high on love

doobie newbie has been making minor improvements each week.
amazingly, he now knows how many pumps of vanilla are in a grande latte, as well as remembering that refrigerator doors need to stay shut if they are to keep cool. he's shaved a full minute off the amount of time it takes him to clean the lobby, and he's even learned the difference between an iced mocha and a mocha frappuccino.

you might ask yourself why doobie newbie has turned over a new leaf.
could it be a new found sense of accomplishment?
a fully functioning extra brain cell?
a heart-to-heart from his parents?
no. no. and no.
there can be only one reason for this new transformation: he's in love.

that's right - doobie newbie is changing his ways for a woman.
who's the lucky girl?
well, that would be awesomely amazing barista.

"brat, have you noticed doobie newbie following you around more than usual lately?" she asked me after working three shifts in a row with him.
"no - actually he's been better about figuring out what needs to be done."
"that's weird," she wrinkled her nose. "he's been following me around a lot. even when i'm counting my till, he comes back there and just stands next to me."
"oh really?" i laughed, the image too funny for words.
"and the other day he called me and left a message on my cell but i didn't get a chance to listen to it."
"so today he asked me if i got his message. i asked him why he called and he said 'oh you know, just to talk'. i thought that was so weird." she gave me a sideways look and shrugged her shoulders.
"maybe he has a crush on you?" i teased her.
"good god, i hope not." she grimaced.

but the next few days continued in the same vain. doobie newbie following her around and trying to chat her up each moment she was free.
"so, uh, you like movies?" he asked her while she was re-stocking cups.
"yep." she answered with only one word, trying not to prolong the conversation.
"uh, do you read any comic books?" he asked after a few minutes.
"nope." again she gave a minimal answer.

when it became painfully obvious that doobie newbie was fully enamoured with her, awesomely amazing barista made sure to talk a lot about her boyfriend whenever her admirer was around.

"so, uh, you have a boyfriend?" he asked with fallen face.
"uh, even though you have a boyfriend, are you still allowed to hang out?" he asked hopefully.
"allowed? what do you mean 'allowed'?" she laughed.

so even though doobie newbie knows she's taken, he continues to follow her around, chat her up, and now is doing his best to improve his performance so that he can impress her. if he wasn't such a terrible barista, all this might actually be endearing.

barista rant: if you ask for the piece of coffee cake in the front of the pastry case - i'm going to give you the piece of coffee cake from the front of the pastry case. so don't holler and hoot, "no! i said the one if front! the one in front!" when i hand it to you. when i show you exactly where i got the coffee cake from, don't give me attitude and huff, "well, that's actually the one in back from where YOU'RE standing!". and when i explain that no matter where i'm standing, the front of the case is still the FRONT of the pastry case, don't grab the bag from my hand and complain about how rude i am.


lie to me

it's a rare day when we DON'T hear "but the other bux does it for me!".

i really hate 'the other bux'. i hate those 'other baristas' who apparently have no use for drink standards, health department regulations, or honesty. i hate being told by a misinformed customer that i have no clue as to what i'm talking about and that i obviously need to be re-trained. and that the 'other bux' is where i should re-train at.

"i want a sugar-free caramel frappuccino." a customer placed her order yesterday.
"ok, i do have sugar-free caramel syrup, but i just want to make sure you know that the drink still has sugar since none of our frappuccino bases are sugar-free." i told her pleasantly, but fully aware that she was going to blow her top.
"NO!" she jutted her chin towards me and rolled her eyes. "i am a diabetic, so the only thing i can drink are your sugar-free frappuccinos, and that's what i WANT!"
"ma'am," i started calmly, hating that i've had to have this same conversation with countless customers before. "we offer regular frappuccinos and light frappuccinos. now, there is splenda in the light frappuccinos, but there is also some sugar. there is absolutely no way i can make a frappuccino completely sugar-free for you - and i think you really need to know that since you are diabetic. i can, however, offer you an iced sugar-free caramel latte."
"no, no, no!" she shook her head. "you DO make a sugar-free frappuccino! i know because i get them all the time!"
"ma'am - "
"look - " she interrupted me. "i go to the starbucks down the street all the time. the guy there told me that there is no sugar at all in my drink. and i KNOW he was telling the truth because i told him i'm a diabetic."

why, oh why, do customers believe a lazy barista over an informed one?
yeah, i know. it's because the lazy barista is telling them what they WANT to hear.

"well," i continued, opting to end this as quick as possible. "THIS starbucks doesn't carry sugar-free frappuccino base."
"that's ridiculous!" she wasn't going to leave without a fight. "all starbucks are supposed to carry the same items! let me talk to your manager."

"ma'am, starbucks doesn't offer a sugar-free frappuccino base, only frappuccino light base." he told her after she'd gave him every painful detail of our conversation.
"oh, ok." she pouted. "i guess i'll just have to give my business to the OTHER starbucks down the street!"
"that's fine," my manager said with a smile and a shrug. "just remember, it will still have sugar."

i swear, sometimes i love my manager.

partner rant: ok - i'm sure you thought it was hilarious at the time, but telling non-stop talking customer that the barista brat was "missing him" and "couldn't wait for him to get back from vacation" has a load of bad karma heading towards them. i know you clutched your aching sides from laughter when you heard him say, "oh brat, i missed you as well" and "so brat, you've been on my mind lately". or when he patted his stomach to show me how those last few trips to the gym have paid off. i'm glad you had your fun, but now i have to deal with non-stop talking customer thinking i have a crush on him. ugh.


laugh a latte

although it can sometimes be stressful working at bux when one has to deal with fussy customers, slacking partners and nit-picking district managers, there are days when not only is being a barista fun, it's downright hilarious. my last few shifts i've laughed and smiled so much, my jaw hurts.

funniest customer of the week -
customer: hey, do you have any of that lindsay lohan tea?
barista brat: i'm sorry?
customer (leaning in close): you know what i'm talking about, right?
barista brat: i have no idea.
customer: it's a tea. the firecrotch tea.
barista brat (laughing hard): do you mean the african red bush tea?
customer: yeah, that's the one! lindsay lohan!

'foot in mouth' barista award -
barista buddy: hey, doobie newbie, can you grab some vanilla syrup from the back?
doobie newbie (pointing to customers at the register): but...but...
barista buddy: don't worry, i'll ring. i just need you to grab me some vanilla.
doobie newbie: but the customers...
barista buddy: please. just. grab. vanilla.
doobie newbie (as he shluffs off to the backroom): uh...ok.
barista buddy: man, what an idiot. he's a nice guy, but seriously - an idiot!
doobie newbie: here's the vanilla.
barista buddy: thanks.
doobie newbie (to the customers at the register): hi mom. hey dad.

delayed reaction award -
customer: can you make me a vanilla iced coffee, but creamier than usual?
barista brat: weeeellll, i can put a splash of half and half in it, and maybe half a pump of dulce de leche as well.
customer: just so long as it's creamier.
barista brat: here you go - let me know what you think.
customer (takes a sip and walks away): thanks.
*twenty minutes later*
customer (walks back into bux and leans over the counter): that drink was FUCKING AWESOME!

clueless customer award -
barista brat: hi, how can i help you today?
customer: all your frappuccinos have coffee in them, right?
barista brat: not all of them. you can get a creme based frappuccino with no coffee.
customer: well, what about that new blueberry one?
barista brat: that one is made with the creme base, so there's no coffee.
customer: but i want coffee.
barista brat: the blueberry will taste horrible with coffee, but the caramel or mocha frappuccinos have coffee and they are both very popular.
customer: oooh, that sounds good! give me a blueberry caramel mocha frappuccino!
barista brat: uh, i can do caramel mocha OR blueberry creme.
customer: but i want coffee.
barista brat: yes, the caramel mocha will indeed have coffee.
customer: ok!
*three minutes later customer grabs vanilla bean frappuccino instead of caramel mocha*
customer: yum! this blueberry caramel mocha coffee is delicious!

partner rant: i know the district manager is on your case, and i know you want to be the 'best assistant manager ever!', but seriously, you have got to calm down. freaking out daily won't get the job done faster. stressing and gritting your teeth won't make us work faster. threatening to write people up every shift will not sway anyone to your cause. especially when most of us can work circles around you! please - until you can multi-task and turn over a good shift, DON'T expect your fellow baristas to give you 200%. especially when we already have to work harder to make up for your tantrums.


bait and snitch

ah, another week and another mrs. moocher sighting.

i was lucky enough to be on my break when she wheeled her (even) older sister into the store.
"hello!" she greeted my fellow barista with a toothy smile. "i want a refill, but i left my cup at home."

the barista, who really hates conflict of any sort, asked mrs. moocher to "hang on a sec" and then came to the backroom and informed me that the old bird was up to her old tricks again.
"she knows our policy." i told her. "just explain it to her again and she will either pay or go away."
"brat, can you do it please? i hate dealing with her." the barista asked.

meanwhile, at the counter, mrs. moocher was throwing a fit.

"where is she going? what is she going to say?" mrs. moocher demanded of the other barista on the floor. "is she going to snitch? is that how you do things here? are you all snitches?!?"
she didn't give the other barista a chance to say a word, instead continuing her tirade.
"do you get a raise if you're a snitch? is that how starbucks trains its workers now? do they tell you to run to the back and snitch on customers?"

when i returned to the floor with non-conflict barista, mrs. moocher aimed her ire at me.

"brat - your girl there really jumped the gun!" she shook her finger at me.
"i'm sorry?" i asked - totally confused.
"she jumped the gun, that one did! she goes running off to you, and i didn't even do anything! she is a snitch!"
i opened my mouth to respond, but she just kept squawking.
"i said to her - as soon as i came in - i said, 'hello, i would like a refill of ICE WATER, but i left my ICE WATER cup at home' and then she jumps the gun and goes running to you, as if i am trying to steal from you!"
"oh, really?" i asked disinterestedly, although in my head i was thinking "i'm so friggen' sure!".
"that is no way to treat a customer! you need to settle that one down so she doesn't jump the gun." she took her ice water from the other barista, "i just wanted a refill of water, that is all, and that other girl tried to imply that i am stealing. you need to get her in line, brat."

but the most jaw-dropping part of the exchange came moments later when mrs. moocher noticed her sister slouching in her wheelchair.
"are you falling?" mrs. moocher asked her sister, and with one hand grabbed the collar of her sister's shirt and pulled her upright, as if she were a marionette.

"man, i can't believe what she just did to her sister." non-confrontational barista said once they had left.
"hey - don't jump the gun!" i teased her.
"yeah, you snitch." the other barista laughed.

customer rant: what is your deal!?! you stood in front of the door jabbering with your friend. when i tried to step around you to enter the store, you blocked me so that you could enter first. then, when your friend stopped at a table to say hello to someone, you ran ahead of me so that you would be first in line - and you know what? i really wouldn't have cared if you knew what the hell you wanted to order! but no - you had to squint your eyes and take your time reading the menu, then you asked the barista to list the ingredients of all the muffins, and THEN you held up the (ever-growing) line so that you could wait for your friend to finish her conversation and order her drink and pastry. and even though you paid, you weren't nearly done. you stood directly in front of the serving counter so no one else could collect their drinks AND you had to touch each beverage and ask 'is this one mine?". when your drink was finally ready, you proceeded to the condiment bar and CONTINUED to be a very large thorn in my side by blocking all access to the milk and sugar. i even had to go all matrix to squeeze past you just to exit the damn store!