Why Does Starbucks Ask for My Name? (and other customer service silliness)

Starbucks is a pretty standard cup of coffee. The lattes are fine and the Americanos are decent. But why oh why do they ask for my name when I order one?

“Can I take your name?”, the Barista asks as I pay for my second coffee of the day.

“It’s James” I over-pronounce.

After standing at the other end of the bar, “Grande skinny vanilla latte” is called out. It’s for me.

So what happened to my name? Is it written down somewhere? Did they save it in a journal of all the names? Is it an attempt at humanizing my store experience? It’s a mystery.

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There seems to be something wrong with my experiences of the world. Perhaps I’m just getting old, tired, or just over-hungry but I seem to be bothered by the littlest things.

At lunch today, I went to the Caveman Cafe in Vancouver. It had some of the most perfect keto-friendly lunch options I’ve found in a restaurant and I couldn’t wait to try the ‘buns-out burger’ (named because of its lack of bread buns, thankfully). I asked for no tomatoes. I hate them and am convinced that raw tomatoes ruin everything.

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Amazing staff, great food

The first cook on the line was friendly and took my order. The second took the plate and added some salad. The third asked if I wanted some sauce. I said no and she passed it to the fourth cook. She then asked me if I wanted some sauce. “Are you sure?” she pushed as she pointed to the list. I smiled and reassured her that I was fine with no sauce. The fifth plate recipient (probably the person assembling my burger) pointed me to the cash register to pay, which I did, gladly. 15% tip as the first option? Sure! Everyone was so friendly.

I was handed my plate of a beautiful burger, smothered with cheese and oh no! Tomatoes. Heaps of them. Of course, they apologized and offered to remake it right away. They’re awesome and lovely people, but it made me a bit sad. The communication between the first order-taker and the last person didn’t work and I had to just leave while my stomach ate itself.

Embarrassed at my own ridiculousness and to contain the sanity-consuming hunger, I skulked off to McDonald’s to have a Quarter Pounder without the bun. Never have I seen such a depressing sight. At least the staff we friendly there too.

Is it me? Am I expecting too much? Should I just make sure I don’t approach society before eating? Share your customer service rants below!


  1. Vee

    April 5, 2019 at 4:24 pm

    As for Customer Service rants, I hate it when places have an ‘automatic tip’ on their debit/credit machines that you can’t bypass. Perhaps it’s stingy of me, but what if you really don’t deserve a tip? Or what if I prefer to leave a cash tip, rather than a debit tip? When those tip options aren’t able to be bypassed, that makes me rage! haha

    1. jamesrcsmith

      April 8, 2019 at 8:24 am

      Exactly! Or what about the tip option at a coffee shop when they literally just poured me a cup to go from an already-made pot. I’m not sure that’s worth an extra 15%.

  2. SpellQuiz

    January 16, 2020 at 9:08 pm

    I may add another annoying thing – they can never properly spell my name, even after numerous repeating.

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