Why Are You and Starbucks® Giving Away Free Coffee?

When the weather is as glorious as it’s been here in Texas this spring, Tom and I’ll often take an early morning walk to one of our local Starbucks® – we have three to choose from but only one serves free coffee consistently. How do you get free coffee at Starbucks®? Easy – go to the one where the staff has developed the bad habit of not being ready when the doors open.

I don’t know if it’s a Starbucks® corporate policy, but it’s certainly a policy at this local Starbucks that if you show up after they open and they’re out of coffee, or even worse, haven’t brewed it yet, they’ll give you your coffee for free (if you can stand the waiting around for your caffeine-fix).

This works out to my advantage more often than not. Like a hospital, Starbucks® has a staff rotation and different staffing acuities (based on rush hour, etc.). One of the shifts with low acuity consistently shows up late (i.e. to open at 5:30am – they arrive at 5:29am), has trouble grinding the beans, stocking the pastries, filling the creamers and generally getting going. You’d think, working in a coffee shop, they’d get there early enough to brew some go juice or toss back a red eye so they’re caffeinated when they open. Nope, instead they’re passing out free java to what should have been the first crop of paying customers. The best part for us is, their shift rotation coincides with our walks (hmmmm…coincidence? I think not.)

I’m not trying to sound like a “pointy-haired boss.” I remember my early nursing jobs – at first I showed up early, hat on straight, whites starched and ironed, even with polished shoes. But soon I was in the same rut as all the other nurses. If handover or shift change was at 6:30 – I’d roll in at 6:29, slightly unkempt but, ready to work. I understand where these kids are coming from. However, if a coffee shop opens at 5:30am that means open with cauldrons of steaming hot, fragrant lifer juice just waiting to be poured into the cups of the caffeine-fiends clamoring at the windows like zombies in a movie.

If insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result, isn’t it also making the same mistake over and over and expecting a different result? Maybe my mistake is expecting them to be ready to serve brain juice when I show up looking for my fresh cup of joe when the store opens. But I’ll admit, when the reward for my mistake is free jitter juice for me it’s a mistake I can live with.

But what bad habits have you developed in your legal nurse consulting career that are causing you to give your attorney-clients a cup (or pot) of free coffee? Have you been slipping deadlines and then working overtime to catch up? Are you not returning calls promptly? Is your availability limited or are you not subcontracting? Maybe you’re appearing needy to the attorney-client or you’re not listening. (Newsflash: Unless you’re married to him/her you HAVE to listen.) Or worst of all, maybe you’re running down rabbit trails in your research and not being cost effective with your time. Each of these represents a free cup of hot, steamy, expensive Starbucks® ready to be served to your attorney-clients – in order to keep them.

The hardest thing about bad habits is recognizing them as bad, not just as habits. Take a few minutes and honestly evaluate your own habits. Make a list and work at eliminating one a week. If you need to get yourself a cup of Juan Valdez’s best to get started, feel free. We’re looking at the end result – not the process. The main thing is to stop giving away free coffee and start working like the caffeinated first-rate Certified Legal Nurse Consultant you’re capable of being.

Meanwhile, I’ll be enjoying another free cup of the nectar of the gods!

Success Is Inside!

P.S. While I enjoy a small cup of coffee, my favorite beverage is healthy green tea. Try it.

2 thoughts on “Why Are You and Starbucks® Giving Away Free Coffee?

  1. There is something to be said for the old proverbs: Early bird gets the worm and failing to plan is planning to fail. I wholeheartedly agree with you. You always speak your mind so eloquently and in this case sent us a real wake-up call. Thanks.

  2. Gosh, I’ve tried every bad habit at least once. I think we owe it to ourselves to just “see” if it’s as bad as they say. Thankfully, I didn’t try all of them in the same day.

    I tried arriving at work with three minutes to go. Couldn’t do it. I felt like I was behind all day! I had to arrive 30 minutes early to help the prior shift and to assess each person that was there. Then, I didn’t feel bad sitting in report for 30 minutes drinking my coffee. I had to let that bad habit go.

    Now, I think it’s the shift that stops or closes up at night that is missing. They should have that coffee ready to go for those poor guys coming in at 5:30! (isn’t that the middle of the night?) I set my coffee up at night so I have it in the morning. I do the same with my cases. I sort of close them up with a thousand little sticky notes telling me what to do in the morning. Planning is essential. Being ready for opportunity is essential.

    I’m probably the “pointy-haired boss” though. Because before people would leave that coffee shop at night, I’d have the filters filled and the shelves stocked so all they needed to do is push a button when they came in. On the other hand, if the coffee is free just for making no suggestions, I may let that bad habit slip and just smile. Like CLNC® consultants their bound to catch on eventually.

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