crash course

it's equally frustrating for baristas and customers when we run out of product.
believe me, we baristas feel bad when someone orders and pays for their drink, only to find out that after five minutes of us searching high and low we do not have the soy/chai/vanilla/whipped cream/caramel sauce or lemonade to make their beverage.
too many times i've had to apologize to someone because someone dropped the ball when it came to stocking the store.

and yes, it sucks to be chewed out by a customer for having no product (especially since we baristas have no control over what's ordered - that's a management issue) and then the mad district dash to pick up product from other stores sucks as well. it's not uncommon to be called in early specifically for the task of searching out product. it's also not uncommon to be a person short on the floor because a manager has asked a barista to burn their gas driving around town on a scavenger hunt.

i'll be honest, driving around for product should never happen - but it does ALL the time.

that's why, although unfortunate, it was not surprising to hear that a partner was involved in a car accident when she was out picking up product. luckily she wasn't injured. the same, however, could not be said of her car.
now she's requested to talk with the district manager since she believes the accident is in part bux's fault and i can understand why she feels this way. if the store was stocked she would have been making drinks, not making lane changes. i have no idea what the district manager will say or what recourse - if any - the barista might have. let's just say it's going to be a gossip filled weekend!

barista rant: there's no such thing as breve soy! there's no such thing as half&half made with soy at bux! i even explained - in detail - what made soy soy and what made breve breve. so why, after i'd explained it to you, did you look at me blankly and say "i don't care about anything so long as you use breve soy". is it because you're stubborn? is it because you believe if you ask for it enough somehow i will magically be able to create breve soy just for you? please, if you are going to insist on a certain kind of milk, make sure it actually exists.


Wide Lawns Subservient Worker said...

What is breve?

Anonymous said...

I wonder if the managers have any idea how wrong it is to expect people to use their personal vehicles for store business. I bet they don't even compensate them for mileage and it can be a breach of the terms of their insurance to use their car for commercial purposes if they only have a personal policy. Now this poor person is out of pocket for whatever their deductable is and their insurance rates will go up and for what? A job that pays slightly over minimum wage? What would happen if a person just said no to using their own car? Or offered to use a taxi or bus at the corporation's expense? Or how about telling the manager "fine, give me your keys"? This unfortunate person is a loser whatever happens and if he/she pushes the issue they'll probably find themself jobless.

Beth said...

Anonymous nailed it. Why should a barista waste gas because of bad planning on the manager's part? Hopefully, your fellow barista's meeting with result in changes.

Anonymous said...

Legally the barista was at work, performing a work-related task, when involved in the accident. Not only could s/he hold Starbucks accountable but so could the other party. It's pretty basic law.
It'd be to the benefit of all the other partners, too, if s/he pursued action against corporate. It'll probably be the only way to get management to change their practices.

Anonymous said...

Yes, that's what I was thinking (I'm the anonymous from 5:55), although I have no legal training it's pretty much common sense and when you take out a policy for your car it's for personal use only unless specified otherwise. If the insurance company found out she was on company business they could refuse to pay.

Bux is a big corporation and they very likely have policies in place that have failed to trickle down to local management, or it's just as likely that they don't care. When I was unfortunate to work retail, also for big corporations, they had the same attitude and to question it was to be insubordinate.

Retail is by its very nature exploitative. I have faith that if this employee pushed it she would be terminated and any legal efforts would be worn down by attrition. They can find somebody else willing to sell their soul for $8/hr. easily enough.

Sling said...

Clearly,bux has liability in this incident.Like Anon. said,it's a basic point of law.I'm surprised they haven't stepped up to help resolve things,as it would obviously be in their best interest.

Ben Heller said...

Although I feel sorry for the girl, I think the responsibility of recompense is solely down to job description, and car insurance for work related business.

If it's not in her contract of employment to carry out these extra jobs, if the employers haven't authorised her to use her own car for such errands, and if her car isn't insured for business purposes, then sadly she hasn't got much chance.

Anonymous said...

Well, yes, she wasn't authorised to use the car but management expected her to do it. Most people will either not know it is beyond the scope of the job or will be too timid to refuse. As for a contract of employment, I doubt if there is such a thing but I sadly agree that her chances are slim.

plain(s)feminist said...

I looked up breve - S.W., it's a "milk-based espresso with half and half." Why doesn't bux use soy half and half, I wonder?

As for the accident, I agree that since she was on company business, the company and the company's insurance are likely liable, not her and not her personal insurance. I hope she doesn't need a lawyer to make that happen...

Kiz said...

I guess I should quit ordering soy chocolate frappucinos with 4% milk.

For that incident... First off, -most- insurance policies designated for personal use will allow occasional business use without taking out a second policy (I think mine is 40% business use or so), so even if she has a personal vehicle, she can still use it for business purposes on occasion.

Second, if she does use it for business purposes, bux should have to reimburse her (something like 44.5 cents per mile I think is the current IRS rate), -and- assume liability in the case of any accidents. Bux should be well-aware that if she were injured, she might also have reason to file for workman's comp (though someone more proficient in law than me would have to confirm that).

I do have some confidence that the same company that offers health insurance to its regular workers will manage to resolve this in a reasonable manner. I'm hoping that confidence isn't misplaced, however. K

mellowlee said...

LMAO about the breve soy! I what did you end up doing in the end?

That reallllly sucks about the car accident :(

Peter said...

I would have at least slapped on a neck brace. She'll definitely get compensated for the auto damage. That's lunch money to a corporation like Bux.

SkippyMom said...

[Peter I love your icon - Where's Beeker? - he always cracked me up! "mmeeemee, eh,, meeemmee AHHHHHH" (after he was blown up!)]

I agree that bux is responsible for this - we have company trucks and thus I am on our insurance, but now I am wondering when I use my own car for everyday errands - who would be responsible [and I do leave the office every single day to do something in my own car] for my car if I wrecked it?

Thanks for the hmmmmmmm...I am going to look into this. 'Cause now I am really starting to wonder. We are so small I am sure the owner would wig if I claimed b/c of my car.

I am glad your fellow barista wasn't hurt - I feel bad for her tho', so I hope bux' takes care of her appropriately. Tell her our hugs are with her!

lighterate said...

do let us know what happens

Tom said...

Sometimes a producer or whatever will say of a given scene in the movie "it needs to go faster." I, thinking, it goes perfectly quickly, will show them the scene unchanged a week later, and they will say "Now THAT'S what I was talking about--all it needed was to go more quickly." On that line of thinking, did you ever think of saying "Here's your breve soy, sir/or/ma'am"?

Hard Hat Area said...

god. i know the feeling.
wee ran out of supplies at the place i work. and some kids mother shows up, and freaks out that her child doesn't have a pencil to write with for FIVE SECONDS (i pay HOW MUCH JUS SO MY SON CAN'T DO ANY WORK! WHAT KIND OF AN ESTABLISHMENT IS THIS..BLAHBLAHBLAH), just because we were making them sharp.
a coworker suggested we stay there in the back room all day, just to aggrivate her further.
i suggested we throw one in her mop of rope which she calls hair

goodness. some people...


barista brat said...

wide lawns - breve is what we call half&half. some customers want us to make their drinks with half&half instead of with milk.

anonymous 1,2,3, beth, sling, ben, plain(s) feminist, kiz, peter, skippymom, lighterate - found out that the partner was not at fault for the accident (the other driver was) so the other driver's insurance will most likely be covering all her expenses. i haven't heard yet how her converstation went with the district manager. thanks for all your advice/information on the legalities!

mellowlee - i just gave her soy - it was easier than going around in circles!

tom - i can't bring myself to do that because i think of the next poor barista that has to deal with this customer!

hard hat area - i think some people live to complain.

Raevyn said...

First of all, the personal use of vehicles should be by the managers, not the baristas (and this is coming from a manager, if you wish to know), and secondly, I can totally identify with looking for stuff that just. isn't. there.

Unfortunately for me as a manager, sometimes even *I* cannot control what is and isn't in my store and have to go putt-putting around the city to find product for my store. It happens too much. I empathize with you. Honestly I do.

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