"Siri vs. Starbucks: Who Spelled It Better?" Is the Tumblr You’ve Been Waiting For
After comedian Paul Gale’s genius explanation as to why your Starbucks barista can never spell your name correctly went viral last week, it’s only to be expected that others would jump on the train and ride it to glory. Case in point: Siri vs. Starbucks: Who Spelled It Better?, AKA the Tumblr you’ve been waiting for — even if you didn’t even know you wanted it.
Created by Alexander Norling, a Swedish creative living in New York, Siri vs. Starbucks pits Apple’s HAL 9000-like AI’s understanding of names against that of baristas working at Starbucks. Norling feeds Siri the names, so as he himself notes, it’s something of a listening game: How well does Siri listen to someone with a Swedish accent in comparison with how well a Starbucks employee listens to his or her customers? The answer: Quite well, actually. Most of the time, Siri wins the accuracy award by the proverbial mile, leaving the Starbucks barista struggling along in a haze of letters and confusion. Sorry, Starbucks. Even if you really are just screwing with us, this is just a tiny bit sad.
Some of the misspellings are sort of understandable; consider, for example, how Siri hears the name “Courtney” versus how Starbucks hears it:
Brittany… Courtney… two to three syllables, ends in a “nee” sound… OK, I’ll let that one slide.
I’ll let “Kayden” slide, too, because that’s a tricky name at the best of times:
But Starbucks? Please explain to me how “Sean” becomes this:
“Shorn” is a verb. It’s the past participle of “to shear,” as in, what one does to a sheep’s wool. Yes, it sounds kind of similar to “Sean” — but it makes no sense as a human name. Come on. You can do better than that.
You can also do better than this for poor “Kelsey”:
To be fair, Siri has a hard time sometimes, too; “Zack,” for example, is out of luck no matter who he’s talking to:
But at least Siri provides a definition of Zack’s new name, right?
OK, so maybe I’m being a little tough on the baristas. Working in a coffee shop really is exhausting, and the sheer volume of names one must encounter on the job on a daily basis would probably have me running screaming in the other direction. But Starbucks, answer me this: How on earth are we supposed to successfully retrieve our drinks made so lovingly by your fine hands if the names attached to them bear little to no resemblance to our actual names? We love you — but we’d love you even more if you’d just let us give you our money in exchange for our Pumpkin Spice Lattes. Just sayin’.