The woman, an older elder, moved slowly with her shopping cart, using it as a support as well as a receptacle for her groceries. She had placed a few things in the cart when she noticed the Starbucks and pushed her cart over to order a cup of coffee. My husband and I were just approaching the counter as she got in line.
It was immediately clear that she had never ordered from Starbucks before. She was completely befuddled by the menus, not just by all the various lattes, frappes, special coffees, and baked goods, but because at Starbucks, even a plain old cup of coffee comes with options. The older woman also had difficulty hearing.
The barista at the Starbucks counter in an Ingles grocery store in Statesville, NC, was patient and kind, and she respectfully repeated her questions and explained various options. She calmly answered the older customer’s questions — sometimes over and over. This order, which ended up with a cup of coffee and a warmed pastry, took more than six or seven minutes to complete.
Fortunately, we were the only other people in line, so no one was bothered by the extra time that was required to help the woman get her order. And as we waited for our turn, we were impressed, blown away in fact, by the scene. We’ve been with our parents when they’ve become confused at a store or restaurant, and we know that it’s not uncommon for people to feel put out, or even roll their eyes when an elder is indecisive. puzzled, and taking up much more time than expected.
So to one young Barista in a Starbucks in Statesville, NC, we say thank-you!