My Starbucks barista is totally rad. How can I thank her?
April 30, 2016 4:09 AM   Subscribe

On weekend mornings, I head over to my local Starbucks for a grande green tea latte (sweetened) and a blueberry scone (warmed). The head barista there always remembers me and my order. (In fact, today my order was already ready when I arrived!) These little acts of kindness really put a smile on my face and I'd like to show my appreciation. What do you suggest?

I've seen this Ask, but since I don't want to wait for the holidays to roll around to do this, I'm not sure if that might change your answers.

Things I'm already planning to do:

* Start bringing cash with me so I can tip generously.

* Write a letter to Starbucks corporate. I can't figure out if I should send the letter to their customer service mailing address or to their headquarters, attention of Howard Schultz? Someone else who might actually read the letter?

* Continue giving them my business, of course!

It's not just that this little bit of kindness is a nice way to start the day. It's also made a tangible, positive impact in my life. Earlier this year I started waking up at the same time every day, even on weekends. This has been great for my sleep quality and energy levels. Looking forward to a nice trip to Starbucks on the weekends has really helped me commit to a 6am wake up on Saturdays and Sundays, even when my gut response is to cut off the alarm and sleep until 10am.
posted by schroedingersgirl to Human Relations (22 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
I've worked as a barista in the past, though at a local coffee shop, not a Starbucks, so I can't advise who to write a letter to. However, I would suggest that you additionally thank her personally with your words, if possible. I'd pick a morning where there is not a crazy long line and just say something short and sweet, like that you appreciate her always having your order ready and that she always gets your morning off to a good start. It always made my day better to hear something nice from a customer. And tip tip tip!
posted by dysh at 4:33 AM on April 30, 2016 [3 favorites]


Oh, and if it's slow and there's no line, I think you could actually ask her who to write the letter to.
posted by dysh at 4:35 AM on April 30, 2016


Writing a letter to corporate wouldn't hurt, but I think a letter to her direct manager and possibly the shop's regional/district manager would have more of an immediate effect.
posted by Rock Steady at 5:05 AM on April 30, 2016 [34 favorites]


If you call the customer service line or email corporate so it's in writing and emphasize how great she is and her name and location, that should make it back to her boss. (Source: I was an Sbux barista 8 years ago.) Or ask her what is most appropriate.

You can also tip high. The tip jar is shared out equally based on hours worked in the week (though this may depend on location.) If you want to put money in her hand, put it in a thank-you card first.
posted by blnkfrnk at 5:36 AM on April 30, 2016 [7 favorites]


You can call the customer service line and ask for District Manager follow up. Either way they will email the DM and he/she can send your kind words along to the store. I would pair that up with a card and a treat to share (like fruit) taken directly to the barista. That barista's ability to give great service depends upon everybody doing their part to keep things running smoothly (not as easy as it sounds). I promise it will be appreciated. All tips, even those given specifically to one person, go into the pool.
posted by secrethandshake at 5:58 AM on April 30, 2016 [5 favorites]


Write her a nice letter and hand it to her, sealed, with cash inside. Make certain to tell her to open it after her shift so it's not mistaken for a tip that she has to share with her coworkers. Make it a letter that she can pull out and read during her moments of feeling worthless, to remember a time when she changed a life.
posted by myselfasme at 7:52 AM on April 30, 2016 [2 favorites]


tip tip tip!!!!! always tip. every time. baristas don't make a ton of money so those tips really matter.
posted by cristinacristinacristina at 7:56 AM on April 30, 2016 [4 favorites]


Adding the recommendations for writing to the store manager and district manager. Starbucks has a big internal recognition program with all sorts of awards for baristas, teams and stores. It would be great to be part of bringing one of those to her and her store.
posted by Miko at 7:56 AM on April 30, 2016 [1 favorite]


I recently gave someone who was particularly helpful and patient with a difficult transaction a gift card after dithering a bit (flowers seemed too personal, plus non-useful; cash would have been super-weird in this particular context; muffins or similar treat thing seemed like "well they'll share with co-workers and end up with one muffin for their trouble," etc.). In my case, it had come out in a bit of conversation that we were both big ebook/kindle fans, so I sent her an Amazon gift certificate with a thank you note and a reference to that discussion so that it wouldn't seem random.
posted by taz at 8:05 AM on April 30, 2016


(Oh, and I should add, I ALSO conveyed a signal boost about how great she was to someone high up in the organization who happens to be a friend of my family)
posted by taz at 8:10 AM on April 30, 2016


This is what the tip jar is for. Yes, it will be split with the other workers, but I think a "personal" tip envelope is a bit creepy. As a former barista, I would have appreciated a one-time, sincere thank you and then a $1-$2 tip at every visit. I also think the letter to the manager is a really nice idea, but after that I would let it go. I just say that because I know your intentions are good, but the flirting and come-ons baristas endure can be a bit relentless.
This Onion article is spot on.
It's nice of you to thank her, but you don't want to cross a line into where she feels uncomfortable. And it's not even you crossing the line that's a worry, but the fact that so many other customers probably cross that line that unfortunately kind of dampers the situation for you.
posted by areaperson at 8:35 AM on April 30, 2016 [8 favorites]


$2 tip every time and a smile. I also appreciated when regulars remembered my name and where I was from, that I was in school, whatever we'd happened to chat about (when it wasn't busy, of course).
posted by MadamM at 9:03 AM on April 30, 2016


In my line of work I frequent lots of coffee shops and many of them regularly enough that the baristas know my name, my usual order, my usual alternate order, and my usual special order for when I have a free drink coming my way. If you watch them you'll see them take massive orders from multiple customers with tons of custom options and then type it all into the cash register perfectly. What I'm saying is that these people are freaks of nature with the kind of memory ability that would make chiselled stone tablets jealous.

So yeah, the tip, the smile and thanks, and the letter to corporate is all that's necessary. What I'm saying is that this level of friendly and computer-like-memory service is par for the course. I don't doubt that you are a valued and well-liked customer and all but I'm just saying that you aren't receiving special treatment, in case you're under that impression.

But yeah, definitely show your appreciation as the others have indicated above.
posted by bfootdav at 9:17 AM on April 30, 2016 [1 favorite]


Make sure you tip her in cash and not via the app. If it's done via the app its split with all of her co-workers.
posted by 81818181818181818181 at 9:20 AM on April 30, 2016 [2 favorites]


Write her a nice letter and hand it to her, sealed, with cash inside. Make certain to tell her to open it after her shift so it's not mistaken for a tip that she has to share with her coworkers. Make it a letter that she can pull out and read during her moments of feeling worthless, to remember a time when she changed a life.

I think this would make things weird and awkward, sorry. Just say thanks and tip. Letter to her manager if you really want. No cash in envelope or personal letter, creepy I think.
posted by JenMarie at 9:59 AM on April 30, 2016 [6 favorites]


I once wrote a letter to someone's boss about how wonderful they were. I also gave her a copy and let her know it was a copy of what the boss got so she could use it however she wished to further her career. Also Nthing that you should tip well and otherwise not make a big deal of it. Getting too personal can get creepy and weird.
posted by Michele in California at 10:42 AM on April 30, 2016 [2 favorites]


Give big ol' tips!
posted by oceanjesse at 10:58 AM on April 30, 2016


Just always tip well and always be pleasant, even when they're super busy and don't have time for personal attention.
posted by poffin boffin at 11:03 AM on April 30, 2016 [1 favorite]


tip also omg i'm not the only one who orders a green tea latte!

Though mine's unsweetened.
posted by qcubed at 2:26 PM on April 30, 2016


If you do send a letter, I second the idea of giving her a copy. Someone did that for me once (copied me on an email to my boss), and it made me feel great.
posted by kayram at 4:28 PM on April 30, 2016 [2 favorites]


My Starbucks experience was pretty brief, but from long-time employees and regulars I got the sense that there were definitely ~preferred~ customers. What made them preferred: they were polite, no sense of entitlement, genuinely interested in the chit-chat ("What'd you do this weekend? Oh really? My brother went to that restaurant for his birthday!") What they got via preferential status: basically what you're getting from this barista who clearly likes you enough to remember what you like.

Tl;dr: the good news is you're probably already regarded as good and cool. Keep being that way, and leave tips, and tell their manager how good they are.
posted by witchen at 11:07 PM on April 30, 2016 [1 favorite]


Thanks, everyone! This has been really helpful. I especially appreciated the input from previous Starbucks baristas.

In my line of work I frequent lots of coffee shops and many of them regularly enough that the baristas know my name, my usual order, my usual alternate order, and my usual special order for when I have a free drink coming my way...I'm just saying that you aren't receiving special treatment, in case you're under that impression.

Congratulations?

If it's all the same, I'll continue being grateful that this barista is being extra kind to me and going above-and-beyond in a way that puts a smile on my face at 6am on a Sunday.

posted by schroedingersgirl at 9:49 AM on May 1, 2016 [5 favorites]


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