some customers have the gift of the gab. they come in, exchange pleasantries and regale us baristas with fantastic tales and humorous stories.
and then there are the customers who have a chronic case of verbal diarrhea and will talk at us non-stop, even as we back away and try to flee to the backroom.

yesterday one of our regular non-stop talkers came in for his daily latte. usually he spends about five minutes talking himself up and trying to impress us baristas with his 'a-list' clientele. but yesterday he was in a bad mood and his five minutes turned into fifteen.

"you know, brat - normally i'm calm and cool, but sometimes in my line of work i have to deal with bullshit that just puts me over the edge."
"hm. that's too bad," i answered automatically as i finished changing the pastries in the case.
"oh yeah, and i hate when i get like this. i hate feeling like this. i hate seeing other people's reactions to me when i'm over the edge." he continued as he mirrored my journey to the trash can and then back to the pastry case.
"hope things get better for you." i smiled, trying to do my best 'the conversation is now over' face.
"see, even my business partner could tell i was pissed. look at this text message he just sent me!" he tried to hand me his phone and i just glanced at it and nodded while i cleaned the outside of the pastry case.
"and now i have to drive to the airport and pick up one of my clients, which i really don't want to do since i'm in such a bad mood." he continued, even though i had walked away and started to stock cups and lids.
"well, drive safe!" i tried to end the conversation again, but he wasn't ready to leave.
"you know, i just like it when everyone is happy. when everyone is in a good mood - and now i'm gonna have to face my client and pretend i'm interested in what he's saying when i couldn't care less about his problems!"
"yeah - i hate that." i replied, hoping he'd catch the hint.
"hopefully his plane won't be late - that way i can still go out with this hot little russian student i sometimes see." he paused to see my reaction and when i didn't say anything he continued.
"you know, i might be older but i'm still fit. i'm in good shape and this little russian student is crazy about the fact that i'm crazy about her." again he paused but i'd moved on to cleaning the cabinets.
"brat, i offered to take you out before but you turned me down. now even if you wanted to go out with me i wouldn't be able to because of my young russian student."
"i'm glad you two are happy," i replied and then escaped to the backroom for my break.

when i returned ten minutes later, mr. over-the-edge was still hanging out in the lobby. he'd found a new target to talk to repeated, almost verbatim, the same things he'd just told me.

"you jealous?" barista buddy teased me when the non-stop talker left. "you totally missed your chance to see how fit he is!"

i'm hoping his tirade is shorter next time or i'll be the one going over the edge.

customer rant: your hair is beautiful, truly it is. i can totally tell that you take pride in your cascading ringlets, but please, when you're at work, tie your hair back! as you worked behind the bar your hair not only landed in the milk pitchers but got tangled up on the whipped cream container as well. one of your wayward locks even managed to get stuck on a syrup pump, sending three bottles crashing to the floor. i tell you, never was i more thankful that i had ordered a drip coffee instead of a bar drink.


Andrew said...

Aah, hair is a pet-peeve of mine. It drives me up the wall.

ADW said...

There is nothing I like better than pulling someone else's hair out of anything I eat or drink. My hair is fine, but soneone else's... blech.

The Pensive Penguin said...

oh yeah, my favorites are the cutomers who will see that our dining room is crowded, comment on how busy it is, say, "So I won't tie you up," but then proceed to continue talking to me about nothing.

Allan said...

""you know, brat - normally i'm calm and cool, but sometimes in my line of work i have to deal with bullshit that just puts me over the edge."

It's a good thing you don't have that problem at your job.

That dude's young russian GF keeps sending me emails...what a small world!

Anonymous said...

Had a similar experience today at the grocery store, but with a motor-mouthed clerk. She talked on the phone the whole time she rang me up about a raccoon she found in her yard. Then, while I was paying, she related the exact story AGAIN to me and the other lady in line. As a customer I was lucky that I could just walk away, or I might still be standing there.

Sharpie said...

Oof, my actors do this ALL THE TIME. I'm astonished at how self absorbed they can be. My favorite is when they start bitching about their hangnail while I'm frantically working and then stop and in an offended tone say: "Am I keeping you from something?"

Monica said...

Why don't you and your fellow baristas rescue each other by calling the store phone from the back phone. That way you can take the fake call and end your conversation with the rambling customer. Failing that, someone can ask you to verify their till...in the back room

Beth said...

EWW! I hate "hot and fit" older men who have to date young hotties to feel virile. Thank God for the little blue pill ...

The Wandering Author said...

Hey, Tatiana's e-mail inviting him to share his bank account number so he could pay for her education to keep her from starving is probably the first time in thirty years a woman's actually contacted him. So of course he's excited about his new relationship. Why would anyone find anything odd about that? I met this young Nigerian girl from a very important family when she sent me an e-mail... Where are you going?

barista brat said...

andrew - even when it's in your beverage?

adw - yeah, i agree.

the pensive penguin - exactly. are they missing brain cells or something?

allan - haha, i wonder if he knows she's two billion timing?

anonymous - don't you love hearing the same story twice in a row, repeated in exactly the same manner?

sharpie - oh man, i thought they were bad enough when they were famous.

monica - unfortunately the other baristas all run to the backroom. it's kind of a cruel game, leaving the lone barista out on the floor with annoying customers.

beth - yeah, he's asked me out a few times. i guess he doesn't want the pills to go to waste.

the wandering author - haha, too funny!

SkippyMom said...

C'mon Brat, admit it.

Your nametag says "Shrink", doesn't it?

Or at least Dr. Brat. I'm right, aren't I? gigggle.