Honest mistake, or passive-aggressive barista? (Photo via Veronica Goh/Facebook, Huffington Post)
It’s tough being a Starbucks barista who has to write customer names on cups.
Is it “John” with an “h”? “Thanh Ha” with three “hs?” It’s all part of Starbucks’ effort to personalize things.
But one barista got a little too personal, when a customer named Virginia ordered a drink from a Starbucks in Hong Kong. According to the woman’s sister, the drink came with Virginia’s name scrawled as “Vagina.”
“This is my sister’s cuppa from your HKU branch,” the woman, Veronica Goh, posted on the Starbucks Hong Kong Facebook page, according to various news sites. Goh included a photo of the offending coffee drink.
“Fancy your staff not being able to spell an American name like Virginia. Forgiving she has been with every misspelled cup,” Goh continued.
“Her cup was once ‘Virgin.’ Every Starbucks experience for her has been coupled with fear and anticipation. But THIS is just UNACCEPTABLE.”
“I guess we should have measured!” (Click for larger view; photo via Patrick Kruger)
Did Patrick Kruger’s giant Christmas tree really bust through the roof of his low-slung house in Seattle’s Magnolia neighborhood?
Sure looks that way.
But a closer a look shows a bit of clever construction. Kruger told KING-5 TV in Seattle that the tree is actually cut in two, with the crown bolted to the top of the roof with some plywood and extra roofing tile.
Until a few weeks ago, Starbucks’ most expensive coffee was the citrusy, milk-chocolatey Jamaica Blue Mountain, available for $30 for a half-pound of beans, or $4.50 for a tall, brewed cup.
But that’s small beans compared with Starbucks’ newest premium coffee, the “Costa Rica Finca Palmilera.” Made from a rare, heirloom, hard-to-grow coffee varietal called “Geisha,” it costs $40 for a half-pound bag.
Or it’s $6 for a tall cup, and $7 for a grande. And that’s for plain, black coffee with nothing foamy, gingerbready or peppermint-mocha-y about it.
So who’s going to buy it?
For starters, not drive-through drinkers; Starbucks is only selling it in stores with Clover brewing machines. And not East Coast Dunkin’ Donut types. Starbucks’ Geisha coffee, named after the Ethiopian city where it was originally discovered, is only available in 48 Clover-equipped stores in the Pacific Northwest. About half of those stores are in Seattle. Starbucks has plans to offer Geisha nationwide next year.
Now you probably want to know: Is it worth it?
Depends. Are you a coffee nerd? (Don’t ask me; I’ve been known to microwave lukewarm office coffee when desperate for caffeine). At a tasting event Monday at Starbucks’ East Olive Way store in Capitol Hill, green coffee specialist Leslie Wolford described the brew with some delicious-sounding words.
“Lush, tropical, hints of white, not yellow, peach,” she said. “A little bit of pineapple. Herbal complexity. Super-clean. Vibrant. Sparklingness.” As for the price, she likened it to an indulgence in fine wine.
Aficionados have been geeking out for a while on Geisha (also spelled “Gesha”), which is part of Starbucks’ limited-edition, specialty “Reserve” line. An online Starbucks offering of it this month (slightly different than the stuff in stores) sold out in about 24 hours, and Stumptown hails it as “the champion of coffee varietals.”
Then again, would you pay $7 a cup for anything less than a champ?
Anyway, watch Jimmy Kimmel’s ‘taste test’ of the new coffee:
Shopping and waiting … and waiting … at Costco. (Photo is from a Miami Costco, by Creative Commons Flickr user miamism).
That was quick.
A Facebook page in support of “American only” hours at a Bellingham, Wash. Costco – in response to the store’s many Canadian shoppers – is ending, after attracting 4,600 likes and many heated comments.
The administrator of the page, begun in July, said the “negative” comments had gone “overboard.” This was despite the page’s many posts grumbling about Canadians hogging up parking spots, cheap American milk and space in the gas line at the Costco near the border.
The rants also generated counter-tirades on xenophobic, short-sighted Americans, touching on everything from the economy to gun control. Much of the page’s content has since been removed.
“I am shutting (the page) down primarily because of the ignorant press/canadian/american negative connotations it has received,” the administrator wrote Wednesday.
Shopping and waiting … and waiting .. at Costco. (Photo is from a Miami Costco, by Creative Commons Flickr user miamism).
If you’ve ever shopped at Costco on a weekend, you know it’s like an endurance sport, with tough parking, packed crowds and competitive lines for those mini-sausage samples.
But Costco shoppers in Bellingham, Wash. have an additional challenge: Canadians. It seems that the store, 90 miles north of Seattle and near the border, attracts flocks of Canadians in search for cheaper American milk and gas. And that’s making some locals grouchy.
A Facebook page has emerged to vent the grumpiness, called “Bellingham Costco needs a special time just for Americans.” With more than 4,200 likes so far, it features rants about crowds, parking and rude Canadians who buy up all the milk (by the double-gallon) and take forever in the gas line (with their extra gas cans). There’s at least one photo of a bad British Columbian park job that committed the sin of hogging up two spaces.
“Costco should make a special time during the day that is American members only,” wrote the page’s administrator, who described local Costco shoppers as “Founding customers.”
“They used to do it for Business members, why cant they do it for us.”
But not everyone is complaining about the “mob show” at the Bellingham Costco. One Facebook poster called the comments “discrimination” and wrote, “I say to Canadians boycott, and watch how fast your city begs for Canadians to return.”
Bellingham Mayor Kelli Linville also continued to welcome Canadians. “The unpleasant comments we’ve seen on social media regarding Canadians are offensive and inappropriate,” Linville said Monday.
The Facebook page creator wrote that the problem isn’t Canadians personally, but the need for a larger store. That may not happen any time soon. An executive with Issaquah, Wash.-based Costco told CBC News the company wants to expand, but there’s no room on the current property.
Also, don’t expect any special U.S.-only shopping hours. Costco said it’s planning to continue its policy of letting Costco members shop in any Costco they choose.
No more bugs in your strawberry Frappucinos. (Photo by Flickr user SimonQ).
There will be a little less protein in that strawberry Frappucino this summer.
Starbucks announced Thursday it will stop using insects as a food colorant in their rosy-hued drinks and foods in the wake of protests by vegetarians.
“After a thorough, yet fastidious, evaluation, I am pleased to report that we are reformulating the affected products to assure the highest quality possible,” Cliff Burrows, president of Starbucks U.S., wrote on the company’s site.
Vegans were particularly upset, and the company earned the nickname “Starbugs.”
“What originally began as a story to inform vegans that their Starbucks’ Strawberry Frappucino was no longer safe to consume ended up being an issue that bothered many people,” said Daelyn Fortney, a blogger for the site “ThisDishIsVeg,” in a statement.
Days after a scandal erupted over a federal agency’s lavish spending on parties, fancy dinners, resort suites and rented tuxes, a music video has emerged by one of the agency’s employees, mocking the spending.
The video was made for an employee talent contest for the General Services Administration’s 2010 conference in Las Vegas, reported The Washington Post.
A report earlier this week showed the agency had spent $820,000 on the four-day, 300-person event, which included a $95-per-person dinner, $7,000 in sushi, $3,200 for a mind reader, $5,600 for in-room parties and $2,800 in water bottles, the Associated Press reported.
The spending, done at the height of the recession, prompted the resignation of a senior agency official and dismissal of two deputies. The GSA is a large agency that oversees office space and supplies and management duties.
The video, which surfaced Thursday, added more fuel to the scandal. It shows a GSA worker from Hawaii strumming a ukelele to the tune of Travie McCoy & Bruno Mars’s “Billionaire.”
“Donate my vacation, love to the nation, I’ll never be under OIG investigation,” the employee then raps.
The video won the GSA’s talent contest and was showcased at the agency’s awards ceremony at the Las Vegas conference, the Post reported.