I JUST REWATCHED IT AND I HAVE QUESTIONS

I’m just saying, if I saw a clown randomly appear in front of an abandoned house I, for sure, would not stick around to figure out if it was friendly or dangerous. It can kill me from behind, but at least I won’t have to look at it’s multiple rows of teeth.

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KARAOKE IS GOOD FOR THE SOUL

There’s nothing more therapeutic than finding a song that matches your current mood and singing the lyrics. Even if you aren’t a professional singer – that’s what makes it more fun.

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CAN I SEE YOUR ID?

There are several key birthday milestones that you count down to growing up. Your 10th birthday, for sure. I mean, double digits! You remember getting so excited to be double digits without really realizing that there’s a good chance you will never leave the double digit range … think about that for a second. What was so great about 10 anyways? That’s a whole extra candle your parents had to buy for the cake. 10 is selfish is what it is.

Plus then you’re on the verge of the pre-teen years which are fun for absolutely nobody. Not your parents. Not your friends. Not you. Not your teachers. Nobody. It’s a phase that is frustrating, stressful, and confusing. And that’s all before you hit the joy of puberty. Which is also frustrating, stressful, and confusing. But also scary and sad and exciting and you realize you’re nearing the next milestone which is the sweet sixteen. Ironically, the only sweet thing about being 16 is the ability to drive. Which is expensive so once again who’s really winning here?

Then there’s 18 and you’re finally an adult! Again, though, not as exciting as we hype ourselves up for. You can buy cigarettes so I guess it’s a good way to learn about consequences. Although you only partially get treated like an adult. You get to go to college, which IS an awesome milestone. Even there though, it’s not quite the same as the monotonous, expensive, and exhausting world that is post-college.

Among the birthday milestones that we trick ourselves into getting pumped about, the 21st one is the best day of your life. No more worrying about getting caught with a fake, or having to bribe your older friends into getting you some bottles, or swiping extra liquor from the very back of your parent’s cabinet hoping they don’t use those. You can waltz into the grocery store. The liquor store. The gas station. The club. The bar. Wherever and slap that ID card down and get whatever your little heart desires.

While being an alcohol drinking adult has its perks, like most good things, there are downfalls. That downfall is being asked to show your ID. Don’t get me wrong, that first day you reach purchasing freedom, you want to brag about it! You want everywhere you go to ask for that card so you can whip it out. Then wait awkwardly for them to have to triple check the date to make sure it’s the very minimum legal age. A powerful feeling.

During the post-turning-21-hangover, having to pull your ID out of your wallet every time becomes … annoying. Especially as you start to age towards your mid and late 20s. How young do you have to look to be closer to 30 than 21 and be asked to prove yourself. There’s always the one friend who will get carded, even when nobody else in the entire group does. I am that friend. I could go out with my parents, and only I will get carded. Not even my younger, not even 21 year old, sister gets carded. She just gets drinks. But I’m the one who looks underage. Ok.

If everyone in the group gets asked to prove their age, that’s one thing. The server is just protecting their job. And probably the whole establishment. But to single one person out, what is the purpose of even asking? Why waste both of our time? What was the thinking going into this? If one of them is at least 21, all of them must be 21? How does that work? Some of my friends have even decided to take No Shave November all the way through the pandemic and look like they belong in a frat house. And still I’m the only one who gets carded.

Clearly I’m unbothered by my young face. If I still look like a high schooler maybe I’ll look like a 20-something in my late 40s so there are perks. Eventually. So they tell me. Once you hit 21 you get a few consecutive solid exciting birthdays, though. Taylor Swift year, Jordan year, Kobe year, rent a car year. And then you’re in your late 20s and it becomes less exciting from there. You have to wait for 30 and by that point the over the hill jokes are coming out. So you’re excited on the outside, but sad on the inside.

Alright, jumping off my pedestal for now. If you know someone who would enjoy this post and want to share it with them, that would be awesome. Sharing is caring, after all. Don’t forget to subscribe to get these in your inbox twice weekly and follow TRP on Twitter for frequent musings. Thanks for reading!


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COFFEE v. TEA

Ah, the morning, afternoon, evening, and late night drinks of choice for a disturbing portion of the population. The addiction that people literally cannot live without. At least not without soul crushing headaches and patches of exhaustion scattered at non-normal times throughout the day. Among other things, I’ve heard. I, to the horror of my colleagues, friends, and family, do not participate in the liquid caffeine. I’m one of those wake up, get dressed, ready to go kind of people. What can I say, I’m a natural.

Now despite my morning routine, I know that I’m an endangered species. With Starbucks popping up faster than grocery stores, our whole culture has embraced the coffee and tea movements. More than even the bacon movement. Which is probably a good thing. Certain things don’t need to be related to bacon. Including, but not limited to, bacon flavoring, bacon scent, bacon images, or adding bacon. I, also, am not a bacon fan. I’m basically an alien, I think.

Ok, moving on from the very glaring things that make me a weirdo, coffee and tea and all the caffeine! While both will give you your morning fix, there are very real differences between the two. Starting with the obvious: coffee is an addiction while tea is a hobby. Coffee is seen as more of a habit that people get hooked on and can’t seem to kick. A problem, so to speak. On the other hand, tea is healthy. It’s a good medium between needing caffeine and the no caffeine extreme.

Let’s talk about coffee first. Since c comes well before t in the alphabet, it just seems right. Most coffee that I’ve seen people drink ranges in color from black to light brown. Although, are the light brown ones really coffee, or are they milk with a dash of coffee? I have to believe it’s the latter. Which … why drink coffee if you have to add more sugar, milk, creamer, ice, flavor pumps, etc. than there is actual coffee? Why not just drink a milkshake at that point? This is what I don’t understand about coffee drinkers. Or people who go to STARBUCKS. Genuinely a question I would like someone to answer for me.

Then we have tea. Which, if I’m being honest, I think is all different variations of clear. Since it’s basically water. With some leaves thrown into it. It tastes like someone dipped the Flintstones multivitamins in hot water. There are “flavors”, but there aren’t really. Let’s not kid ourselves. You take a scoop, or a bag, or literal things from nature. They could be mistaken for certain drugs. Just saying. 

My big question around both of these options, though, is why it’s so freaking complicated. They took something simple – hot water and beans or hot water and leaves – and made whole new languages around them. I don’t even know how to order coffee, or shop for tea. There are too many options. A few would be great, but we’re at a different level. Stressful amounts of options. And everyone who participates is always so impatient to get their energy levels up that any hesitation on your part leads to multiple new enemies behind you in line.

I, personally, prefer a calmer way to start my mornings. A nice cup of water. Maybe some juice, if I’m feeling frisky. Food. Then on with whatever adventure awaits me. No coffee. No tea. No angry people. No ridiculous amount of choices. No waiting for water to heat up. No getting diabetes from my drink. Flavor. All I want. All I need. But no judgement against all of you who ride the bandwagon. There are a lot of people in my life on that path and I still love them very much.

Alright, jumping off my pedestal for now. If you know someone who would enjoy this post and want to share it with them, that would be awesome. Sharing is caring, after all. Don’t forget to subscribe to get these in your inbox twice weekly and follow TRP on Twitter for frequent musings. Thanks for reading!


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RANKING POPULAR HARD SELTZER BRANDS

Hard seltzers are a whole mood. Nothing says I’m here to have a good time for a long time like a hard seltzer. I mean it’s basically water after all. Just with some “natural” flavors and some sort of non-water added. Presumably alcohol, although who’s preventing someone from coming out with a hard LaCroix and scamming people. The Internet. That’s who. All the trolls and people looking to make a quick buck. Which in this case works out very well for all of us looking to get our buzz on.

Unlike beer, wine, or mixed drinks, you can drink hard seltzers all day. There’s a reason White Claw is the new unofficial Corona of the beach. Have one, have four, have a case – you can still go to dinner afterwards and feel great! In other words, it’s like drinking hard liquor without having to actually drink hard liquor. Because why do we do that to ourselves? It ends the same way every time and we never learn. Peer pressure is a true threat to the health of my liver, but still I can’t say no.

For everyone who thinks hard seltzers are for the weak, come talk to me after trying to keep up with your 7.5% IPA. Bubbles and carbs are not a good combination for efficiency in a timely manner. But this post is not about volume. It’s about quality and, like most things in life, not all hard seltzers are created equally. They are all created equally on the outside, however. I have yet to find a hard seltzer in a bottle. I have been given the option of a hard seltzer on tap, though, and I have to be real – that’s too far. A hard seltzer should come in a can, so I can take it anywhere, and be refreshing to the point where I’m not really sure if I’m drinking juice, regular seltzer, or something for adults only.

Alright, enough pregaming, let’s get to it! There are many, many, many … many options on the market right now, but some are better than others. Some are also better than most. 3, 2, 1 cheers! Here are the rankings of current hard seltzer brands. According to me. The Restless Professional. You may feel differently and I guess that’s fine. You do you. I’m doing me. There are definitely others, but for the sake of space, my sanity, and my health, sticking to more popular options:

  1. Michelob Organic Hard Seltzer Signature Flavors
  2. Press Premium Hard Seltzer
  3. Crook & Marker Spiked Seltzer
  4. Michelob Organic Hard Seltzer Classic Collection
  5. Truly Punch Hard Seltzer
  6. Bud Light Seltzer Retro Pack
  7. Bud Light Seltzer Remix Pack
  8. Bud Light Seltzer Holiday Pack
  9. Smirnoff Seltzer Rose Pack
  10. Natty Light Hard Seltzer
  11. Vizzy Hard Seltzer
  12. Bud Light Hard Seltzer
  13. White Claw Hard Seltzer
  14. Bud Light Lemonade Seltzer
  15. Truly Lemonade Hard Seltzer
  16. Truly Hard Seltzer
  17. Jose Cuervo Tequila Seltzer
  18. Seagram’s Hard Seltzer
  19. Mike’s Hard Lemonade Seltzer
  20. High Noon Hard Seltzer
  21. Truly Tea Hard Seltzer
  22. Truly Extra Hard Seltzer
  23. PBR Stronger Seltzer
  24. BON V!V Spiked Seltzer
  25. Wild Basin Hard Seltzer

Believe it or not, 25 only dents the currently way over-saturated seltzer market. This is my blog and I don’t feel pressure to justify, but I do think it would be fun to dive in deeper. And you can’t stop me, so here goes! Michelob and Press are clearly winners and everyone should buy them. I can, and will, drink them all day every day. Crook & Marker is a close third and very flavorful. Truly averages the bottom half of the list, but their Punch Pack is a gem. Not sure that tea is the same as water, so is it really a seltzer? Marketing says yes, but it still tastes like a Twisted Tea to me. Bud Light has found their true calling and has released several killer collections that spice up any time of year. Smirnoff and Jose Cuervo couldn’t be outdone by beer companies and make decent options as well. The rose collection is more for crisp seltzers / borderline cider fans, however.

Natty Light is the biggest surprise on this list. While I would never again subject myself to the watered down toast that is a regular Natty Light, their seltzers are surprisingly on point and their flavor combos are unique – which says a lot in the current market. Vizzy and White Claw are good, but forgettable among new competition. Seagram’s and Mike’s are known for disgustingly sweet drinks and their seltzers are no different. Still decent flavors, though, and who doesn’t love a good Mike’s Hard in the summer? Rounding it out, High Noon and BON V!V I can take a hard pass on. While their flavors sound good, the taste is nowhere near expectations. Finally, the new Truly Extra and PBR Stronger taste more like liquor than a refreshing seltzer. Though still both better than Wild Basin which tastes exactly like the name implies.

Alright, jumping off my pedestal for now. If you know someone who would enjoy this post and want to share it with them, that would be awesome. Sharing is caring, after all. Don’t forget to subscribe to get these in your inbox twice weekly and follow TRP on Twitter for frequent musings. Thanks for reading!


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ALL OF MY THOUGHTS WHILE BEING STUCK IN AN ELEVATOR

Elevators are an invention. A way to assist in moving vertically with minimal effort. Or if you are physically unable to use stairs, which, in that case, this post is not for you. As a mildly claustrophobic person, you can imagine that elevators are rarely my first option for getting between floors in a building. While I do regret saying this to the whole world that is the Internet, and thus, is forever, I am a stairs first kind of kid.

Stairs have a lot of advantages over the metal death box that is the elevator. For one, it will never fail on you electrically. It will never stop unexpectedly in the middle of the ascent, or descent. It will continue to be the emergency exit route in case of fire … or when you find out there’s a BOGO at the taco truck down the street and you need to get in line yesterday. It will always be a better form of exercise. It will not require awkward silences with strangers. Overall, a solid option considering there are usually only two at any given time.

I think now is a good time for emphasizing my point. Stairs will never fail on you electrically and they will never stop unexpectedly in the middle of the ascent, or descent. Elevators, however, will and do. At a shockingly high rate. Their stability and built-in “safety” measures for when you shift your weight from one foot to the other way too quickly leave a lot to be desired. And in case it was unclear from the title of this post, one of my nightmares came true recently and I got stuck in an elevator. Not even a nice, big service elevator either. Just a standard hotel, can maybe fit 6 people pre-COVID, elevator.

Never have I met someone who has wanted to get stuck in a confined metal space with minimal decorations and no cell service, so I have to believe everyone can relate to my rollercoaster of thoughts, emotions, and panic, during my 90 minute experience. To truly pull you into my mental state, I would like to set some initial background context. I, thankfully, had my significant other with me, but it was just the two of us. It was late at night. We were stuck in between two floors and thus hanging helplessly by the elevator cables in a floating box of death. And with that, please enjoy my survival story:

  • Did … did the elevator just stop?
  • Why are the identifying floor numbers stuck on 3?
  • Did … did the elevator lady just say that we were experiencing technical difficulties?
  • Why are the emergency lights coming on?
  • How do we get out of here?
  • Oh my, we are actually stuck
  • None of the buttons work – are the buttons supposed to work?
  • I can hear the alarm when I press the button, but no one seems to be responding to our cry for help
  • Resist the urge to panic
  • The call button says we’re being connected to the elevator company and … we’re on hold?
  • Why are we on hold? How many elevator emergencies happen at 11PM?
  • The operator! Finally!
  • Oh dear, we’ve been disconnected
  • Call back and we are somehow STILL ON HOLD?!
  • Clearly the call button is not going to be useful. Like the alarm button. Why even have those in there? What kind of sick false hope is this?!
  • Which one of us has a cell signal?
  • I see my cell service doesn’t extend into elevator shafts
  • Time to embrace that the inside of this elevator might be the last thing I see
  • Thank the heavens, my SO has one bar!
  • Is one bar enough to call the hotel? Apparently, yes
  • Not sure that this is the right moment for my SO to make small talk with the hotel clerk so … HELP US! WE ARE STUCK IN THE ELEVATOR!
  • Message received, maintenance is coming. I might live to hit another rooftop bar tonight after all
  • The amplification of noise inside an elevator car is shocking. One would never know unless they were forced to stay in one place for a while
  • Why is everyone in this hotel accessing the other, working, elevator from this floor?
  • If the maintenance guy tells one more person that we’re stuck in the elevator I’m going to hulk smash through the door
  • I see that throwing the breaker 10 times didn’t fix it so what’s next?
  • And, we’re back to having to contact the elevator company
  • Thank goodness I used the bathroom before we got on this death ride
  • Is it getting hot in here? Is there even fresh air flowing in?
  • How do people successfully trick their minds to be in a happy place? Because right now my mind is hella aware of where my body is
  • Breathe. In and out, in and out, in and out
  • The elevator company apparently responds to phone calls but not emergency signals from the inside of the elevator. Interesting
  • Someone is coming to get us out in a cool 45 minutes
  • Where is the company located that it’s going to take 45 minutes? Do they not get police level speeding privileges for this? I could be having a panic attack
  • If we called the fire department, would they arrive sooner?
  • Should we call the fire department?
  • Would the elevator company be mad if we called the fire department?
  • Guess we will wait, it’s been almost 45 minutes already so … what do we have to lose? Besides phone battery
  • Did I lock my car door?
  • What late night eats will be open when we are finally able to get out of this thing?
  • Never in my life have I craved being in my home on a Zoom call as much as I am right now. Free to roam around
  • Why do the new Starbucks store designs look like weird shipping containers?
  • How much emotion exists for a fish? Like what is that spectrum?
  • If I had known we would have been in here for so long, I would have brought my cake leftovers
  • What … is that? Is that the door finally opening?
  • It’s the elevator man!
  • And the hotel staff who want to take us to the lobby … on the other elevator … like the stairs aren’t an option

Alright, jumping off my pedestal for now. If you know someone who would enjoy this post and want to share it with them, that would be awesome. Sharing is caring, after all. Don’t forget to subscribe to get these in your inbox twice weekly and follow TRP on Twitter for frequent musings. Thanks for reading!


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HULU’S COMMERCIAL ALGORITHM: THE ULTIMATE TROLL

Hulu has crashed onto the streaming services scene and has really been making waves. Offering a live TV option. Giving you the fastest access to current seasons. Beginning to rival Netflix’s quality and quantity with their Hulu Originals. Having one of the best color schemes in television apps. Green is honestly superior to red. It’s the color of money for one. And half of the Christmas color scheme. Supposedly, according to my BIF (best Internet friend) Google, our minds associate it with life, nature, energy, growth, freshness, safety, and ambition, among other things.

Despite all the good things going it’s way, though, Hulu has a dark side. Some might think that’s their default advertisement tier. Those people would be partially right. I mean, sure, there is the option to pay for Hulu with no ads. But who has that kind of frivolous spending in their budget? It’s twice as much. And then I would lose my built in bathroom, and snack, breaks. In other words, for more of my money, I would physically have to pick up the remote to pause what I was watching to take a break. That feels backwards. A little unfair, honestly. Thus, I am but a Hulu peasant living with their commercial breaks.

Side tangent aside, the commercial breaks are a necessary evil in my current lifestyle. If you’re living the 1% life and don’t have the basic plan, then you may not be able to relate to the one major downside to Hulu. Which, of course, is their commercial algorithm troll. During my PH years – that’s pre-Hulu in case it was unclear – I thought I was kind of an average, normal-ish millennial. Sure I had my quirks, but overall believed I was in the same general range as my peers. From a lifestyle and preferences standpoint.

However, after leveling up to multiple streaming services and adding the big green H to my TV apps, I’ve realized that I am both a middle aged soccer mom and a lonely college student. I am neither a mom, nor am I middle aged, nor am I lonely, nor am I a college student. At least, I didn’t think I was. Enter Hubert the Hulu Troll. In my mind this algorithm is an angry old man, so I figured Hubert best fit that analogy. Hubert made me realize that I’ve basically been living in some weird dream as a mid-twenties millennial. 

I’m no algorithm expert, but I know that at a basic level it takes your viewing preferences and suggests commercials based on what category it thinks you fall into. Oh, and obviously your smart TV, and any other devices with your Hulu app, listens to your conversations and throws out commercials based on your conversations. So it takes the data it has, steals data from private conversations and stereotypes you. How fun is that?! 

If it feels a bit creepy, that’s because it is. I’ve been talking about adopting a new puppy since the fall. Simply talking. And texting. With my friends and family. On my phone. Which doesn’t have the Hulu app. Yet, guess who keeps getting Petfinder and Hill’s Pet Nutrition commercials? Correct, yours truly. Although, if we’re being honest, it could have been a much worse topic for them to take from my non Hulu related activity, so I guess there’s a silver lining. I get to see adorable dogs on my commercial breaks. On the flip side, though, it also thinks that I have children. I get a disturbing amount of Pull-Ups, minivan, and Hornitos tequila commercials. If Hulu is listening, please just send me more puppies.

Like all good technology, it doesn’t always get it right. Occasionally I get commercials for Meow Mix and I know you don’t know me, but I’m not a cat person. I don’t own a cat. I won’t own a cat. Stop trying to sell me on the impossible. I also find it funny when I get whiskey commercials since I hate whiskey. And all of my private conversations would indicate that. Maybe my significant other is whispering sweet nothings in Hubert’s ear to try and get me on the brown liquor train. But I will stand strong. 

My favorite part about Hubert, is that for a while I naively believed it was just random placements of ads to the highest bidder. Then my siblings, one who is in college and one who just graduated from college, informed me that they got Trojan, Tinder, and Tito’s commercials. At which point I realized that Hubert genuinely believes that I’ve outgrown my youth. I have not received a single commercial for any of those products. And I love a good moscow mule so what’s up with that?!

Alright, jumping off my pedestal for now. If you know someone who would enjoy this post and want to share it with them, that would be awesome. Sharing is caring, after all. Don’t forget to subscribe to get these in your inbox twice weekly and follow TRP on Twitter for frequent musings. Thanks for reading!


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WORKWEEK SURVIVAL PLAYLIST

I love working! Said almost no one ever. There are some of you out there who genuinely look forward to a Monday morning like it’s a free piece of cheesecake. You and I are not the same. I don’t hate my job, but I also always look forward to Friday evenings. When I’m done for the weekend. Like a normal person. With a life. And friends. And shows to binge.

Despite my feelings on work being a necessary part of life, it is still a thing. Until I stop getting bills, I think work is in my future. Which is what it is. That does mean, though, that unless COVID wipes us out like the asteroids did the dinosaurs, the workweek is very much still a part of our lives. Unless you’re a trust fund baby, or a royal, or a lottery winner, or just don’t care. I don’t know – there are always outliers. But for the majority of us, we are stuck with jobs.

Personally, I have to take my work days one at a time. Or I’ll get overwhelmed by how far away the weekend is. So to help myself make it, I look forward to milestones. Taco (and marg and trivia) Tuesday. Wine Wednesday. Thirsty Thursday. And then, of course, the ultimate milestone: FRIYAY! And what do I do to survive between workday checkpoints? Crank up my jams and dance like nobody’s watching! That’s right! I like to give myself inspirational playlists to not burn out and today I’m here to pass this ground-breaking, innovative, idea of themed music onto you, my readers.

We all listen to different types of songs, artists, and genres. I get that. Which is why I don’t like giving out specific titles for people. This is what I like to call a suggestion of song ideas that lead your mind down certain trains of thought. For work, specifically, we want survival, happy, breaking the glass ceiling type of vibes. But enough of this foreplay! Here are the themes that should definitely be on your workweek survival playlist, or we might find you crying in the broom closet on Wednesday morning:

  1. Songs about Personal Strength
    1. When you’re feeling drained, and exhausted, and frustrated, you need someone telling you that you can do it! You’ve got the power!
  2. Songs about Overcoming Hardships
    1. When your boss is yelling at you, and you just had a terrible quarterly review, and the CEO thought you were an intern, you need someone telling you that no matter where you’re at right now, it gets better! Chase those dreams!
  3. Songs about Doing The Impossible
    1. When you have to put out a massive fire, or a customer is yelling at you and your patience is running out, you need someone telling you that you can do it! This is your time to shine!
  4. Songs about Getting Money
    1. When you’re staring at a spreadsheet, or when you’ve been denied PTO, or when you just cried in your car before clocking in, you need someone reminding you of why you do the grind! Make that money!
  5. Songs about Being Great
    1. When you’ve been told by customers and co-workers in a not so subtle way that you suck, you need someone telling you that they don’t know you! You’re grrreeeaatttt! 
  6. Songs about Being Happy
    1. When you just feel pissed off because you’re at work, or when you’re sad because you didn’t get the promotion, or when you’re just bleh because, again, work, you need someone to snap you out of it! Don’t worry, be happy!
  7. Songs about Vacation
    1. When you’re about ready to chuck your computer at the wall, or shove your phone down the toilet, or shred all the important documents you made, you need someone reminding you that there is a paradise out there called Vacation. And you deserve it!
  8. Songs about Just Hanging Out
    1. When you’ve got so much work to do you forget to eat lunch, use the bathroom, and blink all day, you need someone telling you to take a breath and chill. Hang ten, baby, life will go on!
  9. Songs about Drinking
    1. When you’re just at work and anything, really, happens that doesn’t pump up your excitement or laughter meters, you need someone telling you that alcohol will always be there for you! The steadiest of friends!
  10. *Songs about Christmas
    1. *This one is optional, but highly recommended at any time of year. When you’re sad, and struggling to keep up your bubbly personality, and really just feeling stuck at work, and maybe in life, you need someone reminding you of the best time of year! It’s a holly jolly time!

What’s on your current work week survival playlist? If you’re more of a podcaster, I feel confident that in today’s market you can find podcasts for all of these themes. If you prefer sitting in silence, I mean, I’m not really sure what to say to you. Why, just why? What is that accomplishing? Focus? Really? Is that the goal? I don’t know. I like a little mood music when I’m doing something not by choice, know what I’m saying?

Alright, jumping off my pedestal for now. If you know someone who would enjoy this post and want to share it with them, that would be awesome. Sharing is caring, after all. Don’t forget to subscribe to get these in your inbox twice weekly and follow TRP on Twitter for frequent musings. Thanks for reading!


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THE LANGUAGE OF STARBUCKS

Languages have never been my strong suit, but there is one that I simply cannot understand no matter how many times I try. You probably guessed it. It, of course, is the Starbucks language of coffee. I’m not sure what class, or after school club, I missed in my education to pick up on this. How do people learn the little intricacies of their favorite orders? It’s not on the menu, believe me, I keep checking. It’s not on the website. It’s not on their commercials. It’s not on Google. If you don’t speak coffee, you better befriend a nice human who will teach you because otherwise you’ll be stuck standing at the front of the line looking like a deer in the headlights with angry, caffeine-deprived customers screaming at your back.

It’s a straight up clique. An original form of social distancing for those who haven’t proven their worth by passing the challenge of ordering a drink from the menu and then proceeding to change everything about it. Personally, I find the drive-through lines comical because that is way slower than waiting in the store line. You have to try and explain your custom creation through the highly efficient outdoor microphone. You know, the ones that pick up about a third of what you say. Then you get to play the ever fun phone tag, or microphone tag in this case, of you placing an order, the employee repeating it, you correcting it (because heaven forbid you get two pumps of caramel when you specified twenty), the employee repeating it again, you correcting it … again (because you asked for pumpkin spice not light ice), the employee getting a bit frustrated on round 3, you getting irritated over having to continue to repeat your daily order (how do they not have this memorized by now, all the money you’ve spent there?!), etc.

Rant over, I apologize for all the die-hard Starbucks fans in the world. What do you call yourselves? Starbucksers? Star-Warriors? Starbuck Chucks? Straight up Stars? SBean? Estarbucksso? Now that is a winner! I should trademark it, you are all welcome. Don’t say I never did anything nice for you. Judge you? Yes. Mock you? Definitely. Blog about you? Certainly. But alas, I have given your band of minions a catchphrase.

I understand the concept of customization in food. If you’re paying for it, it better be everything you hoped for and more. What’s the best way to do that? Make it your own! Most places have found a balance – a diverse menu that lets you make slight adjustments based on dining preferences. Burgers without ketchup, extra cheese on the nachos, double the oreos in the milkshake, re-heating the fries so they’re toasty by the time you get to them, combination of half lemonade and half tea, etc. Minor adjustments that don’t impact the overall cooking process. It is but a blip on the cook’s radar.

Starbucks has adopted the opposite mentality it seems. Create a menu, train employees how to make the small amount of available drinks, then allow customers to run wild with suggestions. Completely ignoring what people at corporate have deemed current feasible options. How this is a sustainable business model stymies me … oh, wait, it’s because they cater to both the 1% and the 99% all at once. In other words, the rarely seen 100%. Price: 1% model, hands down. Coffee drinkers: well there’s the 99-ers. It’s fascinating. Why even bother creating a menu? Why spend money and time and energy and sanity constructing beverages that people will look at and go, it’s fine and all, but completely change the recipe and I’ll drink it? 

You order a chocolate chip frappuccino, sans chocolate chips, without milk, zero sugar, and instead of espresso a black coffee pour over. Pretty close. You order a vanilla latte, but skinny edition sans flavor, additives, anything besides water, and low-fat whipped cream. You order a caramel macchiato, but with ten pumps of chocolate, just a quarter pump of caramel, milk steamed at exactly 152.5 degrees for slight froth, but not too much, and a whipped cream. I don’t even know what I’m saying but these are all things I’ve heard while waiting in line for my cake pop. Honestly, I don’t care – estarbuckssos, you do you. What I do care about, is having my order become unnecessarily complicated because the employees forget normal words like water. I have to order liquid, pulled from the coldest, purest creeks in Chile with ice, hand carved by farmers in the Swiss Alps. And, of course, a perfectly moist, aerated, sugar dough covered with the finest colors at the end of the Lucky Charms rainbow and topped with tiny globes of crunch.

Alright, jumping off my pedestal for now. If you know someone who would enjoy this post and want to share it with them, that would be awesome. Sharing is caring, after all. Don’t forget to subscribe to get these in your inbox twice weekly and follow TRP on Twitter for frequent musings. Thanks for reading!


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