another newbie

last night i worked with a newbie who has been with us for nearly a month. i was assured by perky assistant manager that newbie was "shaky at bar but solid on everything else". after working four hours with him i now know perky assistant manager likes to streeeeeeetch the truth.

let's just say that newbie from last night made cell-phone newbie look like partner of the month.

when i asked him to empty the trash he complied. he just neglected to replace the can liners.
when a customer asked for iced coffee, he grabbed a hot cup and poured the iced coffee inside instead of using an iced cup.
he filled the decaf hopper with regular espresso beans and asked "is there a difference between the two?" when it was brought to his attention.
he continually mis-marked cups all through the night, never remembering that "M" stands for "mocha" and not "misto".
and he told a customer that we sell ice cream when we clearly do not.

the sad thing is he's a really nice guy. it seems that he wants to do the work, he just has absolutely no ability to remember how to do it. i'm not sure if it's a question of confidence or if he really is unable to retain any of the information he's been given over the last month but either way i don't see how he's going to last.

barista rant: please do not throw a tantrum in my store because we ran out of soy. i know it sucks that you drove all the way over here to get your half-caff triple venti sugar-free vanilla soy three splenda extra hot foamy latte only to find we ran out our supply of soy milk but that does not give you license to pitch a fit. especially when the people working the night shift are NOT the ones who messed up the ordering.


SkippyMom said...

I laughed out loud at the "Makes cell phone newbie look like partner of the month" - you are too funny - besides not retaining stuff (is he perhaps a "special" hire?) he seems to also just lack common sense!
Oh and I think I am actually going to my local bux and try to order one of these over the topped named drinks - not really caring what they taste like -
Is the one listed in this post an actual drink? B/C I think I have now found my alltime favorite of the ones you have listed!
Love the blog - thanks for posting!
(Funniest verification to date "nofuukn" - dang!)

Ben Heller said...

I think it's a combination of lack of confidence, scattered thoughts and a difficulty in coping with the world of work.

I had the same sort of problems in my very first job. I was desperately willing to help but I made lots of mistakes.

I think his attitude concerning how he corrects his mistakes will tell you if he has a future or not.

Film Aficionado said...

I can sort of relate to the new guy. I had to learn how to use a touch-screen register at the bakery and it was pretty rough.

I also had to deal with a customer that went off on how we ran out of a certain kind of bread. It's annoying to get scolded for something that we have absolutely no control over.

mellowlee said...

Aw, poor fella! I wonder if it's nerves and he gets flustered or if he is indeed a "special" hire. It must have been pretty frustrating for you. I've just discovered my new favorite non-coffee hot bevvy. Grande no water chai latte. MMmmm I love spicy drinks!

Marcus Chan said...

I've just started reading your blog about a week ago and just finished reading through the archives...
Really enjoy reading about the antics of some Starbucks customers! I live in Malaysia (and was in Melbourne for many years, where Starbucks wasn't as popular since the coffee culture there is as snobby as Italy... loved it) and have started frequenting my local bux that's behind my house. The baristas here are cool (some newbies are a bit brainless) and they even keep beans that customers buy so that they can french press it for us whenever we need it (for free!). It's a great service and about once a month, I chuck in a big arse tip to show my appreciation (even though tipping isn't really part of Malaysian culture).

Your blog is educational and a really cool social 'experiment' on how some people are just so ignorant and brainless... and cheap!

Thanks and keep it up!

Writeprocrastinator said...

"he filled the decaf hopper with regular espresso beans and asked "is there a difference between the two?" when it was brought to his attention."

Is there a difference?? Is there a difference?? You see those two ninety-two year-old women moshing? Welllll, they're not doing it because they're into punk rock.

Seriously, I feel bad for the guy because I was almost as clueless at my first couple of jobs. Unfortunately, Bux is not the place for him to work out the kinks...or make his own ice cream (ugh!).

Tracy said...

I'll tell ya, when I was the cafe manager at another unnamed coffee joint, I noticed that when my new hires got like this, it was usually nerves, and a ridiculously strong desire to do well and please me (manager). Sounds a bit off doesn't it? I will also tell you, that my employees that started off like this wound up being the absolute BEST that I had once they got the hang of things. I usually gave them a pocket sized cheat sheet that they could stash where customers couldn't see it...after that, they never looked at it! They suddenly, miraculously remembered things!

Kiz said...

If it's a question of confidence, then Tracy's suggestion there is your best bet. I've done similar things with speeches, presentations, etc.--kept a card in my pocket, but ended up never looking at it. You might also try 'quizzing' him through stuff during down time, to keep his memory fresh. However, if that doesn't work (and in short order), he might have to go...

By the way, I had an odd dream the other night involving a Starbucks and trying to pay in Canadian currency. That's not some sign that you're really in Vancouver or something, is it? K

JTN said...

Out of curiosity, what is the worst drink to make at Starbucks? I don't mean worst tasting, but the most time consuming pain in the butt drinks to make? I'm curious because some of the seasonal specials seem often cumbersome to put together. I tend to just get a drip coffee simple because at one point I realized I enjoy a regular coffee just about as much as a specialty drink so why?

barista brat said...

skippymom - yes, that drink is indeed a real one. i don't think you'd enjoy it too much but i'd love to hear how the baristas react when you order it.

ben - that's what i figure - if another two weeks go by and he's still making the same mistakes then i figure it's never going to click for him.

bbakon - yeah, the customers that yell at the people with no control are just idiots. i think they know that yelling won't fix the problem, it's just a way for them to release frustration.

mellowlee - glad you found a drink you love! i wish there was a way to make the chai less sweet and more spicy, but unfortunately it's a pre-made concentrate.

marcus chan - i'd love to hear more malaysian bux stories! i'm so glad they appreciate you at that store. those baristas sound like my kind of people!

writeprocrastinator - you're right (rightprocrastinator? haha). bux isn't the easy, laid back job most newbies think it is. there's a lot of work involved and some people just aren't cut out for it, no matter how well intentioned they are.

tracy - i know exactly the type of newbie you're talking about but unfortunately i don't think this guy can be included in that group.

kiz - this newbie isn't anywhere near the point where a cheat sheet for drink recipes is in order. he's getting better with the drink marking, but he still has a long way to go.
and no, haha, i'm not in canada - but one time a woman tried to pay with canadian money and when i told her that we didn't accept foreign currency she said, "well, it's practically the same!"

jtn - bone dry soy cappuccinos are annoying because the soy we use doesn't foam well at all. and frappuccinos that people want layered with whipped cream and caramel sucks as well. basically anything that is off the menu and takes three times as long to make is a drink from hell.

Beth said...

Does your bux have a good training program for newbies?

Anonymous said...

"and he told a customer that we sell ice cream when we clearly do not."

Wow...just wow.

SkippyMom said...

I'm going today BB! I just hope I don't freak the poor Barista out -
I just cannot believe that is a real drink - it sounds like a tongue twister!

I know I am going to end up sounding pompous - aren't I?

Thanks the reply - I'll let you know how it goes.

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