We’ve all been there. Standing in line, either scanning the menu boards to decide what we want or already with “the usual” in mind, waiting to inch up to the cash register and step into the spotlight. Only it doesn’t come when you place your order; it comes when the cashier asks, “Can I get your name?”
There are two things you have to hope for at this point. The first is that your answer won’t be drowned out or distorted by some noise in the background, like a blender roaring to life or a small child knocking something over with a crash. The second is that your parents gave you a name that isn’t about to get mangled.
Some people can walk into Starbucks and walk out again with their actual name spelled correctly in sharpie on the side of their cup. Whenever I’ve said my name is Carol, I’ve been among those people.
My name isn’t Carol.
It’s honestly not even a big deal when I give my real name and get some wacky version that sounds similar enough to still be able to get my iced chai latte. It is literally the opposite of a big deal. Most of the time it’s even funny. Right?
Raise your hand if your name is often misheard as just a single letter, like you go by your initials.
Raise your hand if it sounds like your name, but the spelling is gender-flipped.
Raise your hand if it’s your name, but with some letters at the end either added or omitted. (Ex: Jeanne vs Jean.)
Raise your hand if it sorta sounds like your name, but is actually the name of someone you know and you’re tempted to text them a photo and say, “Stop trying to steal my coffee.”
Raise your hand if…
(image source: http://www.sunnyskyz.com/uploads/2014/01/xty1s-phteven-funny.jpg)
Now, raise your hand if sometimes, you just don’t want to deal with it, it’s not going to feel funny today, so you lie about your name. And don’t even feel bad about it. ✋✋✋
Should there be any guilt here? I don’t think so. Personally, I have a bit of a history of substitute teachers and roll call. (Thanks for that spelling, parents.) If it makes your day better to give a coffee shop alias, I say go for it. Hashtag you do you.
Another method, and I’ve never quite worked up to doing this, is to give a blatantly ridiculous name that you will definitely hear when it’s called out. Or if you’re really feeling daring, let your friends pick.
(image source: http://how-i-met-your-mother.wikia.com/wiki/Swarley)
Now, you might not be totally prepared to go to these lengths. Maybe you’re saying to yourself, “My name never gets that mangled,” or even “I can’t think of a good fake name.” For the first category of people, what are the odds that two different people named Tom, or Andrew, or Carol, etc., would both order a Venti Cinnamon Dolce Latte with an extra shot? Maybe better than you’d think. I haven’t done any research on it, but the struggle might be real. For the second, be creative! Writers in the crowd, go by one of your character’s name! Make something up! Go wild!
In conclusion, I’m interested in hearing the names people have given or been given in Starbucks and similar establishments. Comment loud and be proud of your coffee shop aliases!
jrose88 from At Milliways With A Pen is as yet unpublished, but studied creative writing in college and has been quoted many times since graduating six years ago as saying she is “working on it.” She does social media marketing for a magazine in Northern California by day, freelance social media by mid- to late-afternoons and weekends, listens to books while commuting, and writes things by night. Some day she hopes to live in a Tiny House with her partner, dog, and cat. And maybe have a novel out or something.
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