My mother sent me an article several years ago (by which I mean anywhere from 2 to 8 years in the past) from Newsweek magazine (maybe.......) about the monetary cost of happiness.
I really wish I could find that article again, as it was truly awesome, but my (very lazy) attempts to find it on the internet haven't yielded success, and even though I know I held onto the paper copy at the time, there have been so many moves (not to mention details like much of my belongings still in storage at present) that where it might be really is anybody's guess.
Some fuzzy details aside though, I DO distinctly remember the Starbucks evaluation.
And the conclusion the article reached was that if all you need is your morning caffeine fix, you are way overpaying for your $5 fancy coffee drink, and that even buying one of the very nice home espresso machines would be a better use of money in the long term.
HOWEVER, if the barista knows more about your love life than your mother and you look forward to seeing the same regulars every morning, the cost of the fancy coffee drink might actually be worth it's overpriced price tag for the added happiness those human relationships bring to your day.
And I'm starting to see how that really works.
The Target in Boulder has a Starbucks in it, and I've gotten into the habit of getting a hot chocolate there on my morning break most of the days I'm opening.
Being able to drink anything (especially hot chocolate) in piece is certainly worth something to me, as trying to do so when I'm with the girls is truly a futile effort, and it's a nice little reward for working so hard in the mornings (as the first few hours are definitely the busiest for instocks).
However, as I keep going in I've also gotten to know the baristas rather well.
Or more precisely, they've gotten to know me rather well.
The three that regularly open during the week all know what I order and will have my hot chocolate started before they even ring me up for it.
Which, other than I'm still *slightly* embarrassed by the fact that I don't drink coffee, is really rather cool.
But a few weeks ago, it went above and beyond.
I had lost my book the day before, and I suspected that I left it in Starbucks after my lunch break (or accidentally threw it in the trash when I was throwing away other stuff........) when I realized it's missingness on my afternoon break.
However, the girl who was working the coffee machines right then had just started her shift AND was one of the very new hires (don't get hot chocolate from the new ones), and had no idea whether a book had been found or where it might have gone.
And since the rest of my searching of the lost-and-found and seeing whether it had been re-shelved was without success, I stopped by Starbucks on my lunch break the next day to ask one of my usual barista's, who had also been working the day before, whether my book had turned up as he would have been one to both recognize it as mine and set it away for me.
But sadly, there was no book, and I mournfully went off to booklessly eat my lunch.
(Anyone have a copy of The Help they'd like to loan me?? I was just getting to the really good part.... but am still bulking at the idea of spending another $12 on a second copy just to finish reading it.)
And then, a surprise appeared.
Yep, the barista made me a personalized "lost book pick-me-up" hot chocolate.
Because he is awesome. And possibly even a friend. Which, in some ways, the demonstration of such is even cooler than the hot chocolate itself.