I am not a consumer. I do my best to spread what I get paid out to a lot of areas.. so I am not much on new clothes, shoes and eating out. I got into the habit of shopping second hand stores for clothes when my son was little. My experience has been most thrift shops these days carry pretty current clothes fashions and at a very reasonable price. So when I get in the mood for something new, I head to the thrift shop and come home with quite a haul for what ever money I spend. Not being a consumer also means I pretty much never eat out. At this time I am finding I can make my daily lunches for under a dollar day… at times even under fifty cents a day. So the thought of spending $8-$12 on a lunch that could feed me for weeks is very unappealing.
I wrote in an earlier post about recycling and reusing. In it I discussed getting coffee grounds from Starbucks to add to a compost pile. If I am not one to spend $7 for lunch I am sure not going to spend that on a coffee or any other fancy drink. So my cheapness has kept me out of the coffee shop until today. Since I had been given a couple of $5 gift cards for Starbucks over the years, I decided to go to the one closest to work, grab some fancy drink and see if they had any grounds available. And I must say.. I was pleasantly surprised by the entire encounter.
As soon as I walked in I was greeted warmly by a gentleman behind the counter. He had been working on something back behind the counter but immediately stopped and gave me his full attention. I told him I had never been in a Starbucks and needed a minute to check out the menu. I am not a coffee drinker per say.. my morning coffee is made into candy with a hefty addition of stevia and cream. He made some suggestions and I settled on the Chai Tea latte. He asked if I wanted it “dirty”.. and smiled. I stated do I dare ask what a dirty Chai Tea latte is?? He grinned even wider and stated it had a shot of espresso in it. Stated it was his favorite way to drink them. I remembered thinking I bet.. lol. he looked like he had recently had a pretty good shot.. or two.. of some stiff coffee beverage. I declined the addition of jet fuel and asked about getting the coffee grounds.
My friendly barista told me he had plenty and asked if I wanted them all. He pulled up a plastic garbage bag and stated it weighed about 35 pounds. I told him I would take them all and he asked where my car was. I stated was in front of the bank next door. He took my car keys and loaded the grounds into my car while I waited for my order to be made. Wow.. not only did I get the coffee grounds.. they were loaded into my car while I was waiting.
My barista was back just as I received my drink from another very nice and friendly barista. I listened as others, just walking into the store, were greeted in the same friendly manner that I was greeted by other workers at the shop. I asked the young man that had made the drink if the stores friendliness was a southern Texas thing or was it the Starbucks culture. I was told the south may have a little to do with it, but for the most part, is it a Starbucks thing. I was told they hire friendly and out going people.. and as a rule Starbucks were great places to work and visit.
I was impressed. In this day and age, where it seems there is less focus on customers, I found a place I would enjoy patronizing because of the great service I received. I can understand the Starbucks success. I was advised any time I wanted grounds to stop by. I do have a few more gift cards to use up so I will stop by again and pick up more grounds when I am there. And, even after the gift cards are gone, I may find I can treat myself to a little something here an there when I pick up more coffee grounds. Cheap as I am, I have no problem spending $5 once or twice a month and supporting a business that values me as a customer. Not only will I get lots of coffee grounds for the compost pile, I will also get something that is becoming rare these days… excellent customer service