Tuesday, September 1, 2015


Maybe I just expected too much.

I got an e-mail from Starbucks saying that they added
a free drink of my choice, any size, to my Starbucks card
(they had sent one to me, free, unsolicited).
I have been there only once, years ago,
to meet my then-future boss for an interview.
Naturally, I didn't eat or drink anything,
but, Starbucks gave me their whatever-it-is card,
which I kept, for some reason.

On a recent, Saturday, morning, I went to Starbucks,
and, they checked my card.
Sure enough, any drink I wanted was on the house
(spare me the jokes about getting on the roof!). ;)

I ordered a large, plain, hot chocolate;
$3.50 value (as if I'd ever pay that much!).

Even though nobody else was in the shop,
the cashier politely pointed me to the end of the "bar,"
where I was able to watch another guy make my drink,
which took nearly 3 minutes using the espresso machine,
and doing some magic with ingredients and lord knows what!

I was in no hurry, so, I didn't mind the wait.

Here's what I *did* mind:
As he withdrew the paper cup from the machine,
he wiped the extension tube (sort of like a straw
going into the cup; I have no clue as to its purpose)
from the top, down, with a wet cotton towel,
which had been sitting on a grate at the base of the machine
for who-knows-how-long,
and which he then plopped down, unceremoniously,
between the tube and the overrun bowl.

I sneered, inwardly, wondering
how many other times he had done that
without rinsing the towel.

He handed me the cup.

I smiled,
walked outside,
and dumped it into the trash can.

Maybe I just expected too much
(or did I say that, already?).

And, yes, I e-mailed Starbucks to complain about it.
Less than a day, later, I received the response.
I fully expected a "well-that's-the-way-we-do-things-
and-nobody-has-ever-complainted-or-got-sick-from-it" missive,
but, much to my surprise, the author was aghast
at the blatant disregard for consumer safety and cleanliness.
NONE of their stores is supposed to do such an unsanitary thing,
and they will check into it,
and, if necessary, give that store a re-training on proper procedure.
Meanwhile, they wanted to send me coupons
for all kinds of freebies.
I stated that I had no intention of going
into another Starbucks, ever again,
but, she was persistent, and I relented.
I never heard from her, again,
but, asked my social media friends
to check into my story by taking photos
at their local Starbucks.
My social media friends are all over the USA.
I rec'd ten photos from ten different Starbucks,
ALL from different States,
and ALL of which had the same sopping wet white rag
sitting at the base of the same machine!
And all, but two, witnessed the same "cleaning" procedure!
(due to long lines, the other two couldn't get at an angle
where they could see it being done,
but, given the motion of the server,
they thought it was the same as I had seen).
Oddly, not one of my friends was grossed-out by this;
none of them have stopped visiting Starbucks,
and none have qualms about drinking
from potentially bacteria-ridden rags.
That's them. Not me.