Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Globe Coffee Tastes Like Crap

It would be my third stop....

"Even kindergartners know you can’t cut the line. Unless you order with an app" by Beth Teitell Globe Staff  May 16, 2017

Thanks to technology that lets restaurant and coffee shop customers easily order ahead for pickup, a growing segment of the population is demanding frontsies.

They waltz into Starbucks — or Dunkin’ Donuts or Sweetgreen or Roxy’s Grilled Cheese, or any number of places — and head straight to the designated pickup spot. Barely glancing up from their smartphones, they grab their goodies and go, while the customers standing in line inch along, sometimes bitterly, even though they, too, could pull the same move at no cost.

“It’s not fair,” said Noni Brown, an administrative assistant at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, as she railed against the invisible line of mobile orders ahead of her, orders she couldn’t figure into her calculation of whether it was worth her time to wait.

“It’s deceptive,” she said.

Before we go any further, let’s state the obvious. Ordering ahead for pickup is not a new concept. People have been doing it since there were pizzerias and rotary phones.

But apps and websites have made the transaction as frictionless as summoning an Uber, and along the way, turned what was once a brief conversation between human beings — “Gimme a large pepperoni and two Cokes.” “Ten minutes.” — into an industry.

The enormity of the trend can be measured several ways. First, there’s the money. Then there are the rewards.

The trend has worked its way so far into the culture it’s raising etiquette issues that would make for a delicious “Seinfeld” episode. (Here’s how it would play out on “Seinfeld”).

That show has been gone for 20 years now, and I know the mind-manipulating mainstreaming of Jewishness is in endless reruns but it was all pre-2001.

App rage has not yet made headlines, but in a time-stressed culture, being kept waiting for your coffee or lunch is no minor matter. Sally Sharp Lehman, a management consultant, stopped eating at a quick-service salad restaurant near her Back Bay office because the restaurant couldn’t get its order-ahead service running smoothly.

Related: That's the Spirit! 

Take a seat, will ya'?

“The line of people waiting for pickup would be longer than the line for the people who just showed up,” she said, still annoyed at the memory of watching the walk-ins get their salads before she did.

And — need it be said? — the resentment flows the other way, too. Some people who’ve been waiting in line are frustrated by the orders coming in through cyberspace, often convinced baristas are making mobile-order drinks first.

If there’s a downside to mobile ordering, it may be to our health, not our manners....

I'll give you a "moment to zone out."

You know what is a downside to my health?