Sugar, pumpkin spice and everything nice, going to Starbucks has become a national, nay, global treat for so many who love their delicious drinks and confections. The logo itself has become iconic, their seasonal items give us a rush of nostalgia, and their year-round drink combinations are as delicious as they are endless.
Standing in line and trying to memorize your detailed order, there is one thing you can count on remembering – your own name. However, just because YOU know how to spell it, doesn’t mean your barista will.
The universe works in mysterious ways, and nowhere more so than at the pickup counter where you get your morning Frappuccino. Who amongst us hasn’t been amazed at the creativity and unconscious workings that went into the misspelling of our name on a Starbucks cup? Who knew there were more than one way to spell Erin? Who can tell us what’s real anymore? Powerhouse coffee chain and alternate reality vortex Starbucks, that’s who.
Founded in 1971, Starbucks started out as the pipe dream shared by three friends: teachers Jerry Baldwin and Zev Siegl, and writer Gordon Bowker. After meeting and learning how to roast beans while studying at the University of San Francisco, they decided to create pop-up coffee shops that sold high quality coffee beans to brew at home. They opened their first store in Seattle and began expanding out to other locations across the country.
In 1987, the three original owners sold the company to business mogul Howard Schultz. Schultz had visited one of their stores in Seattle and was so impressed with their product that he decided to get involved. He stayed in touch with the owners and eventually signed on as the company’s director of marketing, transforming its stores into the sit-down cafés we now know them as. He bought the company soon after and watched the business grow and grow. Over the years, the chain has expanded all over the globe.
Starbucks has gained some of the most devoted fans in the world, who make sure to purchase their favorite drinks there an average of six times a month. With more than 21,500 stores worldwide they are the leading coffee shop on the planet. Their product is so popular that even their fan favorite Pumpkin Spice Latte has more than 112,000 followers on Twitter, with the company activating some $1 billion worth of gift cards each year. There’s just no stopping Starbucks, though somewhere along the way, their servers’ name recognition ability has taken a turn for the ridiculous.
After seeing our own name spelled every which way, we decided to do a little digging, while compiling a list of some of the funniest and most outrageous misunderstandings the company has supplied its customers. Check out these name fails and see why sometimes these mishaps are better than the originals.
From Bryan to Brian with a y
What do you think would have been easier: spending an extra second to understand what the customer meant when he said his name, or writing the entire thing out? We’re sure Bryan was just lending the barista an extra hand and trying to help them spell it correctly. If only life were that simple. This hilarious effort makes us want to head to Starbucks and give this a try. It’s well worth the chuckle.
From Jasmine to Jasmean
It could be confusing when your name is also a drink order at Starbucks. We’ll give this barista a pass for messing up Jasmine for just a second and give them the benefit of the doubt. Sure, both the name and the tea are spelled the same way but if the Jasmine that ordered the tea was a bit of a mean girl, maybe the barista was just trying out an apt nickname, in which case, I’m sure she appreciated the suggestion.
House Targaryen and John Snow
We’re sure all of you Game of Thrones fans will appreciate this one. We don’t know what name exactly the customer gave the barista. Maybe it was just John or maybe they struck up a conversation and the hit HBO series came up. Either way we love this amazing effort the barista took to truly commit to the role. We take it he or she is just as much of a fan as the customer (and of course, the rest of us).
Crazy baby names are commonplace nowadays in celebrity culture. Fans can’t wait to see a celebrity pop just to hear what wacky name the child will be given for the rest of their lives. Most recently, the Internet went crazy when Kylie Jenner’s baby name was revealed to be called Stormi. So perhaps this Starbucks customer is a famous offspring. How else would you explain Treef as a possible name for a real life human being?
From Marc to Cark
We all know a Cark from the office or the golf course, right? Maybe not. This royal screw up is hilarious. This customer told the barista his name is Marc with a “C,” resulting in the classic name, Cark. This innovative barista may have created a new Star Trek character without even realizing it; the name sounds straight out of a sci-fi series about a lovable alien and the humans who love it.
From Pilar to Pee
Now this is just terrifying. Imagine ordering a cup of coffee and then seeing the closed contents with this name in black ink on the side. We don’t know about you but we’d be afraid to drink whatever was inside. Hopefully the customer, whose given name is Pilar, made sure to verify the contents of her cup prior to taking a sip. Also, not blame the victim, but maybe she mumbled the last half of her name? Maybe.
From Mary to Mary Moo
Now this one is just plain rude. We hope this barista wasn’t nodding to any particular body image digs because we bet Mary is beautiful just the way she is. What an unfortunate way to start your morning with a cup of Starbucks coffee and an insult on the side. We hope that Mary didn’t feel too bad about the name she received and at the very lease got a free scone as an apology.
From Bernice to Alone
Who can forget the hilarious scene in Bridesmaids when Ellie Kemper impulsively confesses her sympathy to Kristen Wiig for arriving at a bridal shower alone. That scene was both hilarious and incredibly awkward to watch. Now imagine that scene played out in real life, because that’s what happened to this customer named Bernice. Obviously there is no phonetic correlation so we’ll just assume the barista was calling it like he saw it. Hopefully Bernice was still able to enjoy her day, whether in good company of on her own.
From Claire to Blay
The person who bought this grande iced white mocha beverage is named Claire. Seems relatively simple to remember. I’m sure we’ve all met a Claire or two in our day. This barista clearly has not, but they sure seem to think they’ve met a Blay. Barring the unlikely event that they were having a stroke, this misunderstanding requires a lot of skill and talent. In the end it makes us laugh, and we’re sure it’ll make you laugh, too. Our hearts go out to our raspberry syrup-loving heroine, Claire.
From Cass to Cats
When Starbucks messes up Cass and comes up with Cats, you know you’ve got a problem. Perhaps the barista just went to a matinee viewing of the hit Broadway musical and was so inspired by the production that they brought their love of it back to work. Who doesn’t enjoy a good ugly cry to Grizabella belting her heart out to Memory. Maybe they’re just a cat person? Maybe someone here has a lisp? Who knows!
From Ian to E.N.
We haven’t heard of E.N. but we have heard of E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, the ’80s children’s classic about a body-positive alien trying to make a collect call to his home planet. But as much as we adore that lovable little guy, we doubt the barista was thinking of the film when Ian ordered his latte. That’s Ian with an I and an A and an N. At least this hilarious mess up made us feel all nostalgic.
From Madeline to Mad-ah-lynn
You know what? Sometimes words are hard. Take a name like Madeline. There are several pronunciations, and spellings. This barista asked the customer how to pronounce her name and used this simple method of sounding it out. We’re not sure if they consciously realized, however, that they actually wrote the pronunciation out. In any case, this adorable mistake made it on to the cup and into our hearts, so we can’t even stay mad-ah-little at them.
From Ingrid to Angry
Now we don’t know for sure whether Ingrid became Angry because of a particular episode or just a misunderstanding. We could just picture the barista getting back at an angry customer. Perhaps she didn’t like the first drink and demanded a replacement. Maybe she was just rude to the employees and one barista made it their personal vendetta to bare. We should bring this barista with us to our next Christmas dinner. This is definitely one epic Starbucks name fail.
From Erin to Air Inn
We wish there were a common thread between some of these fails but they seem to be just a group of random misunderstandings. In this case, somehow the barista mistook the name Erin for what we can only assume is a budget rate motel in the sky. Seriously though, doesn’t Air Inn sound more like an Elon Musk-backed outer space vacation resort, than the name of someone right here on earth, who just wants some coffee?
From Zach to Tsach
Rush hour at Starbucks is always a wild time. Eager customers could even line up all the way out the door eager just to grab their cappuccinos and lattes in a jiffy and make it on time for work. It’s even more chaotic for the Starbucks employees who need to manage multiple orders at once and micromanage impatient customers. So when this barista heard Zach and wrote Tsach, we have to give them a pass. They work so hard.
From Monica to Juanica
Something you may not know about Starbucks is that they are so successful, they have been adding an average of two new coffee shops worldwide everyday since 1987. What they are not always so good at, however, is listening skills. This barista decided to put a latin spin on Monica. Considering what a rare name Juanica is, maybe the barista was just hoping for a rare sighting. Regardless, we’d love to see the look on Monica’s face when they called our her name to pick up her order.
From Andres to Undress
Now, we don’t know what Andres looks like. Maybe he’s a greek god or a classic Hollywood actor. We imagine he must be incredibly attractive because he received this very forward come on from the barista, who must have really taken a liking to Andres and was confident enough to let it be known. The only thing missing from the directive is a phone number right under the “name.” That would have really sealed the deal.
From Cynthia to Syntheia
Starbucks is so popular they use more than 93 million gallons of milk each year for their cappuccinos, lattes, and frappuccinos. Coffee lovers come to Starbucks for their reliable coffee and delicious treats. Take Cynthia for instance. She can’t get enough of her venti hazelnut latte with two pumps of cinnamon caramel dulce. It’s also that personal connection that Cynthia, or shall we say Syntheia, that keeps her coming back for more. Well… we’ll see about that now.
From Emma to Nemo
There’s no question that Finding Nemo is one of the best Disney films of all time. The top grossing and critically acclaimed animated film tells the story of a father fish searching the giant ocean for his son. The movie is so moving it’s impossible not to fall in love with Marlin, Nemo, Dory, and all of the sea critters they meet along the way. So while we sympathize with this barista’s preoccupation with the film, how they got from Emma to Nemo is beyond us.
From Ross to Gross
In Starbucks’ official employee handbook they specifically pride themselves on employing the most diverse group of people. They have strict anti-discrimination policies and they even spend more money per year on health insurance than actual coffee beans, a total of $300 million each year. They do this to create a workplace that is both joyful for the customer and for the employee. Sometimes, however, work is work and we get frustrated anyway. Maybe that’s what happened when Ross became Gross.