Olivia and I have been in the habit of going to Starbucks every Sunday afternoon for the last year. Starbucks offers some advantages that trump the moribund coffee and aggressive capitalism:
First, we can order online, from the car, through its well-designed app (which Olivia can use without a credit card, as Starbucks essentially has its own currency). The app mitigates the usual choice-making cauldron that brews up when waiting in line, and Olivia has used this to good effect and has broadened out her order and tried a lot of new things (including that time she added every syrup and sprinkle and topping on the menu to her order, and almost exceeded the length of the cup-sticker printer).
Second, Olivia, over time, has gained the confidence to go in and pick up our orders by herself, which is a huge deal, inasmuch as it involves wading across a tricky line of caffeine-deprived drivers, going into the store, lining up, communicating with the staff, and making her way back.
Today, though, things went off the rails.
We found the app wouldn’t allow us to place an online order, meaning Olivia had to go inside and place the order face to face. That she was willing to level up to this new challenge is a credit to her burgeoning bravery and skills.
So far so good.
Except that when she got to the door, she found it locked, with a sign saying the store was closed for renovation, and directing customers to order at the drive-thru.
So that’s what she did: she walked over to the drive-thru speaker and placed her order. Without any problem.
Then she came to fetch me, as the logistics of making it to the pickup window were too much for her.
We made it around to the back together, wading through puddles and avoiding cars, only to be told that they couldn’t hand Olivia her order because she wasn’t in a vehicle. “It’s a liability issue,” the manager told us. While we were standing 3 feet away. To pick up an order. That Olivia had placed. At the drive-thru speaker. As the sign on the door instructed.
We were in no position to argue, as the manager was just following orders. So we bounced back through the cars and the puddles.
And drove down the street to the Atlantic Superstore. Where brave Olivia, undeterred, went in, placed her order at the in-store Starbucks, successfully, emerged to find us MIA, hidden in the parking lot, and persevered until we appeared.
We drank our coffee.
Olivia 3. Starbucks 0.