An algorithm is a finite sequence of instructions, an explicit, step-by-step procedure for solving a problem. – Wikipedia
Having moved to the Seattle area a little over a month ago from Boston, I never really understood why people were so enamored with a cup of coffee that had a semi-naked mermaid emblazoned on the side. In Boston, Starbucks locations weren’t on every corner but you weren’t too far from one if you were in your car and needed a caffeine fix. Seattle is a completely different story.
As the saying goes, “When in Rome…” (you know the rest), so I ventured into my local Starbucks less than a block away from the apartment. Picking something that seemed innocuous at the time, I ordered a Grande Chai Latte. That was 2 weeks ago. According to the Starbucks website, their Chai Lattes are “A spicy drink of black tea infused with cardamom, cinnamon, black pepper and star anise added to freshly steamed milk.”
Little did I know that underneath the frothy, milky heaven of foam there would be a wicked concoction that would keep me awake at night thinking about its spicy goodness…yearning for the hours to fly by quickly so I could roll out of bed and get to my local Starbucks. In the back of my head I’m thinking that there has to be a 12-step program to help me with my new-found addiction. Sometimes I would stop into a Starbucks 3 times a day to pick up my favorite elixir. Just passing a Starbucks would make my tongue tingle as the round mermaid logo would invite me in as if she were saying, “Drink me.” Some people would say that Starbucks is evil and corporate. I like to look at the coffee cup half-full…Starbucks is crafty and smart!
Having gone through the “I just had the last sip of my latte, where am I going to get my next fix!” experience too many times I care to mention publicly, I happened on the Starbucks Algorithm. Quite frankly, there’s no science or proof that such a thing exists but in my own meanderings. For all I know there could be a Top Secret group of baristas at Starbucks HQ walking around in green lab coats and pocket protectors figuring out where the next store opening will be. I find it a strange coincidence that just when I am about to finish my latte and the “Oh snap, I’m almost done” panic attack is about to kick in, there’s a Starbucks within a 1 or 2 block radius from where I may be standing. It’s as if the Starbucks mermaid keeps following me around asking me if I would like a refill…and you know what? Don’t mind if I do!
Update: Checked the Starbucks website…there are 102 Starbucks in a 5-mile radius from where I live. 102!