not-so-secret shopper

i've taken a much needed break from bux.
for the past few months i've been a customer only, and not a barista. soon i will have to return to my place behind the bar, but i must say that i have truly enjoyed my time away from my store. and although i've always believed myself to be very in tune with the feelings of my customers, i have now a more complete perspective of their experiences.
yes - i have walked a mile in their caffeine-deprived shoes, which is why this post will be a huge customer rant.

rant #1 -
there is really no reason - NO REASON - why i should have to wait six minutes for my second beverage. especially when both beverages are americanos and only require espresso and water. i can't fathom what possible justification you might have for making my first americano, then ignoring my second to make three frappuccinos that were ordered AFTER mine. did you need a break from pulling espresso shots, or are you just really daft?

rant #2 -
i am fully aware that some customers can be rude jerks, but i am not one of them. in fact, i smiled when i walked up to your register and politely ordered my beverage like so: "hi, i'd like a tall, roomy americano, please."
what is so offensive about that?
seriously, i'd like to know because the stinkeye you gave me really seemed out of line. as did the "you want WHAT in your americano?". and the fact that you did not hand me back my change, but dropped it on the counter while bellowing out "NEXT!" to the customer behind me. i do not expect you to kiss my butt, but a modicum of tact would be much appreciated.

rant #3 -
your. bathroom. is. disgusting.

rant #4 -
i appreciate the fact that you are cleaning the condiment bar, i really do. and i REALLY appreciate the fact that you are changing out the milk containers. what i don't appreciate is watching my coffee turn cold while i wait for you to bring out the new milk containers. instead you decided it was a perfect time to go outside and chat with one of your friends and take pictures on your cell phone.
and when i asked the barista for some half and half, he just pointed at you and said "she's bringing it" when clearly you were on an unofficial break.
please finish your tasks before slacking off, yeah?

rant #5 -
i understand that training in necessary, but if you're going to put a newbie on bar, please let there be a more experienced barista there to double bar, especially when the line waiting for beverages is three times as long as the line waiting to order. it is NOT time effective when the newbie has to ask the person on register "how do i make this?" every time she picks up a cup. i saw three drinks that went out wrong, and you know what? those three customers didn't bother to let the newbie know because they didn't have the time to wait for a remake - not that the second drink would have been made correctly anyway.

rant #6 -
i know it's fun to work with your friends. in fact that's one of the reasons i love working at my store. however - please be polite and professional enough to take a break from your conversation to take my order. just because you are avoiding making eye contact with me while i wait at the register does not mean you can finish your chatfest uninterrupted. you are, remember, getting paid to work. you are not getting paid to gossip - that is just a perk.

rant #7 -
please do not clean the wax out of your ears while on register. ever.

i've really enjoyed my life as a "civilian" but very soon i will be back behind the bar with more rants.


Emily said...

Glad to see you're back!

flower shop girl said...

So glad you are back, your stories have been
missed around here.

SkippyMom said...

Hey Brat, nice to see you again. Glad you had a break.

After all the retail/customer service I did [in my youth] your post harkens to the reason I hate shopping now. You hit just about every one of my peeves right on target.

My fav? When you can go from start to finish without ONE word from the salesperson/clerk/cashier.
No "hello", no "Will that be all", and certainly no "Your total is" [they just point] or a "Thank you" - drives me batty.

Hugs to you!

Anonymous said...

makes you wonder what happened to the whole "legendary service" core principle, eh?

i'm *prettysure* this stuff doesn't happen at my store, altho i'm sure we anger customers in many other ways... except the ear wax... are you a secret shopper at MY store???? b/c we have a partner who does that, it's gross...

fading in the sun said...

welcome back! good to see you posting again!

LegalMist said...

Although you don't know who I am, I'm glad you're back. I used to just lurk and post an occasional anonymous (nice) comment, but then I started a blog in September, so I'm not anonymous any longer. I've always enjoyed your stories, and have been checking by randomly, but lately without much hope to see anything new, and then suddenly, here you are... hooray!

Zoltar Panaflex said...

Yeah! Brat's back!

What I hate as a customer is when the person at the register doesn't even say a word to me, just chit-chatting with their coworker, and I have to butt into their very important conversation to ask a question.

I've worked retail, I focus on my customer, because that's what I'm there for!

People who can't do their job well enough to do a 'good job' should find another job! Preferably in a back room somewhere???

James UK said...

Do you know I had a thick, black hair in my Apricot and Oat slice the other day?! It was actually BAKED IN to the thing!

And I never got the replacement free!


psychoknitter said...

Yay, you are back! You have clearly been missed!

Glad you had a nice break from barista life though - all of us need a break now and again.

SkippyMom said...

Hello again! I read your note...sorry about the bounceback! oops...it is skippy.aveo@yahoo.com

I am sooooo glad you are back! Hugs.

Julie said...

Glad to see you back brat and glad to hear that you have had a well deserved break. I agree with pretty much everyone who has commented here when I worked at Bux I made sure to acknowledge my customers and say hello and how are you and thank you and all of the other plesantries. It makes me crazy when people in customer service are too busy to actually approach their customers or even say hello to them. alot of the time I will walk into store and browse around and if in 5 minutes someone doesn't approach me I usually leave. And it's only if the store isn't completely busy with tons of people. If it's packed I get it you're super busy but, if you are sitting behind the front counter chit-chatting and don't have time to tend to your one or two customers then sorry I'm not giving you my business. does that make me totally snobby?

Johnny Yen said...

Hey! Welcome back! I was just about to give up hope.

I just read in the paper today that Bux has had a huge decline in profit. I hope some exec in the company has the good sense to start reading your blog and figure out where they've gone wrong.

Meghan said...

After finally parting ways with my barista job after four years, I went through the same thing. It really helps to step away from behind the counter and see things through a customer's eyes. A few weeks ago I ordered an americano in a travel mug, waited for awhile (even though I knew after about a minute that it had been forgotten), then politely asked, "Did you have an americano in a mug coming up?" The guy was just like, "Uh, oh yeah." Made it, taking his sweet time, and silently handed it over without so much as a "sorry about that!" Whenever I had made that mistake (and it happened plenty of times) the FIRST priority was to apologize profusely, and make sure the customer didn't leave too pissed off! It's not only customer service, but just common courtesy! It really gets to me when people don't even offer the bare minimum in customer service. I don't feel that people who work (or used to work) in the service industry expect or demand a lot, so when even we are disappointed, you know the service is beyond unacceptable.

Pita said...

Welcome back Brat! You have been missed. I love reading your blog because it's my dream to someday manage my own Bux.

Right now I'm working in management for a fast-paced convenience store and customer service is something I value immensely in myself and in my associates. We are going through a lot of crap with cut backs and new managers, which makes it easy to forget that we are there to serve people and NOT to give them attitude. Thanks for the reminder as I head off to work.


Twinx said...

Glad to have you back, I've missed your posts! I've just gone back to working in bux in the UK again after working another job for six months. I must be crazy to go back, eh? But I'm in a new store, the busiest in Scotland, and it's fun to far :D how are you finding the signature hot chocolates?


Fatinah said...

yikes - if that is what goes on when you're not behind the bar - then I can't wait for you to get back either!


glad to see a new post, was just "clicking one last time" before i purged you from the blogroll. nice rants!!!

Anonymous said...

Hey there- long time reader, first time commenter.

A lot of your comments are spot-on for what I notice at work with some of our emps. I'd like to print this onto a poster, and make it required reading for the next time they clock in.