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!


Ms. K said...

NOOOOOOO! Not Primerica!

She should change her number before it's too late!

Those sharks NEVER give up. My husband learned that the hard way, after I warned him NOT to give out our information to someone who wanted him to change jobs. We had to put up with a spiel from an Amway jerkoff...who didn't like it when I told him, "Since my husband wasn't smart enough to tell you that our personal information was none of your business, it's up to me to tell you that we will NOT be selling Amway, no matter how hard you push. Good night."

He called, and called, and finally I blocked his number. He then called from a cell phone. I told him if he didn't stop harassing us, I'd have a trap/trace put on the line, and have him up on charges of harassment.

He stopped calling.

They never give up.

She's just chum in the water now.

Mel said...

You just tipped me off to the fact that Primerica is scum. My fiance has been getting calls from them and their website looks legit, but Google hit #2 is a fraud report site. "Primerica is the Amway of Insurance" someone there said. Yikes.

I love your blog for your stories: I worked in a deli once. But this one little hint just saved us a lot of aggravation!

Sling said...

Amway salesmen fall somewhere between used car salesmen and serial rapists.

Anonymous said...

I love your writing style.... Keep up the good work!!!


mellowlee said...

OMG, I thought they just placed phoney job ads on job search sites like monster.com to hook people. I had no idea they actually did their recruiting in person. Freaky deaky!

Anonymous said...

Primerica or cult -- little difference either way.

Michele said...

Oh wow, they hit you guys up for this too? I remember getting this very same speech when I was working at my old Restaurant many moons ago. Ugh, made my skin crawl. Eeeeeeeeeeevil.

Benny said...

I'm very glad I have no idea what Primerica is! Sounds freaky.

What we got were creepy old men in suits who wanted to shake our hand. I'd be like, "Uh, are you going to order anything?" And then when they noticed I was about to hit the 911 button, they handed me an insurance business card.

Seriously. Some people need to learn what "networking" really means.

barista brat said...

ms. k - "She's just chum in the water now." <-- that's a great line! it's scary how persistant those folks are!

mel - thanks for your comments! glad the blog served as a public service announcement, haha.

sling - so i've heard...

melanie - thanks!

mellowlee - not only do they hunt us down in person - they pay employees that are low on the totum pole to hand over phone numbers of other employees. it happened to my friend when she worked in retail.

anonymous - i wonder if there's a self-help group for those who have escaped?

michele - i don't think they discriminate at all!

benny - haha, but you don't like touching the public anyway! it's true: pushy doesn't work for gals like you and me.

Kiz said...

No! Oh that's awful. You need to tell her that as soon as they call, she needs to say clearly that she's not interested and she'll file for harassment charges if they persist.

You gotta have a little brat-to-brat chat with your partner... Nothing big, but just point out that anyone who -ever- says "oh, i can't tell you now!" when you ask them what kind of job they're offering is either:
a) Involved with Vector marketing
b) Involved with Primerica
c) Involved with Amway
d) Involved with drug-running
e) a cultist

If she puts up a tough front from the beginning and follows Ms. K's advice, then she should be able to shake them off no problem. Good luck with that! K

Anonymous said...

She sounds very naive. The first rule of dealing with the public is to not share personal information. Giving out contact information is particularly careless and could lead to some very bad things.

mr_kitehead said...

I once encountered a husband/wife team at the grocery store, and they invited me back to their hotel room to discuss a company called Mellalucca/Meneluccia/something like that, and I wasn't naive - I was bored, and they were buying wine.
After 90 mins of listening to their spiel, and asking pointed questions about how the system works, they popped the question about what level of membership I was interested in.
"I'm afraid that at this point in my life, acquiring more stuff at better prices isn't going to make me a happier person."
Their faces fell apart as I walked out.

Anonymous said...


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