Starbucks not worth the wait

By Eleni Antipas
January 24, 2011

One of the most annoying sounds in life has to be the unmistakable piercing of the alarm clock in the morning. I always dread having to get out of bed, but at least I can look forward to my Starbucks Venti coffee with skim milk and Splenda. Unfortunately, the long lines and elaborate drink orders have me questioning whether my love for their coffee outweighs the frustration that comes with obtaining it.

Starbucks Coffee is in desperate need of an express line. An express line would allow the people that are ordering a simple cup of coffee or tea to do so without having to wait in line for 15 minutes. Currently, I have to leave my house 30 minutes earlier than I normally would in order to fight for a parking space and wait in line.

There are two Starbucks locations that I frequent, depending on the day of the week. The first location, which I go to on the days that I work, is in Bryn Mawr, Pa. This Starbucks would greatly benefit from having an express line because there are only about eight parking spaces, which means that the wait begins in the street. If I am lucky enough to make it into the parking lot before lunch time, the chances of actually getting a parking space instead of having to park on the sidewalk are slim.

Once I clear all the necessary hurdles to successfully purchase my beverage, my car is almost always blocked in. It is then I get the added pleasure of going back in the store and finding the person who has chosen to double park.  You can imagine the resistance I receive when asking someone to get out of the line they fought to be in and move their car.

On days that I have class I go to the Starbucks in King of Prussia, Pa. This location is definitely the least frustrating of the two stores. Their lack of an express line is tolerated by the fact that there is an adequate number of parking spaces. Although this particular Starbucks does not require circling the block ten times before getting in the door, there is still a significant wait prerequisite their customers must fulfill before placing an order.

In King of Prussia there are two reasons why buying a cup of coffee has the potential to make me late for class. For one thing there always seems to be some type of chronic issue like a machine being down or being short staffed. The other major delay is caused by something I like to call a lack of customer ordering etiquette.

These customers are on their cell phones while placing their orders or are still deciding what they want even though they have been waiting in line for 15 minutes.  These are the same people that spend five minutes looking for their wallet, which is usually buried somewhere in the bottom of their purse.

The biggest faux pas of all is when people  pull out their lists like they are at the grocery store. They have such large orders because they are purchasing drinks for everyone in their office. These people definitely lack ordering etiquette because they give the illusion that the wait will not be that long when the reality is that the line may as well be out the door.

An express line is not a new concept to Starbucks. In fact, there are several Starbucks locations in cities, such as New York City, Chicago and Los Angeles that have already adopted this innovation. In my hometown of Cherry Hill, N.J., the Starbucks even has a drive-thru lane. Come on Pennsylvania, I have made my peace with the fact that I have to pump my own gas, at least let me have my coffee.

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Eleni Antipas

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