Starbucks Drama

Sometimes it is difficult to find the thread where it all began. Maybe this story started when I first stopped giving out my real name to people taking my order for pizza or coffee or things. People never seem to be able to spell my name. What with the influence on “finding yourself” and being recognized as a unique individual, it seems that all the rules of spelling went out the window and people came up with very creative ways to write their names. I just gave up. The time it took to spell out my name required too much effort for a combination pizza, hold the bell pepper, regular crust, please. So after noticing that a friend was never asked how to spell her name, I adopted it for myself. Across town, if you can order it by phone, chances are my cell number comes up as “Amy”. I assure you, everyone knows how to spell “Amy”. Irritating.


So on this morning I had just finished some minor surgery on an alpaca at the Zoo. One of my staff, Courteney, assisted. The alpaca had formed two large abscesses under its jaw, suspicious for a disease caused by the uncommon bacteria Corynebacterium pseudotuberculosis. These fist-sized masses were painful. The alpaca had to be sedated and the abscesses lanced open with a scalpel blade, then surgical drains placed to allow continued drainage while the antibiotics took effect. The operation went smoothly and best of all, neither of us were spit upon. This was excellent, as we still had most of the day before us. To celebrate, I offered to buy her a drink at Starbucks as we returned to the clinic.


She placed our order and the man behind the counter asked for a name. “Amy”, I declared without thinking. Courteney shot me a look, eyebrows raised, but the guy behind the counter said “I’ll just make that “Dr Amy”. Startled by all this attention, I mumbled that my real name was Christine but no one could spell it and retreated to a spot near the door where I tried to melt into the wall. Courteney came over to cheerfully inform me that he was a client. Had the dog been there I had a good chance of making the connection but as it wasn’t I stayed glued to my wall.


So when the Starbucks man came in today with his two dogs, one an adorable Golden Retriever puppy that looks like an overgrown stuffed toy and his chocolate Lab, I recognized him immediately and was again mildly embarrassed not to have identified him at Starbucks.

And then I remembered That Other Starbucks Drama. Talk about Déjà vu. I’m going to have to write the company a personal apology. Again.


Flashback about 4 years. Another Zoo call, this time in winter. For some reason I became completely chilled, my fingers painfully numb from the cold. My assistant that day was Tim. I offered to buy us both a hot chocolate to warm up. We pulled up in front of the Starbucks store, delighted to find parking directly in front. Large glass windows allowed everyone inside to watch us get out of the Jag. Wearing green scrub tops, we looked important, like proper doctors. It was only after placing our order that I realized I had left my purse at the clinic. I turned to Tim for help, but he didn’t have any cash on him. All eyes were upon us. Our drinks were ready. Horrified, I tried to explain the situation but the kind barista waved us off, telling us to take our drinks. This was worse, obviously they’d been scammed before. Red faced, I fled the scene. Once back at work, I immediately sent Tim back with $20. (I’d have gone myself but there was a surgery waiting for me.)


Tim returned, now red faced himself. After paying our tab, Tim apologized again while backing towards the door. Unfortunately he backed into a display being used as a room divider, which exploded as he bumped it.  Tim got down on his hands and knees to gather up items as fast as he could, but they asked him to leave. Please. They seemed to feel we’d done enough for one day. Back at work, the staff created a Starbucks “ Most Wanted” poster with Tim’s face on it.


So now you know why I pass myself off as “Amy” sometimes and as for personal apologies : I swear I won’t combine Zoo visits with Starbucks again and  oh yeah – I don’t even drink coffee!


Christine B. McFadden, DVM

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