Fake Names

I'm not sure if this is the right forum to use, but I think so.

So whenever I go to Starbucks I give a fake name, usually Penelope. Today I went in and told the barista my name was Penelope and he asked me if there was a nickname I used and I said Penny, so that's what he wrote on the cup. One of the other baristas asked me if Pepper was a nickname for Penelope and then started calling me Pepper. I found this whole exchange so funny, especially since it's not my real name. It isn't even the first interesting conversation about the name Penelope I've had with a Starbucks barista. Has this ever happened to any of you? Am I the only one who gives fake names at Starbucks?


June 3, 2012 10:01 PM

This is a brilliant idea! I've gotten sick of spelling mine out, so I must come up with an alter ego...


By mk
June 3, 2012 10:01 PM

I use fake names all the time but never had a fun conversation about my names!

June 3, 2012 10:04 PM

I've never used one yet, but I've heard of doing that as a way of "testing" a possible baby name.  If you feel embarrassed/awkward using the name you plan on giving your baby, or you get weird reactions, then you should rethink the name.

December 22, 2012 4:03 AM

That's an awesome idea.

By Spam
January 11, 2014 8:59 AM

The flaw with this is that baristas will mess up any name.  There's a Nameberry blog post from about a month ago about how they can't get "Joan" right.

June 5, 2012 10:04 PM

I do sometimes because those baristas never hear me. "Esther." "Jessie?" no, "Esther." "Emily?"  "yep."

June 5, 2012 10:14 PM

They usually just hear my name wrong as opposed to me giving a fake one. Because even though I know they're going to ask, there's always a split second when I forget my own name, so it usually comes out "Uhh, Molly", and they hear "Emily". I went to high school with a very unpleasant Emily, so I'm not really thrilled about the mistaken identity.

June 5, 2012 10:30 PM

I've never actually purchased anything at a place that asks for your name, but I know that if I did, I would say "It's 'Karyn', with a 'Y'", they would look at me all confused, I would spell "K-A-R-Y-N", they would try to keep up but still manage to lag behind, I'd check to see where they got stuck and pick it up from there, and then I'd wonder why people get so confused by a relatively simple name. That's how it usually goes when I have to give my name to someone orally. I know that it would be easier just to say "Karyn" and let them spell it "Karen", but there is something deep within my soul that absolutely does not allow that. I am not Karen. Karen is someone else entirely, with a different name.

It reminds me of a thing from How I Met Your Mother where Ted meets someone whose name is Robyn, and when she says it's "Robyn with a 'Y'", he says "Ooooh, YOBIN". Why is "Karyn with a 'Y'" so difficult? There aren't too many places that the Y can logically go...

I like the idea of testing out baby names that way, though. As long as it's a name that can work on a female :)

June 5, 2012 11:22 PM

I get what you mean about being Karyn with a Y. My best friend is a Sara and she always gets Sarah. She doesn't usually correct them, but she's thrilled when they ask if she has an H or not.

With Penelope, I once got Panabay (unless I'm mistaken, this isn't even a name), so even when you don't specify spelling or anything like that they still screw up.

June 5, 2012 11:37 PM

:) And to make yet another HIMYM reference, that reminds me of Swarley, the name that the barista wrote instead of Barney.

June 7, 2012 6:02 PM

I love that episode! Also reminds me of my friend Eva. A barista once mistook Eva for Akbar.

September 12, 2012 9:38 AM

I have the same issues. I spell it out for people "K-A-C-I-E" and they always start writing C-A-S- and then look at it like they can't figure out where it went wrong. Also, apparently my handwriting makes the C look like an R, so I get called Karie a lot. Now I just write KC if it's not something important. It's just easier.

December 15, 2012 1:21 PM

My daughter's name is Elisabeth and we (she's almost 11 so it's her giving her name as much as me these days) always say "Elisabeth with an 's'" and most people seem to understand. But maybe that's not as confusing to people as a "y" vowel? I don't know, I don't really get how "Karyn with a y" is confusing at all, but people are always dumber than I expect. ;)

December 15, 2012 2:52 PM

Honestly, it doesn't seem that difficult.. Where else would it go?! I think it has to do with familiarity with alternative spellings of names. Maybe people who know that Elisabeth can be spelled with an S know where to put it. But yes, unfortunately you can rarely go wrong underestimating the average person's intelligence...

June 15, 2012 8:58 PM

When I was studying abroad in college, my friend and I came up with fake names to give the gentlemen about whose intentions we were uncertain ... she was Jill and I was Chelsea, and we made up a whole history to go with our fake selves, and nns too (Jilly Bean and Chels Babes).

At a local takeout place, my friend K!ra gave her name and we wondered why it was taking so long ... til we realized the "K3rn" they kept calling for was her.

June 16, 2012 10:09 PM

My mother had an excellent fake name to give to men in bars when she was younger -- LaRue Goodend.  (Those were the days when she could tell them that she was "in the book", and thus avoid having to have a fake phone number/ignore unwanted calls.)

June 18, 2012 10:49 AM

Awesome, that's like a Bond Girl name.

January 1, 2013 7:29 PM

I usually give my real name to Starbucks and they usually spell it wrong. It's Stacey and they most often leave the E out. I love when people ask if my name is Y or EY. This has happened more in the past 10-15 yrs. It NEVER happened when I was younger. It's funny though. I sometimes don't think of myself as a Stacey anymore. In this age of pseudonyms and usernames I kind of think of myself as Zoe Rhenne(ren-ay) or one of my other gamer tags. It's weird. Even some of the people that I play games with and who know me in real life call me Zoe when talking about me or to me :)

January 2, 2013 9:53 PM

I have a similar situation, in that I have some friends who i have met through a forum where I use a pseudonym totally unrelated to my real name. Even though we are facebook friends and they have met me in real life several times they all call me by an abbreviated version of my user name! I kind of like it (even though it's not even close to a proper name so sounds a bit odd) but it must confuse people who know my real name!

January 11, 2013 6:44 PM

Zoerhenne - interesting, I'd been meaning to ask you about the name you are using. When I first read it, I read it Zoe R Henne, with Henne meaning hen in German *lol*.

I've since looked it up and I see that you've explained that name before, so don't worry, you don't need to go over it again for me. ;-)

January 11, 2014 12:36 AM

I guess this is sort of different, but I'm writing a novel with a group of friends, each writing from the POV of a different character. We live all across the country, barely know each other in person and use our characters' names as user names for our video chats, so it's pretty easy for us to accidentally call each other by them. It's especially funny when they call me by mine, Kalicita, especially since the rest of the names are fairly normal.(Helena, Mega, Topaz, Crystal, and Adrianne) I've never had to give my name at a restaurant, but that's totally the kind of thing I'd love to do. Next time I meet someone I'm not likely ever to see again, I think I'll introduce myself as Eowyn...

July 12, 2013 1:53 AM

this is an old post, I know, but as a Kristine who goes by Kristin usually, I always get strange spellings.

Christine, Christine, Cristine, Cristina, and Kristina are givens, but "Kristin" gets a lot of Christin, Kristen, and Chriss10. Yes, CHRISS-10.

So I usually say I'm Ellen.  Or Helen, Ellie, and Elwin, as the baristas hear.

January 22, 2014 4:34 PM

As a barista and a NE, I love all the names that I get to hear every day.  At my coffee shop, we type the name on the computer when we ring up people and then it's shown on the screen to the person making drinks so they can call it out for people to pick up.  Names rarely get written on cups.  When I'm entering names into the system, I have two goals:

1. Pronounceable - Marcia becomes Marsha, Sean becomes Shawn, Reina becomes Rayna, etc.

2. Quickest spelling - Sarah becomes Sara, John becomes Jon, Christie becomes Kristy, etc.

Other than that, I just go with the spelling I'm most familiar with and people are generally happy to pick up a drink when they hear their name, because at the end of the day Brittanie and Britney sound exactly the same.

And then of course there are the days when the computer hates me and Alexandra becomes Slwxronsra and I just call out "Large soy mocha with whip!" and hope for the best :)

May 18, 2015 10:52 PM

After my first experience at Starbucks and giving my full name ( which is beyong uncommon), we had conversations about my nicknames. Philly/filly? Lomey? Fee? Mena (which is my nn)? Each employee has a different nickname for me and often writes their version on my cup.

If I go to a starbucks that isn't in my area, I normally give them a literary character as my name. (Gemma, Hermione, guinevere, etc).