Having just had a coffee meeting, I experienced Starbucks’ new corporate policy of asking everyone their name. It didn’t make me feel warm and fuzzy – I actually found it rather intrusive. I don’t want my name shouted across the store. Why does the coffee purchase need personalising? So I’ve a cunning plan….
Of course this isn’t the biggest issue in the world, I don’t plan to take to the streets with a placard – its just a bit of a plastic, faux form of over-familiarity from a corporate. When I worked behind a bar in my youth, if you didn’t know someone’s name, out of respect it was Sir or Madam.
So please, just give me an anonymous cup of coffee. I’ll wait to pick it up. Sure, if I want to sit down, give me the option of giving you a name (or number) to call out, but don’t enforce it as part of the process.
The whole thing has the sense of a well meaning corporatist sentiment gone wrong. There are many wonderful friendly small coffee shops where they actually do know your name – Starbucks isn’t one – and this is a mechanistic attempt to be friendly. Sure if you go in regularly and get to know the staff, great, but when popping in do we need this.
Some may like it, and if so fab, but it’s the carte blanche nature that’s not for me.
So here’s my suggestion for a bit of fun, taking inspiration from Blackadder (call it a cunning plan) for a great gender-neutral name.
If they ask, let us all say "My name is Bob" (and Twitter users, the hashtag is #TellStarbucksYourNamesBob).
Am I alone on this?