Happy Birthday, Starbucks!

@postaday 68; #postaday2011

Today Starbucks, which was born in Seattle, celebrates its 40th birthday. I am not a coffee snob. I love Starbucks. And one of my first jobs was at McDonald’s, so I know all about the corporate formulaic approach to sales and appeal. Let me tell you, when I worked the register, I charmed my customers, I made friends, developed relationships with regulars, and even went on a date or two. I was  all of 17-19 or so and it was the late ’70s. It was my age of discovery. WAIT. It didn’t end, did it? Hah!

I visit Starbucks Koko Marina Center, which is in my ‘hood, on the weekends with my family, or on my own if the traffic flow is timed right for me to maneuver the bicycle. During the week, I visit the Keeaumoku Starbucks early in the morning before boarding the Mothership, my favorite nickname for HMSA where I work. The Keeaumoku store is run by Johna. I know some of the barristas there: Kelly, Janine, Jamie… There are more, but it’s mostly these girls rockin’ the morning brew. Love them!

On Saturday, my freebie Starbucks postcard showed up for a free beverage. I redeemed it this morning. And Johna presented me with a lovely petite tiramisu cake pop to enjoy with my coffee. Why? Because I’m a favorite regular! It was like getting a hug pop from those gals! I talked to them about how when Starbucks first opened Dec. 12, 1990, I was a reporter at Pacific Business News, covering the story, and it was my birthday! Johna and I talked about that as she has been with Starbucks in Hawaii since it was born here, too. We discovered mutual friends!

What do I like about Starbucks? Let me count the ways… I’ve had several crushes on brews. The Peppermint Mocha will always be my favorite, but it’s a bit pricey on the Weight Watchers routine. I also fell for the green tea latte for a spell. But after a while, it seemed too sweet and cloying. Then I discovered my present favorite, buoyed by signs in the store talking about how few calories it has — 140 for a Grande Skinny Caramel Macchiato. Come to Mama! I also enjoy a shaken ice-tea lemonade made with black tea and two Equals, especially if I stop in after my bicycle ride.

This morning on NPR was a segment about how the world has evolved from countries running the world to corporations having influence on civilization. The discussion was whether the reach of Facebook and Twitter could affect world events. They pondered what influence these entities have on the world today. For the most part, these Internet entities are seen as neutral, conveyors of ideas and information, vehicles for anyone who wishes to post an idea, a news story, a discovery, an opinion. During the elections any time I posted something Pro-Obama on Twitter, I’d get followed by detractors whom I would block because I didn’t want to be on the receiving end of their virulence, I didn’t want them to respond to me. Eventually my Twitter account became populated with people who think like I do, agree much with what I do, and who ride bicycles. I’ve drawn to me the influences I want in my life. If one of those people introduce an idea that is new to me, I’d actually be more receptive to it.

Interesting thought to ponder over today’s free venti skinny caramel macchiato. Oh, and I do follow @Starbucks. We’re friends on Facebook, too. And I like the influence they have on my life. Especially with the people I meet in their stores, IRL.

By lavagal

Hawaii Kai wife and mom. Melanoma Stage 3a Cancer survivor. English Language Arts teacher, English Learners Coordinator, and Paraprofessional Tutor. Super sub teacher. Dormant triathlete. Road cyclist and Masters swimmer. Gardener. Mrs. Fixit. Random dancer. Music Curator. A teenager trapped in an aging body. Did you know 60 is the new 40? It is.

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