“Yeah, but could I add my personal powder to it, please?”

I don’t usually tune in to other people’s orders at Starbucks (other coffee houses are available, naturally) because I’m so busy trying to remember what I want. The unusual name of the current weird flavoured drink, the size, my name (more later on that) and anything else that I think they’re likely to throw at me from across the counter, rendering me speechless at best and moronic at worst.

But when I heard the sentence about the powder, my ears immediately switched to ‘nosy bastard’ mode.

Let me also clarify that this was in Oakland airport, California, where I’ve recently been on business. In no way is this meant to be derogatory, but this conversation could NEVER have gone on beyond two sentences if it had happened anywhere in the U.K, I’m convinced. Please let me know if you think I’ve got it wrong.

Starbucks 1 (SB1): Why do you want to add powder to it?
Customer: I want to add my own protein powder to it and shake it myself, but I want you to blend it a bit first.
(SB1): Oh, I don’t think we’re allowed to do that. **turning to colleague** Are we allowed to do that?
Starbucks 2 (SB2): What’s that?
SB1: Let this customer add his own powder to his drink, blend it and then give it to him so he can put it in his shaker thing.
SB2: No, I don’t think so.

Turning to customer

SB2: No, we’re not allowed to do that, sir. There are regulations.
Customer: Oh, right. Well, can I have a banana smoothie, but with only a tiny amount of ice and not much milk then, please?
SB2: Well, that will make it watery. Are you sure you want it like that?
Customer: Yeah. Cause I’m going to take the smoothie from you and then just put it into my own cup, add my powder, shake it up some more and then it’ll be perfect.
SB1: What sort of milk would you like?
Customer: What have you got?
SB1: Soy, Almond, Skim, Half & Half (the best fatty kind btw, no-one in the U.S has that except me!)
Customer: Oh, I don’t really like any of those.
Kate-to-herself: Holy F**king Shit! I cannot believe this conversation has gone on so long with this guy who sounds like he’s smoked his ENTIRE stash right before the chat. Except, he can’t be high, right? He cares SO much this sodding protein shake that I think he’s just really on another astral plane!

Kate starts rocking back and forth on heels slightly, trying not to bleed from eyeballs

SB1: …..
Customer: Um, ok, can I have soy milk, please?
SB1: Yes, sir

She then heads off to make this muppet his banana water shake.

I give my order for the normal, but demented Pumpkin Spiced Latte (no whipped cream) and because I had problems the other day with my name on a cup, I enunciate KAY JAY at her.

How do I know I was clear? Because I spat when I said the letter K. That’s how I know. She looked at me with an unconcealed revulsion, and I was dismissed to wait at the end counter for my heated beverage.

At the counter is Smoothie man. He has his shaker thing, and it has the dregs of his last smoothie in it. As SB2 is talking to him about how much ice and how much whatever he wants in it, he asks for some water. She thinks its to put in the drink (already bastard weak by the sounds of it) and he then says its to clean out his cup.

Kate in her head: Jesus H Christ, you spoon! Just pour the new shit on top of the old shit and shake it up. It’s going to taste like crap anyway so what’s the difference?!

SB2 brings him a full vente cup of water, and I was, mesmerised, as he pours it into the shaker, then back into the SB cup. Then back into the shaker. Then back again. Four times he performs this ritual and all the time I’m thinking, “Where are you gonna put the water?” I can’t WAIT for that whole piece!

He decides he’s finished and then looks at the hole which indicates it’s for paper. Then he looks at the hole for hot liquids, which as we know, is not meant for the whole bloody drink! It’s supposed to be dregs.

He sort of hovers the full cup over one of the holes and I think, “He’s only gonna drop the whole cup of water, why on EARTH doesn’t he just give her the water back since he’s taken up nine hours on this anyway?!

Just as I’m teetering on the edge of excitement as to how this is going to play out, SB2 shouts out “AJ”, grande Pumpkin Spiced Latte.

I shake my head internally and know in my heart that I am AJ. I take the drink, walk away, laughing to myself, grateful to have witnessed the exchange and just happy that I have a normal, easy to prep drink. And take a sip.

Whipped cream.