip is for good service, but here it is paid in advance much like a toll to the troll under the bridge)

2 Do not take more than one napkin and one stir stick from the condiment bar. If you do, at best you will be reminded to conserve paper. At worst, the environmental enforcer who looks much like the World Wrestling Federation champ will relieve you of the extra. (YouΒ  hope he puts you down on your feet after he is through with holding you by the ankles and shaking the napkin free)

1 Do not try to pay for your drink with a gift card that does not have enough to cover. If you do, at best you will be delayed while the difference is figured out. At worst, you will get the feeling that the next move will be the arrival of a SWAT team to take you down for violating what the cashier is sure is a Federal offense. (You have to wonder why you don’t keep the receipt from the previous visit since it clearly states your balance. Silly you.)


  1. I put my phone number, address, and cash in the tip jar the last time and got lots of special treatment. It was fun. A very entertaining list. xoxo

    1. Thank you, Pretty daring with the phone number and address.

      1. I was on the Gold Coast in Australia. They were good people and I made lots of friends. xo

      2. I understand now. πŸ™‚

  2. #4 drives me nuts at every fast food place. How can somebody wait on line and not look at the giant menu signs? As far as #8 goes, an easy fix would be to grab a cheap bagel or doughnut from across the street. Nothing could possibly go wrong if you’re eaten that while waiting on line. πŸ™‚

    1. Ha ha ha. I could see the look on the cashier’s face trying to figure out where the bagel came from.

      1. I’m sure it would be a look of scorn.

      2. More confusion than anything. “Where did he get that bagel and how much should I charge?”

      3. That’s probably where a receipt can come in handy.

      4. So practical you are cricket.

      5. It’d be the one time such a thing is useful.

  3. “Do not order a fancy drink believing it makes you a superstar.” Ha ha! Darn!
    This is great, John. I love the picture…I’ve seen some other funny ones floating around Facebook.

    1. Yes, there are a number. I was going to post a lot of them but thought it was overkill

  4. #7 is always tough, but I don’t do it in a drive-thru. In fact, I never use the drive through for coffee. I park and go in. The only time I get eye-rolls is when I am stuck going to Starbucks and I order a Medium with milk. Then I get the translation drill and I get educated in the fact that they charge more than Dunkin Donuts but you have to do the milk yourself.

    1. And no good donuts. Thanks Dan

  5. So very true! They can never get our names right, can they? How loud do I need to shout it? *deep sigh*

    I can’t actually walk past the cakes without buying one *Guilty face*

    1. I know what you mean. And they cost as much as a car.

      1. I must admit, the chocolate swirls in Costa are worth every penny! So gooood!

      2. I have never had chocolate swirls. Must do that sometime.

      3. It’s a MUST! Your love for them might just break the bank though :-/

      4. Lotto win here I come.

  6. I always forget the funny names for sizes at Starbucks.

    1. Yeah me too. “Give me a large coffee with coffee and room for half and half. Excuse me what do you mean what kind of coffee? You know strong, dark, hot coffee. My name? My name’s John with an H. Three fifty? What’s in that stuff. Oh, I see no rainforest was plowed under to make my cup of coffee. How many trees died for the cup and wrapper. Okay, I’ll step aside.”

  7. I gave up coffee for more than eight months because I don’t like it unsweetened and had to give up sugar. I’ve been drinking it for the past few days, despite my “diet” and have been watching my BS rise. I’ve tried stevia and it’s just not the same. I’m going to have to accept this. Ugh! I would sooooo love a Carmel machiatto from Starbucks.

    1. AW. I would hate unsweetened coffee. My wife gave up sugar as well. She doesn’t have a medical reason just wants to eliminate it where she can. I’m a Splenda person so I still like Half and half and Splenda.

  8. Fun list, John! The Starbucks line is more fun than a supermarket one. People watching then seeing what they’ve ordered. A Venti piled high with “whip” goes to the roundest ones! It’s a character study! Have a great Monday! Elizabeth

    1. Ha ha ha. I loved this comment.

      1. πŸ’› Thanks!

    1. Thank you Gerald for the reblog. Nice.

  9. 11) Do go into Starbucks, order a coffee and then only give them 1/3 of the price for your drink. When they ask for the rest, tell them “I’m paying the rest into an account in Ireland, WHERE ALL YOUR TAXES ARE HIDDEN!”
    You possibly won’t end up with a drink, but I’d rather gargle with drain cleaner than give any of those places an extortionate amount of money for a cup of bitter, gritty, superheated caffeine flavoured stewed steam anyway.

    Everyone should buy their own coffee and make it at home, just to see how long it takes for the whole obscenely priced, pretentious industry to collapse into a pile of foam-flecked hipster beards and uncomfortable wobbly furniture.

    1. Whew. Hit a big toe did we? I have an expresso machine so I can do my own version of a cup of bitter, gritty, superheated caffeine flavoured stewed steam. LOL (mine is 1/10th the cost)

      1. I love coffee. I take a flask of decent strong black French roast to work every day.
        What I object to is the poncification of “coffee culture” by soulless and mercenary multinational chains, charging insane amounts of money for it.

      2. Me too. That is why I invested in my machine. I’m the only coffee snob in the room when the coffee is served.

      3. Yeah, I usually politely refuse coffee unless I’m certain it’s not that instant muck.

  10. Love this list! I “won” a Starbucks gift card last year and have been “addicted” to using it ever since. But now we have a Keurig so … My favorite line on this list: “How can something so small cost so much?” Oh, indeed!

    1. I know right? I have an espresso machine so I don’t need to go there. My Grande costs twelve cents. (And thats with foam and everything)

  11. I’m not a coffee-drinker, John, so I’ve never even been inside a Starbuck’s!! Your list is most enlightening, though, and convinces me I’m onto something.

    1. Yes. I drink coffee but have my own espresso machine and don’t need to stand in line and be insulted to get a good cup.

  12. Love that advice! LOL

    1. I still don’t get these places.

  13. The hardest part is resisting those goodies to go with my Starbucks coffee. I just like mine simple and black. Good tips! Makes me want to head to my Portland Starbucks!

    1. Yeah. See you later.

  14. What a list. When did ordering coffee become so complicated. I must confess I don’t order special coffees anywhere, but make mine at home. Even the coffee cups for my Keurig don’t get replaced in a hurry. Still, a wonderful read and yes, a great place to people watch. πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

  15. This is why I don’t drink coffee…

    1. This is why I drink coffee at home.

  16. I always list what I want in the wrong order. Is it a decaf (unfortunately I have to have the unleaded), grande, no foam, soy mocha with no sweetener or a grande, decaf, unsweetened, no foam soy mocha. Actually for me, it’s much simpler – grande, decaf, no foam soy latte. Are you confused yet?

    1. Whew. No I’m still with you even though I had to drink the mistakes.

      1. πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

  17. I got a huge laugh out of this one. This is a keeper!

    1. Thanks, John. Glad to hear it.

  18. Good one. A pleasure to read. lol

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed it

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