Dear Woman Ahead of Me at Starbucks

Please. Go ahead. Change your order again.

Sure, I noticed that you gave one whole order with three or four items, then changed the whole thing without thinking about it. No problem. Go right ahead.

And then after the cashier gave you a total, you made a few more changes. That’s fine. In fact, I’m impressed that you’re able to do so as if it’s completely normal, without so much as an “Oh, I’m sorry, can I change X to Z?” Really nice.

I don’t think anyone in the line that has gathered behind me minded at all when you finally finished your order but didn’t move, instead choosing to pick up random packages of cookies to examine them as if shopping for melons. That’s fine. We’re too rigid in society these days, thinking of the Starbucks cash register as a place for us to tell the staff what we’d like. Why shouldn’t it be a place for you to take a few minutes to peruse things you’re not going to order?

Or are you? After all, you’re perfectly within your rights to continue your improvisation after your order has been placed. Sure, you said “double-shot caramel macchiato,” but we know you really meant “bacon and egg sandwich on a garlic bagel.”

The staff here is wonderful — I’ve bonded with many of them while writing much of my book here and doing plenty of blog posts and the occasional newspaper story. Why not take the opportunity to get all four of them to help you? One can remake your latte — it was a latte, right? Another can get your kid’s milk — oh, and you want that in a glass, of course. We’ll send the manager over to heat half of your sandwich as you requested, and the other person can go out back and slaughter a goat to provide the meat for that rare Lebanese delicacy you’ve just added to your order.

By this time, whatever you’ve paid is a mere approximation of what you should’ve paid for your revised order. That’s OK. I tip the staff well, and I’m sure the people in the line — now reaching to the door — also will drop in some change.

So please do continue with no acknowledgement toward the other customers who are waiting. That way, you won’t notice that I just took the original latte you ordered out back for a second and quickly replaced it. Hope you enjoy the “extra shot” in your beverage.


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