When life gives you coffee beans…

I absolutely, positively cannot stand coffee.

Once, in a meeting with my boss, I had to excuse myself because I’d bitten into a coffee-flavored Jelly Belly.

Another time, I was to lead a meeting at Starbucks, where they start every day-long session with a coffee tasting. I convinced myself I would love this special new blend they were allowing us to preview. To this day, I fear someone there saw me nearly throw up.

It’s coffee I can’t stand. But Starbucks stores, I like. It’s a community. It’s warm and inviting. It has free wi-fi. It is very much, as CEO Howard Schultz likes to say, “a third place.”

What's missing from this receipt?

Not your typical Starbucks receipt.

So I go there quite a bit — in the winter, for apple cider or hot chocolate. But during a crazy hot summer like this one, I’ll pop in for a donut or pastry. Only.

“Are you sure you don’t want anything to drink with that?”

The baristas view my donut-only order as an insult. They often ask twice — maybe because they have to, but it comes across as I must not have understood their question, or perhaps I don’t realize I’m at Starbucks. In some ways, it’s my inside joke: I’m the nutjob who never gets coffee.

But this week, something different happened.

The first barista handed me my donut, and learned I didn’t want coffee. The cashier heard this, made the “Really?!” face . . . then smiled.

“Well, thank you for choosing us for your donut needs. I know you have many other places to choose from, it’s nice you picked us.”

We both laughed a little, because it could have been an entirely ridiculous thing to say. But she was genuine in saying it, and I was grateful to hear it. My inside joke was forever changed.

It was just a nice little lesson: Are you looking for the things to appreciate in someone? How can you make them feel welcome? And, perhaps most importantly, have you considered Starbucks for your donut needs?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *