I wish the title for this post was some cute and clever metaphor that represented something else.
Unfortunately it is not — I fear that I have literally moved to a town with no Starbucks.
Technically, I knew what I was getting into before we moved. As Scott was considering jobs all over the country, I spent a lot of time researching potential cities we might relocate to. My checklist of basic essentials consists of three things: A gym, Target, and Starbucks.
Small Town scored two out of three.
I thought perhaps they might have a “Stargetbucks” (Starbucks inside a Target store) and immediately called Target of Small Town to find out.
Yes, this is how I spend my spare time. And my rollover minutes.
Much to my dismay, there’s not even a Stargetbucks. Although, I did learn today that Target is getting remodeled, so I’m clinging to the hope that they might add one. If they do, I’ll make sure to be their very first customer. It may require waiting outside Target at 5am, but I’m willing to go the extra mile. That is how deep my love for Stargetbucks runs.
As a former Seattleite, I feel a certain loyalty to the deliciously overpriced and sometimes overly burnt coffee of wonder. Forking over five bucks for a beverage I could make at home for less than fifty cents just feels like something I ought to be doing. I can’t explain it, so I embrace it.
I also taught Turbo Kick and Boot Camp at the Starbucks Corporate Headquarters in Seattle for over a year — which sort of makes me feel like an insider who is obligated to drink the Starbucks Kool-aid. Which would really just be coffee. But Kool-aid comes in a giant pitcher that screams “OOOOOOHHHHH YEAHHHH!!!” which makes for a much better visual. And audio. Just imagine Mr. Pitcher is full of hot steamy coffee, and it kind of works.
Ahem. Back to the matter at hand.
Starbucks cups have now become a high fashion accessory. Any style maven knows the green and white mermaid emblem is kind of like a pair of diamond studs, or a Chanel handbag–it simply looks good with everything. Just ask this outfit I found on Pinterest.
So now I’m going to be decaffeinated and unfashionable.
The irony of all this is that Small Town is in somewhat close proximity to a town named Starbuck.
A town which also does not have a Starbucks.
So much for my vision of a quaint little village filled with cake pops and chalkboards covered with pretty handwriting.
I feel as if the state of Minnesota is laughing at me right now.
But at least they have offered me an alternative.
While house-hunting in Small Town today (a completely different calamity that I will fill you in on later) Scott suggested we stop in for a cup of coffee.
Five minutes later, I walked out smiling.
Caribou Coffee is actually delicious. I’ve only had one experience, so I can’t say if it’s better than Starbucks quite yet, but it definitely gives my beloved coffee-house a run for its money.
Don’t you dare tell Howard Schultz I said that.
But my latte-induced bliss didn’t last long. Scott quickly snapped me back to reality with another one of his blunt (yet possibly accurate) observations.
“Wow. You were so pretentious the entire time we were in there.”
Katrina Taylor is not pretentious.
Okay, okay…perhaps that sounded a bit pretentious.
Let’s recap the experience and I’ll let you be the judge. (FYI — my thoughts are in pink italics. Because in case you didn’t know, I totally think in pink italics. Obviously.)
Barista (who was approximately 50 years old with shortish hair that was big and fabulous): Well, hi there! What can I get you two kids today?
Kids? Hmmm. Maybe my crows feet aren’t as bad as I thought they were!
Me (who apparently, is looking particularly young and fresh-faced today): Hi! You’ll have to excuse me. We just moved here and I’m kind of a Starbucks person. I don’t really know the jargon here, so I’m not sure what my favorite drink is called.
What? It’s not my fault I speak mermaid and not caribou. Totally not pretentious.
Barista: Oh, don’t worry! We can make anything you like.
Me: Great! So, I usually get a Skinny Caramel Macchiato.
Barista: That would be our Caramel High Rise.
Glamorous. Me likey.
Me: Perfect. I’ll take one of those.
Barista: A large?
Me: Just a grande, please.
That’s not pretentious. It’s simply reflex. Starbucks has trained me to order my drinks in mermaid-Italian.
Barista: A medium.
Me: Oh yeah, medium, sorry. And can you make it skinny?
Barista: No, but I can make it “Northern Lite”.
Me: Is that the same as skinny?
Barista: Yes, that’s the same as skinny.
I think she tried really hard to smile and not roll her eyes there. Again, I don’t speak Caribou yet, people.
Barista: Oh, I love your necklace. Where did you find that?
Me: Oh, thank you! I got this in New York City.
Barista: Wow, New York City. Darn. Guess I won’t be able to pick one of those up then!
Okay. I can’t help it if I got the necklace in New York City. It’s not pretentious if it’s the TRUTH. What might be considered a tad bit pretentious is that I bought the necklace at Anthropologie in New York City, but didn’t mention the store because I didn’t think she would know what is was.
I’m officially starting to see Scott’s point.
Barista: So you guys moved here from New York City?
Me: Oh, no. We just moved here from Seattle.
Barista: Oooh, Seattle! So you survived the big snowstorm, then?
She knows about the snowstorm? Seattle really MUST be the center of the world.
Me: Actually, we lucked out. We were on vacation in Hawaii and missed the entire thing!
Barista: Ooh, Hawaii. That sounds lovely.
Me: It was! Especially to miss all of that nasty snow. Yuck. I’m sure we’ll make up for it here, though.
I think this was the point where Scott finally decided to elbow me.
Serves me right.
He showed me that I’ve officially become snooty.
Which is not sexy.
And that is how my medium Northern Lite Caramel High Rise became a “shame latte”.
To tell you the truth, it was still pretty tasty.
Looks like living in Small Town is going to do me some good. And, because I’ll be frequenting Caribou Coffee on a regular basis, I hope to make it up to my new barista friend.
Something tells me my usual gesture of a Starbucks gift card isn’t going to win her over, though.