Howard Schultz’s iconic creation is not just famous, (or infamous, whichever way you deem to tune your perspective) for putting in place esoteric corporate structures to avoid paying it’s rightful share of taxes, but also for mutilating the names of it’s avowed brand patrons. Your’s truly is no exception to this latter rule. Since the time I had my first sip of the delectable Caramel Macchiato, I have been addicted to this particular breed of brew. My visits to the nearest Starbucks outlet hence were more of a pilgrimage than a mundane routine. However, in spite of my unceasing loyalty to both the store and their offering, the multi million dollar franchise has failed miserably to get my name correct. While writing “Venkataraman Ganesan” on every cup of Caramel Macchiato demanded by me might both be cumbersome and tedious, (rightfully so), a shortened version of my name that reads just “Venky” is not asking for too much – or is it?
Here are a few examples of the name slaughtering that I have had to endure while waiting for my coffee. The first time I was asked for my name, I nonchalantly said “Venky” and the result as you can see for yourself, was one that made me look as though I was a compulsive sexual predator!
Deciding to give the Barsita the benefit of the doubt the first time, I relentlessly pursued in my vigour to get my name right. Alas, all my efforts turned to total vain as the second time around, Starbucks still failed to recognise me as a law abiding, docile and gentlemanly persona, dutifully abiding the tenets of humanity. With just a few tinkering of the alphabets and a titular respect paradoxically accorded, I was still left to mull over (doubly so) my sexual predilection the second time I ordered my coffee:
Praying that I would be lucky the proverbial third time, I was shaken out of my wits when I received my cups (this time around a trusted friend accompanied me to the outlet). I was metamorphosed from being an Indian born in an Iyer family to an esoteric sounding Eastern European with a sibling whose name was equally if not more innovative and peculiar!
Now definitely reeling from the shock of not knowing whether I was Vincky or Vinky, I decided that from hereon in I would ask the concerned Barista to “just say “V”‘. That way it would save both the giver and the receiver considerable embarrassment. So with a renewed sense of confidence, on a sunny morning, I made my way into Starbucks and with a swagger which even I did not realise I possessed, told the Barista, when asked for my name – “JUST SAY V”. When my steaming hot cup of coffee came to me, I was knackered and the earth almost caved in under me:
Being an avid fan of King Robert Bruce, and also a firm believer in the Horatio Alger version of the world (having been fed on a healthy diet of rags to riches stories), I was firm in my resolve not to lose hope and gave one last try. Suffice it to say, when it comes to Starbucks, not even King Bruce, but his inspirational spider as well would have given up their collective ghosts and Alger would burn every single manuscript of his!
Finally I am just thankful that I am not a descendant of the Targaryan clan, else I would have had to ask the Baristas at Starbucks to have recorded my name in a manner similar to the following picture that I happened to come across by chance:
For the record these days I have shifted my allegiance from Starbucks to San Francisco Coffee. I sip my Butterscotch Macchiato with serenity and I am safe in my relaisation that the name bestowed upon me by parental accorded continues to remain intact and unmolested!