Starbucks has announced that its baristas will be required to wear name tags.
The company has gone back and forth on this for years. The hope is that it humanizes the experience; the fear is that it’s too ‘fast food.’
That’s all well and good, but what about our names?
You know the drill. You order a coffee and they ask for your name so you can be summoned when it’s ready. The cashier scrawls it on a cup, the barista calls it out, and fingers crossed, the name that comes back will be close enough that you’ll recognize it as your own.
Starbucks’ name butchery is legendary. It’s like your name went ten rounds with AutoCorrect: Amanda becomes Tammy, Andrew becomes Stanley, and God help you if your name is Gaelic in origin, has more than two syllables, or rhymes with any part of the female anatomy. Dozens of websites like That’s Not My Name, Starbucks, The Starbucks Name Game, and Starbucks Got My Name Wrong serve as repositories for the most outrageous and egregious of the the cup misspellings.
Minnie always orders my coffee. She’s unfailingly polite and an excellent tipper.
Minnie is my coffee name.
Unlike my real name, Minnie rarely needs to be repeated, enunciated, or spelled out. And it’s a source of mild amusement when Minnie’s Grande is announced.
The Starbucks alter-ego is a common phenomenon.
Some use it in the interest of privacy, some want to avoid the tiresome task of spelling out an uncommon name, and some coffee pseudonyms are just for giggles. I once stood in line behind an iced tea duo of Mary-Kate and Ashley, and have seen tittering middle-schoolers retrieve frappuccinos made for the likes of Seymour Butts and Hugh Janus. One unflappable barista took Voldemort’s order and returned a cup marked He Who Must Not Be Named.
What’s your Starbucks name?
Create your own with the Starbucks Name Generator.
Saturday Night Live nailed it.
Watch this parody of Starbucks’ at-home brewing system to see how the Verisimo can mess with your name in the comfort of your own kitchen.