My Starbucks Identity


At every single Starbucks I have ever ordered a coffee at, when they ask for a name to write on that  siren stamped paper cup, 90% of the time I’ll say Kim. Sometimes I say it with a hint of question- my tone higher- and I think: Ugh, why do I do that? My name is not a question and I am not British (though I’m certain I must have a British drop of blood in me somewhere). Any Pub.Com or English prof would crinkle their nose at how words escape my mouth. Besides my dialect, they would also raise their eyebrows in inquiry- Kim? Yes, Kim. Even though for as long as I can remember, Kimmy was the name I wrote on all my spelling tests, papers, and lunch bags. It’s what my friends, family, teachers, and acquaintances know me by. It’s who I am, EXCEPT at Starbucks. Well, at every AMERICAN Starbucks.

The times they asked a name and I gave the response Kimmy, they never got it right. What? Cammy? Timmy? Jimmy? No. Kimmy. So I avoided the hassle this always brought up and dropped the ‘–my’. From then on, my Starbucks order was smooth sailin’. Grande iced coffee with 2 pumps caramel and an inch of soy, please. For Kim. Easy.

In Turkish Starbucks, however, I have to now unlearn this manner of response. Kim, in Turkish, means who?… Yupp. That would be problematic. So, I went into my first Turkish Starbucks mentally prepared and knowledgeable about what my typical Starbucks name signifies, and equally as excited to finally tell Starbucks my real name… but habit doesn’t break easily.

When it came time, they asked my name, and I blurted out Kim. Of course there was confusion and they repeated the question. I caught my foolishly preventable error and quickly said, Adim Kimmy. Whew. Coffee ordered and in my hands. With the first sip I was already thinking ahead to the next time, how I would not make that practiced mistake. Yet still I smiled silly to myself: thank you Turkish Starbucks. By way of cultural conundrum, you have restored my identity.


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