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Starbucks: Love It or Leave

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To the editors:

Regarding Paula Mathieu's commentary on her recent visit to a local Starbucks [Our Town, August 20]: You'd obviously be happier drinking your coffee somewhere else . . . so why don't you?

I can't explain or excuse the treatment Ms. Mathieu claims she observed by the baristas at the Starbucks she visited. I can say that, having patronized numerous Starbucks in Lincoln Park, Old Town, the Loop, and even Evanston, the one thing that impresses me is the consistently good treatment and delicious coffee I always receive at Starbucks.

I've done my time in other, locally owned Chicago coffeehouses. For the most part, I have found their coffee to be more expensive and of a lesser quality than Starbucks' coffees. And it is the employees in these other local establishments who have been rude to me, have forgotten about my order, took forever to bring me my check, and generally made me feel as if I were an annoyance simply because I walked in their front door.

On the other hand, my Starbucks baristas greet me with a smile. They take my order, make my drink, ring me up, and send me on my way before I can say "iced grande Americano." They've also taught me how to brew Starbucks-quality coffee at home. A Starbucks barista once spent half an hour with me, going over every step in the brewing process. He didn't want me to leave until he was confident that I had the coffee-making expertise I needed. Thanks to his help, I can now make coffee as good as my favorite barista can.

So, Paula, please don't label all Starbucks employees as elitist just because you had one bad experience. And if you can't bring yourself to overcome your coffee-terminology phobia, maybe you should just stick to that ordinary stuff they make by the barrel-full at places like . . . Burger King.

Karen Patton

W. Menomonee

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