Meryl Streep will be one of two guest poetry readers at the upcoming Birthday Tribute to Emmett Lee Dickinson on October 12 at the Folger Coffee Plant (a related Birthday Tribute to Emily Dickinson will take place at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, DC, on December 10).
Ms. Streep will co-host the event with Servi-Tron, the newly-developed automated barista developed by Starbucks.
A barista – albeit a robotic one – is the perfect co-host for the event since Emmett Lee Dickinson wrote more poems about coffee than any other poet.
I recently interviewed Meryl Streep about the upcoming event (HERE), and one day later I sat down with her co-host, Servi-Tron, to discuss the Birthday Tribute and the life and work of Emmett Lee Dickinson (Emily Dickinson’s third cousin, twice removed –at her request).
NOTE: At the start of the interview, Hurley O’Donnell, the Future Response Officer and Forward Interactions Supervisor for Starbucks, revealed that the company had not yet programmed Servi-tron for the October 12th Birthday Tribute. At the time of the interview, Servi-Tron was only able to take Starbucks’ orders.
Here’s how the conversation went:
Hello Servi-Tron, it’s nice to meet with you.
Welcome to Starbucks. May I get something started for you?
Sure. I’d like a grandé, iced, double, non-fat latte with soy milk and with no foam and caramel drizzle.
I’m sorry. I did not understand. May I get something started for you? Say “one” for yes. Say “two” for no.
Great. What may I get started for you?
Pictured above: Starbucks' fully-automated,
robotic barista, Servi-Tron
I’m sorry. I did not understand. I think you said that you would like me to get something started for you. Is this correct? Say “One” for yes. Say “Two” for no.
Great. What size would you like? Say “one” for tall. Say “two” for grandé. Say “three” for venti.” Or say “four” for trenta.”
Great. You would like two drinks? Say “one” for two. Say “two” for one. Say "three" for correct.
Two. I would like one drink. Three, correct.
I’m sorry. I don’t understand. May I get something started for you? Say “one” for yes. Say “two” for no. Say “three” to return to your original order. Say “four” to begin a new order.
You would like to order three drinks? Say “one” for three talls. Say “two” for two talls and one grandé. Say “three” for one tall, one grandé, and one venti. Say “four” for two talls and one venti. Say “five” for one tall and two grandés. Say “six” for one tall and two ventis. Say “seven” for two grandés and one venti. Say...
(I interrupted) Just one drink – a grande.
I’m sorry. I don’t understand. May I get something started for you? Say “one” to return to your original order. Say “two” to begin a new order. Say “three” to make a change to your original order. Say “four” to begin a new order based on or similar to a past order.” Say “five” to return to a saved order. Say "six" to order something off the bakery menu.
Is there a real barista I can talk to?
At this point Mr. O’Donnell sensed my frustration and stopped the interview
“Obvioulsy, we have a little more work to do with Servi-Tron,” he said, “but once he’s fully operational, we are convinced he’ll increase brand loyalty by improving service quality, customer interactions, and value-added image and reputation for Starbucks. Plus, customers who use Servi-Tron will receive double stars for each order.
At that point, I continued my order. Two hours and forty-three minutes later I ended up with a steaming hot Venti decaf latte with extra cream.
It wasn’t what I wanted, but hey – I received ten stars!