In Defense of Starbucks Employees Everywhere


I’m sitting in a Starbucks at this very moment drinking an Earl Grey tea. I love the “mermaid/siren”-protected, coffee haven just as much as the next guy, and, because my wife happens to work there, I get some sweet deals every now and then. The only major flaw I see in Starbucks is the loud music which destroys any chance I have of reading in their establishment. Still, I enjoy most everything on the menu and the food is really good, especially the tomato-mozerella panini. All that to say, I esteem “the ‘Bucks”.

Still, I am completely shocked by the war stories my wonderful wife tells me when she gets home from a long day on her feet. Someone stole money out of the tip jar. Someone got angry because they didn’t see their pastry sitting next to their coffee and demanded she get their pastry, while, again, it was sitting next to their coffee right under their noses. Someone got upset because there wasn’t enough room in their coffee for cream. Someone was perturbed because they perceived a flaw in their drink order. Someone was impatient and snappy with her at the cash register or just lashed out at her for no apparent reason. The list goes on and on. I completely understand that there are circumstances which happen to people and affect their day. I’m sympathetic with that. I understand that we all have bad days, and that can change the way we order. What I’m not sympathetic to, though, is my wife getting the short end of the stick. She’s not a punching bag; she’s my wife. So to all those out there who are rude to Starbucks employees, I have four statistics I would like to share with you (all statistics taken directly from: Anup Shah, Poverty Facts and Stats, Global Issues, Updated: January 07, 2013).

At least 80% of humanity lives on less than $10 a day

22,000 children die each day due to poverty. 

Nearly a billion people entered the 21st century unable to read a book or sign their names. 

Some 1.1 billion people in developing countries have inadequate access to water, and 2.6 billion lack basic sanitation.

Now, I’m no expert in using statistics, but this site seems pretty legit. If what they say is true, most of the world’s population would never dream of stepping foot inside a Starbucks. Why? Because they would use a significant amount of their daily income in doing so. If what they say is true, the children who die everyday are probably dying simluatneously while we are complaining about our drinks. If what they say is true, those billion people at the beginning of the 21st century could not even read a Starbucks menu. And, if what they say is true, those 1.1 billion people would be overjoyed to receive even a cup of water from Starbucks and/or to use their beautiful bathrooms. Perhaps the greatest fact I have, though, is this:

“the Lord our God the Almighty reigns.”- Revelation 19:6

Getting upset about such things as the hiccups we experience at Starbucks, or my frustration at doing the dishes at home, is indicative of the attitude we humans carry with us everywhere. We really do believe that the world is about us. We believe that the world of coffee, the world of others, and the universe itself orbits around the planet of “Me”. Well, in behalf of Starbucks employees everywhere I say this: Annoying customers, repent. In our anger, impatience, and impoliteness, we deny that there are bigger things in the world besides our cup of joe. We do a disservice to those in the world who do not have enough food to eat by making the world about us. We confuse our own perceived reign and rule with the actual reign and rule of God, and, in doing so, we deny His lordship and sovereignty. If our venti, triple-fat latte is a wee bit late in making it to the bar, it’s probably the Lord’s will that it do so. Let’s use this little inconvenience to pray for those less fortunate than ourselves, to thank those wonderful, patient baristas who make those drinks day after day, to recognize that the Lord is completely and utterly in control, and to recognize that this possible, little set-back will not de-throne Him nor propel the world into a downward spiral ending in the destruction of life as we know it. Let’s take this opportunity to worship instead of rebel, love instead of hate.  

Friends, I see this tendency so much in myself. I see it in my unwillingness to let someone in front of me when driving. I see it when I don’t take the time to listen to a friend who is really hurting. But here we have a wonderful opportunity to join in in what we were created to do: make much of Him and not ourselves. We were created to build the Kingdom of God, not the kingdom of self. Christ has come to rescue self-worshippers and turn them into God-worshippers, and what good news that is! Let’s begin to live in gratitude to Christ by demonstrating patience in the Starbucks line, love on the road, and compassion towards each other.

My Earl Grey is now cold, and this post is way too long. Thanks for your patience, and may your next trip to Starbucks be a people-loving, God-honoring one.


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