Clever. Very clever.
Now correct me if I’m wrong, but Freddie is not the hardest name to pronounce or spell? Yet somehow earlier this year the good folks at Starbucks seemingly misheard my many attempts at identifying myself and loudly shouted out Fatty (spelled Fate, see below for proof) for every customer in their Tottenham Court Road branch to hear. Not my finest hour.
Thankfully, Starbucks have since made up for that fateful incident after another barista apparently misheard my name for Pretty (again see below for proof) and shouted that out for everyone in their Clapham South branch to hear. Result.
Whilst you may think your Starbucks barista is misspelling your name because they simply don’t like you (if you get served your coffee in a cup like this then that’s how you’ll know your barista doesn’t like you), there could be a wider ploy at play here.
What if these Starbucks baristas have actually been hearing us correctly this whole time and are misspelling our names on purpose? As part of a wider marketing ploy?
That’s what the people behind YouTube channel Super Deluxe seem to think anyway. In a recent video they speculate that Starbucks employees are instructed to misspell customer names in order for the company to get free advertising on social media, a theory they have dubbed the ‘frothy cycle of control’ (catchy, ey?).
‘Think about it. Starbucks is the largest coffee chain in the world. Meaning that each year, millions of people all around the globe have their names misspelled on cups of Starbucks coffee. They take pictures of their butchered names and post them on Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, wherever. And what do all these pictures have in common? Two things, a misspelled name, and that familiar green Siren, staring at you with her all-knowing gaze. That’s right sheeple, you’ve been giving Starbucks free advertising for years.’
You can watch the full video explanation here:
Of course, this is just a theory and there’s no proof any of the above is true. But as I’ve already shown, a misspelled name (especially when the results are humorous) more often than not does lead to a social media post. Heck, there’s even a popular Tumblr account dedicated to Starbucks spelling mishaps.
A Starbucks spokesman has since spoken to BuzzFeed News denying the ‘frothy cycle of control’ theory.
‘We’ve never asked or directed any of our partners to misspell names of our customers for any reason,’ he said.