counter names

May 28, 2009

I hate telling the barrista my name when I order. You wouldn’t think “Doug” would be hard to say or remember or write down. But when anybody taking my number or order at a counter says “Can I get a name?” I say “Bob.” If I say “Doug,” one of three things happens:

  1. “Excuse me?”
  2. “How do you spell that?”
  3. Blank Stare

I’ve experimented with names like Thermopolis and Mister Happy, but that just creates more problems. Because really, this is an interaction you’d like to be as short as possible. I like Holding Forth as much (way more) as the next guy, but not here, not NOW. We can talk when I give you my order. We can talk when you give ME my order. But I don’t want to talk when I give you my name. I want that to take no time at all.

I mean, sure, if my name really was Achilles, ask me about it. I would like that.

But don’t raise your eyebrows when I say Doug.

The downside is the number of Bobs. Someone is always taking my drink. I’m gonna find that guy.


24 Responses to “counter names”

  1. bikemike Says:

    maybe doug or “dug” means something really weird or freaky in Utah. kinda like a friend of mine went to england a number of years ago and his name is “randy”. well, we know that randy has certain other uses in merry ol’ and everytime someone would ask him his name and he’d say “randy” they’d give him the big old gigglefest.

    does doug/dug mean randy?

  2. dug Says:

    “does doug/dug mean randy?”

    no, but it does mean “tit.” and almost “canoe.”

  3. kath Says:

    you should totally try using Dick and see if anyone can say your “name” without cracking up.

  4. LT Says:

    “Frank” never has his drink stolen by THAT guy.

  5. xenophilicx Says:

    Funny I came across this post. My friends and I were talking about the show Doug from a long time ago when we were little kids.

    I think Doug’s a unique name only because I’ve never met someone in person with that name.

  6. Jonnie Says:

    I go with Willy. I get amused by watching the order taker try to hold back the smile and snicker. And there really aren’t that many Willy’s out there, so my meal rarely gets stolen.

  7. KanyonKris Says:

    They can’t deal with Doug? Doug has to be in the top 25 US names. Not sure I’d trust that barrista – be sure to check your drink.

    You could go full Utah with a name like Nephi, or Zoram. Or LaDoug. (I’ve always liked LaVerl)

  8. fish Says:

    Have a go sometime at Kulani. Yeah, I haven’t used that at a counter since middle school. I did once have some smart ass counter guy insist on having my first name, not my last. Without hesitation, I dropped “Kulaniakea” on him, at which point he decided Fisher was probably fine.

  9. Try Bert. Then they really stare. Which explains why my hubby uses my name most times.

  10. Grant Says:

    When I respond “Grant” incredibly frequent I get the response “Graham?”… I have to put on an incredibly toffee accent to avoid this.

  11. Miles Archer Says:

    A friend of mine always uses Alice for her name to avoid a bunch of questions.

  12. Jot Says:

    I too always use Bob. If they ask for a last initial it’s always R (short for Roberts).

    I got too tired of Jot turning into John, Josh, who knows what else.

    Bonus is that evidently I get some free stuff when I’m in Utah from those other Bobs. Did not know that.


  13. Hamish A Says:

    My name gets messed up a LOT whenever I am ordering coffee or food. Strangely the worst place for this is Jamba Juice. Not once have they got it right.

    Now I tend to go by ‘Dutch’ (it comes from a common mis-pronunciation of my name),anyone can spell it and chances are nobody else is going to have that name and if they do – then they can have my coffee.

    • dug Says:

      wait, how does one say dutch instead of hamish? i don’t think you’re using the same alphabet i’m using.

      • Hamish A Says:

        Most of the time ‘Hamish’ gets pronounced ‘Amish’ (although I’ve also been Sheamus, Shamish, Sean… the list could go on).

        From Amish we get Pennsylvania Dutch.

        And from that (with a contribution from a smart @ss buddy of mine) we get ‘Dutch’.

        No obscure alphabet required 🙂

  14. speedyortiz Says:

    just pronounce it exotically. Like the way that “Shar-Day” can be spelled Sade. You could just tell them you name is “Duh-UG”. If they ask why you can always pretend to be from Latvia or East Bohemia or something

  15. tonks Says:

    I always use Amanda’s or Natalie’s names b/c mine elicits the same response as yours does, except for good reason. The Harmon’s checkers who ask if I’d like drive-n-load, (which I would), usually give me a condescending glance after looking at my debit card, which clearly does *not* say Amanda or Natalie. Apparently it’s a sin to fake your name in Utah. I guess we’ll both go to hell.


  16. Louie Says:

    haha, this is the first time i have felt overwhelmingly compelled to comment…
    My name is Louie. We just so happen to have a starbucks in the library at the university i attend, so i frequently get something to aide me in not passing out at said library. When i tell them my name (which is usually printed on the receipt that they get after swiping my i.d.) they pretend to have gathered what i said, yet i get my cup and it says something of the sort

    I love being in an epicenter of knowledge haha.

  17. Bethany Says:

    This is how every conversation I’ve ever had with someone in a customer service department goes:

    Them: Can I get your name please?

    Me: It’s Bethany

    Them: Hi Stephanie, how can I help you?

    Me: Actually, it’s Bethany, with a “B”.

    Them: Oh, I’m sorry Brittany, how can I help you?

  18. Doug Says:


    • Doug Says:

      Amen! For some reason, I have this problem too. Sometimes I just use “Douglas” which is my legal name, but I always go by Doug. But even then, I still get that counter name problem from time to time.

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