When the Mom of the Starbucks Kid Told Me: ‘YOU Must Not Have Children’

The Starbucks was buzzing, which was to be expected considering it was just after 8:30 a.m. Still, the line moved swiftly, and within moments, the only customers ahead of me were a woman and her preschool-aged son. She ordered first.

“Triple Grande skinny Caramel Macchiato, low foam.”

I silently vowed this would be the day I emailed Starbucks with my long-simmering suggestion to create a separate line for anybody whose drink order contained more than 10 syllables. It would please millions of customers like me who frequent the chain in search of a “tall black coffee.”

“Next?” the barista said. I stepped up.

“And I’ll have—“

The woman cut me off. “My son is next.”

“Sorry,” I replied. “I figured you would have ordered for him.”

“He likes to do it himself. Go ahead, Justin.”

“Grande Frappuccino. One pump hazelnut, one pump white mocha and one pump vanilla. No whip, easy ice.”

I’ve seen countless Justins at Starbucks: little kids who follow their parent’s impossible-to-comprehend coffee orders with equally complex orders of their own. I find them all equally irritating. Their moms and dads smile proudly, as if their children’s ability to say “Caffe Americano” while still wearing Pull-Ups will somehow get them accepted into an Ivy League institution. On the contrary — pretentious kids like Justin usually become bullying targets before the whipped cream in their Venti Caramel Apple Spice dissolves. I stepped up again.

“And I’ll have—“

“Ma’am, did you say easy foam on the Macchiato?” the barista said.

“No. Low foam.”

“So, like, a quarter foam?”

“Slightly more than a quarter. But less than half.”

“Okaaay,” she said in her most pleasant, confused voice.

“Frappuccino. One pump hazelnut, one pump white mocha and one pump vanilla. No whip, easy ice is up,” came a shout from the other end of the counter. Mom retrieved the cup.

“Here you go, honey.”

“Mommy, this is a tall. I ordered a grande.”

“That’s right you did,” she said. “Tell the lady.”

By now, I counted 15 people in line. Most were texting, I assumed, the same message: “Gonna B late.”

Greg Schwem
Greg Schwem
A former newspaper and television reporter in West Palm Beach, Florida, Greg Schwem made the leap to full time stand-up comedian in 1989, causing his former employers to scratch their heads in bewilderment and his parents to weep uncontrollably.  Traveling the country in a shiny red Nissan Sentra, Greg played comedy clubs everywhere from Hermosa Beach, California to Destin, Florida.  His nightclub material about business and technology caught the eye of corporate event producers, who soon hired Greg to entertain the likes of Microsoft, Cisco Systems, Hewlett-Packard, McDonald’s and Verizon Wireless. Along the way he has appeared on Comedy Central, VH-1, the Arts & Entertainment Network and FOX News.   In 2013 the Chicago Tribune hired Greg as a weekly humor columnist, syndicating his column everywhere from New Delhi India to Naples, Florida.  In 2014 the National Society of Newspaper Columnists recognized Greg for outstanding humor writing.  FunnyDadInc is the culmination of years spent trying to figure out his two teen daughters.  Greg lives in suburban Chicago with his wife and high school-aged daughter.  His other daughter claims she is studying hard at college. You can catch him at his websites, FunnyDadInc.com and gregschwem.com.

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