Starbucks pseudonyms

Rather than hear their names mispronounced by a barista, some students give a pseudonym at Starbucks.


Whether you’re an adamant cold brew drinker or a frequent refresher enjoyer, you must know how delightful it is to buy a delicious, overpriced drink. But not all Starbucks enjoyers are the same, and this is dependent on what you tell the barista your name is. Some people use their real names whenever they order, but some use pseudonyms. 

Using a fake name, or a nickname, at Starbucks is very common, especially for people with names that may be a bit complicated. The name you choose to use says more about you than you may realize. There are, as always, right and wrong choices when it comes to this highly pertinent matter. 

Real name

We have to use some nuance when considering people that use their real names when ordering. There are two different types of people that do this: there are the people that have very simple names that the Starbucks barista will certainly never mishear or misspell, and then there are people that have names that are often mispronounced and misspelled. 

If you are the former, you are boring and bland. The thought of the Starbucks barista being unable to spell your name has never even crossed your mind. You just stroll into that Seattle-based corporate coffee shop and tell them your name and assume they will hear and spell it correctly. How privileged of you. 

If you are the latter, I have lots of respect and admiration for you, especially if you have a name that has its roots in a language that isn’t English. I am proud of you for sticking up for yourself and your name. You know that you might be slightly inconveniencing the cute barista when you have to spell out your name, but you know your worth and I love that. I bet you are outspoken and passionate. 


If you use a nickname or shortened version of your name, I find that endearing. People that use a nickname are enthusiastic and kind. If this is you, I know that you always take the time to listen to your friends. You always look on the brighter side of things. If the barista got your order wrong, you would stand up for yourself in the most polite and professional way possible. You are the moment. 

Junior biochemistry major Rushda Hussein is an avid nickname user. 

“No one can ever say [my name] right,” Hussein said. “It just gets exhausting … I just use a simple, short name. I use Rue … It just sounds similar to my actual name, Rushda. It’s a condensed version of it.”

A totally unrelated, fake name

People that use names that have no relation or connection to them are interesting and usually quite funny. I love it when I see a friend with a Starbucks cup that has a totally random name written on it. If you use a fake name, you’re an efficient person. You’ve likely chosen a name that is easy for the barista to spell because you don’t want to deal with having to spell anything out. You want to spend the least amount of time in line or waiting for your drink; you want to spend all the time you save by using a fake, and probably very simple, name by drinking your overpriced drink. 

Sophomore health sciences major Abby Schuman is a barista at the campus Starbucks, and she has had her fair share of interesting name encounters. 

“I’ll usually know when someone’s using a fake name,” Schuman said. “I’ll look at their ID when they scan it and be like, ‘Oh, they’re cheating me’ … I think it’s funny because they think I don’t know what I do.”

Colonized name

This one is directed to all my Muhammads that go by Moe. Please stop. If you have a cultural name and you choose to whitewash it, I am disappointed in you. 

Seamus Quinn, a sophomore theater and journalism double major, is a newly converted real-name-user. But prior to that, he did not always use his real name.  

“Now, I use my actual name,” Quinn said. “But before that I wouldn’t, because whenever I would give my name, [the baristas] would spell it wrong. Or they would have no idea how to pronounce it. So I just said, ‘You know what? We’ll just shorten it to Jim.’ It’s basically what my name translates to anyway, and that seemed to work.”

Quinn shared that his name has Gaelic roots and that Jim was the closest English equivalent to the name.

If you actively choose to colonize your name, as opposed to using your real name or a cute little non-whitewashed nickname, I do not trust you. You are a walking red flag, and I think that you are suspicious. What benefit do you gain from doing this? I bet that you study in Plum Market. You are likely never punctual; I know that you’re strolling into class late with a Starbucks drink in your hand that has your colonized name scribbled on it. Do better and grow up. Embrace your real name! Or, use a nickname. 

Some may say that the eyes are the window to the soul, but I disagree; the name you use at Starbucks is the actual window to your soul. I hope this article provided you with insight into your own personality. Take some time and try a new name at Starbucks. Maybe you’ll even discover a new persona.


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