Feeling of Significance, and Early Access to Pumpkin Spice Latte

Autumn 2015
Oh, hello autumn. I see you there, peeking around the corner. Come on out, it’s ok. Stay a while.

“You’ll just have to wait until next week.”

Wait. Let’s back up.

So I walked into a Starbucks today to get some work done – a usual location for me, and at this point I can probably be described as a “regular” for this location.

The nicest man greeted me at the register. About 50-60 years old, graying hair/beard. We’ll call him ‘Jim’, because… well, because his name is Jim. We had a great exchange, Jim and I. Just chit-chat about which drink I wanted, how I made a good choice, which syrups/mylks I could add, just small talk. But really cool guy, very pleasant.

As I was finalizing my decision, he noticed that I pulled my gold card out of my wallet to pay, and informed me that I could get Pumpkin Spice syrup (a week) early this year since I had a gold card. Nice! A perk that I didn’t know existed.

Then another barista (we’ll call her Starbucks Nazi) just had to step into our conversation and speak up.

SbuxNazi: “Do you have a code? Because you can only get it if you have a special code, you would have gotten an email from Starbucks.”

me: “Well, sometimes I get special codes when I login to the website, so maybe. I could check.”

SbuxNazi: “It’s a specific code for Pumpkin Spice. You’d know if you had it. We have to see the code. You’ll just have to wait until next week.”

NARRGGGGHHHOOOOOOO! … No, not really. Ok. Not a big deal, I really don’t think it’s vegan at any rate.

I could tell it kinda irritated Jim, just slightly. I mean, she didn’t really add any value to me, or to Jim. Or for that matter, to Starbucks as a company, because I could easily look up the code (which I did, see below).

Sure, it’s the by-the-book, official corporate policy. But she didn’t add value to anyone else.

What she did was add value to herself. That encounter massaged her sense of importance. A sense of significance, which is one of Tony Robbins’ described six basic human needs. But couldn’t she have gotten that a different way? How much good could Ms. SbuxNazi do if she would have started her shift asking “How can I provide the most value to my company, my co-workers and my customers today?”

I think that’s a question that everyone could ask themselves.

“How can I provide the most value to my company, my co-workers (collaborators) and my customers (clients) today?”

Note that the question’s not asking how you can improve your own self, but everyone else. By providing value to others (the world), you make the world a better place and implicitly add value to yourself in the process. You become valuable.

Let’s re-work the conversation to what it could have been, something more pleasant:

SbuxNazi: “Hey, you know, we actually have a code for getting it early. The gold card thing doesn’t automatically give PSL, but you can search online and get the code for it. Then you get early access! Pretty sweet, huh?”

me: “Oh, ok, thanks, that’s very helpful of you.”

Jim: “Yeah, thanks SbuxNazi, that is very helpful. Now I’ve also been enlightened for future customer encounters.”

The crazy thing is, Starbucks Nazi knows me. We’ve chatted in the past, and generally gotten on well. We’ve been acquaintances for like 5 years.

The other crazy thing? Just after that exchange, it took me a whole 2 minutes to Google it and find a code. Anyone can get a custom Pumpkin Spice Latte code for early access. So now I have one! Thanks, Starbucks Nazi. I have the option to use the code for the entire week now, and before that exchange I wouldn’t have even really used it or cared. I don’t even think it’s vegan — I’ll probably just get one for my sister-in-law.

Oh yeah, the link for early access to PSL (autumn 2015).