I cheerily made my way into the welcoming world of the twin-tailed Siren (Mermaid in common parlance) and sure enough, swiftly at the heels of my order, I was asked for my name. Now, Anupriya is a rare mouthful even for an Indian name so I decisively settled on Anu also taking the time to smile and spell it out. I was delirious with relief that it would take a retail outlet quite a bit of effort to fudge that one up. I was wrong.
Strike 1 dearly loved provider of all things caffeine.
In all seriousness though, I get why Starbucks has a sudden interest in customer names. The marketing strategy of increasing customer engagement, one first-name at a time makes sense. One of the easiest rapport building strategies employed by retailers, using a customer's name undoubtedly personalises the transaction and the overall customer experience. I wonder how accurate is the quantification of the adverse coverage of misspelled names, annoyance of extra time spent at the tills, and curiously (thankfully rarely!) the outrage from some very guarded customers who, all said and done, just don't want to give away their identities.
* Mocha Cookie Crumble Frappuccino
** Grande Black Americano