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.


Anonymous said...

How do you deal with these types of customers on a daily basis without resigning or being subject to a slew criminal charges? I know it's part of the job (and probably most retail jobs where the general public are the customers), but finding a way to deal with it is the difference between going mental and surviving - at least, that's what I'm guessing?

Do you not take the various problems/issues/amusements with customers to heart, maybe just brush it off, or do you feel sorry for them and move on with the next in line? Whichever method you use, sell the secret on eBay. It's worth millions!

I'm genuinely interested in how you personally deal with it?

In response to your partner rant - do these new employees not have any respect for their co-workers, let alone for themselves? Is it usual for them to pass through a two or so interviews before being formally offered a job?

Tom said...

To Anonymous: I believe that Barista Brat deals with these people by writing about them. And thank God she does. How else would I know just how low the human character can sink? I can't get through a day now without coming here for a good shudder.

Film Aficionado said...

In the 7 or 8 months that I worked at a coffee shop, I never really had any terrible customers, which really surprises me. On the downside, the store owners refused to set up tip jars, thus making us rely on a measly $8.50 per hour. I live near San Francisco, so that is not enough to live on.

The Girl with Moxie said...

Now I am dying of curiosity: what do you suppose Ms. Smartie expected along with her ground beans? A big wet kiss on the lips? Howard Schultz to pop out from the back and say "thank you SO much for keeping my wallet so fat"? Or a song-and-dance number? We might never know.

Thanks for the link, sugarbear! I appreciate it!

Sling said...

"Cash or charge?"
"Paper or plastic?"
"Say hi to yer hole....family?"
I can't think of anything she forgot.

slskenyon said...

Those customer stories where amazing--incredible people. I love the fact that the guy literally tried to get you to "forget" that he hadn't paid--nice try on his part, but entirely transparent.

Gotta love the new employees you just know aren't going to last long. I always wonder why they took the job in the first place when they act like that. Oh, and what's to come? More than likely a litany from this one about other places he or she has worked and how ridiculous they were and why they didn't work out. Of course, it will never be that person's part.

Beth said...

WOW! Smartie #2 considered leaving you a thirty-cent tip? Now you get to travel, Brat!

Um, and kick the newbie for me.

barista brat said...

anonymous - tom is right. maintaining this blog is a great way for me to vent. also, even though i write mostly about the annoying customers, my regular customers and my fellow barista buddies help make my job enjoyable.
as you can see from today's post i did lose it a little this morning, but i'm in a mood for only about ten minutes and then i'm over it.

tom - remember: you can be a guest ranter on my blog any day!

big boobs are kind of neat - yeah, tips definately make my job worthwhile. i can't imagine getting by just on my paycheck.

girl with moxie - i have no idea what was going through that lady's head! she still hasn't come back to claim her coffee yet.

sling - how about, "would you like some water with your much needed valium?"

slskenyon - yeah, i don't expect people to LOVE working at bux, but if they're going to be such pains they should find someplace else to go. it's not like we solicited them for work!

beth - forget traveling! i put that thirty cents towards my retirement!

Thy said...

when i read your blog

i start to be a lot nicer to people in general.

you're doing humanity a favor.