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What name can be spelled only one way?

Speak and Spell

This is not a riddle. Well, I suppose it could be a riddle, but I’m asking it as an honest question. What name can be spelled only one way? I need to know because of Starbucks. Yes, Starbucks.

I circulate among several coffee shops in the Chapel Hill area to do my freelance work because I don’t want to get sick of any one place or any one background soundtrack. I sometimes visit the Starbucks and they always ask your name so they can write it on your cup in thick black permanent marker. One of the few constants in my thirty-plus years on this Earth is that no one ever knows how to spell my name. I like my name, (great job Mom and Dad!) but I spell it a bit oddly (not so great job, Mom and Dad!). Misspellings used to annoy me all through high school, but by the time I reached college I either chilled out about it or admitted defeat and let it go. My linguistics teacher always said spelling doesn’t matter anyway. Now I let people spell it however they like as long as it isn’t on something important like a driver’s license or my book cover. (Not kidding about the second one. This is why we have design proofs.)

However, when I tell the people at Starbucks to put the name “Jennette” on my cup, they ask me how to spell it as if they’re studying for the National Spelling Bee. That’s when this happens:








BARISTA: E-T-T-E. Got it!

JENNETTE: (Finally.)

Sometimes this happens instead:

BARISTA: J-O-H-N-N-E-T-A, double back slash, upside down exclamation point, ampersand?

JENNETTE: Yes, that’s right.

So, in the hopes of never, ever having a conversation about how to spell my name with a barista ever again, I have started using aliases. First I tried “Jenna” but then the barista asked me if that was with two Ns or one. Then I switch to Jen, but again they wanted to know how many Ns were in the name. Next time I’ll probably try Jenny, but they’ll probably ask me if that’s with a Y or an I.

I’ve been trying to stick to names similar to my own so I don’t forget what I used by the time my order comes up. However, if I could just find a name, any name, that can only be spelled one way, I would start using that. Part of me wants to start using something ridiculous like Hitler, but then I imagine some cute guy will start talking to me and think that’s my real name and I’ll have to pretend to be Hitler for the rest of our relationship. I might try J.S., which are my first two initials, but that sounds rather pretentious and they’ll probably ask me if that’s J or Jay. Someone suggested I use my cats’ names, but I don’t think people know how to spell Krupke, and if I said my name was Java Bean they’d probably think I was asking for some weird blend.

Anyway, I am opening this up to the peanut gallery. Does anyone know an excellent Starbucks alias for me? It should be:

  1. A name that can only be spelled one possible way.
  2. A short name so the barista doesn’t spend forever writing on my cup.
  3. A name that doesn’t sound like another name. Janet wouldn’t work because it might be confused for Jeanette over the sound of coffee grinders.


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Ali • April 21, 2011 at 7:30 am

How about Jean? Around here I *think* that would only be spelled one way.

But then having said that… people are finding ways to inject new letters into all the old names ;)


Alejandra • April 21, 2011 at 7:41 am

You can take mine if you like: Alex (technically it’s Alejandra but I wouldn’t inflict that to anyone). They hardly ever get it wrong. Ok sometimes I get Alice, but I quite like that name too so it’s fine by me.


Jamie • April 21, 2011 at 7:41 am

LOL…I know you are serious but this is very cute! How about Bob?


shauna/dg • April 21, 2011 at 7:42 am

@Ali – is that Jean or GENE? hee hee! :)

Hmm this is an interesting dilemma! Here in Scotland they don’t seem to ask for a name. I can just imagine the suspicious Brits, “what do you want to know my name for? Are you going to send me marketing materials?” They just bark out the order. Which is great fun when 6 different people are awaiting a tall hot chocolate.


Michelle • April 21, 2011 at 7:48 am

My nephew Ian has had some very funny pictures on Facebook related to this same topic. . .I was going to suggest Bob too but then I started wondering if someone would ask “is that one B or two?”


Betsy • April 21, 2011 at 7:51 am

I’d say Jane – close to your real name, but pretty tough to mess up.


Erin • April 21, 2011 at 7:57 am

You can borrow my name if you want, even though it’s nothing close to Jennette. For a girl it’s pretty much only spelled the one way, it’s short, and I have never had any problems with it (and I have been to my share of Starbucks). Good luck whatever name you choose!


Rina • April 21, 2011 at 7:57 am

Teehee. I love your writing.



Sarah • April 21, 2011 at 8:14 am

How about Jill?


Sarah Fowler • April 21, 2011 at 8:39 am

@Ali – The male version is generally spelled ‘Gene’, and I know a woman who spells hers Jene!


Rebecca Hoover • April 21, 2011 at 8:40 am

Pam….nuff said


Sarah Fowler • April 21, 2011 at 8:40 am

@Erin – I know girls who spell it Erinn, Airen and Arin!


MissM • April 21, 2011 at 8:41 am

My name has a bajillion (that’s a real number if your first name is long) letters in it and people always spell it wrong or have some lame story about how they knew a guy with my name but he spelled it differently and also pronounced it differently, and I’m like… “then it’s not my name, is it?” OR, there is a song that is just… my name over and over and over and people sing it to me and laugh, because that’s clever and unique.

So I go by Dom and I spell it out D-O-M. That’s simple enough to not mess up. Though I do occasionally get Dawn. I guess it’s close enough.

Anyway, I’d say JEN, J-E-N. Or, hell, use your actual name and get all pissy with people who can’t f;ing spell Jenette.


Sarah Fowler • April 21, 2011 at 8:41 am

I’d offer my name except for that pesky H. For some reason people also often think I said Tara, even though I think I’m very articulate. Good luck!


Stacie • April 21, 2011 at 8:44 am

This post made me laugh outloud. Maybe because I’m sitting in starbucks right now. Or maybe because I’ve had my name misspelled more times than I can count. Throw the last name in there and no one has any idea where to start.

Jane seems like a good option. Although I guess I’ve seen it as “Jayne” — but that doesn’t seem like something a barista would screw up.


Jenn • April 21, 2011 at 8:44 am

Pam. Or Jane.

Jenn (with two Ns)


Erin (aka Ruby Leigh) • April 21, 2011 at 8:56 am

@Erin – I never have too much of a problem but it does get mistaken for “Ann” in loud places and sometimes people think I use the boy spelling “Aaron”. Luckily, if I do have to spell it – it’s short.


Jessica • April 21, 2011 at 9:03 am

I like how my boss can use her last name – Smiley. And I rarely get asked how to spell Jessica – you just have to assume there are several around you at any point in time, given the name’s popularity for several years. (I was one of the early ones!!!)


Tara • April 21, 2011 at 9:09 am

@Stacie – My middle name is spelled the same as your first (with an ie). It’s from my aunt and causes her no end of disapointing experiences trying to find a keychain in a souvenir shop.


Welmoed • April 21, 2011 at 9:10 am

Since I don’t have the patience to spell out my name (boy, you wouldn’t believe the variations I’ve seen…), I use my husband’s name: Bob. It does give them pause! Sometimes I’ll use “Diana”. There really isn’t a name that simply cannot be misspelled, given enough carelessness, stupidity or “creativity.”
Or, you can do what my mother-in-law did. She hated her given name, so she shortened it to one letter. For her entire adult life, she was known as “A.” Kinda hard to misspell that, I suppose.


Me • April 21, 2011 at 9:15 am

Pat, works for a guy or a girl!


Early • April 21, 2011 at 9:22 am

Oh, name spelling…. I always always have to. But sometimes I just say ‘Early, as in early in the morning’, and that usually wins.
I know names with Kr/Cr/Chr are problematic, but I just never thought about how soo many names can be spelt in so many different ways, and most times you wonder why….
I think these – Pearl, Lisa, Monica, April, Beth, Rose, Venus, Ruth, Grace – should be easy enough to use the common spelling. Choose one :)
Oh, what would happen if you said PastaQueen??


adrienne • April 21, 2011 at 9:24 am

Ginger. Same start sound, incontrovertible ending.


Mary • April 21, 2011 at 9:29 am

Maybe go for using a number — zip code?

Or if you have to go through all that anyway, make them write your website on it, since you are working there as it is — get some advertising!


Laura Pugh • April 21, 2011 at 9:29 am

@Jamie – This is exactly what popped into my head “Bob”. It’s short and can’t be spelled wrong (well…one never knows)


Cathleen • April 21, 2011 at 9:45 am



Megan • April 21, 2011 at 9:48 am

“Jen – one N.”



Karen • April 21, 2011 at 10:02 am

Hey PQ, use PQ. I was going to go with Jan, but I guess that could sound like Dan over the coffee frother. So, how about PQ? Then if a cute guy talks to you you can just tell him to call you Your Majesty, that’ll do for the rest of the relationship. Right?


Sara • April 21, 2011 at 10:05 am

The “month” names work well for this type of problem.

(Which I too have had given that my maiden name is one of the least friendly on earth to give in restaurant wait-list situations)

April. May. June.

Hell, call yourself October if you’re feeling sassy.


fd • April 21, 2011 at 10:13 am

Ooh fun!
I guess something distinctive or old-fashioned but not totally unfamiliar…?
Beth, April, May, Faith, Pia, Mary (usually pronounced differently to Marie etc but possibly still challenging for busy baristas), Meg, Sue, Polly, Carmen, Molly, Dawn, Madonna, Rachel (you might end up Rachelle or Rachum), Rose (Rosie)…
I’d imagine you might get some raised eyebrows with all of these. :-)
So you might as well go all out:
or PastaQueen!


kelly • April 21, 2011 at 10:16 am

Sam works for girls and guys.


Mymsie • April 21, 2011 at 10:20 am

Oh girl, PREACH. Try having my name!

Some ideas: Jan, Pat


Sarah • April 21, 2011 at 10:52 am

Along the lines of SNL…I’d go with Pat. Simple, to the point, and hard to mess up!


Jamie • April 21, 2011 at 10:59 am



Kirthan • April 21, 2011 at 11:03 am

I would go with Jane. It’s simple, only four letters and as far as I know, there is no other way to spell. As someone with a name that most people find confusing (or exotic at the very least) I feel your pain.


Hunter • April 21, 2011 at 11:10 am

What’s your middle name?


Rose • April 21, 2011 at 11:24 am

I have this problem too,with my real name. I often use my sisters’ names, which are easier to spell and pronounce. But twice in a row I had other customers with those exact names–which are unusual–in the store at the same time. So I don’t know a good solution.


Jen • April 21, 2011 at 11:31 am

Why not use your first and middle initials? I would say first and last but then you’d get “is that S or F?”

Or you could use PQ!


fd • April 21, 2011 at 11:43 am

On second thoughts, I vote Sam or Pat. They seem perfect and not hugely common for women.


Jackie • April 21, 2011 at 11:55 am



Barb • April 21, 2011 at 11:57 am

Barb. No one messes that up. Barbara yes, all the time.


PastaQueen • April 21, 2011 at 12:02 pm

@Early – If I say “PastaQueen” they think I’m saying “Pasta Clean.” I swear to God. This has happened twice when I’ve been spelling out my email address to someone.


Merry • April 21, 2011 at 12:03 pm

Madonna? J. Lo? T.S. Eliot?
I would suggest advertising your book by labeling your cup “Chocolate & Vicodin” but I’m afraid someone might get the wrong idea and steal the cup.


MissM • April 21, 2011 at 12:05 pm

@Merry – LOLOL. Cher.


Nancy • April 21, 2011 at 12:09 pm

I bet everyone could spell “Barbie”…


Jenn • April 21, 2011 at 12:22 pm

But I’d probably just stick with “Jen, J-E-N”


Tamara • April 21, 2011 at 12:23 pm

@adrienne – I love Ginger! Great suggestion.

I also think Sam would work, a la someone else’s idea. Sometimes I myself often use Tam, for similar reasons.

I can’t believe when you tried Jen they actually asked you how many Ns. Who cares?!?! They are sticklers, those baristas…


Cynthia • April 21, 2011 at 12:23 pm

Sam or Pat.
I usually use Lee – but there are variant spellings. It isn’t my first name so if I need to avoid a stalker….


Star • April 21, 2011 at 12:34 pm

I feel ya I have a hard name to Estrella (means Star) but when ordering food and stuff I use my moms name Cindy its real easy and its something I’ll remember so maybe try your moms name


Christy • April 21, 2011 at 12:50 pm

+1 for Pam


Rachel • April 21, 2011 at 12:53 pm

Rachel won’t work because for some reason Starbucks always writes “Michelle” down when I say “Rachel”. What about Jean, Joan, or Jane?


Chelsea J • April 21, 2011 at 12:57 pm

I can’t offer you any advice. My name is Chelsea, spelled the normal, correct way (check a map), but there are so many Chelsee’s and Chelsy’s and Chelsie’s and possibly even Chel-C’s out there that no one spells my name correctly, either.


Leigh • April 21, 2011 at 1:07 pm

Lee or Jane are good choices. I always just say my name and they spell it Lee and I’m fine with that.


Jenny • April 21, 2011 at 1:12 pm

Try pronouncing your name the way a Southerner is likely to say it: GIN-nette. My name is short for Jennifer, dammit, not Virginia, but when I say my name people think I’m saying Jane. And when I correct them, they say, in an I-get-it-now tone, “Oh, Ginny!” And I roll my eyes.


Princess Dieter • April 21, 2011 at 1:40 pm

Go to an initial, as that can only be spelled one way: “J”

Done. :)

or use a nickname: “Net” (which is in your name). It fits with your web and blog stuff. IT’s modern. It’s one syllable. People know how to spell it. Net.


PastaQueen • April 21, 2011 at 1:47 pm

@Princess Dieter – J could also be Jay. Did you see that episode of The Simpsons where Homer J. Simpson was trying to find out what his middle name was? It was Jay :)


Janis • April 21, 2011 at 1:48 pm

I have a solution for that as someone who ALWAYS has both names misspelled.

Don’t even say what your name is. Just spell it. Seriously. When people ask me for my name in situations like this, I just start in with, “J-A-N-I-S. That’s an S.” Don’t say it, just spell. Then they go, “Oh, Janis!”

“Yes. But with an S.”


I do this with my last name as well. Works like a charm.


Jenny • April 21, 2011 at 1:53 pm

@Jenny – Replying to myself in an effort to moderate my tone. While this can be frustating, I don’t think anyone is mispronouncing names on purpose, and it’s unfair of me to disparage one particular region when it happens all over the place. And I mispronounce names regularly myself, too. I really dig the “Net” suggestion below!


PastaQueen • April 21, 2011 at 2:01 pm

@Jenny @Princess Dieter – I think if I use Net they’ll ask if I’m saying Annette. Or maybe Ned :)


Teresa • April 21, 2011 at 2:08 pm

I was initially going to say “Sue”. I can’t think of a way to misspell it. Now, however, I’m going to agree with Karen and say that you should go with the letters “P.Q.” If you think that would cause too much confusion, another option is “Sally”. I have friend that uses that as her alias wherever she goes.


jdsa1 • April 21, 2011 at 2:25 pm

How about April?


Rebecca in SoCal • April 21, 2011 at 2:29 pm

I thought this was going to be a trivia question!

My first thought, before reading the comments, was Jan. But asking whether Jen has one or two “n”s is absurd…would it be pronounced differently?? I wonder if they’re doing what people do with my last name…making sure they heard it right. When I spell it out, they say “Just like it sounds” but *I* never reply that.

Looks like KISS wins: Jen, Jan, Sam, Pat


Leora • April 21, 2011 at 2:31 pm

So funny! I have the same issue at Starbucks. I’ve used the name Kim before. It’s quick and easy.


Bridget • April 21, 2011 at 2:34 pm



Rochelle • April 21, 2011 at 2:38 pm

How about Daisy? Short and sweet!

I may start using a Starbucks alias…I have the same issue. Whenever I put my name in for a table at a restaurant I use my fiance’s name (Chris). But I need something female! And sneaky.

What a great idea!


Jen • April 21, 2011 at 3:44 pm

Obviously there is no foolproof Starbucks name. How sad. I never even realized this problem existed and now it seems depressingly unsolvable.


Lesli • April 21, 2011 at 5:07 pm

Go with J. or God. You could tell them your name is god. I think I may do that the next time I’m asked for my name…for the sheer look of horror and curiosity.


Laura • April 21, 2011 at 5:18 pm

Bob is a great suggestion… except then you’ll have to always explain why you’re name is Bob (even though boys named Sue NEVER have to explain).

I like your point about keeping close to your real name. I recently read an article on how to be a spy (I think it was on gizmodo) and one of the tips was to keep your real first name, as you’ll never respond to anything else so naturally. So my suggestion is that you keep Jennette, and when they ask how to spell it tell them to wing it. As long as they pronounce it correctly its all good. :)


Cal • April 21, 2011 at 5:37 pm

How about Maria? Though there are two ways to pronounce that. But I don’t *think* anyone would attempt to spell it Mareea [waits to be proved wrong].

As for Jane, round these parts Jayne is also possible (anyone remember Torvill and Dean? She was a Jayne.)


Beth • April 21, 2011 at 5:43 pm

I was going to suggest my name (Beth) but I see some others already have. I’ve never had a problem at Starbucks, but on the phone it can be hard to understand. I’ve picked up Chinese food labeled “Bess” and a pizza that said “Bash.” Bash! WTH people.


Dee • April 21, 2011 at 6:02 pm

What about Mary? I’ve only ever seen it spelled one way. I have the same problem at Starbucks. My full name is Donielle and whenever I use that, it’s trouble. So mostly I use Dee. But if I use Donielle, and they ask how to spell it, I just say, “It doesn’t matter, I’ll recognize it when I hear it”. And I walk away.


mom taxi julie • April 21, 2011 at 7:28 pm

@Betsy – That’s what I was going to say :)


mom taxi julie • April 21, 2011 at 7:29 pm

@Dee – I knew a Merry, no joking.


Shelly • April 21, 2011 at 7:32 pm

How about Queenie? This denotes a certain air of a regal title of is fun. Would anyone dare spell it “Queeny”?


Becky Brandon • April 21, 2011 at 7:45 pm

I never give my name. I always say something like “Tinkerbelle” or “Minnie Mouse.” Sometimes I just say, “Minnie,” and they look at me with a wrinkled nose and ask, “Minnie?” So I say, “Yeah, Minnie Mouse.” It’s so much better when they call your name in a crowded place, you don’t feel someone has FNB’d you.

What would be funnier? “King Kong”?


Kim • April 21, 2011 at 8:02 pm



Kari • April 21, 2011 at 8:10 pm

When my husband and I got married, I was looking forward to not having to spell my last name anymore for people. He said not to be so sure. And he was right. My last name is Lucas…and yet ALL the time people ask how to spell it or say, “L-U-C-U-S?” Now, have you EVER seen Lucas spelled Lucus?!?!


J9 (aka Janine) • April 21, 2011 at 8:34 pm

What about Joy or Bev? I gave up trying to use my name for making reservations and use my husband’s name “John”.


Merry • April 21, 2011 at 8:35 pm

People, trust me. The name Mary can be spelled oddly. To take just one example, the IT man at my work labeled my computer as Marry’s computer.

I think I have found the solution, PQ. If you’re hanging out at Starbuck’s, then clearly your call sign should be Apollo! (Any self-respecting BSG fan could tell you that, for frack’s sake ;)


Morgan • April 21, 2011 at 9:24 pm

My neighbour’s cat is named Frank, and she’s a girl. Or Frankie?


Nina • April 21, 2011 at 9:51 pm

So have you made up your mind yet? Jen, makes sense to me!
My name is Nina, long i, you have no idea how often people mis-pronounce my name! When I correct them they say, no no your name is Nina (Neena)! What? Oh sorry, I have been mis-pronouncing my own name all of my life! Duh!!!


Jenn • April 21, 2011 at 10:15 pm

Jill. Easy, one syllable, with a sound that shouldn’t be confused for another one. When I say Jenn, they always ask me if my name is Jan. *sigh*


angie • April 21, 2011 at 11:12 pm

How about PJ for Pasta(Queen) Jennette? Of course they could screw that up as Pee Jay or something equally horrific. Hmmm…

Good luck!


Mary • April 21, 2011 at 11:58 pm

My friend Ginette goes for Gin:) Love it!


Wendy • April 22, 2011 at 12:27 am

How about Fred? I had a college female friend named Amy, but a guy she was dating nicknamed her Fred, and it stuck. She was a cute but tomboyish girl, and it lasted for years after college when I would occasionally see her.


Julie aka Kitty • April 22, 2011 at 2:30 am

My name is Julie, and I am rarely asked to spell it. It has been mistaken for “Judy” perhaps three times in my life. So there’s an option.

I vastly prefer to choose upper-crusty boarding-school croquet-playing names for these occasions, though, for the humor of making the disaffected youth at Starbucks holler “Kitty!” when my order is done. I’m a jerk like that.


Kathy W. • April 22, 2011 at 3:16 am

April, May, June…


Naomi • April 22, 2011 at 3:55 am

There is only one solution. Wear a sweatshirt with your name on it. When they ask your name, smile sweetly and point to the shirt. Alternative: carry business cards (or MOO cards) and when they ask your name, show them the card.

When I do book signings, I always have to ask everyone how they spell their name, because of the number of times someone says “Oh, it’s John, spelled the usual way”, and then I write the name in the book, and they go “no no no, it’s ‘Ghonne! The usual Ruritanian spelling!” I love the people who just show me their business card *so much*.


Heidi • April 22, 2011 at 5:56 am

I was going to be funny, and suggest Ed, but I see that boys’ names have already been mentioned.

My name has a multitude of ways to be misspelled – Heidee, Heidie, Heidy, Haidee – but the last time I was in Starbucks, their creativity really took the cake. They spelled it Hidy.


kathy • April 22, 2011 at 8:38 am

Don’t sweat the small stuff Jennette. Let them spell it the way they want and go about your day. Your are not a teenager anymore. Take care.


Lisa • April 22, 2011 at 9:20 am

I was going to say Jane. But then I thought, is that J-A-Y-N-E or J-A-N-E?

So, how about Jan? I don’t think you’ll be competing with anyone under age 60 for coffee and can’t think how else they might spell it. Good luck.


Korey • April 22, 2011 at 11:19 am

How about Bella? I’m pretty sure only crazy people spell it “Bela”, but then again, I seem to encounter many crazy people in my coffee shop adventures…


Rachel • April 22, 2011 at 3:52 pm

@Rachel – I get that too & I also end up with an extra A towards the end (Rachael) – even my aunt does that & she’s been my aunt for over 40 years! Sometimes it’s spelled with a Q (Racqel)! Or S, I could go on…

Also, my last name is 5 letters… not so hard, right? Especially when I spell it for you… the 3rd letter is G, and there is only 1 G, but I wish I had a dollar for every time I’ve spelled it & then been asked “2 Gs?”

Another Rachel


Lisa • April 22, 2011 at 6:34 pm

@Naomi – Try handing out post-it notes for people in line to write the name they want the book signed to – much easier on the author!


Lisa • April 22, 2011 at 6:36 pm

For some reason I have never had a problem with Lisa. I know there are alternate spellings out there (Leesa), but they are so rare that most people just assume Lisa.


Kriss • April 22, 2011 at 7:18 pm

Not that I even *remotely* think you are one, but I’m always tempted to say my name is “Bitch”. My warped sense of humor would looooove to hear the barista call out, “Hey, Bitch, did you want whole or skim milk” or “Here’s your venti caramel macchiato, Bitch”. =)


wz • April 22, 2011 at 8:48 pm

PQ…..simple, unique and right on…..


Ro • April 22, 2011 at 8:52 pm

at or it. Bridgette – seems no one knows how to spell bridge with a tte at the end for me either. I’ve been called Richard so many times and just recent Lemon cause I asked for a lemon cake at the wrong time at Starbucks. Lemon!


D.R.M. girl • April 22, 2011 at 10:29 pm

@Jamie – Ha-ha! I was about to tell her the same thing. I actually think telling them to just right “Bob” on there would be great. Either that, or ask if they can spell “cat,” and have them put that on there instead. Hehe


Cindy • April 23, 2011 at 9:22 am

How about Linda? I would think you’d have to be illiterate to spell that wrong.


Pam • April 23, 2011 at 1:04 pm

Obviously I like all the suggestions to use the name Pam, since it is mine. You’d think that’d be a name that wouldn’t be misspelled or messed up. However, over the years people have misunderstood and thought I said Ann many times. And I also get called PAT more times than I can count. I like PQ! It’s unique and it’s YOU!


Leigh Ann • April 23, 2011 at 4:48 pm

I like Jen or Jenn. It’s enough like your real name that if you should ever see any of these people in another place, it they remember your name it won’t be too far off. (Hey, I’m from a small town. People remember your name.) Plus, with Jen or Jenn, it doesn’t much matter how they spell it.

People might remember my name here, but they rarely spell it right. But faced with the possibility of LeeAnn, LeAn, Leanne, Leeann, etc., I’m not surprised! Sometimes I try to spell it for them, but usually I just let them spell it however they want. I don’t much like it when they get the whole name wrong, though: “LouAnn” irritates me. Sometimes people see my first name and middle initial, “Leigh A,” and think my name is Leigha. Which is kinda pretty, I guess.


maxie • April 23, 2011 at 6:01 pm

How about Max?

and, @Alejandra, is that spelled Alix or Alex?


Kimchi • April 23, 2011 at 6:37 pm

My name is Kim and that hardly ever gives me trouble. Sometimes, though, they will write “Ken”, but 99% of the time, “Kim” is a good name. I say it loud too, all the while picturing Invader Zim and how loudly he says his name. And no one has ever asked me to spell it.


Kyle • April 23, 2011 at 11:52 pm

Everybody else has better suggestions but I will say, I feel your pain.

I say, “K-Y-L-E.”

They say, “Kazakhstan?”

I usually say the same as you, “Yeahh….that’s right.”


Siobhan • April 24, 2011 at 10:48 am

I am trying to be empathetic here, but with a name like Siobhan I am having a hard time.
I usually use my last name when asked for an identifier (Hill-I thank my husband every day!).

I like Jane!


Laurie • April 24, 2011 at 1:14 pm

Don’t even try–I’ve been a teacher for nearly 20 years and I’ve seen every incarnation and spelling of names possible. Is it Kristin? Or Kristen? Or Kirsten? Or Kirstan? Is it Brittney or Brittany or Brittnay?
And as a married woman with a hyphenated name, it gets even worse. Are you Ms. Smith-Jones? Or Mrs. Jones? Or Ms. Smith? Or Mrs. Smith-Jones?! When I’m checking in (doctors or whatever) and I KNOW I’m in the system, I’ve started saying my name is “Smith hyphen” so they get the hyphen. So far, no one has typed Smithhyphen!
Just add a star or heart or whatnot on the cup after your name : )


HopefulandFree • April 24, 2011 at 5:58 pm

I like the old fashioned hippy names: Star, Rainbow, Flower, Sky…but you might be a bit young to pull these off with a straight face. :) Don’t try “Zephyr”! But Star might be the easiest, given the location. If they get it wrong, or have to ask…well, we’re probably all going to hell in a handbasket anyway.


Sierra • April 24, 2011 at 8:07 pm

I always give random names, too. No one can ever spell Sierra. When I used to go to Panera a lot, they would always spell it “Ceairia.” Wtf?

I usually go by Alice or Molly when it comes to coffee shops. Then again, I only know one that actually asks for a name.


Jane • April 25, 2011 at 7:41 am

why not Fulda? short and easy to spell, could possibly be a first name, and you’ll recognise it (if you use something else it may not register if you are distracted).


Rebecca • April 25, 2011 at 8:49 am



Ilma • April 25, 2011 at 12:40 pm

Jay! :-)


Deanna - The Unnatural Mother • April 25, 2011 at 2:51 pm

Funny! Funny! What is your middle name? Mine is Fanny, so that would stop everyone in their tracks….


Cyndie • April 25, 2011 at 6:05 pm

I went to dinner with a new friend Carol. She put her name in the wait list as Agnes. I cracked up and asked her why. Her reply was that she liked the name, it was different so she was never confused as to whether they were calling her, and it was easy to pronounce. Give it a shot – you will always know it is you, there aren’t to many Agnes’ in coffee houses –


Jo • April 26, 2011 at 3:34 pm

Like many others, my 1st thought was “Jane.”

I always spell my name out–“J-O without the e”–and invariably, they write it out Joe anyway.


Claire • April 26, 2011 at 3:37 pm

Hee hee…funny. I have trouble with people mis-pronouncing my last name. SWAUGER. Nobody sees that ‘U” in there, and I end up with Swagger

I suggest “PAT” Hard to mess that up ;)


India • April 26, 2011 at 10:29 pm

I’d suggest my name, which is India. I’ve never had it misspelled and I’m a senior!.


clyde • April 27, 2011 at 12:00 am



Sarah • April 27, 2011 at 11:27 am

@Jenny – I would get that when i was in the south. apparently I’m SAAAAAAArahhhhhhh


Janibeth • April 27, 2011 at 4:12 pm

Have you considered “Star”, because you are your own.


Janibeth • April 27, 2011 at 4:15 pm

@Janis – nice to see another whose name is always spelled the wrong way. (JanIS not JanICE).


Sonia • April 27, 2011 at 6:05 pm

First time comment, fan for weeks. Yes, I’m new here. Loved C&V though.
I feel your pain with the name thing.
How about Your Mama?
Kidding. Be you, or try a new one every time until one doesn’t get misspelled.
Good luck!


Sue • April 28, 2011 at 1:04 pm


Or you can use my name: Sue. It’s probably possible to spell it Soo or Sioux, however, most people will go with Sue, and not ask, which is really what you’re looking for, right? :)


Nina • April 28, 2011 at 5:09 pm

You can have my name but then I have had it spelt Neena, Neenah, Ninah or even Xina, Zena, Christina, Mina, Dina and every other possible name before my actual one (Nina).

Good luck!


Chrissy • April 28, 2011 at 10:42 pm


haha, nah, that wouldn’t work.

I think it is funny when they ask how to spell stuff in cases where it totally doesn’t matter as it only needs to be pronounced. Write it phonetically. But in your case, & on dressing room doors, how they write it will be seen by you, so i guess they are trying to be respectful.

I guess instead of saying your name you could say “J-E-N”.

I have other ideas, and obviously there are already many others stated, but I do think it kind of needs to be YOUR name, or your macchiato will just sit there as they call your alias over and over……ha


Yoonmee @ MoveLaughAloha • April 29, 2011 at 12:10 pm

I say go with something simple like Kim or Pat or Sam. If you think the name Jennette is hard for people to spell, try having a more ethnic name like Yoonmee. I usually either make up a name when I have to give it at restaurants or places like Starbucks.


Stacey • May 2, 2011 at 5:03 pm

There is only one solution to this problem, especially if you want to keep it close to your real name & that’s Jane. Nothing else that is close to your name is as concrete. But I’ll bet the Jane’s of the world wish just once that someone would spell thier name wrong. lol


Beth • May 2, 2011 at 10:16 pm



Lauren • May 3, 2011 at 12:10 am

I have a friend who uses “Elvis,” and that seems to work!


ana • May 3, 2011 at 2:06 pm

boy, good question! How about Zoe? I can’t think of another way to spell that off hand…


Sklig • May 3, 2011 at 10:19 pm

My name is Sam. No one gets it wrong. My last name is another story entirely, even though it is written exactly as it sounds.


Corrie • May 4, 2011 at 8:55 pm

I always went for “Renee” as my Starbucks name. Well, when I had the guts to say it.


Anne • May 6, 2011 at 11:18 am

I got with Anne – not my real name but what I go by whenever I am ordering at a counter. I always use the same one so I will actually answer to it when they call it out. Even though they could spell it different ways I’ve never been asked about its spelling. The only people who give me looks when using it are friends that I’m with.


Emma • May 9, 2011 at 3:32 am

@Jamie – I agree, go with Bob! Who can’t spell that?!


Emma • May 9, 2011 at 3:37 am

Oooh wait i know – Mom! Make the baristas giggle when they have to call out “Mom”… Extra points if they don’t look anywhere near young enough to be your kid. Otherwise Etta, but i’m going to use the Mom thing just for laughs (and no i’m not even a mom).


nicole (without the H) • June 4, 2011 at 12:06 am

@MissM –
BAHAHAHA IT’S JENNETTE….case in point.


Comments are now closed on all PastaQueen entries. The blog is an archive only so I don't have to deal with spammers. For fresh discussions please visit my new blog at JennetteFulda.com.

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Jennette Fulda tells stories to the Internet about her life as a smartass, writer, weight-loss inspiration, chronic headache sufferer, and overall nice person (who is silently judging you). She does this at JennetteFulda.com now, but you can still have fun perusing her past here.

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