re-wrap recap

i'm trusting everyone's holidays have been fantastic.

besides the expected christmas cards in my mailbox, i also received a letter from starbucks about how although they used to match 401(k)s, it is now up to their discretion whether they will match, and if they match how much they will match.

"does this greatly affect the brat?" some of you may wonder.
well, not really.
in fact, i'm not sure how many people at bux it does affect. the only buxters i know who have enrolled in the 401(k) option are salaried managers, and not even all of them have done it.
but i thought you all might like to know that it's not only labor being cut by seattle - benefits are being cut (oh, excuse me: "modified") as well.

i can tell you, however, that this was the slowest holiday i've experienced at bux. though because of the shortage of hours alloted it seemed pretty hectic. i made sure to keep track of some of the best and worst of the season my store was fortunate enough to experience.

- the customer who bought every barista in our store a present (even though she only knows half of us).
- barista buddy who kept everyone smiling and laughing, even when we had a line to the door and one of our machines had broken down.
- our loyal and patient regulars who didn't complain at all when the last minute shoppers held up the line so they could purchase 20 gift cards.
- not-so-newbie barista who baked us all christmas goodies.
- my manager who gave me the holiday schedule i wanted
- the customer who felt so bad at holding up the line while she had us wrapping mugs that she bought drinks for the next three customers in line.

- the woman who brought in a gift card for 50 dollars, demanded cash, and when we couldn't comply made us turn that one 50 dollar gift card into ten 5 dollar gift cards, and THEN made us give her the cash for each gift card one transaction at a time.
- seattle for sending out a memo to all the stores saying we MUST ring up customers properly and follow the refill policy, yet STILL tells us to 'just say yes'.
- the nut who made us put her latte in a ceramic mug because 'i can't stand these goddam red cups year after year!"
- the family that decided on a whim during a morning rush to order a coffee traveller, then complained loudly about how long it was taking for it to be ready, even after we explained that we would have to brew a batch especially for their traveller. and when it was finally ready, they decided to order a second decaf traveller, but demanded it be free since they would have to wait another ten minutes (of course we did not comply).
- they guy that yelled at me for not caring about dying africans when i informed him that we are not equipped to take donations for the (red) campaign.

partner rant:
holiday used to be my favorite time to work at bux. i loved the decorations, the music, even the eggnog, but this year was such a downer. sure, you can blame the economy, but i put most the blame on you, seattle. this is NOT the same company it was when i was a newbie. this is NOT the company i hired on to. this is not even the same company from two years ago. i know you have stock holders to keep happy (hello - i'm one of them), and i know you need to be profitable as a corporation, but the decisions you've made over this past year have all stunk. i'm talking every single one of them. and none of them have turned this company around like you said they would. so please, start listening to your managers and baristas (you know, the people that actually work IN the stores) if you really want to see changes that will make this company what it used to be.



SkippyMom said...

I hope that Seattle hears you. I know how hard it is brat, but hang in there.

I miss you and I hope your New Years is wonderful [I am sure it will be :D] and if you need anything let me know...'kay?

[Loved the "best" ...so sweet, all of them]


James UK said...


- the woman who brought in a gift card for 50 dollars, demanded cash, and when we couldn't comply made us turn that one 50 dollar gift card into ten 5 dollar gift cards, and THEN made us give her the cash for each gift card one transaction at a time."


Is there a cash "limit" then, to refunding cards? I'm only a customer here in the UK, but I wasn't aware you could "cash in" a card?

Zoltar Panaflex said...

Happy New Year, Brat!!!

Thank you so very much for keeping up with your blog, I have enjoyed reading it and I look forward to keeping reading it in 2009 and beyond!

Best wishes to you that Seattle figures it out - I drive by the HQ at least once a week!

I have never figured out why management wouldn't get feedback from the "Front Lines" and take that as a valuable source! Who knows Starbuck's customers better than a barista!!!

Happy 2009 Brat!!!

Marni said...

Here's to a better 2009, Brat! So glad you are back.

Anonymous said...

Also on the woman w/ 50 dollar gift card.....

Your worst should be directed at management which makes crap like this possible; not the customer who doesn't want / need 50.00 of coffee even though her friends thinks she does. If a business doesn't want to allow cash refunds on gift cards; that's fine and makes sense. If it does; also makes sense. If it doesn't but allows loopholes for people to get their cash; be mad at it, not the people.

Anonymous said...

"I have never figured out why management wouldn't get feedback from the "Front Lines" and take that as a valuable source! Who knows Starbuck's customers better than a barista!!!"

I'll tell you why. Because Corporate sees us sees us as less than human. To them we are stupid drones who deserve to be used. Sorry to be so negative, but this holiday season with Starbucks has really taken it's toll on me. They have dramatically increased our work load and cut our hours all with out so much as an acknowledgment of the pressure it's putting on us for some next to minimum wage job. No "thank you for working so hard during these trying times." Nothing. And they know they can do it too, because unemployment is so high.

banquet manager said...

I hate Starbucks. Jackie Mason was right.

Anonymous said...

Hi I found this cool recipe for Artichoke-scrambled Eggs Benedict. Has anyone ever tried it? Sounds good and I hope it is. Here is the link with the recipe and article. nice site to whoever created it.


MikeTheWaiterDotCom said...

We really have to be grateful for those good folks that appreciate us, don't we? and ... just hope the others get the message eventually. happy new year,

Meghan said...

Oh boy. I just got an email from Caribou Coffee, attempting to capitalize on the fact that Starbucks will stop brewing decaf in the afternoons (by offering a free cup of decaf tomorrow). So are you supposed to just brew a french press of decaf for anyone that wants it? "Sorry ma'am, we aren't brewing something that you have every reason to believe is available. Would you like to wait three times as long as you expected to wait while I make some for you?" Have fun with this one, Brat.

Anonymous said...

Re: Cashing in Gift Cards...

Here in California, there is a state law that says if a card has less than $10 remaining on it the store must allow you to cash it in.

pilgrimchick said...

I'm surprised that more outlandish antics did not occur this Christmas season.

I think the phenomenon you notice--that Starbucks isn't the same--is very much the case almost entirely across the board. I left a job last year because of the same thing--the company just wasn't the same. That's capitalism for you.

Ribeye of your Dreams said...

I think I might have told the gift card woman to go straight to Hell. I don't deal with people who act like they've never lived in civilization, at least not anymore.


Shannon Culver said...

Hey Brat,
I was so glad that you were back, but now I'm depressed that you've slipped back into your never-posting habit. Alas, I'm removing you from my blogroll again. You're a great writer. I hope at some time you can be regular with your reading regulars. I'll miss you.

Anonymous said...

Remember when you used to have that blog, where you wrote about stuff that happened to you at Starbucks? That was cool. Whatever happened with that?

Bertha said...

Great Blog!


Anonymous said...

The $50 woman: I dont deal with people like that. I get my manager, ASM or Shift on duty- I refuse to deal with those people, and following is the reason;
STORY- This guy comes up to the register Barista and says:
"You better get a pen- its complicated!"
ok we usually appreciated it
"I want a Venti, Nonfat, no water, no foam, Chai"
...(Not complicated!)
BTW this is in our lunch time rush period.
He pays then comes to me on the bar. While I am making 4 other drinks he says;
"In my drink I dont want the milk airated!!" (in a Super rude tone)
That caught me off guard. I preceded to try and explain bux steaming stanards and he interupts saying:
"I've been through this with your head office. I have the right as a costumer to ask for my milk not be airated."
I finished off the drinks I was making and made his completely seperately, letting it screech. One of my regulars, a pleasant woman, comments on the "horrible noise". I smiled and said:
"That is how he wants his milk" she rolled her eyes. Then the guys says to me:
"Yeah I know I'm one of those picky costumers."
I looked his square in the eyes and said (clearly, not under my breath):
"No Comment"
And gave him his drink and walked into the backroom and proceeded to cry-
That guy did not ruin my day- he ruined my next 2 weeks!!
- Just thought I would share- thanxs brat- we talk about this blog on the floor- my ASM loves it. Cant wait till next post!

Meghan said...

What's worse than an asshole customer? Someone who knows they're being an asshole and keeps on doing it!

I cannot understand how someone can be such a prick, especially to the point of creating an unpleasant environment for everyone in the store, just so they can 'have their way' (that screeching sound is the worst). Hopefully you never have to deal with him again!

Mikki said...

I miss your stories and hope you come back soon. :-(

bev said...

Hey Brat. Just stumbled upon your blog by accident and have really enjoyed your rants! I used to work as a waitress and I thought WE had it hard. I truly don't know how you do it. Talk about high maintainence customers!
I go to Bux in Toronto about once or twice a month for a lowfat Venti latte with an extra shot. And I have to admit I'm guilty of not always rinsing out my travel mug! Will work on that, I promise.
Just wanted to say that the employees at my local Starbucks are always friendly, quick and efficient. Now that I know how much they put up with I will start tipping more.
Keep up the great work!

Jaui said...

where has our brat gone?!

awww... hope you're ok!

i got reminded of the blog after watching Ellen the other day and the pranks she pulls at Starbucks with a staff member named Vivian...

Lady_Vamp said...

Dear Brat,

Happy 2009! I just found this blog and am extremely entertained and educated. Furthermore I find myself craving bux. I'm tipping better as well. Your employer and fellow baristas owe you one. I hadn't stepped inside a bux this whole year. On the other hand, I also scrutinize the lobby more and decide whether I want to spend money there or at another bux.

BTW don't any of your diet conscious customers check out nutritional values online? It isn't like bux doesn't list this info as well as what is & isn't available in most stores.

I look forward to you next post.

kevin barista said...

holidays always bring out the worst and best of people at starbucks..

..you should submit something sometime to me :)