The Shortest Starbucks Order

StarbucksLid.JPGBack in 2006 I posted on The Longest Starbucks Order (it is still a good traffic-source from Google searches). Today I want to talk about my shortest Starbucks order: no lid, please.

I have realized over time that barista handling of the lids always leads to one of those “I wonder how often they wash their hands” moments.

This train of thought began one day in my local Peet’s. They don’t put the lids on your coffee for you. They have a stack of lids next to the milk, sugar and stirrers. Why do they do that, I wondered. After all, Starbucks goes the extra mile and puts the lid on for me. And then as I reached over to put the lid on for myself I was conscious that my hand was all over where my mouth was about to be … and that gave me pause for thought. Over at Starbucks, I thought, they put the lid on for me, and it’s the cleanliness of their hands I have to worry about, which is indeed a little more worrying that the cleanliness of my own (call me a snob).

Starbucks stores all seem to be uniformly scrupulous about maintaining cleanliness of the area behind the bar, the milk steamers, the spoons etc. The staff are careful to use tongs and tissue for food items, baked goods, hot breakfast snacks, to ensure they are not touching the food. However, when I order my drink, the baristas do not wear gloves and their bare hands are touching the lid, smooshing it down all around, including from where I am about to drink. And, perfectly understandably, for they are human after all, these pleasant, happy, well-trained baristas, touch their own face, sweep back their hair, touch each others’ hands as they pass cups … in short, their hands are short of food-prep hygienic. Movie reference: “Outbreak”… ugghhh!

I don’t want to make Starbucks baristas’ lives harder. I don’t want them to wear gloves. In fact I want to make their lives simpler. Please just stack the lids and let me place my own.

3 comments:

Gregg Stern said...

Richard, Do you know what the ancient Rabbis say about worrying whether a mouse will carry hametz into a Jewish house on Pesach and thereby cause its inhabitants to violate the serious biblical prohibitions on owning and storing hametz on Pesach? "Im kain, ayn le-davar sof!" Such a worry would lead to a situation of reductio ad absurdum. Therefore, we discount it!

sheryl k said...

I don't know - my problem with the "stack" method is that then every patron who orders coffee touches the stack. You know, you never just touch the top one when you get one, and sometimes you touch a few and even put back ones you've touched...that grosses me out more than a single Starbucks employee touching my lid.

Jason Meinzer said...

I posted a status update about this months ago, said something like next time it happens I'm going to ask the server to please put their finger in my mouth while they were at it...