When Is A Starbucks Not A Starbucks?

Among Barnes & Noble’s many great features — comfy chairs, puzzles and games, CDs, Nooks, even a few books — one of the best is the Starbucks café.

It’s warm, welcoming, and highly caffeinated.

The other evening, I bought a coffee. (Regular. Small. Sorry, I don’t speak “Starbucks.”)

But when I went to pay with my Starbucks card, the woman baristette recoiled like I had handed her some used Dunkin Donuts toilet paper.

“This is not a Starbucks!” she said, coldly.


“It’s a Barnes & Noble!” she explained, in a tone I would use with a dog that had just soiled my Persian rug, if I owned either one.

My bad! I can’t for the life of me imagine why I ever thought I was in a Starbucks.

12 responses to “When Is A Starbucks Not A Starbucks?

  1. Um, it says “serving Starbucks coffee.”
    That’s like saying “Coca Cola sold here.”

  2. Yes, I had the same shocking experience recently. I was so proud that I had my Starbucks card all ready to pay for my grande caramel skim latte (sometimes I do speak ‘Starbucks’; I feel so hip!). But then the baristta gave me a discount or points, no idea which, for my B&N membership.

  3. Yes- it is a Barnes & Noble Cafe that serves Starbucks as opposed to a Starbucks company-owned cafe that resides in B&N. No Starbucks cards, but you can use your B&N Membership card for a discount. Surprised at the attitude of the Barista – I’ve usually had friendly people there and they seem very patient with my utter lack of knowledge of how to order Starbucks, which I have always attributed to the fact that they are not Starbucks employees and therefore, have no reason to take offense.
    Smart marketing move for B&N for this town would be to replace it with a cafe run by someone local (Doc’s at Starbucks, anyone?).

    • Anon Doc Lover

      Doc stopped making coffee years ago. He now works for the Town of Westport.

      • You’re kidding, right?

        • Anon Doc Lover

          Dan, I am surprised that you have not met Doc in your travels around Westport. He has worked behind the counter of many food establishments in town. He is a great guy and the kids all love him. When Doc’s Coffee first opened in Peter’s Market, Doc was the person who greeted you every morning with a cup.

    • of course I meant “Doc’s at B&N, anyone?) oops.

  4. I’d rather go to the other Starbucks about 300 yards down the road. It’s much cozier. And it doesn’t remind me of Crazy Vin’s.

    I’ve told folks I’d meet them at “The Starbucks in Barnes & Noble.”

    Now I guess it’s: “The coffee shop serving Starbucks in Barnes & Noble.”

  6. Of course I know Doc — I remember him from his Zaro’s days. My comment was because I thought Book Lover was referring to a return of the Doc’s coffee shop — also owned by a Westporter — rather than to Doc the person, who has been out of the coffee business for a long time. Too many Docs out there, I guess.

  7. Ask them to fill up your Nook.

  8. Having a coffee shop serve Starbucks is a round about way to avoid the entire corporate owned process and create your own franchise, without the franchise restrictions. I’ve seen it in many areas.