My BEST Starbucks is So Much Better Than Your Starbucks

Toronto, You Magnificent Bastard

The window comes into view and I excitedly look in like a kid on the street at The Hudsons Bay Company at Christmas.

Sitting in my seat from yesterday is a man with sunglasses, winter coat and a scarf wrapped around the bottom of his head. It’s 7C outside. He’s inside.

I’m sure it’s gone.

Wait. Back up.

Yesterday I flew down the stairs of the subway, eager to get home to play my latest video game guilt free. I say “guilt free” because whenever I play it when SharkBoy is home and even if he’s occupied with something, I feel a bit guilty that we’re not humanly interacting. Since he had overtime last night, it meant at least an hour of guilt free gaming. I had to hurry.

I jam my fist into my back pocket. It’s not there. The $107 VIP subway monthly pass is missing.

I rifle through my wallet because sometimes things magically appear in there, like my DisneyWorld Monorail Pilot ID, which I take great pleasure out of trying to pass it off as real ID. Which only gets me quizzical looks like I’m an escaped mental patient. Which at 45yrs old maybe I am.

It’s not there. My world sinks. I just lost $107 dollars in the form of a small credit card size piece of plastic. I pay the single fare and start forming an email in my head:

Dear TTC;

I could care less about your station monitors that 98% sell ads, 2% announce the next train (which is always 3-4 minutes away, duh) and are dirty 100% of the time. I could care less that your posters are claiming we’re dirty pigs and we need to keep the TTC clean – I’ve learned to ignore bitchy behaviour like this from when I had anal college roommates. But if you’re going to spend some money, can you please fix your monetary intake system? Okay great, you now can pay for your fare choices by debit card in some stations (bejebus, guys, go look at NYC for payment options – literally no restrictions – MONEY IN!), but how about loss prevention, for both of us? $107 dollars is a hell of a lot of money to lose, especially on the second day of owning it – I got $9 worth of rides out of my pass before losing it.

You think you’d take care of that to a beneficial state where you and I don’t LOSE any MONEY. It would be easy implement a registered purchaser system and still retain the pass back allowance. One registered card with a moniker of -01, -02, -03 for months, easily canceled and reissued if need be, like a credit card. For a small fee, replacing a pass midway through the month could be cost of $15. Think of it: I lose a card, you cancel the one in the wild, charge me 300% mark up on the cost of replacing it (staffing the replacement counter, cost of plastic, server time, etc) and then we’re both happy. I learn a valuable lesson not to lose my card again (and there will always be people losing their cards) and you just got $10 extra on top of the $107 from me! Cha-ching!

As I ride home I also think about where I might have lost it. The last place I used my wallet and might have popped the card out from my back pocket was my local Starbucks. The one where even the new staff magically know that I take a grande Earl Grey tea in a venti cup. I decide to ask when I get my tea the next morning.

Okay so you’re up to speed.

I somberly walk up to the cash. One barista is already pouring my tea, the other has wrung me in. “Good Morning Ted!”

With downturn eyes, I sheepishly ask: “Did anyone turn in a monthy pass?”

Her eyes light up. My eyes light up. She reaches for her lost and found drawer.

“It has VIP across the top! I lost it yesterday and I was worried I lost $100 and I was so angry you don’t know how mad I was and…and…” I speed along, sputtering out. My baby is back in my hands.

“What makes it a VIP pass?” she asks. I realize I don’t know her name. Hello wave of guilt. Surfs up!

“Husband works for the City. Gets them at a slight discount. THANK YOU!”

“Well Greg was eying it and we all decided to give it a day or two.”

I hand over $5 for my $1.94 tea. “Keep the change,” I say. I feel that $3 isn’t enough. Hang ten!

I had expected someone like “Greg” or a patron of Starbucks to pocket the pass. I know I would. Well maybe not since I would already have one, but seriously the staff at the Brookdale and Yonge Starbucks are the best. Restored (a little bit of) my faith in humanity.

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