customer knows best?

one of the hardest types of customer to deal with is the "know it all" customer. the type that has a fixed idea in their head about bux products and refuses to change this idea, even if a barista, manager, or nutritional information pamphlet tells them different.

my fellow barista brat at a different bux told me the story of one such know-it-all customer while she was making a double chocolate chip frappuccino:

know-it-all customer: "stop! don't put any chocolate on top! my daughter's allergic to chocolate!"
fellow barista brat: "oh, this must not be your drink because this is a double chocolate chip frappuccino."
k-i-a customer: "no, that's mine! just don't put any chocolate on top because my daughter is allergic and i don't want to spend the night in the emergency room."
fbb: "uh, you do know that there is chocolate all throughout this drink, don't you?"
k-i-a customer: "the chocolate inside the drink is fine because it's soy-based. she just can't have the stuff on top."
fbb: "ma'am, there's no such thing as soy-based chocolate here. in fact, there's no soy in this drink at all!"
k-i-a customer: "yes there is! i looked it up online! the soy-based chocolate is fine, ok? just don't use the real chocolate on top."
fbb: "i'm trying to tell you that the stuff on top is the exact same stuff we put INSIDE the drink. if you're daughter is allergic to chocolate then she shouldn't be drinking this. period."
k-i-a customer: "it's fine, i'm telling you! i looked it up online and soy-based mocha will not affect my daughter. just put whipped cream on top and leave the real chocolate off!"
fbb: "fine. whatever you want."

i hope know-it-all customer goes back online and finds this post! imagine putting your kid's health at risk because you think you have all the answers.

partner rant: it's bad enough that you leave the backroom littered with your half-finished drinks, but knocking three of them off the desk and neglecting to mop up the mess is extremely rude. even if you were in a hurry to leave the least you could've done was inform us about the spill. sometimes partners can be just as bad as customers!


bux bliss

there must have been something in the air today because i had the most harmonious shift in weeks!
every customer was polite, there were no drink mess-ups and even bitter old dude had a smile on his face.

keeping with the good mood i chatted merrily with my customers and noticed the tip jar was filling quickly with bills. bitter old dude and i bantered good-naturedly and one of our regular customers bought us lunch. it was truly a great day. not even the tour bus that pulled up outside of bux could set me off.

i was, however, a little nervous when the group of thirty came pouring into the store. there was only bitter old dude and myself and i was nervous that he would loose his cool, or that the group would have insanely annoying drinks. much to my surprise the group was well organized and very low maintenance. the group even paid for the drinks of two customers that came in after them so that they wouldn't have to wait for all thirty drinks to be made before they could order. it was the most painless rush i've ever had and i was impressed by bitter old dude - he never got pissy and he never fell behind when making the drinks.

when the tour leader paid for all the drinks he asked if there was a way to put a tip on his credit card.
"no there isn't, but thank you for thinking of us!" i told him.
"well, can you give me change for this?" he handed me a twenty dollar bill.
i handed him back a ten, a five and five ones, fully expecting him to toss in about three bucks. instead i was pleasantly surprised to see him toss in the ten dollar bill instead.
"thanks so much, guys. most baristas totally lose it and give us attitude when we come in but the two of you have been great!" he smiled.
"thank YOU!" i smiled back, happy that he had a positive experience in my bux.

the rest of my shift was just as smooth and i even gave bitter old dude a MUG (Moves of Uncommon Greatness) award for how great he handled bar. here's hoping the rest of my week is just as pleasant.

partner rant: it sucks when you understaff us. truly - it does. sure, today we handled it but really you're playing a dangerous game. i know the district manager is cracking the labor whip, but don't overwork your partners just to look good, ok?


head hunters

it's not unusual for customers to ask us baristas if we are happy with our employment. it's a fair question - especially when you come across baristas who seem to hate wearing a green apron more than they hate paying full price for a venti caramel macchiato. sometimes customers are just being chatty when they ask "how do you like your job?". other times they are genuinely interested. and occasionally they are trying to sell you something.

last night a group of four came into my bux and each ordered lattes. they were all dressed professionally and carried with them their obligatory briefcases - all except the solitary female who had a prada knock off hanging over her shoulder. among this group of four there was an "alpha suit". it was obvious because his briefcase was made of metal and not of leather. oh, and the fact that his "associates" paid for his drink and followed him around like devoted puppies.

"so, how do you like working for starbucks?" alpha suit asked me while i made his drink.
"i like it a lot." i honestly replied.
"do they force you to say that?" he chuckled, but it was only for show - his group of minions laughed obligatorily.

i didn't respond. i was already bored by him and i could too easily tell what direction he wanted the conversation to take.

"what about you?" he asked my fellow barista brat. "do you spout the party line too?"
"well, yeah i like it here but it's not my dream to become a manager or anything." she didn't realize she'd just painted a target on her chest.
in swooped the female suit with a fake smile plastered on her face.
"you should give me your phone number - i can offer you a career opportunity that you will love!"
"well, what kind of job is it?" fellow barista brat asked, taken aback because the female suit asked for her phone number.
"oh, i can't tell you now! you need to be excited for it!" female suit responded.
alpha suit stepped in when he saw my fellow barista was not game.
"really, we offer better hours, better pay and a chance at unlimited gains!" he smiled at her. "you would be a perfect fit for us. why don't you give us a number we can reach you at and then we can go over details?"

fellow barista brat fell for the trick and handed over her mobile number. the beta suits smiled in wonderment at the mastery skill of alpha suit.
"that's how it's done, folks!" he informed them as they made their way out the store.

i bet a weeks worth of tips that fellow barista brat will be getting a phone call from primerica inviting her to attend a "training session".

barista rant: really, i don't care if you bring in fries from the hamburger place two doors down from us to eat while you drink your iced tea. what i DO mind is when you spill ketchup on the floor and smear it around with your shoes. and when you put your feet up on the chair across from you and smear ketchup all over that as well. and when you leave your trash on and around the table when you leave. and when you come back and have the nerve to accuse us of stealing your sunglasses that you claim you left in our store. perhaps if you weren't so damn messy you could keep track of your things!


one bean

last night my fellow barista buddy told me a gem of a story.

apparently earlier this week he was working with the talker, so he was more aggravated than usual. a group of four women came in - apparently it was 'girls' night out' because they were louder and giddier than sophomores hanging at the mall. the first three women bantered and flirted with barista buddy as they placed their orders. the last woman, however, got right down to business and told him EXACTLY what she wanted.

"give me a latte with nonfat milk and one bean."
"one bean?" barista buddy asked.
"yeah, nonfat milk and one bean."
"so...you want steamed nonfat milk..."
"yes! i want steamed nonfat milk and ONE BEAN!" she was getting pissy.
"one bean!" her friends chimed in behind her and started laughing.
"all right," barista buddy took their money and began making their lattes.

the first three women took their drinks with no complaints. the fourth woman took a sip and frowned.

"this tastes like milk!" she spat. "i wanted a latte with one bean!"
"that's what i made you," barista buddy responded with an evil grin. "i steamed nonfat milk and put one bean it."

sure enough, barista buddy dropped a solitary espresso bean into her milk when making her drink.

"no! you're supposed to crush up one bean instead of a bunch of them! that's how all the other starbucks do it!" she bitched.
"ma'am i made your drink EXACTLY how your ordered it." he shot back.

the woman bitched some more while her friends laughed uncontrollably. hopefully she learned her lesson but most likely she'll continue to order a "one bean latte".

barista rant: i understand you were looking to purchase a gift for a friend, but did you really need to take all the product off our shelves and put them on your table while you decided between the different mugs? not only did you spend ten minutes hogging the merchandise, but once you made your decision you left the remaining products on the table without putting them back on display. in what world is this behaviour ok?!?


friday night spites

tonight was very busy. the private school down the street was having a function, so not only did we get the after school frappuccino rush - we had both parents and students steadily walking through our doors right up until closing.
that's the worst kind of busy there is. we baristas actually prefer an insane rush of an hour or so as long as it's followed by a decent period of down time so that we can prep and clean. when we have people ordering drinks non-stop, even if its only two or three customers at a time, it's really difficult to make sure the lobby is clean, the drip coffee is always fresh and the pastry case stocked.

tonight was one of those shifts were the list of things that needed to be done kept getting longer and longer. being stuck behind bar for nearly five hours without a break (i'm not exaggerating here) is bad enough without customers whining and complaining:
"you're out of half & half!"
"i wanted nonfat milk in that!"
"this was supposed to 180 degrees but it tastes more like 175!"

the only thing worse is the customers who ask their barista for random things once their drinks are made:
"can i have a venti cup filled with whipped cream?"
"i need an extra straw and two forks."
"give me a cup of water and an extra cup of ice."
"can you tell me the name of the song that's playing right now?"
"how many calories are in a venti soy toffee nut latte if i skip the whipped cream but get three extra pumps of toffee nut?"

and guess what? i get to do it all again tomorrow!

partner rant: what do you do all day long? i'm asking because i very much aware of what you DON'T do. you don't grind coffee, you don't prep frappuccino, you don't take out the trash, you don't fill milk carafes, you don't sanitize dishes and you don't stock cups and lids. you know how i know? i know because i was the one who did them as soon as i started my shift. listen - there's no reason why the first two hours of my shift should be spent doing things you had eight hours to take care of!


short term newbie

we have a rash of newbies in our store. normally one or two newbies at a time is manageable but we have four and that means unhappy customers and stressed out partners.
two of the newbies are typically overwhelmed, one of them is surprisingly adept (especially considering she is still in high school) and the other is on his way out.
this guy has been in our store for only two weeks and already has rubbed almost all of us the wrong way.

the very first day i worked with him it was clear he was not a keeper. when he was supposed to be in the backroom finishing up the register training module, he was instead talking on his cell phone.
"are you on a break or something?" i asked.
"uh, no - just doing this boring register training thing." he answered without hanging up his phone.
"really? how far have you gotten?" i asked, still eyeing the phone against his head.
"i don't know, i can't really tell."
"hang up the phone," i told him, dumbfounded that he wasn't picking up on my not so subtle hints before. "you're not being paid to chat with your friends, ok?"
"well, no one was back here with me so i figured it was all right." was his sad attempt at an explanation.

not two days later he was caught text messaging when he should have been prepping coffee grounds and yesterday he was caught giving free drinks away to his friends. not only that he was a no show to one of his shifts last week and he still has no idea how to make a latte.

i'm sure he'll be fired soon if he doesn't quit on his own. i won't be sad to see him go, but it sucks that he's wasted our time.

barista rant: is it really necessary to spill sugar and milk all over the condiment bar when you customize your coffee? and if so, is it really so difficult to clean your mess afterwards? was the condiment bar filthy when you got there? no! so why do you feel entitled to "leave your mark" for the rest of the customers? don't be a piggie!


two for one

one of my assistant managers has two faces.
the first face is that of ned flanders from the simpsons - or maybe that of an ultra perky elementary school teacher. this face comes complete with a grand canyon smile, bright wide eyes and a vocabulary filled with words like "whoopsie-patoopsie!", "perky power!" and "oh my gosh, billy bosh!". this is the face she uses when she's working register, making drinks or tidying up the lobby.
her other face is that of a trash talking, wine-cooler swilling malcontent university dropout. every sentence ends with a "whatever!" or a "bite me!". assistant manager wears this face when she's not in her green apron, or when she needs to vent in the backroom because life at bux got a little too "raw".

customers love her. partners...well, partners often times want to slip her a sedative. i've never had any major problems with her but lately she's been slacking in her daily duties. too often she'll "forget" or "run out of time" to prep, stock and make sure breaks are given. "we been slammed all morning!" is another one of her excuses - er, reasons for turning over crappy shifts.
so, after a weekend of her spending most her shifts in the backroom to do "manager stuff" and leaving the rest of us shorthanded and under-prepped, assistant manager had the nerve today to get on my case for not leaving her a note that we were running low on iced venti cups.

"oh, did you run out this morning?" i asked her - surprised because i was sure there were enough cups to last at least a day.
"no, we didn't run out but it would've been nice for you have left a note. okie-dokie artichokie?"
"ok," i gave her a fake smile. "no problem. by the way, are we out of frappuccino base?"
"no, we have three cases." she informed me with a puzzled look on her face.
"what about cbb? are we out of that?"
"no, we have plenty." she was still confused.
"oh, i figured we must have run out of both since you didn't prep any for the closing crew."

after that exchange i found out assistant manager has another face - and it comes with egg all over it.

partner rant: could you wash your apron please? maybe just once this MONTH? i'm not asking you to dry clean and press your apron, i'm just asking that it still looks green - not brown and black with random patches of dried milk and sugar. not only does it look terrible - it stinks to high heaven. so please, do us all a favor and stick your apron in the wash.


barista brat meets barista bitch

every bux has a different personality. that's why loyal customers don't mind driving past three or four other buxs on their way to their favorite one. i personally like the fact that each store attracts a different type of loyal clientele but that doesn't mean a barista can skimp on their everyday duties.

this morning i stopped by a bux that i used to frequent often. there are only a handful of baristas that i know there now (turnover is very high at this bux) but even though i didn't recognize the faces i still expected a certain level of service. when i walked up to the register i wasn't greeted with a "how are you today?" or a "what can i get started for you?" or even a simple "hi there". instead the register partner adjusted her ponytail and said "your drink".

it wasn't even a question. her tone of voice was monotonous and flat and it was evident that her hair took precedence over my drink order.

"hi," i smiled hoping she would become more welcoming when she saw how polite i was. "may i have an iced grande americano?"
"anything else?" she asked as she grabbed a hot cup and started to mark it.
"i'm sorry, i wanted that iced," i informed her as she put the hot cup on the bar to be made.
"yeah - i heard you," she spat before growling, "anything else?"
before i could answer the barista making drinks asked the register partner, "tony's here? i didn't see him walk in."
"i saw him parking so i marked his cup already." she said to the barista before giving me the total.
"may i also have a grande drip with room?" i asked when i had her attention again.
"ugh!" she exhaled loudly, as if i had totally ruined her day by asking for a simple cup of coffee.
before i could give her my partner numbers for my discount, tony walked in and she immediately started chatting with him as she thrusted her hand in my direction so i could place my money in her palm.
by this point i was really ticked off. "i have partner numbers," i interrupted their conversation so i could get my discount.
"hang on, tony." she smiled sweetly at him before frowning at me and demanding, "your numbers".
i gave her my numbers and she was so quick to give me my change that she missed my hand completely and dropped the bills and coins on the counter.
did i get an "i'm sorry" or "oops!"? of course not. she just continued her conversation with tony while i gathered my money.

after waiting five minutes for my americano that never materialized i asked the barista about my drink.
"i never got a cup for that," he said before walking away from the bar and into the backroom.
the register partner was still talking with tony and i didn't feel the slightest bit guilty for being bitchy when i interrupted with a "you never marked my cup, did you?"
"excuse me?" she was giving me attitude.
"iced. grande. americano." i said slowly and clearly.
seeing the barista had left his post she had no choice but to end her conversation with tony so she could make my drink. after carelessly putting the lid on top she pushed my drink to the edge of the counter with so much force that the americano fell over and spilled - liquid running off the countertop and onto the floor.
"you know what?" i was so pissed. "just give me my money back. i don't want the americano and i'm returning the drip."
she gave me a look that could kill before calling out the barista to clean up the mess.
after she gave me my money back i asked her, "does gina still come in at six on mondays?"
the register partner's face went white when she realized i knew her manager. that look alone was worth the price of admission.

customer rant: your pastry case is disgusting. i know it gets busy and there isn't always time to wipe the crumbs clear but three empty trays, smeared icing on the glass and fingerprints all over is not an appetizing way to start the morning. please - take two minutes to tidy up. your customers will thank you.


things that can go...will go...

reasons being a barista sucked today:

1. seasoned partner decided to pull a no-show during busiest time of our morning rush.
2. assistant manager ordered almost three times the product we needed, making it impossible to move around the back room.
3. one blender motor decided to go to blender heaven leaving us with only one working blender during our frappuccino rushes.
4. a customer did their business on the SIDE of the toilet - not IN it and left it for us to clean up.
5. we ran out of espresso (the ONE thing the assistant manager forgot to order).
6. mid-day newbie decided camping was more important than coming to work so we were actually two baristas short.
7. a milk cap fell into the floor drain causing it to overflow.
8. working two hours of overtime because it was more "cost effective" for me to stay rather than the assistant manager.
9. did i mention the messy toilet yet?
10. newbie spilling freshly steamed milk down the side of my leg.

if this weekend doesn't get better i might even contemplate pulling a no-show.
ok, not really but it's nice to dream.

barista rant: do you think you're doing me a favor when you toss your straw wrapper at me while i'm making drinks? there is a trash can right underneath your nose and yet you still insist on pushing your trash towards me so that i may have the honor of getting rid of it for you. just stick the wrapper in the trash! it's not that hard! if you are capable of ordering a decaf quad iced three pump sugar free vanilla half nonfat half soy easy caramel macchiato then you are capable disposing of your own waste!


partner blunders

i've written so many times about the dumb things customers do and say, but to be fair we baristas have been known to really stick our feet in it as well.

dumb partner move #1
- i was working with an old school partner when one of our loyal customers came in. it took me a second to recognize him because i was only used to seeing him in his police uniform instead of the casual clothes he was sporting.
"day off?" i asked him as i took his order.
he smiled and lifted the bottom of his shirt revealing his badge hooked onto his belt.
"nope," he said and i easily understood that he was working undercover that day.
we chit chatted a little more while he waited for the seasoned partner to finish making his drink.
"hey! aren't you a cop!" seasoned partner exclaimed as he handed the drink over. loyal customer gave a slight nod, trying not to be obvious, hoping the seasoned partner would catch on and shut his mouth. "what, are you undercover today? i was making your drink thinking, 'hey, that guy looks exactly like that cop that comes in all the time' and it IS you!"
when seasoned partner realized his faux pas he attempted to smooth it over but only made it worse. "oh man! was i not supposed to say anything? did i totally blow your cover? damn, i'm all 'hey you're a cop!' and now you probably want to arrest me!"
loyal customer NEVER came in out of uniform after that.

dumb partner move #2
- there had been rumors that some bux bigwigs were touring our district. every store was in a state of high alert making sure the backrooms were neat, the partners inviting, and the lobbies sparkling clean. when each manager got word that the bigwigs had split up so they could visit more stores, it sent a wave a panic throughout the town as each store hoped to be visited by the "cool" bigwig and not the "anal" one.
after the bux down the street was visited by mr. "anal", my manager received a phone call warning him that our bux was next on the list. he told one of the shift leads to check the lobby once again because if there was even a solitary crumb on the floor mr. "anal" would notice it immediately.
"hey, don't forget he's bald and wears round glasses!" my manager reminded her so she could greet the bigwig with a smile when he walked through our doors.
"hey, i think he's coming!" she called out after wiping down the tables on our patio.
we all braced ourselves for mr. "anal" but when a bald guy with round glasses walked through our doors in shorts and sandals instead of a suit, the shift lead called out to us, "relax guys! it's not mr. "anal", it's just a regular customer!"
the look of horror on my manager's face revealed that the regular customer was indeed mr. "anal".
he never let the shift lead live that day down, either.

barista rant: i really don't have a problem being called "ma'am" because i know most people are trying to be respectful when they use that term. what i DO have a problem with is being called "ma'am" by you twenty times before you leave my store! "i'd like a venti drip, ma'am. please leave room for cream, ma'am. how much do i owe you ma'am? may i have an extra cup, ma'am? i forgot to order a pastry, ma'am. can i have a knife, ma'am? i'm sure i have exact change, ma'am. thank you, ma'am. have a nice day, ma'am. see you tomorrow, ma'am." the fact that you're older than me, and yet you insist on calling me "ma'am" a billion times, only heightens my annoyance.


partner purgatory

yesterday i was lucky enough to work with both the talker and bitter old dude.
how surprised do you think i was to find they both HATE each other.
not only did they banter back and forth, they each would try and pull me aside to tell me just how annoying the other one was.

it started off with bitter old dude complaining (yet again) about how little he gets paid and how bux could easily afford to give everyone a two dollar raise. then the talker felt the need to chime in and with his thoughts - which were pretty much the same as bitter old dude's.

the talker: "you know, i do my job well and all my customers love me. you'd think starbucks would appreciate the fact that we baristas are the ones that keep the customers coming back."
bitter old dude: "customers don't come back because of you - they come back because of their addictions! the fact that we have to deal with them all day long should be reason enough to give us more money."
tt: "i agree - "
bod: "no you don't! you just said people come to starbucks because of you. I was the one that pointed out the fact we're just caffeine peddlers - not YOU!"
tt: "it's not just for the caffeine. if they wanted caffeine they could go anywhere. the reason they keep coming back to our store is because of the great service i give them."
bod: "you are so naive."
tt: "you are! starbucks isn't going to give us any more money so you should stop complaining."
bod: "i should stop complaining? what about you? you're the one who feels under appreciated, although i have no idea why."
tt: "that's because you don't care about customer service. ever since i was sixteen i've worked in food service and i deserve a pay raise for the expertise i bring with me."

i wish i could tell you the conversation stopped there, but no. it went on and on and on and on. when bitter old dude went on his lunch break, the talker felt the need to plead his case to me. when the talker went on his break, bitter old dude decided to list everything he hated about the talker.
i can't even imagine what the two of them said about me when i took my lunch.

barista rant: why do you ask me twenty questions about our frappuccino lights only to decide that you will instead order the full fat, extra whipped cream version? obviously the calorie count isn't that important to you, so why waste my time (and the time of the people behind you in line) if you're just going to order what you order every single day anyway?



today is not a day to complain about my customers or co-workers. instead i invite you to read the beautiful tributes written by my fellow bloggers.

cup of coffee - dinah webster

it's a pug's life - leah e. oliver

the wandering author - firefighter francis esposito

the record room - katie mcgarry noack

the girl with moxie - benjamin suarez


kill da wabbit

i've had customers get mad at me for a variety of reasons. whether it's because we are out of product, because we take too long making drinks or because we pronounce words differently, customers have NO problem giving us an earfull when they are displeased. my many hours at bux have well conditioned me for the barrage of insults and offences hurled my way. tonight, however, i was not prepared to have my intelligence, compassion and humanity questioned by disgruntled customers.

"what did barista brat do to upset these customers so?" you might ask yourselves.
"did she finally snap and tell someone where they could put their stirrer stick?" you might wonder.

if a fellow partner of mine was called "uncultured, unkind and cruel-hearted" by a customer, i too would be curious as to what they might have done to merit such harsh words. believe it or not, i was called all those things because i have never *gasp!* read 'the velveteen rabbit'.

in case you haven't been in for a frappuccino lately, bux is now selling the audiobook of 'the velveteen rabbit'. i'm guessing this book is a classic of sorts because many middle-aged women immediately regress decades when they see the compact version of their childhood favorite.
"this was the best book when i was little!" they squeal in sentimental voices.
"my grammie would read this to me every night!" they recall with misty eyes.
then (and possibly because they feel a little silly reminiscing while ordering their latte) they'll ask me if i've already bought a copy of the audiobook for myself. when i inform them that a) i haven't b) i won't and c) i've never read the book, their dreamy eyes harden into cold stares.

"where did you spend your childhood?" a customer barked at me. "in a barnyard with the farm animals?"
"i can't believe you're not embarrassed to admit you've never read it!" another customer cried out.
when finding out i had no plans to read (or listen to) the book, a woman in glasses and a headscarf glared at me and asked, "have you no soul? what are you - a cold blooded reptile?"

i think i will start lying and just nodding my head "yes" when i'm asked if i've read the book. goodness knows telling the truth didn't help my tips at all tonight.

partner rant: why is it i have to grind decaf coffee on every closing shift? why can't you openers do your duty and grind enough coffee to get me through the night? don't you realize i have enough to do on my shift? not only am i making drinks, i have to break down and clean the entire store for your shift the next day. i have to make sure you have enough prep to carry you through the afternoon. so why the hell can't you grind enough coffee for me? quit being lazy and complete your morning tasks!


mr. paranoid

at my old bux we had several regulars who would work on their laptops for hours on end. we didn't mind that they took up our tables because they were always polite, always quiet and always tipped each time they'd order another drink. one of these regular laptop customers was a screenwriter - at least he aspired to become a screenwriter.

larry was very nice but VERY paranoid. he didn't have just one laptop - he had TWO!
when curiosity got the best of me and i asked him about it he informed me that one was his internet laptop and the other was for his scripts.

"are you afraid of getting a virus?" i asked, curious as to why he was so emphatic about traversing the web with only one of them.
"viruses aren't the problem," he told me in a hushed tone. "thievery is the problem!"
"thievery?" i was confused.
"i never go on the internet with my script laptop. that's just inviting someone to steal my film ideas!"
"um, can't you use a firewall or something?" i asked him.
he responded by laughing in my face.
"firewalls are useless! once you log on you're totally exposed! it doesn't matter if you hide your files or encrypt them - the thieves will find them! no one is safe. that's why i won't even show someone my script unless they sign a two page contract!"

larry didn't talk much with me after that. i think he was afraid i would steal his precious script ideas. apparently i wasn't the only person he was suspicious of because he quit going to my old bux shortly after that episode. last week i ran into him at a bux in my area. i said hello when i saw him but he pretended like he didn't see me. instead he quickly shut his two laptops down and exited the cafe. i have a feeling he won't be returning there any time soon, either.

barista rant: why do you call my bux asking for the phone number of a bux in a totally different district? when i tell you that i have no idea of the phone number since it's in a different city, you get huffy with me and suggest i go on the internet to look up the number for you. hey - i have a number for you: FOUR-ONE-ONE! that's right, dial 411 and they will be happy to give you all the phone numbers you need. so quit being cheap, pay the damn 411 fee and quit bugging me while i'm trying to make drinks!


freshly brewed attitude

we have a customer who comes in every morning and orders a venti drip and a venti decaf drip. he is very particular - always insisting we brew a fresh batch of coffee just for him.

"how long has it been sitting?" he'll ask as soon as he walks up to the register. "half an hour!" he'll exclaim even though he knows bux policy is to rebrew every hour. "that's too old. it always tastes funny once it's been sitting longer than twenty minutes."

we go through this EVERY morning. i guess the guy is retired because he has no problem sitting around for however long it takes for a fresh batch of coffee.
the other day he was upset because the regular coffee was fresh but the decaf coffee was forty minutes old.

"can't you just rebrew it now?" he asked. "you're going to have to brew it again in twenty minutes anyway!" he whined. "it tastes awful once it's been sitting there too long," he said as if he'd never told us that priceless bit of information before.
"can you really tell the difference between coffee that has been there for twenty minutes verses coffee that has been there for forty minutes?" i asked him, not believing for a second that his taste buds were that discerning.
"of course!" he threw his hands up. "coffee tastes sour and burnt after it's been sitting around. i don't want funny tasting decaf!"

my assistant manager decided she'd brew fresh decaf just for him. seeing that he'd already nearly finished the regular coffee we'd poured for him, she asked who the decaf was for.
"oh, it's for me," he answered her.
"wow, you drink the decaf right after you drink the regular coffee?" she was shocked someone would consume forty ounces of coffee in one sitting.
"no!" he rolled his eyes as if she'd asked the stupidest question in the world. "i don't drink it NOW! i save it for the evening. after dinner the last think i want to do is leave the house so i buy my decaf in the morning."

uh, are you kidding me? this is the guy that complains about coffee sitting around for twenty minutes and he doesn't even consume it until twelve hours later! how in the world does he wrap his head around that logic? i swear - next time i'm tempted to give him REALLY old coffee just to prove the point that he can't tell the difference, especially since it will be stone cold by the time he drinks it (ew, just realized he probably nukes it in the microwave every night).

customer rant: please stock your bathroom. it's obvious you haven't checked it in hours so please don't blame desperate customers when they use paper towels to wipe their backsides because there was no toilet paper. keeping on top of the bathroom will help reduce the amount of clogged toilets - i promise.


labor pains

although this morning was slower than most monday mornings (because of the holiday) we still had our share of jerk customers.

pain #1
- apparently i resemble a six foot 200 pound guy because a customer started yelling at me when i called out his americano.
"does this have the extra shot?" he asked, but it sounded much more like an accusation.
"yes, i put the extra shot in your americano," i informed him and continued making drinks.
"there's not enough room in it!" he yelled after taking the lid off the cup. "i distinctly told you to leave enough room!"
"uh sir, i didn't take your order. i just make the drinks as they're written." i explained and tried to keep an even tone.
"well, you better redo it because i distinctly told you to leave room!" he repeated.
"sir, i didn't take your order," i was getting pissy. "the GUY on register took your order - not me." i reminded him.
"whatever, just quit wasting time and remake my drink." he snapped.
it's been a long time since i've lost my cool at bux and today this guy pushed all the right buttons.
"i'm soooo sorry," i feigned sincerity. "you're right, i've just been wasting time making drinks for people who have the ability to order correctly. how thoughtless of me to keep you waiting!"
after i remade his drink i said, "here's your americano. i made sure to leave enough room because you DISTINCTLY told me to do so. thank you so much for your patience!"
i'm sure acting manager will get a phone call complaining about my attitude tomorrow but i really don't care.

pain #2
- i had three frappuccinos in a row: one caramel frappuccino, one coffee frappuccino and one mocha frappuccino all with no whipped cream. as i placed the caramel frappuccino on the bar a woman sighed and said, "you guys always mess my drink up!"
"excuse me?" i asked not understanding why she was complaining.
"forget it. it's nothing. i don't mind drinking it like this." she unwrapped the straw and stuck it in the caramel frappuccino.
"did you order the caramel frappuccino? i have two others over here as well." i informed her.
"this is mine. it's just made wrong as usual - but whatever. i'm used to it." she said as she walked away with the drink.
after a few minutes i noticed a girl waiting for her drink and a coffee frappuccino left untouched on the bar.
"did you order the coffee frappuccino?" i asked her pointing to the lonely drink waiting for its owner.
"no, i ordered a caramel one." she informed me.
lovely. the bitching customer took the wrong drink. she's probably taken the wrong drink every time she's been in our bux.

pain #3
- an older woman insisted we give her a grande espresso. the problem? there's no such thing! no matter how we tried to explain it to her, she could not get it through her head that espresso is sold in shots - not in sizes. she said she understood what espresso shots were and she wanted a grande one. finally we gave up and made her a grande americano instead. i'm sure we'll go through the very same thing next time she comes in.

partner rant: why are you so opposed to keeping a clean bar? why do you feel a dirty steam wand is superior to a clean one? and why do you find it offensive if i rinse out the milk pitchers? you may like your lattes made with resteamed milk and old shots but i guarantee our customers don't! quit being lazy and start making drinks to standard - including keeping your bar clean!


daily grinds

yesterday was pretty dull at my new bux - most people have either left town for the holiday weekend, or they're staying at home hoping everyone will think they had enough money to take a mini-break. the few customers we did have were mostly laid-back regulars. there were, however, a couple of real "smarties" that stopped by as well.

smartie #1
an older woman came in and asked for a pound of french roast to be ground. my fellow barista brat ground the beans while i finished ringing the customer up. when my fellow barista brat gave her the pound of ground coffee the woman stared at her and said, "i think you forgot something."
"what did i forget?" fellow barista brat asked.
"think about it...you forgot something!" the woman repeated.
"did you need a bag?" fellow barista brat took a wild guess.
the woman sighed and shifted her weight.
"thank you? have a nice day?" fellow barista brat was still guessing at what she'd missed.
"you know, i'm not going to remind you. if you can't do your job properly then maybe i'll just quite coming here!" the lady huffed and left the store (also leaving her ground coffee on the counter).
my fellow barista brat was about to run after the woman and give her the ground coffee but i stopped her.
"when she comes back for it we'll just say 'i think you forgot something'!" i suggested.
too bad for us the woman never came back in for our amusement.

smartie #2
a man came in and ordered a grande drip. when i rang him up he exclaimed, "oh jesus! you want how much for a cup of coffee?"
now smartie #2 is a semi-regular at this bux and he's ordered a grande drip many times before.
"you know, when i was your age coffee wasn't so overpriced!" he informed me (but he still hadn't handed any money over yet).
"yeah, i hear that all the time." i responded and waited for the cash.
"think about it - it's just hot water that was run over crushed beans! you know, i have a coffee maker at home and i never use it. i should probably make my own coffee so i don't waste my money here." he said and started to walk away.
"sir, you still owe me for the coffee." i stopped him.
"didn't i pay you already?"
"no, you didn't."
"i could have sworn i did. we had a great conversation and everything!" he said but still wasn't making the move to pull his money out of his pocket.
"dollar seventy," i held out my hand even though he offered no money.
after a pause he finally reached into his pocket and gave me two crumpled singles.
"and give me back my change!" he barked. "i'm not tipping you for pouring a cup of coffee. especially when you were so rude about it!" he called out over his shoulder - oblivious to the fact i hadn't handed him his change yet.

partner rant: it's your first day on the job and already you're slacking? i know there's a lot to learn and i know it takes time to learn it, but can't you at least fake your interest? if only for one day? when i show you how to properly mark cups don't yawn and say, "ugh, this is SO boring!". when i ask you to check the lobby don't exhale heavily and say "again? i just did it half an hour ago." and when my fellow barista brat informs you that you can't drink while at register don't respond with a "well, that's stupid!". you want to know what's stupid? stupid is thinking you're behaviour is acceptable.