Friday, February 3, 2017

Starbucks January Tumbler - A Different Location EVERY SINGLE DAY IN JANUARY

I DID IT!!!!  I tackled a BIG new project, and I succeeded!!!!

This is the WINNER POSE at our house.  All big accomplishments are celebrated with a WINNER POSE!
Those of you who know me know that I always have a project, okay, SEVERAL PROJECTS, happening simultaneously…  There was the huge Trader Joe’s project in 2014 – I reviewed a Trader Joe’s product every single day of the year (I still add to that blog periodically by reviewing more).*  In 2016 I started Kindness Activist – where I write about kind things people do in the hopes of inspiring more kindness…**  I often have “Project Warmth” going on our front gate – giving away warm clothing to passersby.***  And I always have a “Photo A Day” project going, though 2014 is the only one that I have taken the time to compile and complete so far.****

So, given my love of projects (and apparent OCD-like nature in terms of said projects…) it should come as no surprise to you that when I got a Starbucks “January Tumbler” for Christmas, instead of simply receiving it as a lovely GIFT, I also took it as a CHALLENGE…  You see, every holiday Starbucks sells special cups that you can bring in each day of January and get a free coffee or tea.  Yes, FREE.  Not any fancy schmancy coffee, mind you, but regular coffee or hot tea.  If you want something fancier you can pay the difference.

So when I opened my gift from nephews Jordan and Zach, I hatched a project plan:  I WOULD FILL THAT CUP EVERY SINGLE DAY WITH A FREE DRINK.  They quietly told me that, despite the fine print on the cup limiting the free fills to once a day, “everybody” actually gets multiple fills per day to get the most mileage out of their special cup.  NOT.  THIS.  GAL.  No siree!  Instead of cheating the system, I set out to EXPLORE IT!  When I opened my cup during our family’s belated Christmas celebration (the evening on January 1st) I decided that I would fill it every day of January in a DIFFERENT STARBUCKS.  And that I would take photos to document the project and make a video when I was done!!  LINK TO VIDEO HERE - ENJOY (but remember to come back and read about the rest of the project after you watch!  Starbucks January Tumbler Video

This Starbucks has a great wooden wall, eh?  It is the store at 1101 South Joyce Road in Pentagon Row (Arlington, VA).
 I thought a Starbucks near the Pentagon would be good for Inauguration Day (January 20th, day 19 of this project).
I filled my cup that day with  Casi Cielo coffee (I know these facts from my copious notes!)
Since I got the cup the evening of January 1st, I missed that day of free coffee, drat.  But I was off and running starting the morning of January 2nd!!!  Each day I filled up in a different Starbucks, and each time I took a photo of myself with my cup, using sign language to tell which “fill” I was on.  (Note:  it got a bit tricky when I hit number 16…  Some numbers 16 and higher use movement, and movement cannot be captured in a still photograph.  So, you may notice that some of the numbers look similar, but trust me, I made the real number, the camera just captured part of it!)

Some days were hard to do – I was sick with “the crud” the majority of the month (still on meds even as we “speak”) and did not have much energy.  But heading to Starbucks every day became a highlight and something I always looked forward to!!  There was only one day that I could not get out, I was just tooooo sick and stuck in bed the entire day (and night).  But I sent my trusty nurse, Nurse David, out to grab a refill for me and he delivered it to me in bed!  Now that is service. 

Day 21, too sick to get out of bed but did not mess up the project!  Thanks for the tea refill nurse David!
In the end, I filled up my cup in SEVEN STATES (North Carolina, Virginia, Washington DC, Nebraska, Iowa, Connecticut, and Maryland).  And I visited Starbucks in 16 different cities for this project (that includes the duddy Starbucks in Simsbury, Connecticut where the doors were locked 3 minutes before closing time and even though 2 baristas were inside, smiling at us, and waving, they refused to even come to the door to hear my plea of, “I just want TEA – it’s hot water and 2 tea bags!  Please don’t mess up this epic project!”.  Oh yeah, I am calling you out on your duddiness, Simsbury.  You have a cute little location but your employees get 2 thumbs down from me.). 

BOO to this crappy Starbucks in Simsbury, Connecticut who ALMOST caused me to miss a day of refills!
Oh, that wasn’t the only bump in the road on this project!  I also learned about “Fakebucks”.  Those are Starbucks that you assume are genuine, only they are not, they are FAKE!  The one in the Barnes and Noble in Alexandria, Virginia is the one that punked me!  But luckily, there was another REAL Starbucks in the same parking lot and they happily filled my tumbler.  J   And the Midwest got slammed with a huge ice storm while we were in Omaha, so one day’s fill was made more treacherous by black ice and the police asking everyone to please stay home (SORRY officers, but I couldn’t miss a day…).  The first Starbucks we made it to that night in Council Bluffs, Iowa had a handwritten sign on the door saying they were closed due to weather, but the location in the Target across the way was still serving!!

I met some fun baristas along the way:
·         I filled out a form to nominate Barista Aaron as the best employee in the whole St. Louis Airport
·         I wrote about the kindness of Barista Messy for my Kindness Activist Project
·         And I marveled at Datrina, a great barista at the Baker’s grocery store in Omaha, Nebraska who knew the customers by name and very genuinely asked how their families were doing

Aaron and I in the St Louis Airport Starbucks
Whew.  The Starbucks January Tumbler Project is over!  It is a relief to not have to worry about messing up the project every day by accidentally not fulfilling my “mission”, but secretly I also miss “having” to do it.  It is time to dig into another project I guess!
Here are some stats from this epic project:

STATES I FILLED UP MY CUP IN:
1       1.    North Carolina
   2.    Virginia
   3.     Connecticut
   4.     Washington DC (technically a District, not a state...)
   5.     Maryland
   6.     Nebraska
   7.     Iowa

CITIES I FILLED UP MY CUP IN:
         1.  Alexandria
   2.  Arlington
   3.  Farmingham
   4.  Roslyn
   5.  West Hartford
   6.  Simsbury
   7.  Bethesda
   8.  Great Falls
   9.  Council Bluffs
  10. Omaha
  11.  Bellevue
  12.  St Louis
  13.  Falls Church
  14.  Potomac
  15.  Avon
  16.  Lumberton

Special thanks to:  David Gaines (for driving me on black ice just to get a cup of tea, for putting up with my insanity every day, for snapping some of the photos, and for being the best nurse around), Michelle Vicino (for sweetly driving me to multiple Starbucks in Connecticut even though she would have rather been in bed…), Jordan Harrold and Zach Wheeler (for gifting me this amazing cup!!), and the Starbucks baristas who took a moment to stop and (at least feign) be interested. 

Here are links to other projects mentioned in this piece:
·         Trader Joe’s 365 - Trader Joe's 365 link
·         Kindness Activist - Kindness Activist link
·         Project Warmth - Project Warmth Story Link
·         Photo a Day 2014 (Bed a Day) - Bed a Day Link with video
·         Bonus!  A Starbucks song!  “Taylor the Latte Boy”, a classic about a barista, by Kristin Chenoweth (I met ONE barista named Taylor while on this adventure, and it was a female who had never heard of this song…)  Taylor the Latte Boy Link

·         Another link to the video of the January Tumbler project:  Starbucks Every Day Link

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