04 March 2009

Hi, I'm Gina, and I'm such a Starbucks fan

This is one of the reasons why I would never go down the path of self-destruction, which, in Gina lingo, means resorting to instant coffee:

As a creature of habit, I headed over to Starbucks RCBC Plaza this afternoon for my usual after-lunch coffee. Coffee is important to me in the afternoons because without it, all those fundraising campaign projections on Excel just swim before my very eyes and I will not be able to decipher anything in my zombie-like state.

So anyway, I entered Starbucks and was immediately greeted by three baristas (“Hi, Gina!!”). Wow. Slightly embarrassed but pleased nevertheless, I fall in line to get my typical coffee order: hot grande caffé mocha, nonfat but still with whip (I like caffé mocha because it’s the marriage of two of my obsessions: coffee and chocolate). A bunch of corporate-looking people were also in line in front of me and they took the darnedest time ordering their coffee. One of my pet peeves is being stuck in line with the person in front of me not having made a decision yet on what to order and he/she spends like five minutes dilly-dallying at the cash register.

Good thing Starbucks usually has two registers. So while corpy group acted like they owned the store and took their time ordering, one of the baristas, E, who greeted me earlier, kindly motioned me to go over to the other cash register, where she could process my order. Another barista, M, stood beside E. He smiled at me and asked, “Hi, Gina! The usual?”

Double wow. The usual. Very powerful words. I was thinking to myself, “Oh my god, is this the moment? Have I finally arrived?”

Truth be told, I spend a lot of time in the Starbucks Waltermart and People Support branches in the weekends, so without having to tell them, the baristas there already memorize my standard order as well, which isn’t really complicated but not too typical either. (I mean, how many people do you know specify nonfat but still with whip?)

But there’s something about the high-traffic, corporate atmosphere of the RCBC Plaza branch that makes one feel a little smug for standing out in a sea of countless orders and faces. So I nodded yes in reply to M’s question.

Apparently, E knew what my usual order meant because she immediately said, “That would be Php 130, Gina.” Amazing. No need for me to rattle off “hot grande caffe mocha, nonfat, still with whip” for her to determine the price of my coffee. I felt like I had just been inducted into some secret society where chosen patrons no longer had to open their mouths to say their coffee order.

And as I stood, patiently waiting for my coffee to be prepared (I hate coffee that’s rushed), I overheard one of the corpy women say to the barista, “My usual, please.” And the barista politely asked, “I’m sorry, ma’am. Would that be a tall caffé mocha or white mocha again?”

“Grande white mocha,” the lady answered curtly, looking a little miffed. Yikes.

In the meantime, another barista, L, had just finished putting whip into my drink and handed me the to-go cup with a cheery “Here you go, Gina. See you again tomorrow!”

I left Starbucks with a post-purchase happy consumer afterglow. Who needs instant coffee when you can have that instead?


  1. hahaha. i can totally relate with the starbucks branch in torre. baristas scattered all over the bar sometimes greet me all at the same time, i dunno where to look first. and it's very convenient that some already know my usual. a triple shot, extra hot, non-fat, no whip,no foam, no drizzle cafe mocha can be quite a mouthful. guilty pleasure ko na yung mang-torment ng baristas in training by letting them enumerate the details of uber customized drink. har har har

  2. sus, even *I* have trouble remembering your order. You go through certain phases eh. Last time we have Starbucks together, you were into drip coffee. A few months back, caffe late ka with something something something. Basta complicated. And a year ago, wet cappucino ka naman.

    So now it's good ol' caffe mocha, eh? =)