Everywhere I go, and that is particularly true in Portland, I find coffee drinkers who criticize Starbucks. Never mind that you (almost) always know what you'll get when you go there. Never mind the principled stands that Howard Schultz has taken. No matter how friendly Starbucks employees are, particularly in Spokane.
Case in point? Yesterday at the Starbucks outlet on the near South Hill, I ordered a venti mocha frappuccino light (my go-to summer afternoon drink). And as invariably happens, the nice woman behind the counter asked me if I wanted anything to eat. This time, though, when I said no, she smiled.
"Would you like to try a sample of one of our new pastries?" she asked. "They're delicious."
I'd been eyeing the new line, the so-called La Boulange pastries, that the company has been publicizing for some months. But I hadn't purchased any. For one thing, eating pastries AND hamburgers in one day is a good way to earn a trip to the emergency room. Second, I was never a big fan of Starbucks' former pastries (they always looked better than they tasted).
But I can't resist free samples. So I said, "Sure!" I pointed at a croissant. "Chocolate or plain?" she asked. "Plain," I said. And so she scopped one up, put it on a plate and stuck it in the microwave. It warmed as I waited for my drink. And seconds later, I was walking out with my iced drink in my right hand, my warmed butter croissant in my left.
Don't criticize Starbucks. Not around me.