Application – Rehension Restraint

“Mom, I don’t know why you don’t get the app on your phone,” my daughter Heather told me, handing my gold card to the Starbucks Barista.

“Because I like human interaction a lot more,” I told him. “I don’t like that they keep trying to shove more and more technology down our throats.”

“As you wish. But I’m telling you, it’s much more convenient, and you don’t have to wait in line anymore!”

That conversation rang in my ears one morning when I was running late for my writing class. I had been looking forward to indulging in a soy chai latte for days, knowing that I would be returning to my old haunts in Boston. I longed for the days when Heather worked at the Starbucks on Berkeley and Boylston streets, when they would start making my drink as soon as they saw me walk through the door. I missed the days when I would get my complimentary drink, and written on the side of the mug it said, “Have a nice day Mom!” Even if Heather wasn’t there. That was the day I heard Heather’s voice in my head, broke down, and got the stupid app.

I parked my car and hurried down the street. I winced when I saw the long line at the counter as I wasn’t sure how the app worked. Just as I poked my head over the counter to ask, I saw a sign that said “Mobile Order Pickup” and just below it was a drink with my name on it. That was easy! I thought, as I walked to class. But when I took the first sip, I knew it wasn’t made with soy milk. I frowned but kept walking, irritated that they messed up my order.

The next time I was in town for a class, I tried again, with the same result. Why do they keep leaving out my soybeans? I really hate milk!

I used the exercise they gave us in class as an excuse to kill two birds with one stone. They told us to go outside, interview someone and observe our surroundings. But he had an agenda and he knew what he had to do.

“Excuse me,” I said to the Starbucks barista who was stocking the cold shelf with pre-made fruity drinks, her blonde hair pulled up tightly in a neat bun. “Can you help me with my app? I keep ordering my chai drink with soy, but I never seem to get soy.”

“Well, it’s a good thing you’re not lactose intolerant!” she said with a laugh. “Let me take a look,” she said, reaching for my phone. I watched as I quickly scrolled through my favorites in the app. An unfamiliar tune was playing in the background and I wanted to move my foot as another man approached.

“Oh, I’m not in line,” I said, stepping aside to let him pass.

“Oh no, I’m waiting for you,” he said, waving to the barista, who was deep in my phone. I noticed the man was holding a black plastic disc the size of a quarter and wondered what it was.

Another man came up with a cardboard tray containing two drinks and an empty, cracked plastic Starbucks cup. Once again, I indicated that I was not online.

“Oh, I need his,” he said. Apparently I’ve started something here.

“Wow, everyone needs you today,” I laughed.

After a while, the barista was able to remove my old “favorite” and uploaded a new one that clearly said soy.

“That’s so weird, I know I selected soy when I ordered it,” I told her, then kindly thanked her for her help. I walked away noticing the man with the puck quickly handed it over and headed for the door.

“Is that all you had to do?” I asked, surprised by his patience and feeling bad for taking so long with this suddenly wanted Barista.

“Yes,” he replied with a smile, and left.

Since I didn’t use my app this time, I got in line and decided to try the new pink drink.

I was sitting drinking the bright fuchsia drink at the bar, watching the customers and taking notes, when an attractive Asian woman walked up and asked me what my drink was.

“Even though it looks like Pepto-Bismol, it’s actually quite tasty,” I said.

Hmm, I wonder if I’ll start another trend today, and soon there will be a trail of Pink Drinks leaving the store.. I noticed the long line as people waited for their drink orders, and I wondered: What happens to these people? Don’t have the app?

the journey of life; Berkshires to Boston and everywhere in between…

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