the road ahead

Green Apron People
June 8, 2008, 12:01 pm
Filed under: business, ministry

starbucks green apron bookIt happens almost every morning. I show up in a small cozy shop where the smell of coffee floats out the door and the sound of happy people talking fills the air while the green apron people smile and greet you at the counter anxiously waiting to serve you. Wow what a feeling! A place where strangers greet me with a smile and want to help me! Have you guessed the place? Yes it is Starbucks where the Green Apron People serve you.

I have an employee who served as a manager in the Starbucks chain. She told me about the values and employee training they go through in order to work in the store. She told me about The Green Apron Book . This might be old news to some of you but I got a copy of the book and read it. It helped me to understand the environment I was experiencing at Starbucks. The Green Apron People were practicing the values from the book!

Here are some exerpts from the book.

Give, Connect, Elevate

Be Welcoming

Be Genuine

Be Knowledgeable

Be Considerate

Be Involved

Finally the book ends with these words:

Make a Friend, Make a Difference, Make Someone’s Day!

So now I understand the Green Apron People. They are seeking to provide a place where I can come and experience acceptance, service and pleasure. I can’t think of a better example of servant leadership. Starbucks has found a place in so many peoples lives on a daily basis and it all revolves around a form of servanthood.

So here is my challenge. First do I serve others in that way? Is NavPress exemplified by that kind of servanthood? Thank God for the Green Apron People!


2 Comments so far
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Somewhere in cyberspace is the exquisitely crafted comment I wrote about this post. You’ll have to take my word on that one, I suppose. . .sigh.

So, now the microwave version. I don’t travel extensively, but enough to connect the dots that genuinely nice people worked in every Starbucks I visited in my state and others. I appreciated their patience in those early days when I thought “skinny frap” sounded like something one should be careful shouting in public.

Do I serve others that way? Sometimes. How is it people can be trained to be nice to customers, and we/I fail to realize I’m surrounded by God’s “customers” daily? It’s all in the handbook, that whole notion of servanthood. I’m glad God wrote one for us.


Comment by christa

My nineteen year-old daughter loves her job as a “green apron person” at Starbuck’s. Last week she had a rare bad day though, when a customer who obviously hadn’t had his caffeine yet got in her face—literally—because he thought she was trying to charge him LESS for his order than she should have. While he ranted (so close she could smell his breath) she tried to politely diffuse the situation.

When I heard about the incident, I thought of all the things I might have said to that man had I been there. None of them were nice; I’d be defending my young, after all. Yet my daughter acted on the idiom, “The customer is always right.” She put the customer’s ego ahead of her own. She allowed him to “be right” even when he was clearly mistaken.

It’s so easy to take the other tack, to be defensive when someone doesn’t like our work or doesn’t agree with us. I want to remember my daughter’s response when I receive criticism for the ideals expressed in my work. Though I believe I am genuine and knowledgeable about the subjects I write about, I hope that when others dispute what I’ve written I can be considerate, too. I hope I can swallow my ego and treat them with respect. It’s not easy to serve those who receive our service with hostility, but if my teenager can do it, surely I can too. Maybe I need to borrow her green apron!

Comment by Sharon Fawcett

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