February 21, 2006

Venti Returns

Morning Workout
2500 yards
Main Set: 5 x 300 yards with 30 seconds rest between each

Random Comments: Cat is a really fast swimmer. The only problem is that she’s got this buoyancy challenge. Basically, she hasn’t yet been able to easily keep her legs floating flat on the water. Instead, she’s got to kick too hard keep them afloat which affects her breathing which slows her down quite a bit. When she can get her legs up there effortlessly, mostly when she uses a pull buoy to keep those legs afloat, holy moley, she’s like Michaela Phelps. Add that to her biking and running talents and she starts to resemble a much prettier, much sexier Flash Gordon. No wonder she win
s all the age group medals.

So I head into Starbucks this afternoon to get a little pick-me-up to, you know, pick me up. I walk in and head straight back to the counter. There’s one fella ahead of me in line and he’s already carrying a Starbucks cup. Venti sized, it’d be. (“Venti” means “large” in Starbucks speak, by the by. Apparently the big green machine doesn’t like such pedantic terms as small, medium and large, but that’s another rambling entirely.) So this gentleman is standing in line in front of me and he’s fairly well dressed. I mean, it’s no black-tie affair or anything, but he’s looking very respectable for a Tuesday afternoon. I’d put him somewhere in the mid-50s range. Finely manicured, cleanly cut coif, definitely wearing fairly decent clothes for a day off. You know, nice slacks, comfortable sweater, button down shirt tucked underneath. All in all, you’d probably guess that this guy had retired at a young age after selling his company. He probably is one of those chaps that just does nothing all day. Perhaps he spends the days counting his money or learning how to play golf, or just chatting it up with his good ole boys. Whatever the hell those people do in their free time, I’m sure this guy is doing it.

Anyhow, as I said, this fine man is standing in line at Starbucks already holding a venti-sized Starbucks cup. The fact that he’s holding this venti cup got me intrigued from the get-go. So even through there are two order takers, and one of them beckons me to approach and place my order, I move very slowly so I can hear what this guy has to say to the other order taker. I approach the counter and inch ever so discreetly nearer to him so I can make sure to catch every syllable of the conversation. I guess you could say I was fairly surprised by what came out of his mouth. Yeah, you can definitely say I was surprised.

I bought this triple shot cappuccino yesterday, he said as he put the venti cup down on the counter. And it was really bad. I want to get my money back.

Remember that Bush term “shock and awe”? It was used to describe how our first night of bombing in Iraq was supposed to create such shock and awe that not just Iraq, but the entire world would surrender to us immediately. They’d be lining up at the border to surrender to us from the mere shock and awe they’d experience. In fact, there was supposed to be so much shock and awe, that even our allies would surrender to us, despite the fact that we’re on the same damn team. Well, let me tell you, you ain’t seen shock and awe until you saw the look on the face of the poor little Starbucks worker standing in front of the venti cup guy. Hell, I think a gasp even came out of my mouth as I glanced at this man in wonder – this clean cut, well-off looking chap carrying the venti cup.

Here is this man, this man who looks like he can buy a busload of venti decaf non-fat frappaccinos for the entire street, and he says he’s returning a three dollar cup of coffee from yesterday that he didn’t like. As if it took him a full day to fully realize that the cup of coffee tasted like crap. Hell, I coulda told him that long before he ordered the damn thing!

So the scared little Starbucks worker hesitantly takes the venti cup and looks inside. I’ve moved so close by this point, and leaned so far over the counter, that I can see quite clearly into the cup to notice that it is less than half full.

Let me repeat this scenario for the people who may have just tuned in… this finely dressed man is returning a day-old, half full cup of coffee to Starbucks and asking for a refund, as if there were some unlimited money-back guarantee on each cup of crap you get from this place.

The poor little Starbucks fella. I mean, this is probably his first job ever, and to be confronted today by the venti cup carrying man wanting a refund on day-old coffee. He looked at the manager across the room. No way, she nodded her head as she mouthed the words, He’s going to have to pay.

Oh, he’s going to have to pay alright, I thought.

The Starbucks worker turned back towards venti cup man who was standing there demandingly, awaiting for his coffee refund. Ummm….uhh….the Starbucks worker stuttered. Ummmm…I….uhhh… we…ummm… we can’t…..uhhh...

The manager walked over to save her flailing employee. We can give you a coupon for a drink the next time you come in, she said abruptly. That’s all we can do.

That’s fine, venti cup man said.
He got the coupon and, blam-o, he was off.

None of us could believe it. Has this ever happened, I asked the manager in bewilderment. No way, she said rolling her eyes in disbelief. I didn’t think anybody had the nerve, she continued. He must’ve grabbed the cup out of the garbage can and tried to get some money from us. That’s ridiculous.

Well, I thought, you certainly can’t judge a book by its cover. Thank God I stuck around to listen.

So what would you like, the Starbucks order taker asked me, suddenly jolting me back into realizing I had been standing silently in front of her for the past few minutes.

Ummm… I said. I had a cup of coffee here three weeks ago and it sucked. I’d like that replaced please.