this morning a woman phoned in an order for three coffee travelers (coffee in box to take with you). she said she was having a 10am meeting and she wanted to take coffee with her to the office. so at 9:35 we began brewing coffee for her designated 9:45 pick-up. when she didn't show up promptly at 9:45 we weren't too concerned because people show up a few minutes late all the time for travelers. but when the travelers had been sitting there for half an hour and there was no sign of her, we figured she'd decided against coffee at the meeting and didn't have the decency to call and cancel her order.

it sucked to have wasted our time and coffee like that, but we quickly got over it. at noon the woman called again, apologizing profusely and explaining that the meeting had been bumped to 1pm. she asked for three more travelers but this time perky assistant manager informed the customer that she'd have to pay for the travelers in advance since she never showed up for her first order. the woman complied and sent someone from the office to pay in advance for the coffee.

end of story, right?

not quite.

at 12:45 we had the pre-paid travelers ready for her, but still she didn't show. she didn't show at 1pm and she didn't show at 1:30. perky assistant manager called the number the customer had given her, but there was no answer.
it wasn't until 2:45 (a half hour after perky assistant manager went home) did the customer call us back.

"i'm so sorry about the coffee! we just got swamped here and i couldn't send anyone to get it." she explained.
"it's still here waiting for you so you can pick it up at anytime." i told her, knowing full well she was going to either ask us to redo the travelers or ask for a refund.
"well, the meeting is already over and the coffee is probably cold already so it's not going to do me any good." she was waiting for me to offer a refund but i wasn't going to do it. "i mean, the whole reason i ordered it was for a meeting and that meeting's already taken place, you know?" she continued but i still didn't say anything. "so..."
"so you can pick up the travelers any time," i repeated.
"the meeting is OVER," she was giving big-time attitude. "i don't NEED the coffee anymore so i'd like my money back."
"ma'am, the whole reason you had to pay in advance was because you didn't show up for the first order you placed. i'm sorry but i can't refund your money." i told her.

that's when she started yelling in my ear. that's when she threatened to call my manager and district manager and that's when she again demanded her money back.

guess what?
even with her threats and insults i still didn't give her the refund.

partner rant: do you have an ailment? are you suffering from restless leg syndrome? is that why you always walk away from your designated position? just because you prefer to work on bar doesn't mean you can shirk your register duties. in case you didn't know bux does not allow you to pick and choose your duties. either suck it up or turn in your two weeks notice.


Anonymous said...

I. Totally. Understand. I work in a competitor cofee shop, and when I read your blog, I laugh my ass off. It's true; I think every decent barista goes through the same crap. I've posted one of your "rants" at work for some of the people I work with. Keep up the awesome blog! Lets us know that we aren't the only ones!

Writeprocrastinator said...

"guess what?
even with her threats and insults i still didn't give her the refund."

Why not? Just because Bux won't make any money, let alone, profit? From employee time and materials wasted?

Just because she pulled the office equivalent of the old frat ordering a dozen pizzas to an address that doesn't want it?

No, you should give her a full refund...

and a dozen roses...

all the phone numbers of everyone you've dated in the past six years...

and the keys to your car. Honestly, Brat, you're so insensitive at times! Gosh!

mellowlee said...

Good for you! It always makes me laugh when people figure they can bully someone into giving in.

SkippyMom said...

"Hi United Airlines I couldn't make my plane but I paid in advance, can I have a refund on my ticket for not using my seat?"


I swear I would have charged the card twice - once for the prepaid and once for being STUPID - (and that would've made up for the mornings order)

Her meeting was OVER - and this is your problem, because? WHAAAAAAAAAAT?

Please come work with me at "Pool Hell"...it is all the same, just differnt chemicals!

Hugs and REALLY appreciated this post. Dayum, the entitlement.

DJ said...

Dear barista brat: I know this is off topic, but I was wondering.

When I go to my favourite local bux, the baristas are always really sweet to me and I want to leave them a tip. I usually toss something in the jar, but what is the appropriate tip amount when one orders a drink there? Thanks!


Anonymous said...

If I bought a latte at Bux and had to run out and never got a chance to run back and pick it up--I wouldn't expect a refund. I wouldn't even expect them to remake it--I would just kick myself for wasting $3 and move on with my life (and maybe apologize to the baristas for wasting their time). Following this logic to its natural conclusion, the same goes for your Traveller lady. Sure, it's more $$, but the same principle. She already paid for it. The beans are brewed, the travelling containers sullied. Why did she think she was paying in advance?!

The Girl with Moxie said...

I just loooove those people who are soooo busy that they can't be bothered to play by any rules of etiquette or exhibit any common sense. Yes, I've pulled that stunt before of thinking rules didn't apply to me because other people were in my way and I was soooo busy - it netted me a hefty traffic ticket.

DJ's comment made me think it might be cool if you did a post answering questions. Whaddya think, brat?

Beth said...

You're my hero!

plain(s)feminist said...

I've obviously never worked as a barista because I am SHOCKED at this story. What idiot would think that because she didn't pick up her coffee, she wouldn't have to pay for it?! I'm just...stunned.

I have to admit, I've been a little unsympathetic to some of your posts because my standard bux or any-other-coffee-shop experience is along the lines of - "could you leave me lots of room in that for milk please" and getting a full cup, or "whip, but no lid please," and getting the DAMN LID so all the whipped cream is smooshed and melty (this happens *every* time, I swear. And "room" and "no lid" are my only two requests, so it's not like my drinks are complicated or annoying). So when you write about some of the milder customer annoyances, I'm usually thinking about it from the customer perspective of watching someone put the DAMN LID on my cup and not wanting to yell out in case it isn't my drink...and it always is. Sigh.

But this really takes the cake.

She should've been made to pay for the morning's coffee. I hope you have her name down on a "NO TRAVELERS" list.

lighterate said...

but how do you remain professional - I end up shaking and my lip trembles and my mouth wanders into words it has no business bumping into

Thy said...

make her call as she's on her way to pick them up
and THEN start making them.

Sling said...

There is a little known,and virtually never enforced law.."Defrauding an Innkeeper".
Basically,once you've ordered something(food or beverage),You are obliged by law to pay for it,whether or not you consume it...She owes you for 1 traveler.

Ben Heller said...

I can't believe she had the audacity to ask for the money back. You handled it well though Barista.

Kiz said...

Sling, you sure that ain't a state law? If so, there -might- not be the same law in brat's state, although it's definitely worth looking into.

Anyway, I can only imagine what the conversation between her and your manager would've gone like...

H: Yes your bux refused to refund me my money!
M: I'm sorry, what was the problem with your drinks?
H: I left them at the shop
M: You... what?
H: I bought $40 of coffee but never drank it. I want my money back!
M: ... ... ...

There should be a little "no pre-orders" sheet, like the "bad checks" sheet that plenty of stores had back in the day. K

Kiz said...

Addendum: Since airlines actually will often give seats to standbys in the event of a "no-show" passenger, most will at least re-book you on another flight if you happen to miss your plane. If you miss your flight because of a connection delay, in fact, they're obligated to re-book you.

It doesn't work with consumable, non-transferrable goods, however (like someone else's tepid coffee). K

Eric (Brat At Another Bux) said...

I've had this happen a few times at my bux. It always pisses me off. Of course, we always have to remain perky.

And as for the don't-give-me-a-lid-because-I-said-so person that commented. I don't know how this bux's district but our DM has told us that is the only time we are to go against what the customer says. We have to put a lid on all hot drinks because they are so hot and some dumbass sued over it in the past.

Anonymous said...

I've just sat and read all through your blog - i LOVE it! It's really made me think - I went to a bux at lunch and thought of this blog and was very nice to the barista! keep up the good work.

Tom said...

I think it is so wonderful and accommodating of humanity to keep being endlessly and amusingly clueless, or what would you have to write about? Great story, as always!

Anonymous said...

If there is a store policy that hot drinks must have lids, shouldn't the person taking the order _tell_ the customer that when they ask for no lid?

plain(s)feminist said...

Eric -
Thanks for explaining the no-lid policy. Anonymous is right - I wish they would've just told me - but given some of Barista Brat's posts, I can see why Starbucks would want to take steps to avoid litigation!

Simply Lauren. said...

So, i'm wondering when the christmas cups are coming out. AND----also, is pumpkin spice latte a year round drink or seasonal? me and my friend have a bet. :) Thanks! Keep up the great blog!

barista brat said...

anonymous - i think it's funny how some customers assume that if they drop the name of a coffee competitor, they expect us baristas to blow a fuse. i don't think they realize that we all deal with the same type of customers and have the same rants!

writeprocrastinator - haha, i think i'll call and ask for her forgiveness!

mellowlee - i wonder if they do the same kind of bullying tactics elsewhere.

skippymom - i don't think i could work with you because i would end up body slamming tweedle dee!

dj - thank for stopping by and for the question!

anonymous - i think most people would've used their heads and just sucked it up, but obviously she is of a different breed.

girl with moxie - today's post was an "ask the barista" post!

beth - that made my day!

plain(s)feminist - i think i saw that eric gave an answer to the no lid policy. i hear you on the "leave room" and then you get a full cup. i usually have the opposite problem when i order a roomy americano. they only fill the cup about halfway instead of just leaving about an inch of room.

lighterate - but you would cuss them out so poetically!

thy - you better believe that's what we'll do next time.

sling - haha, i imagine you as the inn keeper enforcer!

ben - i think "audacious" is too nice a word for her!

kiz - i highly doubt she'll make a phone call to my manager. i think she thought she could bully a lowly barista.

eric - yeah, we have the same policy but we do have one customer who comes in everday who asks for no lid and we comply. we also have customers who ask for doppios with no lid and we comply then as well. thanks for stopping by!

anonymous - thanks for the compliment!

tom - i'm sure this pales in comparison to some of the people you've dealt with!

anonymous - yes, the barista SHOULD inform the customer.

simply lauren - i used your comment for today's post.

Sling said...

Kiz..Brat and I live in the same state.

mellowlee said...

Brat, to answer your question, those kind of people certainly do try to get away with it elsewere. I used to work in a Day Spa, and got that kind of crap all the time from people. Also, those types always tried to find a way of getting something for free. I never want to work a reception desk again *rolls eyes*

SkippyMom said...

Hey Barista - I can surely make the price right if you reconsider! heehee...just kidding! No, better yet I'll swap you a body slam at bux [anonymously of course] if you take out Tweedle Dee...

Thanks for everything! ;)

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