I went walking at lunch today, because I haven’t walked in a while and it was only raining a little bit. I took a lap around the river, then grabbed a quick bite to eat. As I was walking back to my office I thought to myself that an iced mocha would be a mighty tasty treat for a Friday afternoon, and so I headed for the next Starbucks.

As an aside, I should point out that when I say ‘the next Starbucks’, that’s precisely what I mean. Not ‘the Starbucks’ or even ‘the nearest Starbucks’, for they are far too ubiquitous for that. No, I mean the very next one along my intended route. But I digress.

There was a young man entering the building just ahead of me. A young woman was coming out at the same time with her hands full of caramel mochafrappa-something-or-others, and as she pushed the door open it tapped him on the shoulder. He shot her a look that was, well, it was equal parts shocked and petulant. Although she said she was sorry, he sure looked like he wasn’t satisfied with her apology. We went on into the store.

Now, I know exactly what I want. And I know exactly how to order so as to minimize the amount of time I have to actually spend in Starbucks. But I found myself in line behind Petulant Boy, who was nervously playing with his hands as he spoke to the woman behind the counter.

“… um …. I got a hot caramel macchiato yesterday … no, it was iced … but I wanted it hot … and I called the store … um … and the lady told me … I just had to come in and you would give me another drink …”

The lady behind the counter was quite professional. “Can you tell me the name of the person you talked to?”

“… um … Abbie … I think …”

“I’m sorry, there is no Abbie working at this store. And if someone had taken that message, they would have left me a note, or an email, explaining the situation. And nobody left me a note, so I’m sorry but I can’t help you.”

Petulant boy started to get a whiny tone in his voice. “…um….I called the store… the person I talked to said … um … I would get another drink ….”

“Are you sure you called this store? Because we don’t have an Abbie working here. Did you call another store by mistake?”

” …um … maybe … but I bought my drink at THIS store.”

“I’m very sorry, but unless someone left me a note, or you have a receipt, I can’t give you another drink.”

” … um … ”

First of all, my daughter is a MUCH better liar than this guy was. Perhaps she should give lessons. Second, I wish I could live in HIS universe for a while, where apparently all you have to do is make a vague assertion about some error in service at some unspecified previous time and you get free stuff!! Wheeee!!

Petulant boy, who was now Sullen Boy, then asked for a glass of water. And I got my iced mocha, which I actually paid for myself. And oddly enough, if they had given me the wrong drink, I’m pretty sure I would have brought it up before I left the store, while I still had it in my hand, rather than calling them up the next day and hoping that I would get a free drink using magic pixie dust.

If Petulent Boy wants free coffee, he’s going to have to put in his time panhandling for latte money like all the other sullen kiddies.