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.


jpdc said...

You need to finish the story. Did Mr. Anal find anything wrong with the store?

Anonymous said...

Customer rant:
Why do you try to force feed me your starbucks speak? I want a medium coffee with cream, not a grande. And no I will not call it a grande no matter how many times you try and correct me!

Sling said...

I was staring intently out the office window one day,when the sales manager aked me what I was looking at.
"Some big fat lady!" I replied.
It was his wife...:(

Benny said...

Anonymous reader totally needs to read the archives! :-)

On the Rant: I was shopping with my mother the other day and she was checking out at a Forever 21 type store (yes, my mother wears those clothes, not me), and the 16 year-old girl behind the counter kept saying, "Is that alright for you, darling?" "How's that, hon?" "I'm just going to stick the receipt in the bag, okay, Mami?" Everything ended with a term of endearment, and this was a teenager talking to a mother. My mother is usually the type of woman who says, "Cut it out, dammit!" so I'm proud she kept her cool.

But seriously. Heh.

The Bryan Ferry/Rolling Stones is a much better cover, in my opinion. "Crystal Ship" is more for the novelty of it, thought is IS atmospheric and that's usually how I like MY New Wave- atmospheric and sultry. ;-)

Thy said...


you'd have to be pretty dense to shout that.

Kiz said...

I finally caught up with the archives my own self. Made for some real entertaining reading.

Now, while I won't deny that your partner was -ridiculously- dense (and this is coming from a guy who absolutely hates ambiguity), I wouldn't worry terribly much. An undercover officer won't walk into a place he frequents in-uniform, unless it's not vital at that moment to keep his cover. The fact that your partner was yelling it often enough for the whole block to hear, though, is still all manner of dimwitted. K

lighterate said...

Pure class! I came back and read your comments further down and thought I'd been wiped from the roll call, and I was thinking, flip me sideways like a 747, what's going on here?

I was confused, I was upset, I was surprised. I was wrong.

Your blog is something like... um is it Kevin Smith who did Clerks? You could do for Starbucks what Smith did for video rental stores, and then some. I can see it on the big screen.

barista brat said...

jpdc - i'm sure he did but he didn't say anything to the partners. i'm sure he had a long discussion with my district manager, though.

anonymous - this barista really doesn't care what you call it, as long as you're clear.

sling - haha! i can just imagine you trying to disappear into your mustache after that!

b - i so was going to say 'read the archives!' and in my opinion mr. ferry makes every song better!

thy v. - this barista wasn't known for his brilliance. even so - he really wasn't using his brain that day.

kiz - you'll have to keep me up to date about police procedure!

lighterate - i would never wipe your comment from this blog! any friend of benny's is a friend of mine!

Beth said...

Damn ... she ma'ams more than I do.

Kiz said...

Oh I'm no expert now, nor do I claim to be. Just a bit of common sense is all.

Although, if you're an undercover cop, then the more people recognize you (no matter what location), the more at risk it puts you. So your partner blabbing it out and upping the count of folks from, say, 2 to 20 was still a rather ridiculous thing to do, even if your store was nowhere near his eventual destination. K

Dennis said...

I grew up in a southern midwest state and was brought up to respect others, part of that respect is "yes sir, no ma'am" to everyone. I am 44 and still address others, in shops, stores, phone calls, even golf partners, in that manner. Would you rather have them say, "hey bitch get me a coffee?" or "like, um, you know, a big sort of you know, like that flavored type like you know stuff?" or "dude, gimmeabigfrothycoffeeman."