Friday, September 2, 2011

Not Just Coffee Beans

Starbucks has a consistency all their own, and it's not just about the coffee beans.

A friend of mine has done some significant relocating in the last two years, in search of the 'wild goose' that is her life's calling.  From sea to shining sea, she has found herself all over the country.  And, she tells me, when a new city feels overwhelming, she has learned the key to feeling grounded once again: Starbucks.

The environment, the menu, the colors, the green aprons - the whole enchilada (or shall I say the whole milk iced grande mocha?) - they welcome her with a comfortable familiarity.  "It's okay.  You can do this.  Some things are still the same."

I learned today that when a crisis or national disaster strikes, Starbucks aims to get as many stores open as possible, as quickly as possible. And it's not just for the sake of revenue; when they open their doors again, communities can breathe once more.  They have a safe place to return.  The environment, the menu, the colors, the green aprons - they welcome them with a comfortable familiarity.

Upon today's visit at my Starbucks, I met the regional directors.  They told me that 'my barista' has been nominated for manager of the year. 

I said, "Can I tell you why I personally hope she wins?" 

He said, "Well, ma'am, we know your story.  We heard about you from Howard Schultz." 

(That would be the CEO of Starbucks.  He has heard about me, the sanctity of my corner table, the safest place in my storm.)

We shook hands.  We were pleased to meet one another.  And I complimented him on a stellar team, a job well done, a grander picture of community. 

Man, I hope she wins.  Her store has been my sanctuary for the last eight months.

Really, it's not just about the coffee beans.


Laura said...

Awesome. I love love love this. I hope she wins too. And I remember the day I got to sit with you in your sanctuary at Starbucks. Sacred ground. Sacred time. Love you my friend.

thewonderfulhappens said...

that's awesome--I hope she wins too!

Melissa said...

Is that the same barista who chased you down waving salt in the air to tell you it would be only mere days until you could enjoy your salted bliss again? :-)

Yep, that one's a winner!

My mom has said the same thing about Denny's. Not that we consider Denny's gourmet or anything - but you can go to any Denny's anywhere in the country and get the same meal. And there's something comforting about that.

my3boys said...

I love Starbucks even more because of the sanctuary it has provided for you. (But there IS something about the beans!) :)

peteyarr said...

I totally agree! I have found much safety and security while I move around in knowing there is a Starbucks nearby. My friends make fun of me, but as a single unrooted female, it gives me a place to go no matter where I end up living.

The security doesn't end there. As a former barista, they have a policy where I can always be rehired at any location, no matter what state or country (as long as I left on good terms!). But that provides me with some sense of job security too.

I'm sure Starbucks loves to know that they have succeeded in their goal of becoming a "third environment" to many! I'm so glad they know your story and appreciation.

Amy said...

I don't know if it is my love of coffee (Starbucks, especially) or just the naked honesty that you express in your posts... this post made me cry. How wonderful it is that this company has become a refuge for you and so many others. I agree that it's my soul soothing, go-to place when life around me is spinning out of control. Thank you for sharing your life.

Mrs. MK said...

I have chills....I sure hope she wins!!

I know I can learn alot from this....I want my home to be that kind of place: always welcome, service with a smile, and don't forget...yummy smells!!

Jan said...

That's great for you!(I have never been in a Starbucks in my life and won't likely ever visit one) :)

Leash said...

I love Starbucks for many reasons but I do have to say that is a place of familiarity and calm for me when the world is overwhelming.