And How Do You Spell That?

I can nearly understand why Starbucks would think it would be a good idea to ask every customer their name so they could write it on the side of the coffee cup before serving them.  The ad copy says that they want to stop calling you the name of your drink, but I can’t help but think that the marketing person who came up with the idea is called Bob or Jim, something easy that everyone knows how to spell.

Really, I’d much sooner be Small Americano than have to go through the pantomime of spelling my name every time, for it to be misunderstood and then misspelt.  I’m not that frequent a Starbucks customer, but already I’ve been Roweeena, Roena, Raana  and Marina.  It’s not that I blame the coffee shop employees, few of them have English as their first language. the serving area is noisy, and mostly they’re dealing with the pressure of an ever lengthening queue.

It reminds me of a friend telling me that because of the difficulty of having their Latvian name understood in rural Wales his father used a variety of aliases in the businesses in the town.  At the cobblers they were Kennedy, at the dry cleaners Kitchen and Kent paper shop.

When I was in Moscow it was easier to be Ravenna, the Cyrillic transliteration of my name, and after a number of years of trying to persuade them of the correct pronunciation of my name, I’m reconciled to being Rayeeny to the taxi firm at the Tube station and Rowenna at my hairdressers, but I’d sooner not have to be anything in the coffee shop I visit once in a blue moon.  I think I’ll be Ann at Starbucks, if I ever return.

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  1. That is hysterically funny – what do they actually use to write on the coffee cups?
    My first name is okay, from the point of view of people needing to spell it, although a lot of people seem to hear “angel” when I say it on the phone. My first job in Cape Town was at the Argus taking the death notices; a lot of the funeral parlour guys used to ask for Angel. I didn’t mind. What I did mind what was people did with my surname – before I changed to Goldberg, I was Kreuz. As in the German ‘cross’. Most people pronounced it Crooz or Creez or Croyz (without the t sound) but the most memorable mispronunciation was Crotch. Some things you can never forget.

    • I think they mainly use black felt tip. New Zealand is the only country I’ve visited where I didn’t have to spell my name for anyone, which is almost as big a mystery as why no-one anywhere else has any idea. Kreuz sounds like just as much of a burden….. I like the idea of being an Angel; you should keep it!

      • It’s because South Africans don’t speak properly – they say “mulk” for milk and “poel” for pill. I supose they’d spell my new monniker “Aynjull”.

      • No that’s not nice.

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