This afternoon, I entered the Starbucks where I'm supposed to be interviewed tomorrow. I saw a young man and a young woman in Starbucks uniforms talking to one another at one of the tables.
ME: Hi, my name is Eric. I have an interview here tomorrow.
They both looked up at me, eyes wide.
YOUNG MAN: Hi, I'm Keith, the manager and this is Allison.
YOUNG WOMAN: I'm the assistant manager.
I shook their hands.
ME: So pleased to meet you both.
MANAGER (KEITH): Eric, we have one of our candidates waiting to be interviewed right now, so I guess we'll see you tomorrow.
ME: Yes, yes, you will. And you'll also see me today because I'm in here hanging out, enjoying myself with some delicious coffee.
MANAGER: Okay, you do that. Bye for now.
ME: Not really bye because I'll be over there, having fun with my drink.
I walked toward the counter and lined up to order coffee.
Moments later, paper cup in hand, I was searching the room for a place to sit. I saw that the two managers were still at the same table, interviewing a girl who looked seventeen.
I approached the table next to them where a middle-aged woman was sitting. I asked her if I could sit with her. She looked over at the empty tables, appearing annoyed but saying nothing back to me.
Once seated, I listened to the interview taking place between the manager, the assistant manager and the seventeen-year-old girl.
MANAGER (to the seventeen-year-old girl): How would you define good customer service?
SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD GIRL: I would define it as being a good listener...
As the seventeen-year-old continued, I spoke out loud to the lady across from me, speaking over the interviewee.
ME: I think good customer service is when people listen to one another. Share experiences. I believe good customer service is rare in this world and that it should be cherished, and it should be relished, and it should be worshipped. I think we should build shrines where we worship some being which represents customer service. And we could sing, "Ahh ahh, customer service. Ahh ahh, I pray to thee." We could start a collection for this deity and give it all kinds of sacrifices. On payday, we could even give it ten percent of our wages. People have forgotten the God of Customer Service. If there was a name I could give to this God, it would be Custy.
MANAGER: I think we should move this interview across the room.
ASSISTANT MANAGER: I think that's a great idea.
The two managers and the candidate moved toward a table on the other side of the room.
I excused myself to the middle-aged woman and walked over to the milk/napkin station next to the table where the interview was moved to.
ASSISTANT MANAGER (to the seventeen-year-old girl): What would you do if someone wanted to return their coffee because they didn't like it?
SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD GIRL: Well, I would ask them...
As I stirred my coffee, I talked over her, shouting to a male stranger standing in line across the room.
ME: Well, I would ask them...
The male stranger across the room looked at me, scared, like I was about to hurt him.
ME: I would say, "How dare you even suggest that the coffee here doesn't taste good. We are Starbucks"...
Everyone in the store was now staring at me.
ME: "We are the best company that's ever existed. And you know what, you can take this coffee and you can pour it down your pants because you're not getting another one. Not from me, you aren't."
Both managers were staring up at me from their chairs.
MANAGER: Eric, would you mind leaving us alone?
ME: No problem. I was just fixing my coffee. I've got to go to the washroom anyway.
I slipped through the washroom door beside them.
MANAGER (to the seventeen-year-old): How would you respond to a situation where another team member wasn't making coffee the way they should be or just not performing in the manner you believe is up to Starbucks standards?
SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD GIRL: I consider myself a team player. Before approaching the manager regarding this issue, I would first approach the team member in question...
As the seventeen-year-old continued, the door to the washroom opened just a crack.
MY VOICE (from the washroom): Sir, you've got quite the healthy pee stream. Let me just say, first off, I consider myself a team player all the way. So if anyone was not working up to standard or was making bad coffee, I would help them hide the evidence. No one would ever find out that the bad coffee had been served. If they were taking money from the till, or skimming off the top, or embezzling, I would help them fudge the numbers in the books. I'm a team player. If I found out they were running an illegal drug operation in the back room, I would help dismantle the security cameras back there. If someone killed a customer, I'd help them bury the body. I'm a team player. I'll murder someone for you.