Starbucks Surrealism

Would you believe this if you read it in a story or novel? Probably not. It’s too ridiculous. And too long. That’s part of what makes it ridiculous. It was a bit surreal even when it was happening. And yet, it did happen.

Starbucks exchange:

Me: Do you have pour over decaf?

Starbucks guy: Do we have pour over?

Starbucks girl: Decaf? Yeah,  we can do pour over decaf.

Me: OK. I’ll have a grande pour over decaf.

Starbucks guy: That’ll be $2.67.

(Hand over money. )

Starbucks guy: How do I do this?

Starbucks girl: Do what?

Starbucks guy: Pour over decaf

Starbucks girl (to me): You want Americano?

Me: No, a pour  decaf

Other Starbucks guy: Well, an Americano would be faster and we can do that decaf, that’s why she’s asking.  But okay.

(Much fumbling with equipment that looks like the are making a milkshake; they finally find the pour over cone, and then a second one, and take out a big canister of coffee grounds. Many minutes pass by. Did I mention that this was all happening in Penn Station while I waited for a train?)

Starbucks girl: We can’t do a pour over right now. We don’t have the….(makes a gesture like patting  something) …the things  (filters, folks, the barista can’t think of the word filters). We can do an Americano.

Me: Well, then I guess I’ll have an Americano.


But, wait, there’s more!

Starbucks girl: It’ll be down the second end there.

What is a second end? I’m not sure, but I head to the end of the counter. I still don’t know where the “first end” was. I stand and wait. Finally, the girl there looks up.

Other Starbucks girl (at the second end): Did you do a mobile order?

Me: Excuse me?

Other Starbucks girl: Mobile order?

Me: No

Now the first Starbucks girls comes down to the “second end.”

Starbucks girl: No.

Other Starbucks girl: Where’s the order?

Starbucks girl: She wanted a pour over, but we can’t do it. Do an Americano.


I almost missed my train, but I will say that when I got home and added a little Amaretto, the Americano wasn’t half bad.

How would you portray this in fiction to make it believeable?




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