"Vanilla Latte for MegaFiller"
April 28, 2015 1:42 AM   Subscribe

What's My Starbucks Name is like a bad barrista simulator, showing all the ways they can get your name WRONG.
roasted by dumbbelldupe
posted by oneswellfoop (99 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
 
My very Indian first name has a reasonably uncommon (for non-Indic languages) conjunct-consonant, and so I'm extremely used to hear it being garbled when I'm away from an Indian-heavy community; I often spell out my name out after mentioning it to a barista. Not that it ever helps, of course; they still always mess the name up.

Just that, this one time in a Starbucks in Istanbul, they did mangle the spelling, but in English; it was pitch-perfect if you read it in Turkish. Sadly, I was too enamoured of Turkish tea to go back to a damned Starbucks while in Turkey, but still, that was a nice surprise.
posted by the cydonian at 2:07 AM on April 28, 2015 [3 favorites]


I feel kinda bad for baristas having to do hear and write down names all day and do it relatively fast, because it doesn't give you much time to be considerate and double check, and it kind of backs them into a corner. I like the generator, though-- it got Reese, which is the most common misheard thing for "Reed", though I usually just add "like a book" afterwards so people figure out what the second consonant is. (I don't like to use "Nora" as much with strangers these days-- it feels over-familiar when people who don't know me well use it-- but when I did, I got "Laura" and "Dora" a lot.)
posted by NoraReed at 2:27 AM on April 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


(It seems like giving your name to an order-taker will end up in them getting it wrong a significant portion of the time if you have anything but the most common 30 or so names, but I imagine it'd be an order of magnitude more frustrating for people with names that are highly uncommon or unheard of in English, and there's an added racial element there too. Sorry if I came off as dismissing of that with the feeling bad for baristas comment; it is of course totally valid to be sick of having people get your name wrong, especially when they refuse to bother to figure out how to do it right.)
posted by NoraReed at 2:30 AM on April 28, 2015


I put in Mizu and I got Missile, which delights me enough that maybe next time I bother with the 'bucks I might forgo my completely easy real name (Sarah, I try to tip more if they get the h) and go with my newly weaponized moniker.

Or I could go to any of the six superior coffeeshops within walking distance, but, y'know.
posted by Mizu at 2:32 AM on April 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


I wouldn't have posted it if I'd thought it was mean-spirited... it's just rather silly, especially when you keep trying again with the same name... turning Wendell into Winday, Weilan, Warton, Wang, Winona, Wheel and finally Wreck...
posted by oneswellfoop at 2:41 AM on April 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


It's things like this that remind me I'm grateful to my parents for giving me a relatively common first name. I almost never have barista problems or Bort license plate situations.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 2:52 AM on April 28, 2015


I have a not-that-unusual Anglo-Saxon name with four letters and one syllable, and you would be amazed by what people from all walks of life manage to mishear it as.
posted by The Card Cheat at 2:57 AM on April 28, 2015 [3 favorites]


I put in Paula and got Perla; maybe it would've come closer with a live barista •hearing• the name pronounced.
posted by easily confused at 3:02 AM on April 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


I observe that "barista" is well on the way to mutating into "barrista" - and why not. :)
posted by Zarkonnen at 3:03 AM on April 28, 2015


I go by Vincent because it cannot be mistaken for any other name and its my middle name anyway. Everybody wins.
posted by hellojed at 3:07 AM on April 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


But I've been called Lee, Neil, Leon, Neo, etc.
posted by hellojed at 3:08 AM on April 28, 2015


Any coffee shop that asked for my name to put on the cup gets the question turned around to them. What ever their name is is the one I use. Sorta hard for them to get their own names wrong.
posted by michswiss at 3:13 AM on April 28, 2015 [7 favorites]


Man I hate to threadshit but complaining about Starbucks employees is just the most petty and entitled class aggression bullshit imaginable. When I was a barista in a wealthy area, one regular, an attorney, called me by the wrong common variation of my name every day, often cycling between different wrong versions over the week (think 'Magda' and 'Madison' for 'Madeleine'.) It never occurred to me to correct her. It's a minimum wage job. You're on your feet for eight hour shifts cycling through hundreds of customers ordering luxury drink orders that average at about a half hour to an hour of your pay.
posted by moonlight on vermont at 3:19 AM on April 28, 2015 [37 favorites]


Ugh, on mobile and posted early. But also: Starbucks is pretty good about age and ethnic diversity; the people who work there don't have a uniform language background or literacy level. Yeah, they're going to probably not get your name perfect, and-????? The 'acknowledge me, peasants' attitude of being offended or overwhelmed with hilarity because some service sector worker didn't catch your name is just incomprehensible to me.
posted by moonlight on vermont at 3:29 AM on April 28, 2015 [7 favorites]


“Vanilla Bean Crème Frappuccino for Easy.”

Yeah, that'll do.

I'm eternally grateful the coffee shop I used to work at didn't do the names-on-cups thing - we pretty much had a neverending Battle Royale at the end of the bar, but at least I didn't have to deal with fucking up people's names.
posted by emmtee at 3:33 AM on April 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


I am the one who orders.
posted by thelonius at 3:34 AM on April 28, 2015


Swarley?
posted by ssmug at 3:38 AM on April 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


I observe that "barista" is well on the way to mutating into "barrista" - and why not.

As an American, I've always been befuddled by the number of baristas who work in Canadian and U.K. courts. Lawyers in those places must drink even more coffee than U.S. lawyers do.
posted by XMLicious at 3:41 AM on April 28, 2015 [10 favorites]


While I think giggling at Starbucks names is fairly harmless (and you know many of the baristas are in on the joke, and don't actually think your name is "Creige"), moonlight on vermont's comment reminds me that while baristas almost always get my fairly common name right, people I've corresponded with at work mess it up more often than they should. The busier and higher up the person, the more likely they are to fuck it up. And this is especially bewildering given that my name is right there in both the signature line and the email address that the genius executive is responding to.
posted by Metroid Baby at 3:41 AM on April 28, 2015 [13 favorites]


As heard on YLNT: Truck Spank is the only name you should use.
posted by monocultured at 3:51 AM on April 28, 2015 [6 favorites]


I tell them molly.

Not my real name but they never get molly wrong.
posted by sio42 at 4:50 AM on April 28, 2015


I got "Rebeka" for Rebecca. *shrug*
posted by obfuscation at 4:58 AM on April 28, 2015


I rarely patronize Starbucks, but I've found it rare for counterpeople anywhere in the U.S. to get my (common, Anglo-American, single syllable) first name right. For the most part, I don't care, since the misheard names are usually close enough that I won't miss my order. And it's allowed me to observe that more than a couple times the erroneous name on the order ends up mispronounced when my order is called.
posted by ardgedee at 4:59 AM on April 28, 2015


" (Sarah, I try to tip more if they get the h) "

Shara, do you tell them you have an H in your name?
posted by I-baLL at 5:06 AM on April 28, 2015 [3 favorites]


Also, you know what really yanks my goat about Starbucks? None of the ones I've encountered in the U.S. are 24 hours. Why is that?
posted by I-baLL at 5:08 AM on April 28, 2015


Shara, do you tell them you have an H in your name?

Only if Sean Connery is making the coffee.
posted by zamboni at 5:10 AM on April 28, 2015 [11 favorites]


Exshpressho, Moneypenny.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 5:19 AM on April 28, 2015 [10 favorites]


I always order the regular or dark roast, so I get my drink immediately and don't have to go through the whole 'can I get a name' thing, which is both a transparently faux expression of souless marketing, 'Come to CoffeeBehemoth, where everyone knows your name along with our Q3 earnings projections!" and a demeaning condition of employment forcing service workers to feign friendship with random strangers. The Starbucks in my office complex is a complete madhouse, as somehow it's the only true coffee place servicing 5 mid-rise corporate offices, the perfect terrible mix of DC office density but Northern Virginia commuter culture infrastructure. So on the occasions that I can't stand the office coffee, getting in and out is imperative. 2$ for only slightly over-roasted coffee is much better than $5.50 for really overroasted expresso drink that's half milk and 1/4 sugar syrup. Get the house roast next time if you're caught up on spelling your name right, although if what you're looking for is an opportunity to belittle a single mom or grad student before clocking in, the house roast may not satisfy your morning routine of being an asshole.

And I'm still mourning the death of Caribou Coffee in Greater DC.
posted by T.D. Strange at 5:28 AM on April 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


Phteven
posted by Lord_Pall at 5:36 AM on April 28, 2015 [5 favorites]


Shara, do you tell them you have an H in your name?

I want to say no, but the truth is that before my last move for the past 5 years the Starbucks I went to was staffed on the rare occasions I'd show up by the same woman, and the first time I gave my order to her I said "Sarah" and she asked "With an H?" and tapped her nametag, and lo, her name was also Sarah. So from then on, because I was never enough of a regular for her to remember my name, I would tell her "Sarah with an H", and she would say some variation of "sweet" or "nice" or "excellent" quietly every time. Possibly all of the H-having Sarahs have a thing about it.

Now instead of Missile I'm gonna tell the kids at my new nearby location that I'm Shara, just cuz.
posted by Mizu at 5:47 AM on April 28, 2015 [8 favorites]


I have a somewhat unusual first name that is often misheard under the best of circumstances -- nevermind in a loud and busy place. I'm often Ellen or Edith or Edna or something .. as long as I know what name they've assigned me for my order, I really don't care.

Although one time my name was heard as "Katie" which ... I have no idea, either. But I just shrugged and decided for those few minutes, I was, in fact, "Katie."
posted by darksong at 6:02 AM on April 28, 2015


My name is Finch and I get Fitch, Flinch, and Filch often enough that I wonder what strange world we live in where those are more plausible names than my actual one.
posted by Windigo at 6:02 AM on April 28, 2015 [4 favorites]


the whole 'can I get a name' thing, which is both a transparently faux expression of souless marketing

Huh? It's a way to tell you when your order is ready, when there are 30 other people standing around also waiting for their order. Sometimes the cynicism on Metafilter truly blows me away.
posted by primethyme at 6:25 AM on April 28, 2015 [6 favorites]


The Name on the Cup: Brewing the Perfect Coffeenym, in which the writer tries to devise a name that won't get butchered.

(N.B.: Coffeeshop ambience autoplays; can be turned off by clicking the speaker icon in the top right corner.)
posted by Shmuel510 at 6:33 AM on April 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


I tried "Genji," and I got Gaga, Germaine,and Gylan, the last of whom I am pretty sure fought Godzilla once.
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:38 AM on April 28, 2015 [3 favorites]


> It's a way to tell you when your order is ready, when there are 30 other people standing around also waiting for their order.

They could call the number on your receipt the way most fast-food operations do. The principle for doing this Starbucks' way is that if everything goes smoothly and nobody's name is ever wrong, people are going to pick their name out of the ambient noise more easily than their receipt number, and the counter gets cleared faster.

The problem is that's a hell of an "if", there.
posted by ardgedee at 6:57 AM on April 28, 2015 [3 favorites]


>the whole 'can I get a name' thing, which is both a transparently faux expression of souless marketing

Huh? It's a way to tell you when your order is ready, when there are 30 other people standing around also waiting for their order. Sometimes the cynicism on Metafilter truly blows me away.


Everyone else just uses order numbers, which is way easier and reduces awkwardness for people with non-English names, who often just make up a fake name so they can duck out of embarrassing situations. I think it is maybe a well-meaning attempt at personalization, much like "talking to customers about race," but it ends up just being a hassle for baristas and customers alike.

I'm impressed that this thing generates images so fast for so many people, especially if this is an indie effort he's paying for himself. Did Justin Hook happen to post how its built anywhere?
posted by ignignokt at 6:59 AM on April 28, 2015 [4 favorites]


My favourite is still:

"My name is Marc, with a C"

Cup: Carc
posted by Cosine at 7:04 AM on April 28, 2015 [27 favorites]


Also, my name is Dean, one syllable and no hard consonant is a recipe for disaster, I get Ian and Steve far more often than my actual name, I have tried switching to D.J. but this seems to throw some ESL baristas who I assume do not have initials as names in their first language.
posted by Cosine at 7:06 AM on April 28, 2015


Any time I have to give a name for something (coffee, taxi, whatever) that is a sort of transient interaction, I always give some easy to say and spell bogus name. I've done it since I was a teenager with an unpronounceable last name, now I do it because I'm cantankerous and hate repeating myself or spelling things out. I'm usually "Jane Smith".
posted by mythical anthropomorphic amphibian at 7:07 AM on April 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


I have a non-traditional spelling of an ethnic name with syllables Americans tend to not be used to, so I get the Starbucks Experience every time I give my name to anyone anywhere.

At work I now just tell people my name, hear them mangle it in surprising new ways, and just confirm that yes, my name is in fact "Yarbles."
posted by griphus at 7:14 AM on April 28, 2015 [5 favorites]


My Starbucks name is Amanda because otherwise I get Sarah, Claire, Tara, Kiara, or one of about ten others, and it's super frustrating. I wish I could also go by Amanda at my job (basically barista).
posted by Night_owl at 7:16 AM on April 28, 2015


I have tried switching to D.J. but this seems to throw some ESL baristas

I used to run a restaurant, and much of the kitchen staff was mexican/latino esl guys. Nice guys, and great workers. Anyway, the head kitchen dude would leave me notes that all started with "Diche". I knew a bit of spanish, certainly not all, and this being before the internets, I went to the library and searched every dictionary I could find for what the hell "Diche" meant.

Frustrated, one day I asked him. Di Che = D.J. I am such a damned moron sometimes.

But yeah, even english speaking baristas screw it up. My favorite recently was "DeeJ". Why not DJay ? Sometimes, I think they are messing with me.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 7:18 AM on April 28, 2015 [5 favorites]


Not Starbucks, but I once gave my name (Whitney) for an order, only to have the guy announce "WHITEY! YOUR ORDER IS READY! WHITEY!"
posted by Lucinda at 7:21 AM on April 28, 2015 [18 favorites]


My first name, which I use at work and such, is Lorena. My legal middle name, which I use with friends, is Cupcake. Guess which one I use for to-go orders and coffee drinks.
posted by Juliet Banana at 7:33 AM on April 28, 2015 [9 favorites]


This makes me a little sad to have such a dull, little confused first name. Though I get the "joy" of a long last name that has so many variations in spelling that I always have to spell the whole thing out.
posted by ghostiger at 7:36 AM on April 28, 2015


I guess I've just been lucky? My name is Natasha and I don't think it's ever been misspelled or misunderstood. People who meet me often later remember me as Natalie, but that's different.
posted by arcticwoman at 7:38 AM on April 28, 2015


My wife has a name that's unusual, but made up of two components of common names: think Emmabelle or Leighanna. It is always misheard, misspelled, and sets off minutes-long conversations that she'd rather not get into. When asked for her name at Starbucks, food delivery, or restaurants, she just tells them my name (Natasha). Everyone gets my name right, even if once in a blue moon there's a superfluous "i" in there (Natisha, Natashia).
posted by arcticwoman at 7:48 AM on April 28, 2015


And of course I realize that I just contradicted myself - my name is VERY RARELY misspelled,and never that I recall at a Starbucks.
posted by arcticwoman at 7:50 AM on April 28, 2015


I have a slighly uncommon name that is easily mispronounced in a way that is like nails on a chalkboard to me. At Starbucks and anywhere else where people are likely to say my name a lot but not actually know me I give them a much easier name.

Also, the yelling a name thing works much better than a number, given how often I've seen people immediately forget their order number, lose the receipt, etc. Seriously, even at McDonald's they end up having to yell the order number and then the actual order contents half the time. Yelling (some variation of) your name is quicker.
posted by TwoStride at 7:52 AM on April 28, 2015 [3 favorites]


I'm a Ben, which baristas occasionally transform into Dan or Brent, or on one confusing occasion, Mark.

My bank - with whom I had been dealing for over a decade - once issued me a credit card with my first name listed as Bear. That was pretty badass.
posted by Turbo-B at 7:56 AM on April 28, 2015 [11 favorites]


Here's my real name: Red. Yes, really.

Here's my Starbucks interpretation: Fred, Brad, Ted, Todd, Ren, Rad, Bob, Greg, Paul. If they read me as female, Wren. The extremely frustrating thing back before I changed my name was that I'd give them a name, they wouldn't hear me, and then would get my name off my card, which was my girl name and which 100% pissed me off every time, in part because I had stopped answering to it or even really hearing it, and call the waaaaabulance...my Frappucino would get warm. My girl name was not anywhere close to any of these names, but would get misheard most frequently as Heather or Amber, which tickled both my friends with those names. Oddly enough, now that I don't look like a girl, I am less likely to get sweetened iced coffee when I ask for unsweetened.

I was a lousy barista due in part to being somewhat hard of hearing, so I really hear basically TV static and random unconnected syllables when you say your name at the best of times. My favorite people were the non-English-speaking tourists who didn't get what I was asking, and were so so confused until I figured out that I should point to the cup, then point to myself and say "My name is NAME, what's your name?" then offer to shake hands. Worked 100% of the time to get a name on the cup, and made people laugh and feel a little better about going to a foreign land and suddenly being unable to communicate about simple stuff.
posted by blnkfrnk at 8:10 AM on April 28, 2015 [4 favorites]


My name is too difficult for most baristas to spell/pronounce so I just make up fakes names all the time. I also do this at barber shops and restaurants.
posted by Fizz at 8:13 AM on April 28, 2015


My name is Ryan. I get "Brian" or "Bryan" most of the time. Once, I got "Fran." (insert internet shrug here)
posted by Alterscape at 8:14 AM on April 28, 2015


Also, I feel like this Starbucks name thing is a lot like Ellis Island names-- if they didn't hear you back in the day, too bad, you're stuck with a weird version of your original name and so are all your descendants. There's that side order of racism, too, when the barista/Ellis Island registrar doesn't believe you have the name you have. Names are awkward.
posted by blnkfrnk at 8:17 AM on April 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


At this point for me Starbucks is basically a social experiment in gender perception, since on an average day I'm about equally likely to get "Leah" or "Liam" but I can skew the balance one way or the other by going extra-femme or forgetting to shave.
posted by nebulawindphone at 8:18 AM on April 28, 2015 [4 favorites]


One time I was at Starbucks during a slow time of day and the barista was spelling every customer's name back to them to make sure they got it right. They usually had a quick quip about each person's name. My name is fairly common but there are some cutesy variations so the barista asked if it was "with or without the 'k'?". (Spoiler alert: there's never a "k" in any variation of my name except perhaps in very remote areas of former Eastern Bloc countries.)

As the barista was waiting for yet another "oh you're so clever" grin, I replied, "With, but the 'k' is silent." Boom, barista got served, and on their own turf. Not long afterward they handed me a delicious grande iced vanilla latte accompanied by a "game recognize game" nod of appreciation.

showing all the ways they can get your name WRONG

The first one that came back was so wrong it made me bust out laughing but after I clicked about 20 times the correct spelling actually did show up.
posted by fuse theorem at 8:26 AM on April 28, 2015


No, I am Spartacus.
posted by I-baLL at 8:33 AM on April 28, 2015


I mean, if you get your coffee, who the hell cares if they get your name wrong?
posted by Celsius1414 at 8:44 AM on April 28, 2015 [5 favorites]


You definitely know you want to swipe past anyone who has a photo on their dating profile of their Starbucks cup with their name grossly misspelled on it. It would be worth it to work at Starbucks just to purposefully butcher everyones name:

Jennifer = Genafur
Bill = Byl
Steve = Steev
Allison = Allasun
Jeremy = Geramee
Gideon = Douchebag
posted by ReeMonster at 8:53 AM on April 28, 2015 [6 favorites]


The best of these I ran into was at a convention where the little Starbucks kiosk had a notable accuracy rate. I commented on it at one point, and the barista pointed out that we were all wearing badges with FIRSTNAME printed in giant letters (LASTNAME under it in much smaller letters). I guess that would make it easier.
posted by Karmakaze at 8:56 AM on April 28, 2015 [3 favorites]


My name is "Jonathan". My food ordering name is "John Z" — common, I don't care how it is spelled, and the "Z" makes it stand out from the vast sea of Johns. An order taker did once ask "Like the guy in Sigur Rós?". I'm fine with that.
posted by benito.strauss at 8:57 AM on April 28, 2015 [4 favorites]


while baristas almost always get my fairly common name right, people I've corresponded with at work mess it up more often than they should. The busier and higher up the person, the more likely they are to fuck it up. And this is especially bewildering given that my name is right there in both the signature line and the email address that the genius executive is responding to.

NO. KIDDING. My name is Laura and I don't think Starbucks has ever gotten it wrong (not that I go to Starbucks that often, granted) but I very often get misnamed at work--occasionally Laurie or Lauren, which makes sense and feels more easily forgivable, but far more often than that, Lisa or Linda. I generally think of those people as considering me generic and replaceable, but I had this happen on several occasions with a faculty member who I loved and who truly did seem to appreciate me; for her, I just chalked it up to "one of those weird things." That said, I am much less likely to do that for the executive who called me Louise during a conference call.
posted by dlugoczaj at 9:55 AM on April 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


Also, in the days when people shouted to seat people in restaurants rather than using buzzy things, my cousin, who had an unusual and challenging last name, usually used the name "Wild" so the hostess would have to say "Wild, party of two."
posted by dlugoczaj at 10:00 AM on April 28, 2015 [4 favorites]


while baristas almost always get my fairly common name right, people I've corresponded with at work mess it up more often than they should

I must speak in perfect barista-pitch because my name is always correct, but somehow I end up with a coworker who insists that my name is Jennifer (my name shares a single vowel with jennifer).
posted by everybody had matching towels at 10:23 AM on April 28, 2015


monocultured: As heard on YLNT: Truck Spank is the only name you should use.

Agreed! I have a pizza place that enthusiastically greets me as "Truck!" and it makes me happy.
posted by Pronoiac at 10:26 AM on April 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


I go by my grandmother's name -- common and in use in England these days, but very old fashioned in the US. No one gets it wrong now.
posted by Ms. Moonlight at 10:29 AM on April 28, 2015


My first name is Alexa and I have almost never in my life had anyone get this right the first time. I've had Alexis (my last name starts with S so full-name intros pretty much guarantee this), Alex, Alexia, Eliza, Alyssa, Melissa, and in one very odd instance "Electra".

So when I got "Anecia" on this thing, my primary response was "huh, that's a new one, actually".

I'm named after Billy Joel's "Downeaster Alexa" (which makes me, actually, pretty old among Alexas - most of us were born in the 21st century) but no one knows that song anymore, so I really hope that Nick Jonas or someone else wildly famous in the current day writes a song about an Alexa so I can just sing my way out of this confusion.
posted by capricorn at 10:42 AM on April 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


I spend a lot of time in Holland, where, apparently the name Chuck is unheard of. I've gotten very used to answering to "Jack".
posted by humboldt32 at 10:46 AM on April 28, 2015


I also don't have a middle name that I can use instead because my middle name is my mom's family surname, but: I'm very thankful that the two last names I have are my grandfathers' instead of my grandmothers', who actually both changed the spelling of their maiden names because Americans could not comprehend how to spell or pronounce them. So, count your blessings and all that.
posted by capricorn at 10:53 AM on April 28, 2015 [1 favorite]




The coffee joint I go to, they call everybody Honey. Problem solved.
posted by jfuller at 11:24 AM on April 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


On a (very icy) Sunday morning before church last month, I stopped in at Starbucks for hot chocolate. The whole place was empty- not one person at any table, no music in the background. I don't know why the very hungover (or ill) barista asked my name, since we were alone together. "Owain," I said. Waited. Got my hot chocolate- "Huey", it said.

I thanked him soberly, dropped some coins in the tip jar and hummed 'Hip to Be Square' on my way out.
posted by The Zeroth Law at 12:05 PM on April 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


For the record: I don't do an FPP these days without at least one typo or misspelling. So "barrista" for "barista" is relatively minor (and who's to say it wasn't intentional, considering the subject?)

And let me repeat that this post was NOT done in a mean-spirited manner, certainly not toward Starbucks workers (and I hope the linked site wasn't either, it's just funny). Of course, Starbucks could have gone the way of other 'fast-food' outlets and just use the numbers on receipts, but somebody in management obviously thought it would set them above if they forced a little semi-personal interaction on the workers and customers. So it is with a nice dose of irony that this practice intended to make Starbucks "Special" ended up making Starbucks "Weird".

As for me, I grew up with Craig and was misidentified as "Greg" more times than I can count... one of the reasons I started using Wendell as a pen-name/alias. Which I regretted the first time I got "Wendy".
posted by oneswellfoop at 12:08 PM on April 28, 2015 [2 favorites]




Not Starbucks, but I once gave my name (Whitney) for an order, only to have the guy announce "WHITEY! YOUR ORDER IS READY! WHITEY!"

He was just trying to start an earnest conversation about race.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 12:17 PM on April 28, 2015 [14 favorites]


Nobody ever believes they have heard me correctly at first. Mark, Marsh, Lars, Morris, Mike, Mac, Marge, Maris, Marx, Marcy, Marks, you name it and I've probably heard it. But why would I be offended? I'm the one with the weird name; I've never met another person named "Mars" in my life, so they probably haven't either, and guessing that I must have meant something more common is clearly the right strategy. It is amusing, though.
posted by Mars Saxman at 12:55 PM on April 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


I went in not expecting much but I entered my name (Kate) and got a cup labeled CHLOB in return and then I laughed for fifteen minutes. CHLOB!
posted by kate blank at 1:13 PM on April 28, 2015 [6 favorites]


Lucinda: "Not Starbucks, but I once gave my name (Whitney) for an order, only to have the guy announce "WHITEY! YOUR ORDER IS READY! WHITEY!"

Wait, how does that work? Is either "Whitney" or "Whitey" pronounced differently from what I thought? Or was the guy announcing reading it wrong from the cup?
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 1:29 PM on April 28, 2015


I'm a barista. I like to get names and spelling right. On the other hand, when it's busy there's no way I'm stopping to ask which spelling variation of Katelynn/Ashley/Sean/etc the customer is. As for garbling common names: speak up, folks. One of the things I've realized is that it's a lot louder behind the counter than it is up front.
posted by wrabbit at 1:55 PM on April 28, 2015


I just say I'm a "Jen" - easy to hear and say. Who cares, really. The point is just to match you to your turkey bacon panini or whatever.

("Narson" is my favourite from that generator.)
posted by cotton dress sock at 3:11 PM on April 28, 2015


My name: Arrianna.

Name I give: Anna.

Name they write: Hannah.

It's a running joke with me and my friends, tying in with the fact that I've worked with people for years who are convinced my name is Adrianna.

They're busy, I want my latte and not that dude Steven's. He might actually be a Stephen; I'm not really Hannah. That doesn't matter to me. What matters is mine had soy, God damn it, and I bet Stephen or Stephan or whoever he really is got whole milk.
posted by RainyJay at 4:00 PM on April 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


I have a long, double-barrelled Danish surname which is not at all phonetic with the spelling to English ears, and is basically unpronounceable with English phonetics (in part because it features ø and æ which get transliterated as oe and ae but aren't pronounced at all like that). I don't even bother telling people my surname over the phone any more, I jump straight to NATO alphabet.
posted by Dysk at 4:01 PM on April 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


"…That's F as in foxtrot, Æ as in uh maybe Æon Flux I guess, B as in bravo, Ø as in uh wait shit hang on a minute…"
posted by nebulawindphone at 4:57 PM on April 28, 2015 [6 favorites]


I've never met another person named "Mars" in my life,

Really? I thought it was a relatively common surname. It seems like "like the planet" would work, but then, I assume "like a book" would work for "Reed" (spelling aside, I mean, it's usually just pronunciation that people need); people don't expect people to go by surnames, I guess.
posted by NoraReed at 5:10 PM on April 28, 2015


I have a pretty common name and it is usually amazingly misspelled at Starbucks, yet phonetically pretty close. I actually always assumed that starbucks trained people to just write it phonetically and not waste time trying to remember whether it's Mathew or Matthew.
posted by whoaali at 5:58 PM on April 28, 2015


"…That's F as in foxtrot, Æ as in uh maybe Æon Flux I guess, B as in bravo, Ø as in uh wait shit hang on a minute…"

Ægir and Ødis.
posted by zamboni at 6:01 PM on April 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


I've got an uncommon in English name with an even more uncommon spelling. Whether it's starbucks, work, or life in general it seems like most people think they know how to spell my name better than I do. Rarely do I get asked to spell it, and the times I do I'm often challenged as to whether I'm sure that's how it's really spelled.
Ever since we got a dog four years ago I started using his name. He doesn't seem to mind and can't spell anyway to get offended so no one gets upset and win-win-win. (NB I only use his name at Starbucks, restaurants and other life in general situations of that sort. I still use my own name at work.)
posted by dismitree at 7:25 PM on April 28, 2015


I've never met another person named "Mars" in my life

You didn't happen to grow up in Olympia, did you?

My name is not at all unusual, but my particular spelling of it is. However, "Evil" is a new misspelling to me, and I rather like it.
posted by emmling at 4:49 AM on April 29, 2015


Something to be happy about today--none of you is named Coraline.
posted by jfuller at 4:51 AM on April 29, 2015


Wait, how does that work? Is either "Whitney" or "Whitey" pronounced differently from what I thought? Or was the guy announcing reading it wrong from the cup?

The person writing my name on the cup forgot the "N", and the guy reading it just read what he saw.

When he realized what he was saying, he turned a lovely shade of red.
posted by Lucinda at 10:23 AM on April 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


Katrina (unless I'm in New Orleans, then Katie), and I'm always happily caught short when someone asks "with a K or a C?"
posted by ersatzkat at 1:49 PM on April 29, 2015


They could call the number on your receipt the way most fast-food operations do.

Speaking from experience: then they'd get to deal with the handful of customers who pitch a fit about "I am not a number" (and, as far as I could tell, not one of them was making a Prisoner reference).

If you work in food service, you cannot win. One way or another, customers will get pissed at you. Given that, you might as well do what works more smoothly for your establishment.
posted by Lexica at 4:28 PM on April 29, 2015 [3 favorites]


I have been Mary at Starbuck's (and every other fast food/coffee place) for the past ten years. A name that is completely and utterly impossible to mess up. It's gotten to the point that I've almost introduced myself by that name in non-food service contexts.
posted by armadillo1224 at 7:30 PM on April 29, 2015


My name is Legion. I'll have a grande latte.
posted by mono blanco at 9:10 PM on April 29, 2015 [2 favorites]


Geth do not caffeinate.
posted by NoraReed at 11:11 PM on April 29, 2015


TIL that people give their real true names to strangers who make coffee at large corporate chains.

My mother used to get furious at fast food clerks who wouldn't accept a family name as a tag on an order. "I am neither your family nor your pet!" she'd scream. I'm more chill. I just pick a name out of a hat. Usually it's something that will catch my ear if the place is crowded, but otherwise I give something bland and "Dave"-like.
posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 5:18 AM on April 30, 2015


A few years ago a (not Starbucks) coffee shop opened and me and my wife gave it a try. When I ordered they had me print my name on an iPad, which was highly futuristic at the time. They then gave me a speckle-painted rock with a number on it, leaving me wondering why I printed my name. The tables were also speckle-painted, so the numbered rock was basically invisible. Then we watched the server lady wander from table to table, carrying our drinks, shoving them into every other customer's face and asking "Is this yours?" She went to every table in the place, twice, except for ours. Finally, my wife couldn't take it anymore, and did something very uncharacteristic for her. She grabbed that stupid rock and started beating it on the table as loud as she could until the lady brought us our drinks. As I recall, that place did not last long.
posted by jabah at 8:43 PM on May 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


Speaking of iPads, I was wondering how long it would be before you could do the whole order through a Starbucks app. Turns out that's already a thing.
posted by zamboni at 12:25 PM on May 5, 2015


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