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The Greyhound

Starbucks: Where “Amy” is “A-Me”

We’ve all seen them – they flood our Instagram accounts, clutter our Twitter feed and populate our Facebook pages: misspelled names on Starbucks cups. This is almost like the latest fad; people find it hilarious and engaging to talk about how disastrously incorrect their names are written on their coffee cups. . For example, I can’t begin to explain how often my name, Georgia, is spelled “Jorga.”

Don’t worry, though, your faith in humanity can be restored, because did you ever stop to think that perhaps Starbucks baristas misspell names on purpose? While I’m sure genuine mistakes are often times made, it has been speculated that workers deliberately spell names wrong to confuse and annoy customers, or perhaps just for a laugh.

A recent video released on YouTube titled, “Why Starbucks Spells Your Name Wrong,” parodies how the company’s workers misspell names. The clip features comedians Paul Gale and T.J. Misny, and is a hilarious explanation as to why some names can be embarrassingly wrong (if you haven’t yet seen this, it’s definitely worth setting aside three minutes of your time to do so). This video went viral and was posted on websites such as The Huffington Post, Fox News, MTV, E! Online and many others. This name-misspelling concept is not exactly newsworthy and yet it has been grabbing the attention of many curious people.

Along with this comical YouTube clip, there is a Tumblr account that has been created solely for the purpose of advertising these comical spelling errors . The account is called “Starbucks Spelling” and for anyone who’s interested in a good laugh, this will surely do the trick. It includes names like “Madeline” printed as “Mad-ah-lynn,” “Jaramie” as opposed to “Jeremy” and one barista even took the time to write, “I am going to spell your relatively simple name horribly, horribly wrong.”

In an article published on Forbes’ website titled, “Starbucks Personalization – Evil, Funny, or Brilliant?” author Roger Dooley explains how Starbucks doesn’t necessarily have to write each customer’s name on his or her cup. In fact, the company is very progressive in terms of technology (customers can pay for their coffee using an app on their mobile phones) and baristas could easily figure out whose order is whose without resorting to writing names. Dooley points out, though, that “Starbucks handwriting names on cups and yelling them out is likely a wise business practice…the process enables the barista to learn the names of regular customers.”

Could this intentional name-misspelling speculation be true? Ironically enough, this theory directly contrasts with Starbucks’ “Barista Promise,” which states, “Love your beverage or let us know. We’ll always make it right.” Though is doesn’t exactly pertain to the idea of spelling names correctly on cups, this small incident could seriously agitate some people, causing anger in regards to this so called promise going unfulfilled. This is all the more interesting considering Dooley’s claim that writing names isn’t even necessary.

If you were a Starbucks barista, would you misspell a few names on purpose? I know I would. What’s the fun in working endlessly long shifts if you can’t poke a little fun at people? Whenever I’ve come across my name spelled wrong on my coffee cup, I simply giggle and move along with my day—and maybe even post a picture of my “new name” on Instagram. Maybe the baristas are getting a laugh out of it, too.

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Starbucks: Where “Amy” is “A-Me”