one of the best things about working at bux is getting to know our regular customers. it's really great knowing they come into my store, not just for the caffeine but for the service. i've been invited to birthday parties, graduations and house warmings. i've been given christmas presents, books and freshly baked cookies. it makes my day to know i've made someone else's day.

sometimes though, we baristas get unwanted attention from customers. two of my fellow baristas were stalked by enamored coffee drinkers and a barista buddy had to talk to the cops because he was being harassed. most of the time, however, it's just a matter of baristas being adopted by lonely customers.

today was such a day for me. a woman came in asking for a regular coffee. she was unstable on her feet and slurred heavily. i figured she was either drunk or disabled. as if she'd read my mind she blurted out "i'm not a drinker!".
"ok," i answered back.
"everbody thinksh i'm drunk becaush i shlur. but i talk like thish when i'm tired." she informed me.
"ok," i said again, not really sure of what else i should say.
"yesh, thatsh why i wear thish." she pointed to an AA pin on her lapel. "but people shtill think i'm drunk."
"oh wow." i still had no idea what to say.
"jusht the other day two women called me a drunken shlob!" she continued, "but i jusht ignored them, 'caush you know what?"
"what?" i asked out of politeness.
"becaush they were..." she leaned over the counter and whispered, "becaush they were foreignersh."

at this point i started to slowly back away. i really didn't want to get into a conversation about "foreignersh" or "immigrantsh".

still leaning over the counter she continued, "you know how theshe foreignersh can be, right? they act ash if they own thish country!"

"oh," i said and continued to walk away from her. it was obvious she was going to talk my ear off until i was out of sight.
"whatsh your name?" she asked me while still practically climbing over the counter.
"brat." i responded and took another step towards the backroom.
"your really nishe, brat. where are you from? do you work every day? you're sho eashy to talk to!"
"oh...thanks. have a great day!" i was hoping she's say "shee ya later" but she still wanted to talk to me.
"what makesh your coffee sho good? it tashtes better than sheven-eleven."

luckily my barista buddy helped me out.
"hey brat, they need you in the backroom." he lied so that i could escape.
"it looksh like your busy, brat. i'll shee you nexsht time! we can talk shome more." she called out before leaving my bux.
"brat has a new best friend!" barista buddy teased me. "and she doesn't take too kindly to foreigners!"

customer rant: i know how much it sucks when someone spills a drink and you're busy on bar. but throwing them some towels and telling them to clean it up themselves is unacceptable. and when they'd finished mopping up the mess you gave them attitude and called out "hello! are you just going to leave the towels there?". guess what? cleaning up messes and spills is YOUR job. EVERY barista has had to clean up a customer's mess, so suck it up and start mopping.


James said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
James said...

back where i come from, brat, we hate them foreignersh just as much, maybe more. you should really do a borat and see how far you can get here to go by simply nodding and asking her leading questions. and then post it up here.

Ben Heller said...

See how long she stays if you say to her.."The coffee shop down the street are adding free shots of liquor to their Latte"

Beth said...

You should have told her you were from France so that she'd leave you alone.

Writeprocrastinator said...

""you know how theshe foreignersh can be, right? they act ash if they own thish country!"

Wasn't it the Mohicans that first coined that phrase?

The Platypus said...

Maybe she had a head injury in her past, or she could've been drunk.

I had a job in a camera shop and the residents of a local group home would drop in and talk to us. We treated them like they were just anybody and it really freaked out whatever "normal" customers were in the store at the time.

I'm Just Waiting said...

I get people like that every day...but the place where I work is inside a community college. I guess its kind of expected.

Ever get people who ask you for money? Thats always fun.

Anonymous said...

Maybe you could have suggested Kahlua. That way, the customer could have the best of both worlds, coffee AND liqueur.

SkippyMom said...

She seems kind of sad really. I wonder if she was drunk or really had a speech problem from tiredness? I would've [like you] given her the benefit of the doubt, but...

But the foreigners comment would've stopped me dead in my tracks and I wouldn't have been able to be pleasant anymore - that is when I go to ignore mode - Glad you had a buddy on your side!

[you really do a great job of getting her speech down! it is a hoot!]
Take care!

Marcus said...

those darn foreigners! think they own this country.
i wonder if she was drunk or actually a slurred talker... but she was most definitely a crazy one.
loved the 7-11 comparison!

Natalie said...

Yep foreignersh are way worse than foreigners. It's true. =)

Hoodlum said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mellowlee said...

Heeheee, that's hilarious, eshhpesshly the 7-11 comment LMAO

Re: the custmer rant, holy crappola!

barista brat said...

james yeh - i don't think i'm as brave as mr. cohen.

ben heller - she might ask me to join her if i do!

beth - haha, i should work on my "sorry - no english!"

writeprocrastinator - haha, you might be right!

the platypus - were they lonely? i have a feeling my customer was really just looking for someone to talk to.

i'm just waiting - yes, people ask for money all the time, although they don't usually ask us while we are working. they wait for us to be on break. once someone didn't bother to ask, he just started digging around our tip jar looking for dollars.

anonymous - sshhhhh! that's for "after hours" only!

skippymom - she might not have been drunk but i don't think her slur was just because she was tired. btw - can i call you "shkippymom"? haha!

marcus - haha, i didn't know they had 7-11s in malaysia!

natalie - you sound like you have experience with "them foreignersh"!

hoodlum - i'd agree with you if i were a receptionist or a college professer or any other non-service related career, but i'm a barista and part of my job is cleaning up messes. the day i feel i'm above doing my job is the day i quit.

mellowlee - glad to make you giggle!

Writeprocrastinator said...

"once someone didn't bother to ask, he just started digging around our tip jar looking for dollars."

Auuuuggghhh! You don't f**k with other people's money!

At this point, I would suggest to this person that either he steps away, or he will find out the hard way, just how much hotter a lap full of Bux coffee can be, than McDonald's.

I'm Just Waiting... said...

Yeah, I work alone at a coffee place and I always hide my tip jar if I have to run to the bathroom or if I take a break.

People will just come up and take money right out of the jar if you aren't paying attention. It's sad. They don't have manners either...but thats a different rant altogether.

barockstar said...

as to your customer rant about the barista insisting on making the customer clean...

i had this great SS who could be totally out-of-line for a normal person, but had such charm & charisma that she could get away with it.

the two of us were busting ass one day, a man short with another on lunch when the curb beyond the door became the back of the line.
we were both in fun moods, but swamped. she was on bar, me on till and the condiment stand hadn't been bussed for a while (since the lunch break most likely).
so we were out of milk, and it was messy.
this regular customer comes to the bar and tells her he needs milk, and that it's a bit messy (not rudely, just informing her).
she gave him a flat look, and nudged her head to the fridge behind her and said
'you know where the milk is... and be a sweetie..' threw him a rag and had him bus!

it was priceless.


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