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My Name Is Gjoni, But At Starbucks, It’s John
***The following article— “My Name Is Gjoni, But At Starbucks, It’s John” by Ashley Elizabeth Wood is not an official Albanian Voices article. The views expressed in this article are entirely those of its author and do not necessarily represent the views of Albanian Voices or any of its partner organizations.***
This is not a new complaint. You are exhausted, out of energy and need a coffee. You pop into the nearest Starbucks for your usual latte and they ask you what your name is. You tell them your name, perfectly clearly, and they write something down. Yet, inevitably, when you get your cup, your name has been written embarrassingly wrong.
I have very few problems at Starbucks. My name is Ashley and I spell it the standard way (not Ashli, Ashlee, Ashlea, Ashleigh or Ashlei). Even so, the baristas at Starbucks have still spelled my name “Ashely,” which as far as I know, isn’t a thing. All of my friends joke about this – sharing stories of when their names were pathetically misspelled. One day, I was getting coffee with Bora when I noticed that she gave her name to the Starbucks employee as “Laura.” I teased her and asked why she hadn’t said “Bora” or “Snow.” She told me that it was just too annoying to clarify, spell and then still see them still do it wrong. I hadn’t even thought about using an alternative name! If Starbucks employees mess up my American friends’ names, then surely then cannot handle foreign ones. I started asking around with my Albanian friends to see what kinds of names they also give to the Starbucks employees. I got a lot of funny responses. Gjoni was John, Pashko was Pete, Marija was just Maria or Mary, Flurim was Frank. And it didn’t stop there. Arlinda was Linda, Stjefan was Steve and Arjana was Jane. What do you have to say at Starbucks so that they don’t butcher your name? We want to know!
According to “Know Your Meme,” Starbucks enacted the policy of requiring baristas to write the names of customers on the cups in September 2005. On May 13th, 2010, a Tumblr blog titled “Starbucks Got My Name Wrong” was launched, which highlights photographs of misspelled names written on Starbucks cups. In June of 2011, two more blogs popped up with the same theme. First, Starbucks Screw-ups and then Starbucks Spelling were created on Tumblr. On July 6th, Funny or Die published a compilation of notable examples from the Starbucks Spelling Tumblr blog. Throughout 2012 and until now, even more blogs and websites documenting Starbucks’ name FAILs have continued to emerge on Tumblr. There is a Facebook page called “When Starbucks Gets Your Name Wrong” and you can constantly search for more FAILs on Twitter #starbucksfail #whenstarbucksspellsyournamewrong #starbucksspellings.
The best is this video parody which explains the real reason why. What is your “Starbucks name?”: