Tuesday List: What I’ve Learned at Starbucks

Today’s list is short. It’s one thing. One thing I’ve learned, working at Starbucks. I’ve learned other things there, many things in fact — about people, both co-workers and customers, both good and bad. But one thing stands out, starkly and specifically, and it comprises today’s “list”:

1. People feel entitled. The Starbucks standard is three minutes, start to end – a customer should be able to sip their drink within three minutes of placing their order. People expect it, both Starbucks employees and Starbucks customers. It’s the standard. I see it, the mindset: “I deserve my drink in three minutes or less.” Did Starbucks help create this environment, or does it simply reflect it? My take: Starbucks has exacerbated, but mostly reflects, the fact that people feel entitled. Our culture seethes entitlement.

It’s our right.

I’ve seen the underbelly of our culture, in a coffee shop, where people get angry and snappy when their drink isn’t ready quickly enough. We think we deserve so many things. A break. A treat. An opinion. A vote. A choice. Respect.

Starbucks has taught me that last one. About myself.

It irks me — a lot — when people come through our drive-thru, on their cell phone, and apologize to the person they’re talking to. They don’t look at me, and it’s like I’m not even human.

I deserve better than this, I think. I’m a person, first of all. And I’m working on a Master’s degree. I’m probably smarter than this jerk who won’t even say hello through their car window.

It hit me the other day, walking away from our drive-thru window, and grumbling about the jerks on their cell phones.

What do I deserve?

I would say nothing, but that’s a lie. I deserve something — Death. Hell. Being burned forever because I rebel against a holy God.

God saved me though, out of my condemnation. And I’m mad because someone is talking on their cell phone while I wait on them at a coffee shop.

He was entitled, and he bore the cross.

I pray that I might have the same mindset, which was that of my Lord, and may I exude that mindset to others, that they would be driven to the cross where God crushed the Entitled One.


About Danny Slavich

I am a Christian husband, father, pastor, and poet. I lead Pembroke Road Baptist Church a multi-cultural, multi-generational church in urban South Florida.
This entry was posted in Coffee, Gospel, Priorities, Tuesday List, Worldview, Worship. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Tuesday List: What I’ve Learned at Starbucks

  1. Lee says:

    A great reminder, Danny – thanks!

  2. Laura Slavich says:

    Humility…isn’t it amazing what God uses to grow this attribute in our lives? That we should be made mindful of our lowliness and deserved condemnation in a day where self-exultation reigns….Thanks be to God for His mercy and grace made known to us in the Exalted One being made low (Philippians 2:4-11) so that He might save us from sin, to the glory of God the Father.

  3. Sarah Richter says:

    I really like this post.

    It’s so true how people feel “entitled” to what they believe they “deserve,” but at the end of the day, the only person you can change is yourself. And being reminded of what each of us truly deserve from life is all the more humbling.

    Love you bro and I’ll give you a call soon.

  4. dslavich says:

    I was happy this afternoon, when I turn on my computer and found that all three of you had commented.

    I’m glad this post was encouraging. The fact that you were encouraged encourages me.

  5. Dustin Benge says:

    Thank you for this timely reminder. I work in a high end retail clothing store while going to school and sometimes I “loose my cool” with certain customers who think I am below them. They enter the store as if they own the place and I am merely their servant. This is a reminder to keep the cross at the center of our minds and hearts. That we are servants of Christ. We work for the City of God not the City of Man. Thanks!

  6. dslavich says:

    Thanks for your comment, Dustin.

    God Bless,

  7. Pingback: The Customer is Not Always Right: « Grow(th) from Within

  8. First off, I know that the post isnt really about starbucks, and that I am about to “miss the point”. but….

    I can appreciate that customers can come off as inconsiderate, however Starbucks is an exceptional case. People are paying a high premium when they order a drink from Starbucks because they expect, and starbucks advertises, a high-quality experience. Three minutes for a drink can seem like a long time to wait when you . Expectations at starbucks have nothing to do with entitlement: people expect premium service when paying a premium.

    Anyway, hope all is well with you


  9. dslavich says:


    It’s good to hear from you. I think you have a point, and I agree that premium prices should entail premium service. I was more trying to make a point about human nature generally. Anyway, I hope things are well with you too.


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