Sunday, March 30, 2014

A Three-Point Plan to Correct Starbucks' Spelling Problem

I was sifting through my mail the other day when I came across an oversized newsletter from a state assembly member. I'd rather not identify him by name, so from this point forward I will refer to him as "Bradley Cooper."

I was sent the newsletter because Bradley had an important message to share. He is holding a meeting in my neighborhood next Wednesday to address a revitalization project that calls for roadway improvements, the construction of new housing, the restoration of abandoned buildings for commercial use, and so on.

This is really exciting, I thought to myself. I'm in favor of improved roadways. I'm in favor of new housing. I'm in favor of eating free food at meetings. "Count me in, Bradley!" I said to no one in particular. "I'll see ya next Wednesday!"

I was very close to mailing my RSVP, but I began to re-read the newsletter and I noticed a terrible typo on the front of it. My name (Shane) was misspelled on the address label. It was spelled, in all caps, "SHAVE." I couldn't believe it. "SHAVE." Really, Bradley Cooper? "SHAVE"? This is how you treat one of your constituents?

I am not "SHAVE." "SHAVE" is not a name. "SHAVE" is what I do five or six days after a woman breaks up with me. My name is SHANE.

There's not a chance now that I will attend Bradley's meeting, not after discovering the mistake he made. I'm not offended by much, but it really bothers me when someone misspells my name. It's a sign of disrespect, in my opinion. It's insulting.

This is the primary reason why I do not drink coffee at Starbucks. The coffee chain's baristas have a habit of butchering the customers' names when writing them on the side of cups. I'm generalizing, of course, and I haven't experienced it myself. However, a simple Google search of "Starbucks misspellings" turns up numerous websites devoted to the topic, including a Tumblr feed that provides visual evidence. So it's fair to say that Starbucks has a Trenta-sized problem on its hands.

Fortunately for Starbucks, I have a lot of time on my hands. I needed to channel my anger toward Bradley Cooper into something positive, so I devised a three-point plan to address Starbucks' spelling woes:

1. Turn the hiring process into a spelling bee. Not only would it allow management to better weed out those who are unqualified, it would be fun, too! To be fair to the applicants, quiz them only on the names that appear on this list of popular baby names. Those babies will be hooked on Starbucks in a couple of years, so might as well prepare for them now.

Hold a monthly bee for the newest applicants, with the winner earning the barista job. They'll be much more inclined to learn to spell "Aiden" if they understand that their possible employment at Starbucks is riding on it.

This suggestion wouldn't correct the ongoing issue Starbucks has with its current baristas, of course. No problem: I propose that every time a barista misspells a name, he or she must write that name 100 times on a blackboard, Bart Simpson style, at the end of his or her shift.

2. Temporarily reassign struggling baristas to Dunkin' Donuts. Let them work at an establishment where they will continue to serve coffee but not face the pressure of spelling the customers' names, or the distractions of exclusive WiFi content and folk-rock music. Call them back when they feel ready to take on the responsibility of handling a Starbucks Sharpie again.

3. If a barista does not show improvement after steps #1 and #2 are taken, send him or her to work for state assembly member Bradley Cooper. Brad's totally cool with spelling mistakes.