It started immediately. From almost my very first visit to Starbucks. “I’d like a venté no-whip mocha, please.”
Better than 80% of the time, what would show up is venté mocha all right, but with a blast of foul tasting whip cream floating on the top. Some shops would make good and mix a new mocha as requested. Others would extend the effort with a coupon for a free drink. Still others fell below the service quality mark by simply scraping off the sludge and re-capping the drink. Hoooooonk. Wrong answer. Thanks for playing.
With “solution” on my mind, I tried making my request in several ways. “I’d like a venté [long pause] NO WHIP [long pause to let the phrase sink in] mocha.” Success improved, but failures still occurred about 30% of the time. “I’d like a venté mocha, and could you please leave the whip cream off of that?” “Huh?” came the reply if I was lucky. Failures occurred about 60% of the time. Apparently, this one violates the 7+- 2 rule1. Too many words and the “barista” looses the information on the front of the sentence.
There is some kind of business theorem buried in this experience. The “No Whip Maxim for Customer Service”. I’ll have to develop this idea, write a book and hit the chat show circuit.
The patrons can be a bit numb as well. I’ve had my drink lifted by auto-piloted patrons. “Oh, that’s yours? I thought your extra large mocha looked like my puny Double Decaf Half Mashed Iced Caramel Macchiato.” Go eat a rock.
Gad, I’m starved for a decent coffee house within a reasonable drive of my house. My favorite haunt, The Market, has become too cumbersome to reach on a regular basis, what with all the T-Rex construction along I-25. Will I have to create this myself? If I must, guarantee there will be no aerosol whip cream in the place.
1The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two: Some Limits on Our Capacity for Processing Information, George A. Miller, The Psychological Review, 1956, vol. 63, pp. 81-97
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