What You Might Be Missing at Starbucks

Kyle Reed // @kylereed

I spend a lot of time in Starbucks. Mainly working, but sometimes people watching. Its hard not to watch people with some of the characters that walk through the front door. I hope this isn’t a stretch, but I really feel like Starbucks looks a lot like church. I have talked about this in the past (Starbucks and Christianity) but I feel now more then ever that there are some lessons that can be learned in Starbucks.

Today was my first day back at the bucks after a two week hiatus in ATL. As I walked in this morning not a whole lot had changed. The same people were there to serve me, the same layout was there to great me, and the same coffee was there to quench my caffeine needs. I wondered if it would be different, if people would notice that I was gone, if they would have painted the walls? But it was all the same. Nothing had changed and therefore I felt like nothing had changed for me. But I wanted to do something different, I wanted to change things up, so instead of opening up my computer and start working, I sat there and watched people.

Here are 5 things I noticed while sitting in Starbucks

1) People Love to Meet People

No matter how many people think they are introverted or even hermit status, people still love meeting others. Starbucks is a classic meeting place. You will find business men conducting business, soccer moms discussing their kids, or youth pastors hanging with students in Starbucks across America. It continues to stick out to me that people do not want to sit alone, but sit with others. People love to meet up with other people.

2) People Love Cheers

I was to young to watch the TV show Cheers, but I know the catchphrase, “where everyone knows your name.” Starbucks is like the modern version of cheers. People love to go where everyone knows their name. Find a Starbucks barista that can remember your name and even your drink and it will not even feel like you are spending 4 dollars on a coffee, instead you will feel like you are at home in your kitchen making coffee with an old friend. People love to be recognized and noticed. Find a place that can do that and you will keep coming back.

3) People Love Competition

Starbucks have been running promotions and contest for a while now. They hooked me in with their gold member competition (make 30 purchases and you get a gold card). They have now started a happy hour time between 2-4pm. It seems that the door never closes with the amount of people coming in to get their half priced (read:over-priced) latte. Put some kind of competition or perceived discount out there and people will start buying stuff without even knowing it.

4) People are Unique

Spending up to 5 hours in a Starbucks at a time is not recommended, but I have done this before. And what I notice is a lot of unique people that walk through the front door. I am amazed that no one person is alike. Each person is unique in their drink (that rhymes). Not only that I see a very diverse group of people that walk into Starbucks. There is no niche that Starbucks find themselves in, they have made themselves available to thousands each day.

5) People

Simple enough… People. Starbucks is nothing without people, and it thrives on having people work there, eat there, and buy coffee from there. Starbucks consist of people. I think this can be the most important thing about Starbucks, it is a place for people. This fact alone makes me love Starbucks. This also helps me spend hours upon hours in one place. I am able to work for an hours, see a couple of friends in between, and have good coffee. Remember using your hands to make the church as a kid? “Open the church and see all the people,” well open Starbucks and see all the people.

What is one thing you have noticed while sitting in a Starbucks?

*kyle

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Kyle Reed

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Kyle Reed is a connector looking to connect with others. A 20 Something that is blogging his way through life and looking to connect through community. Also a team member of the 8BIT Network and brand evangelist. Find me on twitter: @kylelreed, lets chat.
  • http://www.benlemery.com Ben

    Gotta say Kyle, if you wanted to know why I was so persistent about you coming to that one conference, number 1 is exactly why. When I lived in Mt. Pleasant, I would go to Starbucks daily, it became a ritual which somehow creates a consistent affirmation when you think about it.
    For relational people like me, affirmation is huge. Going into familiar places, with familiar people will make you feel consistently affirmed. I know that all to well with the lack of affirmation I have had for the past two years by living in Santa Cruz where friends seem to be few and far between. I find myself desperately wanting relational connection which then reveals more about my heart than anything.
    Anyway, I think I wrote to much but it gave me a few firebursts of thoughts that I am sure look as spastic as they are in my head. You rock and I always appreciate what you write.

  • http://www.ricianne.com patricia

    starbucks is EXPENSIVE. LOL

    • http://thoughtsaboutnothing.com Kyle Reed

      true, very true. That is why you get a gold card and then you have no clue how much you are spending.

  • http://djchuang.com djchuang

    good observations! except for the 1 about competition and introvertedness. i don’t have a drop of competitiveness in my blood, and i personally know introverts that hate meeting people ;(

  • http://thoughtsaboutnothing.com Kyle Reed

    I am confused by what you mean about competitiveness?

  • RosoMenti

    Wow, this is an old thread but still worth mentioning. I’ve noticed 2 things at Starbucks that confuse me. First, they have 3 drink sizes on their menu but they can actually make five. Trenta (30oz or 888ml, which is more than bottle of wine) and a short (8oz). When people want ‘a cup of coffee’ shouldn’t they simply get a short? More per ounce but if you’re already at Starbucks, apparently money isn’t so much a concern. The second thing that I noticed is that hot drinks are served in paper cups and cold drinks are in plastic. No one seems to know why that is. I’m a tree-hugger guy so it’s always made me think. Before you say that cold drinks sweat and would fall apart in paper, consider that McDonalds serves their cold drinks in paper (and hot in Styrofoam, their mega sizes are still in plastic but I think that’s for structure issues.) Anyhow, thanks for writing about this. Have a good day.