cutting those apron strings

do you remember my rants about the newbie who, although a genuinely nice guy, couldn't remember how to mark cups, make drinks, or anything else necessary for a barista to remember?

well, he's back. and with a vengeance.
ok, that's not exactly true.
rephrase: his MOTHER is back with a vengeance.

a week before christmas this newbie informed my newly promoted manager that he wouldn't be able to work the shifts he'd been scheduled for because he was going out of town. now, policy hadn't changed between the time he was hired and when he had this talk with my manager. since he hadn't requested the time off in advance, it was now up to him to find coverage for his shifts. reluctantly he spent ten minutes on the phone leaving messages for our fellow baristas asking them to work the week before christmas.

so, instead of trying to call partners at other stores he decides to call - wait for it..... his MOTHER.
yes, newbie called his mommie. was it to vent his frustration? was it to inform her that he'd be late for dinner? no, he called so that she could inform my manager that her precious son had more pressing things to do rather than call around for coverage.
he called his mother, filled her in on the situation, and then told my manager that someone wanted to talk to him about the schedule.

thank god we found coverage for his shifts since we were already understaffed. but here comes the best part: his mother called our manager this morning. why? because newbie now needs new year's eve off! AND he's too busy to call around for coverage!
my manager tried to sweet talk me into working a double shift ("think of the overtime, brat!") but i happily declined.

this newbie and his mother took me back to a time at my old bux where (yet another) newbie had her mother call in for her.
see, this newbie was scheduled to open, but never made it to the store. the opening manager called newbie's house and left a message - concerned that something bad might have happened. twenty minutes later there's a phone call.

"hi, this is newbie's mother." said the caller.
"is newbie ok?" the opening manager asked.
"well, she didn't get much sleep last night so i turned her alarm off."
"you know she was scheduled to open this morning, right?"
"yes, but i don't want her going to work that early. so i'm calling to tell you she quits and won't be coming in again."

that's right.
newbie's mother mother called in and gave the manager -20 minutes notice.
so long as her daughter got a full night's rest.....

customer rant: i know you're probably frustrated because you have a line out the door, but yelling out "i hate my fucking job!" isn't the best way to get sympathy tips. and really - if you hate it so much, then LEAVE! no one's holding you hostage.


boxing (with customers) day

the only thing worse than activating a billion gift cards right before christmas is having every customer use them to purchase coffee the day after.

the cards are supposed to make the process easier for both the customer and the register partner, but often times the transaction takes longer. throughout the day our system will go offline which forces us to redial over and over, or the computers will show their age and take forever to process the cards.
but let's not forget the human component: those customers who have no idea how much is on their card will hold up the line while they look for spare change to cover the cost of their drink, as well as the customers who try and spend the entire amount of their card in one sitting and will add random items one after the other until the card is empty.

and of course there are the customers who demand we give them cash value for their unwanted gift cards. somehow they think that if they give us a big enough sob story, we'll break down and hand over the cash.

so not going to happen.

today i heard everything from "my car needs a new engine" to "i need money to get into rehab". but my personal favorite was this one: "i really need the cash - this isn't even my card. i stole it from my uncle".
a couple of customers even tried to toss their cards in our tip jar and take out the cash equivalent though, of course, none were successful.
it was nice, however, to hear customers lament that there was no way to tip us with their cards - and even nicer when they dug through their wallets to toss a dollar into our tip jar.

barista rant: yes, i know christmas is over. yes, i realize we still have a ton of christmas merchandise. yes, i know that even though it is all marked down there is still an abundance, but that doesn't mean you can demand i give you an extra 50% off. and trust me, phrases like "well, you should just give it to me for free since it's the day after christmas!" will only make me want to raise the price.

*barista rave*: thank you all for your comments to the last post! it was my favorite christmas gift by far.


barista brat is coming to town

no rants today.
instead i submit my naughty and nice lists.

- my newly promoted manager for royally screwing up the holiday weekend schedule.
- the woman who stole our cinnamon shaker from the condiment bar.
- the partner who did the world's worst job cleaning the frappuccino section, so that it took me twice as long to clean it tonight.
- corporate for sending us waaaaaay too much merchandise.
- the customer who asked me to call all the bux in a "ten-mile radius" to look for a particular mug, then demanded her coffee be free because my store no longer had the mug in stock.
- the talker, who spent most of his shift yesterday talking about what his family does for christmas rather than doing his work.
- all the customers who are "re-gifting" their gift cards (making us split up a gift card that was given to them into multiple gift cards for other people).
- my district manager who gave us all the stinkeye while we were working our understaffed butts off.
- the customer who felt he deserved a fifty percent discount because it was "christmas eve eve".
- barista brat, because when i ran out of regular frappuccino base i decided to give everyone decaf instead.

- the customer who brought in cupcakes for us baristas.
- the newbie who gave 200% every shift she was on this week.
- the woman who handed out lottery tickets as stocking stuffers.
- our regular customers who kept smiles on their faces even though the line was out the door and we were a person short.
- my fellow barista brat's fiance who brought us pizza and soda.
- the two baristas who closed with me and helped make tonight's close so much fun.
- the readers of this blog!

if you feel like giving this barista brat a christmas gift, it would be great if you could drop by the comments box and tell me where you hail from.

merry christmas and happy holidays!


six holiday tales

thank goodness for a relaxing day off because i will not have another one until christmas day.

more tales from this past weekend:

- a customer brought in his travel mug and asked us to rinse it out before filling it with coffee. when my fellow barista brat peeked inside the mug her stomach turned. stuck to the bottom of the mug was a dead cockroach. a friggen' COCKROACH! i don't know what grosses me out more: that the roach was in his cup or that he was still willing to drink from it when the barista pointed it out to him.

- a woman was shopping for gift packs but refused our offers to hold the merchandise for her at the front counter. instead she was content to carry it all herself, adding more mugs and pounds of coffee to the mix. so, while she was was examining the ceramic mugs and matching saucers, she lost her grip on the merchandise and it all came crashing down, knocking over the display of ceramic mugs and saucers. in the end three sets were broken. did she apologize? no, she blamed us for not better securing the display.

- a regular customer who is known to be a complainer handed out ten dollar bills to all the baristas. he even gave us a big smile as he wished us "happy hanukkah - or christmas - or whatever it is you celebrate".

- a man admitted he'd made a mess in the bathroom and asked us for a toilet brush because he didn't feel right making us clean it up.

- a customer held up the line while buying fifteen gift cards. he ended up adding on four more cards (each for five dollars) to give to the four customers that had to wait in line behind him.

i'm mentally preparing myself for the craziness of the next few days. i have to close christmas eve but i'm working with a great crew so hopefully it will be happy and not horrendous.

partner rant: i'm busy at bar, so quit trying to talk to me! you see i have a line of ten drinks - and it's true i kicked you off of double barring with me because you actually slow me down. but that wasn't an invitation to hover around me and talk about what you hope your parents will get you for christmas! earn your paycheck and do something useful!


same school, different attitude

i'm taking a well-deserved day off after a crazy weekend at bux.

on friday two local high schools had their last day of class before winter break, so they decided to inaugurate their freedom by running wild in bux. it was COLD outside but that didn't stop them from ordering their frappuccinos with extra syrup, extra caramel, and extra annoyance.

three of the teenagers are regular fixtures at our bux. they are always a little too loud and squeal a little too often, but for the most part the aren't much trouble. apparently they've rubbed some of their fellow students the wrong way because these girls have become targets.

well, at least their drinks are.

my bux was not designed to be a high volume store, so the area at the hand-off counter gets very crowded when there is more than two people waiting for their drinks. usually people have to wait a bit before they can even come get their drinks because the store gets so crowded. it seems a couple of teenagers have used this to their advantage and have taken drinks from the counter before the rightful owners can come claim them.

frappuccino bandits, we call them.

well, for the second time this month our three regular teenaged customers have been victims of the frappuccino bandits. since it was their last day of class, and since they are the least annoying of our teenaged "guests", i gave them each one of the morning pastries that had to be marked out. the girls were so thrilled they showered me with a chorus of "awwww, you're sooooooo nice!".

to my (and the other baristas') surprise, the girls took turns and stuffed money in our tip jar. they ended up tipping us a total of fourteen dollars.
fourteen dollars!
just because we made an attempt to make them feel better after the frappucccino bandits raided them. i tell you, that extra cash helped make them seem a lot less annoying.

barista rant: yes, it's the holiday season. yes, i know you want to purchase several gift cards. yes, i know you've received a few gift cards of your own as well. but did you know there was a solid line of people behind you? it was bad enough you wanted me to check the balance on all the cards you'd received. but then you wanted me to consolidate all your cards into one. and THEN you wanted me to take that card and use it to pay for the 20 gift cards you now wanted to purchase. are you kidding me?!? next time i'll just say the network is down and i can't do anything with gift cards.


many happy returns

'tis the season to turn new tricks!

i'm lucky to be in a small store where our retail shelves are directly across from the registers. that means it's harder for people to steal mugs, cups and french presses they will try and return for cash at other stores. that doesn't mean they don't make an attempt, though.

last night i noticed a guy pacing back and forth in front of my bux. he kept peeking his head through the door but never actually decided to come inside. it wasn't until we had a rush that i noticed him at the back of the line. when he made it to the register he handed me two travel mugs.

"i got these yesterday but now i don't want them." he informed me. "i left my receipt at home but i paid cash."

now usually at this point i have to go through the motions of telling the customer what our return policy is, yadda, yadda, yadda - but since i'd seen him checking out our store for twenty minutes (minus the two travel mugs, mind you) i knew he'd waited until there were people in the store so he wouldn't be so conspicuous when he grabbed the mugs. since i knew what the game was, and since there was still a long line behind him, all i did was point to our security camera. apparently that was enough because he walked right out of the store, leaving the two travel mugs on the counter.

then there was the lady who really wanted a cup off coffee, but REALLY didn't want to pay for it. she started off by trying to chat me up - telling me about her troubles (her mother is terminally ill), about her business (she sells houses), about her kid (he hates math) and about her boyfriend (he shut off her cell service because they had an argument). when i wasn't completely won over by her charming repartee she switched tactics and gave me the full run-down of her last horrible experience at bux (the barista was rude, the coffee was cold and she was overcharged).

"dollar fifty-five, please" was my response after listening to her drone on and on.
"oh!" she seemed almost surprised that i'd asked her for money. "well, i know i have a gift card here somewhere." she said as she started digging through her gigantic bag.

first she pulled out her planner to show me how busy she is. then she pulled out her business card holder to show me how many contacts she has. next came a ziploc baggie containing costume jewelry, which she then modeled and offered to sell to me. finally she located her wallet and pulled out the gift card, but then she started talking about the jewelry and put the gift card BACK into her wallet which she put BACK into her bag!

"i could give you a really good deal on these rings," she smiled at me.
i smiled right back and repeated, "dollar fifty-five".
"it's somewhere in my bag," she began digging again.
"it's in your wallet behind your discover card," i said flatly, ready to pull it out for her.

she finally handed over the card, but of course there less than a dollar balance. when i asked her if she had any cash she gave me a repeat performance of "the amazing endless bag search".

my perky assistant manager ended up giving me a mug award for my tireless patience.

barista rant: do not pick up the toys in the donated gift basket, hand them to me and ask if i have any more left in the back. bux is not a toy store. we have never sold super-soakers or leggos. when i explained that the basket in front of you is for DONATIONS, you pursed your lips and bitched that there should be some sort of sign. so of course i pointed to the sign, to which your only response was "give me the directions to the nearest toy shop".
lump of coal for you, woman!


enemy mine

after several months of a peaceful truce, there is now hatred where there was once love. menacing glares which were once kind eyes and stinging vitriol when there was once glowing praise.

have the baristas finally rallied against the managers?
have the buddies turned sour toward the brats?
have the newbies resorted to brandishing the pointy ends of thermometers as protection against the old-schoolers?

and no.

history is repeating itself and now there is a full-fledged war between the openers and the closers with both sides bitching that the other doesn't do their required duties.

now i admit that i'm a little biased. i close once or twice a week and i know how much work the closers put into making sure the store is broken down, cleaned and stocked. closers have all the responsibilities of the day crew (serving customers and prepping) AND then some.

so when the openers don't do their set duties, it piles on the work for the closers and they have to stay past their scheduled shifts to complete their tasks (i've gone into overtime too often because the day crew has turned over crappy shifts). if the day has been particularly rough, then the closers might forget to fill the ice bin or empty the sanitizer. these, according to the openers, are cardinal sins. the openers will be so offended that they will spend the day complaining and will
'run out of time' to do their duties, which in turn adds more work for the closers. which of course means they will have to stay later and probably miss another closing duty, like stocking pounds of coffee or filling the sugar containers.

see? it's a vicious circle that polarizes the two sides until management intervention is required. my store is about two weeks away from one-on-one meetings with the manager and threats to be written up.

have a holly jolly christmas, indeed.

customer rant: not only is it against health code to resteam milk over and over - it's downright disgusting! when i saw you checking milk temperatures, then resteaming milk that had cooled down - i convinced my friend to stick with drip coffee instead of getting a latte. but with your standards the coffee was probably two hours old as well.


call me, crazy

for the past four days my bux has been bombarded with prank phone calls. for whatever reason, some person is getting their jollies by calling my bux and asking ridiculous questions.

"what color is your atmosphere?" a heavily accented voice asked when my perky assistant manager answered the phone.
"excuse me?" perky assistant manager wasn't sure if she heard him correctly.
"what color is your atmosphere?" he asked again
"i'm sorry but i think you have the wrong number."
"WHAT. COLOR. IS. YOUR. ATMOSPHERE." he screamed at her.
"i'm hanging up now," perky assistant manager said before ending the call.

an hour later the phone rang again and this time i answered.
"how old is the glass?" asked the accented voice that i assumed had called earlier.
"four hundred thirty-two." i informed him and hung up.
apparently my method worked because he didn't call back for the rest of the night.
the next night, however, he was back to his old tricks. he called so many times that perky assistant manager told me she had to leave the phone off the hook.

last night when he called my barista buddy was the lucky person to pick up the phone.
"how cold is the toilet?" mr. prank asked.
"how old is the toilet?" barista buddy asked, deciding to play along with mr. prank.
"how cold is the toilet?" mr. prank repeated.
"how bold is the toilet?"
"how gold is the toilet?" barista buddy was laughing now.
"you stupid bitch man! i get knife and i will cut!" mr. prank threatened, but barista buddy just hung up on him and turned the ringer off.

so tonight when i answered the phone and heard "what airplane is inside?" i responded with an "operator, this is the call we want traced. how soon will the police be there?".
amazingly mr. prank was the one to hang up and didn't call back for the rest of the night. we'll see if he wants to ask us more questions tomorrow.

barista rant: i fully expected the "i want a soy eggnog latte" requests, but i was not anticipating the "gimme an eggnog latte, but don't make it sweet" demand. when i informed you that eggnog is made with sugar, and there is no way to make it "not sweet" you huffed and said "i get it unsweetened all the time!". stupidly i tried to explain, yet again, that there was no way i could make your drink unsweetened. you rolled your eyes and asked for the manager. when he told you the very same thing you responded with a smile and said "oh! i didn't realize they were already sweetened. thanks for letting me know!".
may that eggnog go straight to your butt.


bizarre love triangle

this week we have news of more district shuffling. this time it's not management drama - it's love trauma.

it's bux policy that lovers should not work in the same store - but it happens.
a lot.
when it does (or actually, when other people find out) one of the lovers must find another store to transfer to. usually it's not a big deal, although it can be an inconvenience. there are, however, those times when it IS a big deal. example: the barista that had to move stores because she had a threesome with her manager and his pregnant wife. no matter how "hush hush" the reason for her transfer was supposed to be - the green apron express could not be quelled and EVERYONE in the district knew why she had to change stores.

my bux is about receive a newly transferred barista of our own. no matter how many times my manager and perky assistant manager told us "not to gossip", by the end of the day even our customers knew the reason for the transfer.

the short version:
lesbian partner of ten years works for bux.
attractive hetero newbie who has a boyfriend is hired at same bux.
lesbian partner makes a play for hetero newbie.
lesbian partner "turns" newbie.
newbie breaks up with boyfriend and secretly starts dating lesbian partner.
newbie and lesbian partner move in together as "roommates".
guitar playing emo boy is hired at same bux.
newbie starts hanging out with guitar playing emo boy.
newbie starts sleeping with guitar playing emo boy.
lesbian partner finds out about hetero affair and confronts newbie - during their shift.
newbie decides emo boy is her soulmate and dumps lesbian partner, but wants to stay "roomies" (because emo boy still lives with his parents).
spurned lesbian partner torments emo boy when they have overlapping shifts.
newbie torments lesbian partner for tormenting emo boy.
drama gets waaaay out of hand and newbie is forced to transfer to my bux.
emo boy will transfer to another district and lesbian partner has taken a leave of absence.

i can bet money newbie and bitter old dude will try and outdo each other with their personal drama. either that or they become best friends.

customer rant: you screwed up four drinks in a row because you were on your cell phone when you should have been working. you know full well that cell phones aren't allowed on the floor, but it seems you believe that rule does not apply to you. not only that, you also seemed to feel it was well within your place to argue with a customer because she interrupted your conversation when she pointed out you'd made her drink incorrectly. leave the cell phone in the backroom where it belongs, and start doing what you're paid to do!


you pay for happy ending?

sometimes customers like to talk with their baristas. and sometimes they like to banter and flirt. usually the banter is light and innocuous. sometimes the flirting borders on creepy.

tonight, for instance, a customer delivered a line that caused me to cringe: "would you sit in my latte to make it sweeter?"


i guess he was going for the variation of "it's sweet just because you made it" or even "will you sweeten it a little more by putting your finger tip in it?" <-- still gross, by the way.
but asking me to SIT in his latte? that went way beyond flirting and straight to "strange uncle". he also informed me that he likes it "extra hot - and with extra whippage". but what really made me feel dirty was when he waved a dollar at me and said he was tipping because i always "do him right".

it's not just the girl baristas that have to deal with this sort of customer. boy baristas also have their share of admirers. i used to work with a guy who looked like he belonged in a boy band. not only were the teen girlies hot for him, their mothers were as well. in fact he was propositioned by more than one desperate housewife looking for a "workout partner". one mother in particular was so aggressive that my fellow barista buddy started hiding whenever she'd come into the store. if she cornered him while he was at bar she would always ask him to add his "special sauce" to her drink.

so. very. wrong.

partner rant: you've been here for three months already! how long will it take for you to learn that "GTL" stand for "green tea lemonade" and not a "green tea latte"? i know all the symbols can be confusing, and many of them are similar, but you make this mistake EVERY SINGLE DAY! why can't you learn to differentiate between "GTL" and "GRTL"? it's not rocket-science!


butterfly catcher

we have a regular kid who comes in everyday after school on her rollerblades and orders a "rainbow water" (one pump of each syrup in a venti iced water). we call her 'butterfly' because she flits about the store, talking to total strangers and dancing on her blades. she normally is just a small annoyance, but lately she's been acting like an entitled beast.

last week she expected us to give her a free refill of her rainbow water just because she's in our store "all the time!". she's also been bold enough to ask us baristas to give her a ride home when she doesn't feel like blading to her house (which apparently is "only three blocks away"). and once she even tried to go into our backroom because she'd "never seen one before!".

this afternoon, however, she went above and beyond.
because she's in our store nearly everyday she knows where we keep our phone. since none of us baristas were willing to give her a ride home (not that we've ever been willing) she decided to go behind our counter and grab the phone so she could call her mother.

"hello? hell-ooooo! can you hurry it up because i need to use the phone!" butterfly was yelling into the receiver.
"hang up that phone and get out from behind the counter!" i was pissed and made no attempt to sound nice.
"i need to use the phone but someone is talking!" she cried out and started pushing numbers on the dial pad.

yup, indeed. our manager was having (yet another) serious conversation with our district manager when butterfly picked up the receiver and started hollering into it. butterfly tried to argue with me as i took the phone from her, hung it up and chased her out from behind the counter.

"but i just needed to use the phone for a second!" she whined.
"don't you EVER do that again," i scolded her like she was a bad dog. "if you can't behave then you better quit coming here."

my manager came out from the backroom ready to kill. butterfly sat her butt down in a chair and acted like nothing happened. when my manager went back to his phone call butterfly bladed her way to the front counter and started taking quarters out the tip jar. i had to fight the urge to slap her hand away.

"i need change for the pay phone." she said when i told her to put the money back.
"put the money back and get out of the store." i gave her the evil eye.
"well," she pouted. "will you give me money for a taxi?"

unfortunately my manager won't ban the butterfly. i can't wait to see what she pulls tomorrow.

partner rant: you've been begging for more shifts. you complain that you need hours. so when a fellow partner offered you one of their shifts you readily accepted. well, why the hell didn't you show up for the shift? not only were you a no-show, you didn't answer your phone when we called. thanks for screwing over the morning crew. because of that we had to play catch up for the rest of the day.


krazy kids

a barista from another bux sent me this gem:

I'm an SBUX barista. Thought I'd share my story from this evening.

Scene: A couple comes in, with their two young daughters. They get their beverages, kids beverages etc.

The couple proceeds to enjoy their evening in our SBUX, without a care in the world- especially about their kids. Apparently, in addition to fixing their beverages it seemed they believed we provided babysitting services as well. The girls proceeded to run around the store making lots of noise, arranging our holiday bearistas throughout the store, putting their grimy little fingers all over our holiday merchandise etc.

After a LONG while, they all disappeared...outside. As you probably imagined, they left their table full of empty cups and trash...along with a sippy cup, cigarettes, and almost full bottle of Ethos. I admit, I did notice the girls running around on our patio. But I decided they had left for the evening, and I needed to clean their mess. So I threw everything away ;)

About 10 minutes later, they all came back in (after their smoke)...and inquired about the stuff on the table. Most apologetically (of course) I told them we thought they had left for the evening and that the table was cleaned.

They whined about the lost sippy cup...and most especially about the cigarettes. So I walked them over to the trash and pulled out the sippy cup- I even offered to put it in our sanitizer (how legendary!!!). "But what about my cigarettes? That was half a pack!," Dad cried. "Is it in the trash, too?" Gee, I told him, I don't see them (and I'm not digging). So very, very sorry!

Oh, and get this- they declined the sippy cup sanitizing, and handed the just-removed-from-the-trash sippy cup to their kid. Lovely.

Next time, watch your damn kids or get a sitter, pal. Oh, and clean up your own mess.

there must have been something in the air because the children at my bux have been particularly unruly as well. one parent sat by while her daughter tossed cheerios on the ground. if that wasn't bad enough, the kid then proceeded to stomp on the cheerios until her section of floor was covered in cereal dust. what did the mother do?
not a damn thing.

and there was the set of twins who decided it would be fun to squish all the sandwiches in our food case. dad just said "don't do that" and turned his attention back to the sports page. too bad i was all out of "parent of the week" awards.

barista rant: i know it's cool to use our wireless access, and really - we don't mind if you sit all day long at a table with your laptop. we do, however, get a little fussy when you take up THREE tables with your set up of two monitors, a keyboard, and a printer. a friggen' printer! we are not your home office, so please don't act as if you own the place.


jingle bux

'tis the season to order disgusting drinks.

apparently this was the weekend to go wild when ordering drinks. one or two additions was not enough. getting soymilk instead of regular milk was just too mundane. our customers wouldn't rest until EVERY box on the cup had a modifier. here are some of the more "memorable" customized holiday drinks (for the extra disgusting elements i've used capital letters).

a half-caff venti, two pump maple, half eggnog half WHIPPING CREAM, caramel drizzle latte - now many baristas think eggnog is perfectly disgusting as-is. i just hate the banshee-like scream that emits from the pitcher when we steam it. when someone orders pure eggnog (that hasn't been cut by milk) the whole store suffers from temporary deafness. this customer wanted us to cut the eggnog with WHIPPING CREAM instead of milk. it felt like making a latte out of butter, it was so thick.

an iced solo grande, FIVE PUMP CINNAMON, percent, with whip, peppermint mocha - in addition to the 8 pumps of syrup that are ALREADY included in grande peppermint mochas - this customer wanted 5 EXTRA pumps. not only did this customer want 13 pumps of syrup total, they wanted us to use one LESS shot of espresso because "it's not sweet enough with two shots of espresso!".

a grande gingerbread frappuccino light with 4 SPLENDA - this customer thought this drink would somehow be healthier if she added extra splenda. even though we explained to her that frappuccino lights are not completely sugar-free, and that the gingerbread syrup is load with sugar, she still insisted that extra splenda made for a lower calorie drink.

putting breve foam on my misto is about as crazy as i get with my drink - and i only do it if i'm working. i'd never walk into a bux and expect them to steam breve foam for my coffee. anyone care to discuss their craziest drink in the comment box?

barista rant: i know it's natural. i know sometimes it can't be helped. but waiting until you're ordering your coffee to let one rip is a special kind of crazy. the satisfied look on your face after you'd farted loud enough to shake the windows was not only creepy, it was cringe-inducing. asking us "want to hear it again? i'm sure i can squeeze another one out" permanently put you on the customer shame list. please refrain from using chemical warfare on the baristas. we'd much rather you bitch at us than pitch at us.


two for the price of none

there's an older couple that regularly comes into my bux. they both want grande mistos, as well as venti ice waters, and two large cups of milk - but all for under a buck. we baristas call them the moochers.

mr. and mrs. moocher bring in stainless steel mugs that were last scrubbed clean when nixon was in office. they ask for two refills, but only half filled with coffee and the other half steamed milk (which is a 'misto). besides their "refills" they want two venti cups of ice water, two empty venti hot cups and lids - and of course a tray to carry all their booty.

mr. and mrs. moocher insist we charge them the price of a refill (even though this is their first and only coffees of the day) AND they bitch and moan if we don't give them 10 cents off each "refill" since they bring in their own cups. uh, excuse me but a refill means you already have a cup and it is being RE-filled, not filled for the first time. mr. and mrs. moocher don't care. they still feel entitled to only pay 40 cents for their mistos. they also think bux is their personal milk supplier, because they take the empty cups we've given them and fill them full of milk from the condiment bar.

so let's recap: two large ice waters, 16 ounces of hot coffee, 16 ounces of steamed milk, 20 ounces of cold regular milk and 20 ounces of cold non-fat milk for the low, low price of 80 cents. not only that - they have the nerve to suggest we give them all this for free on occasion because they're "such good customers".
i'm happy to admit that i've gone against direct orders from both my manager and assistant manager. i am not complying with the "just say yes" mentality. sure i still give them their ice waters and their mistos at the price of a refill, but i won't give them the empty cups, nor do i give them the cup discounts. even when the inform me that they've always been charged 80 cents, and that manager told them they could have empty cups - i play dumb and say "i'm sorry but we were told we can't do that anymore." apparently i've gotten under their skin because they are frequenting my bux less and less.
and no, i'm not missing them a bit.

partner rant: if you're going to lie, at least make an effort! yesterday you begged to go home early because you wanted to spend a little time with your mother before she flew up north this morning. then tonight you bitched because your mother wants you to take her to the doctor's office on monday. uh, excuse me, but isn't that going to be hard since she's supposed to be in ANOTHER state! when we called you on it, you stuttered and mumbled - finally settling on, "oh, i meant my girlfriend's mother". when we reminded you that you took a week off last month because you had to help plan your girlfriend's mother's funeral, you changed your story again and said "uh, i meant her step-mother". you should carry around a cheat sheet so you can keep better track of your lies.


whip it good

today was a day i actually felt sorry for my manager. not only did he have to spend nearly an hour on the phone trying to get our POS systems back online, he also had the displeasure of being our district manager's whipping boy for the day.

apparently the higher ups did a tour of some of the stores in the district and my bux fell short on a few things.
included on the list:
- crumbs in the sink
- fingerprints on the register touch-screens (are you friggen' kidding me?!?)
- partners calling out "caramel frappuccino" instead of "caramel frappuccino blended beverage" (previously so long as we didn't say "frapps" or "ice blendeds" we were a-ok)
- barista telling a customer "thanks! have a good one!" instead of "thank you! have a nice day!"
- crowded backroom
- newbie with a button missing from his collar
- shift supervisor with multiple piercings in her ear (she has an industrial bar so they counted that as two piercings instead of one)

all these were in addition to the normal things higher ups complain about: store not clean enough, partners not fast enough, pastries not pretty enough, sugar not white enough, yadda, yadda, yadda.

now i understand that a corporation as large as bux needs to be insistent upon cleanliness and speed of service. i know it's important to have standards and rules and i know customers want a quality product each and every time they shell out the big bucks for their customized drinks. i also know that nit-picking never helps achieve these goals. i'm not saying upper management should turn a blind eye, or that they should lower company standards, but giving us a lecture because our touch-screens (which customers DON'T see) aren't cleaned every ten minutes is ridiculous - as is trying to monitor the way we thank our customers and bid them well.

what the higher ups seem to forget is this: happy baristas = happy customers.
the baristas that give the best service and keep the cleanest stores are the ones that feel supported and appreciated by their management team - including district and regional managers. they are the ones that have no fear they'll be scheduled to open the morning after they were scheduled to close. they are the ones that receive MUG awards when they go the extra mile for their fellow baristas. and they are the ones that are offered promotions in a timely manner, instead of watching un-deserving partners move up the ladder just because they have open availability.

unfortunately it doesn't seem as if the higher ups will remember this any time soon.

partner rant: sorry if we didn't sing your praises when you informed us we could close early on thanksgiving day. i know closing early is a treat but it's hard to get excited when you're only giving us a thirty minute gift. seriously - why have us close early at all? most people i know eat their turkey in the early afternoon - not at 11 at night. so why did you say "good news! you get to go home early and spend the holiday with your families!"? at least have the beans to be honest and say "well, we would have made you keep normal hours, but we knew you'd riot so we decided to throw you an under-nourished bone".



tonight was one of the strangest shifts i've ever worked.

apparently a new gay fetish club opened it's doors somewhere near my bux because we had a fifteen-minute rush of men (all ages and sizes), dressed in latex and adorned with chains, ordering shots of espresso. a few of them were regular customers and it was quite a shock to see them in their clubbing gear.

then there was the ten-year old girl who threw a hissy fit when her grandmother dared order a tall instead of grande vanilla bean frappuccino. the girl literally slapped her hand over her grandmother's mouth and screamed "NOOOOOO!" while jumping up and down. her grandmother gave me a sheepish smile and again tried to order a tall, but the girl only screamed louder (and added more syllables).
"NOOO-OH-OH-OH-OOOO!" she pressed both her hands against her grandmother's mouth.
grandmother then tried to use her eyes to communicate with me since the girl was keeping her from talking.
"I WANT A GRANDE! A GRA-AH-AH-ANDE!" she cried and howled.
so grandmother relented and the girl never uttered another peep while in my bux.

and last, but not least, was the older gentleman who didn't realize his testicle had made a break from his shorts. he was sitting at the corner table (out of direct view of the baristas) working on his laptop. a customer sitting at another table was the one to inform us of his "wardrobe malfunction". we were pretty sure his "slippage" wasn't intentional but none of us wanted to be the bearer of bald news. so, instead of drawing straws, we wrote a note that said, "I'm afraid you've fallen out of your shorts" and picked the only male barista on duty to deliver it.
the barista told the rest of us that when the gentleman read the note his eyes practically fell out of his head. he gathered his belongings quickly and rushed out of the store. i hope he knew we weren't making fun of him and only wanted to save him further embarrassment.

barista rant: if your pastry was stale, you should have let us know before you consumed the entire thing. not only was it rude of you to bitch out the newbie on register, it was stupid to expect we'd give a cash refund for the contents of your stomach. when realizing your complaints were falling on deaf ears, you then asked for another pasty to "make up" for the one you claimed was inedible. when we refused you threatened to sue us for food poisoning. really, it was fun to watch you pout when we handed you the phone number to our corporate offices.


change for the worse

it always sucks to hear a great partner has turned bitter. there are many reasons why a good partners sour. sometimes they just don't want to put the effort into their job. sometimes they're putting 110% in, but getting zero recognition for it. manager changes deeply affect each store, and nit-picking by higher management can make bux almost unbearable.

when i first started working for bux i'd heard about an assistant manager in the district who was known for always being upbeat, welcoming and fun to work with. when he was transferred to my bux i found everything that was said about him to be true. he was a blast to work with and always pulled his weight. customers loved him, partners loved him - and he really seemed to enjoy his job. it wasn't surprising at all when he was promoted to manager and given his own store.

a few months after settling in to his own bux i'd hear stories about his moodiness, which really surprised me because my experience with him had been so great. then rumors started flying around that his partners were looking to transfer because it just wasn't fun to go into work anymore. and just the other day a partner i know (who also used to work with him when he was an assistant manager) went to his store to drop off product only to be asked "why the hell did it take you so long?" by this manager. no "hello", "thanks for bringing this by" or "how's it going". only a grunt and a bad attitude to thank her for wasting her own gas.

it's no wonder his staff is ready to jump ship, and really - it's sad. the partner i remember working with apparently doesn't exist anymore. and if his moodiness and bitterness continues, it's clear he won't be with the company much longer.

shots happen at bux. and it sucks when things go wrong, but it still isn't an excuse to get growly with your partners and customers.

barista rant: my bux is a small bux. so when you're talking to the barista at bar - the register partner can still hear you. so don't be surprised if you get caught in a lie. as i handed you your drink today you informed me i had it all wrong. that you were supposed to get four extra shots, as well as soymilk and extra caramel. when i informed you that the cup markings did not indicate your drink was anything other than a latte, you put on a show and said the register partner must be an idiot because you told him five times exactly what you wanted. how stupid did you look when the register partner made a copy of your receipt and brought it over to me. once caught in your lie, you accepted your latte (as ordered!) and quietly made your exit.


drinking and driving

only two incidents from this weekend stuck out:

incident #1 -
after a rush i noticed there was a drink left unclaimed on the bar. seeing it was a cappuccino, i asked the register partner if they remembered who ordered the drink. she pointed at a guy sitting by the window who was working on his laptop and had his bluetooth headset on (which presumably is why he didn't hear me call out his drink). when i handed him the cappuccino he apologized for leaving it on the serving bar.

"i'm sorry you had to bring it over to me," he said. "my car was stolen and i was on the phone with the police."
"oh no, that's horrible." i really was concerned. "you're checking to see if they've found it yet?"
"no," he informed me. "i was reporting it stolen."
i was a bit confused as to why he waited until he was at bux getting coffee to report his missing vehicle.
"i noticed it was gone when i went to get my reading glasses out of the glove box." he continued.
"you mean it was stolen, just now?" i was shocked.
"yeah, but it's cool. it's been stolen before and they found it. i have lo-jack so it's no biggie." he explained, then went back to typing on his laptop.

he hung out in our store for another hour, and when his ride came they both ordered drinks and hung out some more. i've never in my life seen anyone so calm after having their car stolen. he even tipped us before he left because we'd been so nice to him.

incident #2 -
a customer ordered a tall iced coffee in a venti cup sweetened with irish creme syrup. when we explained that irish creme syrup had been discontinued, the guy threw a bit of a hissy.

"well, what the hell am i supposed to put in my coffee?"
"uh, some people use classic syrup, or you can try vanilla." my fellow barista brat explained.
"that doesn't go!" he rolled his eyes.
"well, you can try caramel syrup. or there's raspberry, hazelnut, cinnamon, gingerbread -"
"none of those taste like irish creme!" he huffed. "what do you have that tastes like irish creme?"
"uh, nothing." fellow barista brat informed him.
"fine, just put some chocolate in it." he said and tossed his money at her.

two minutes later we found out why he was so hard up for irish creme. immediately after picking up his drink he popped the lid off and pulled a mini bottle of whisky out of his man-bag. right in front of us he began pouring the whisky into his cup.

"i'm sorry sir, but you can't drink that here." i informed him.
"why not? i paid for it!"
"you can't consume alcohol in our store." i told him and pointed to the door so he'd leave.
"starbucks sells liquor! i've seen it in the store."
"sorry guy, but you have to leave." i told him again.

he started to protest but shut his mouth and left quickly when he saw a police car pull into the parking lot. the funny thing is, the cops weren't getting coffee - they were getting sandwiches from next door.

partner rant: it's fine you wanted coffee on your day off. it's even acceptable that you asked us to grind your weekly mark-out. but holding up the line while you called your family to see if they wanted frappuccinos, then expecting us to give you five drinks for free is beyond rude. it's inconsiderate AND dumb - especially when the person you asked to hook you up is our newly promoted manager.


return to sender

well, along with the red cups came my store's early christmas present: a manager.

we've had acting managers floating in and out of our bux and few weeks ago they gave us another assistant manager (which was a bit odd considering we didn't even have a permanent manager yet). turns out the newly added assistant manager has been promoted to our manager.

oh. what. fun.

off the clock he seems like a cool guy but as soon as he hangs his apron around his neck he turns into "king cappuccino". he's the one that fought with me over a drink recipe, and he's also the one that turns over the worst mid shifts ever. to be fair he's been promoted in a store that's had a lot of confusion as far as staffing goes. apparently this guys big dream is to one day become a regional manager, which means he's going to have to dazzle all his bosses so that he can move up the bux chain.

this can go in either one of two ways: 1.) he bonds with his baristas, works his butt off and helps create a harmonious environment for the partners and the customers or he turns into a nit-picking, bean-counting killjoy who will fire/transfer anyone who won't ascribe to his personal party line.

i've seen both those things happen in other stores. the manager that chose option #1 (the best manager i ever had the privilege to work with) is ready to be promoted to district manager. the manager that chose option #2 (the WORST manager i ever worked for) was asked to leave the company after just a few weeks.

time will tell if my new manager will check his ego and get with the bux program. if not, i've heard coffee bean is hiring.

customer rant: i applaud your sense of urgency, i really do - but don't forgo being polite for being speedy. you were so concerned with calling down the line that you mismarked cups, and when i realized you had written down "sugar-free vanilla" instead of "vanilla" for my latte, i pointed it out. instead of changing the cup you threw a tantrum - making a big show of tossing the cup across the bar and into the trash. uh, wouldn't it have been faster to just scratch out the "SF" instead of getting a whole new cup? please, slow down enough so that you don't blow a fuse when you have to correct a mistake.


red cups are back!

tonight is the holiday roll-out for bux. tonight little green-aproned elves will magically transform the stores with red cups and holiday decorations. customers and partners usually have one of two reactions to the bux holiday season: 1.) "hooray! holiday!" or 2.) "WTF! it's waaaay too early for this crap!"

i fall into the category of the former.
i really love holidays at bux - truly, i do. even when customers get fussy because parking sucks, stores are crammed and our cd plays non-stop christmas songs, i adore this season. sure my shifts are fill ed with grumpy scrooges and stressed out housewives, but it's the people that embrace this time of year that make my job so much fun.

warm fuzzy #1 -
last holiday season we had a customer who needed fifty ten-dollar gift cards. usually customers that need such a high volume of cards are directed to order their cards online or call starbucks directly because it's a long process to activate all the cards. this particular customer needed the cards for the very next day and pleaded with us to activate all the cards in-store. seeing he was desperate we went ahead and started on his transaction. when a line started forming behind him he told us to go ahead and charge him for the other customers' drinks so they wouldn't have to wait for their beverages. he ended up spending an additional thirty dollars on other people's drinks, as well as stuffing twenty dollars in our tip jar.

warm fuzzy #2 -
a barista forgot to ask for time off so that she could visit her family (she hadn't seen them in almost a year). she was desperate to find coverage for her scheduled shifts and spent a couple hours on the phone looking around the district for people who wanted to pick up some hours. she ended up getting every shift covered except for one - and of course it was on christmas eve. the partners that were already scheduled that day told her not to worry about it and re-organized the shift so that her absence wouldn't screw them over. she was so thankful that she had christmas cookie bouquets delivered to each and every partner that worked on christmas eve.

warm fuzzy #3 -
the gifts and holiday cards regular customers give us baristas as a way of thanking us for our service. it's not expected but it's very much appreciated!

partner rant: you spent the first half of your shift bitching because you weren't given enough hours on this week's schedule. then you spent the second half of your shift bitching because you wanted to go home early. all your actions tell us is you want more shifts to skip out early on. if you really want hours then work the hours you're given!


bux soap box

today one of our regular customers was standing in front of the register ordering her usual drink - a grande nonfat six-equal latte.

"ugh, are you REALLY going to put that into your body?" the customer behind her asked.
our regular customer gave him a sheepish smile and nodded, "i like my lattes sweet, but without the extra calories."
keeping the horrified look on his face, the customer behind her said, "you're willing to cut your life short just so you can enjoy your lattes?"
"excuse me?" regular customer was taken aback.
"seriously, do you know what that stuff does to your body? you might as well inject formaldehyde into your bloodstream!" he was getting preachy. "because that's what happens when you ingest that stuff. your body temperature causes a chemical reaction and that stuff basically embalms you from the inside."
regular customer grabbed her latte and left, not wanting the guy to totally ruin her caffeine experience.
"don't tell me you put that stuff in your coffee," he had now turned his attention to me.
"i don't drink coffee," i lied, hoping he'd order and leave.
"do you drink diet soda?"
"no," i lied again so that i wouldn't have to hear about the evils of aspertame and saccherine.
"well, you're smart because that stuff will kill you. if you want i can give you a list of websites that explain exactly how toxic those chemicals really are. you should tell everyone you know about it." he suggested and then ordered his organic milk chai.

i really wished my regular customer had stuck around to watch this guy stand outside my bux and chain smoke while he drank his chai latte. i wonder how he would have felt if an anti-smoker had given him a lecture while he tried to enjoy his cigarettes.

partner rant: the excuses are getting old. is there a reason, other than the fact you're being lazy and inconsiderate, that you haven't completed the mid-day duties before your closers come? i know last monday you said you were short people. and on wednesday you said there was a problem with the registers and you had to spend a good part of your shift on the phone with the computer people. yesterday you claimed the backroom was a higher priority and today you had a large cambro order. it's funny because when the rest of us work the mids we always manage to complete the tasks as well as deal with whatever is thrown our way. the fact that your part of the management team means you should know better than to turn over horrible shifts. suck it up and do your work.


i feel your pain

today's post deals with bux indirectly (since bux owns seattle's best coffee) but i still felt the need to vent:

this morning i was at a borders book store looking for a birthday gift for a friend. as some of you may know borders has converted many of their cafes to seattle's best cafes. the ones that haven't yet been remodeled still serve seattle's best brand coffee. so, before i went searching for a birthday gift i decided to get an iced coffee.

barista brat: "hi."
borders barista: *blank stare*
barista brat: "uh, hi. may i have a medium iced coffee with one pump of white mocha and one pump of mocha?"
borders barista: "that's an extra charge."
barista brat: "ok."

the borders barista rung me up for an iced coffee and charged me an extra fifty cents for syrup - twice. now, it's not that i'm super cheap and can't afford the extra fifty cents, i've just never been charged twice for getting less syrup than the recipe calls for. the borders barista verified that she charged me twice because i wanted one pump of two different syrups.

barista brat: "ok, i understand. instead of the white mocha may i have two pumps of regular mocha instead?"
borders barista: "i'm still gonna charge you extra for it."
barista brat: "yeah, i know i have to pay fifty cents for it."
borders barista: "no, you have to pay a dollar for it."
barista brat: "but i'm only getting one syrup now."
borders barista: "but you want two pumps and if you bothered to look at the menu, you'd see it's fifty cents per shot of syrup."
barista brat (breathing deep as to not go off on her): "yeah, i'm only getting HALF a shot of syrup since medium drinks normally get four pumps."
borders barista: "you're getting TWO shots!"
my nice customer voice was gone by now.
barista brat: "so if i order a medium latte and asked for a shot of white mocha, how many pumps would you put in it?"
borders barista: "lattes get four pumps."
barista brat: "would you charge me two dollars extra for that?"
borders barista: "no, because four pumps equal a shot in a medium latte."
barista brat: "shouldn't medium iced coffees get four pumps as well?"
borders barista: "no, because you're ordering a drink that's not on the menu so you have to pay more."
barista brat: "is this your own rule? i'm asking because there's no other coffee shop that charges like this."
borders barista" "well this isn't a real coffee shop. this is a book store and they make up their own rules."
barista brat: "i know you get paid by borders but you're serving seattle's best drinks. the recipes are supposed to be the same."
borders barista: "do you want your coffee or not?"

now if the borders barista had 1.) been nice, 2.) had said "i know it sucks but that's how they told me to ring it up", or 3.) been polite instead of bitchy, i would have paid the extra money and been on my way. but she was obstinate, rude and clueless so i decided to look for a manager.

when i located him i didn't complain about the bitch barista. i just asked him to verify their procedure and of course the barista had charged me incorrectly. he fixed the problem and rang me up correctly and explained that she was a new barista and didn't know all the recipes yet - meanwhile bitch barista gave me the stinkeye the whole time.

now i want to point out that at NO time did i pipe up and say "i work for starbucks and you're doing it wrong!" or "i'm a barista and that's not how it's done!". i don't go out in public wearing my green apron nor do i put up with novice baristas who think a piss poor attitude is essential when working the bar.



the buX-files

working at bux you'll come across all sorts of customers: the regulars you like, the regulars that annoy, the lonely customers who want someone to talk to and the mean customers who want someone to bitch about. and of course we'll get a customer who will leave us baristas scratching our bux caps in confusion. they behave in such a crazy manner it's as if they're visiting us from another planet.

alien #1 -
a woman walked into my bux and went straight into the bathroom. she was there so long our other customers asked us to knock on the door encourage her to finish her business. when she finally emerged her hair was soaking wet and water was splashed all over the floor. she then came up to the counter and ordered a chamomile tea. she spotted the coffee cherry pin on my apron and mistook it for christmas holly.

"holly!" she pointed to my pin. "that's my clown name!"
"oh, uh, really?" i was being polite.
"yes, well first my clown name was 'flower' but i met another clown with that name so i changed it."
"here's your tea," i handed over the cup and began to help the person behind her.
"can i put milk in my tea?" she asked before i could finish taking the other customer's order.
"well, people don't normally put milk in herbal tea." i informed her. "but you can do whatever you'd like."

she walked over to the condiment bar and then came back just a couple minutes later.

"um, excuse me." she got my attention and showed me the curdled milk floating in her tea. "my husband is from england and he says you're not supposed to put milk in herbal tea."
"i'll get you a new tea." i told her.
"my husband grew up in england and he says you should never put milk in herbal tea." she continued. "are you listening? my husband is english and he wants to make sure you know that you're not supposed to put milk in herbal tea."
"no milk in herbal tea - got it." i gave her the new cup of tea and was thankful to see her walk out the door.

alien #2 -
one day i was changing the milk containers at the condiment bar. a customer came up to me and thanked me for putting new containers out.
"i'm so glad you're taking this other container away because it's contaminated." he told me.
"contaminated!" i was worried someone had licked the lip of the container - again.
"yes, i saw them go inside." he whispered.
"what went inside?"
"the microbes." he continued to whisper. "i saw them float inside. if someone drinks that milk the microbes will be inside them. it will be months before they even notice and by that time they will have infected their families and the people they work with."
"uh, well, no worries because i'm going to put this container in the sanitizer." i smiled and started to walk away.
"i knew you'd understand." he smiled at me before whispering again. "but be careful because the microbes are everywhere!"

barista rant: what makes you so special? why do you feel we need to drop everything we're doing just to get you some water? especially when there's a line of people who are actually going to pay for their beverage. don't get pissy with the register partner because he's in the middle of a transaction and can't get you your requested water. don't get mean with the barista because she hasn't expedited your free beverage and instead is making drinks for people who stood in line and PAID. if you're so desperate for water in a timely manner you should stay at home.


a message to you, RUDE-y

dear irate customer,

first i'd like to tell you the combination foot stomp and fist shake was brilliant. sure, i've seen people stamp their feet before - and just last week i had an old guy raise his fist in the air because he now has to pay an extra nickel for his coffee - but never before have i seen both moves so gracefully executed at the same time. truly, it was like poetry in motion.

even though this was not the first time i've seen your performance (i must say the morning of september 12th you were truly on form)i was still appreciative of the intensity and passion you display each and every time we "retards" ruin your day. i must admit i was slightly disappointed last time you decided to forego your usual tirade when we neglected to put ice in your water, settling for a singular grunt instead, but today you more than made up for it.

truth be told, i thought you were losing your touch when you called me an idiot because our store no longer carries your beloved anniversary blend. it seemed as if you'd peaked weeks earlier, but you dug deep and found that fire burning within. "idiot" was followed "useless", "lazy" and "degenerate". then came the fist shake and the foot stomp (the bulging neck vein was a nice touch) before you stormed out of the store.

believe me, your set did not dissapoint - to our sheer delight, and almost as if you could hear the resounding cries of "encore!" you walked back into bux and gave us a final earful:

"i'm sick of you idiots! you have no idea how to run a business! i'm NEVER coming back - you hear me? never!"

at first i was saddened by your promise to stay away, but then realized it was just your way of making sure your fans are left wanting more, much like cher and her million farewell tours. really, a talent such as you can't ever be retired.


barista brat

partner rant: you know i don't place the orders, so why did you pull me off the floor to grill be about grande hot cups? i'm sure you were upset when we received twice as many boxes as we needed. maybe you just needed to blow off steam, but getting pissy with me was the wrong thing to do. especially when i pointed out the order was placed on a day i didn't even work. too bad we don't serve humble pie at bux.


see you on the other side

a barista spend most their time behind the counter. whether we're on register, on bar, turning over the pastry case or prepping frappuccinos, there's normally a barrier between us baristas and the customers. when we do venture out from behind the counter it's usually to restock the condiment bar and clean the lobby.

it's at these times customers believe we baristas are "fair game". as long as you're in the lobby, you belong to them. it doesn't matter if you're mopping up a spill or if you have a toilet brush in your hand. customers will want your help and will stay glued to your side until they are satisfied.

and it starts so innocently:
you'll be filling the sugar containers and a customer will ask you for help finding a particular roast.
no problem.
you walk them over to the bean display and hand them the desired pound of coffee. you think you can go back to the sugar containers but the customer has you in her clutches and she's not letting go. she wants you to design a gift package for her niece/co-worker/hairdresser. it doesn't matter that there's a line out the door and only two partners on the floor. it doesn't matter that bux does not employ personal shoppers. it only matters that she wants a particular mug with a matching gift card and tough luck if your bux doesn't carry that mug - she'll demand you call every store in your district looking for one.

you can be on a ladder changing light bulbs and a customer will ask you to climb down so he can spend ten minutes complaining about the service he got at a different bux five years prior and how he'd had sworn off bux until one day he woke up with a craving for an orange mocha chip frappuccino only to find bux no longer makes them. then he'll want to know why bux no longer makes them, if there's a way to make a poor man's version and if he can have the direct line to Orin Smith so that he can petition for the return of the orange mocha chip frappuccino.

or you might be wheeling the trash out and a lonely (or even loony) customer will want to bend your ear because no one else will listen to them.

i'll be honest - there is safety behind the counter.

barista rant: please don't use our bathroom as a hook-up spot. people poop in there! our toilet is not a "romance room" no matter what your hormones are telling you. the people banging on the door were not cheering you on - they were desperate to relieve their bladders. please have sex somewhere else, ok?


a barista in need...

newbies can be annoying in the beginning, and some partners are just plain mad at the world, but for the most part bux baristas are a pretty tight group. we may not all be best mates, but we do look out and care for each other. so when something bad happens to one of our own, we rally around to help.

sometimes it's as simple as giving a fellow barista rides to and from work when their car is in the shop. sometimes tragedy befalls someone and you'll find yourself volunteering to cover shifts for a partner who has suffered a miscarriage. no matter how big or small one's issue might be, we baristas do our best to help.

at my old bux we had a partner who had one foot out of the cafe but after a serious sit down talk with the manager he did a full 180. he'd turned into a near model barista but after a full month of dress code compliance, no cash overages/shortages and a couple MUG awards this partner pulled a no-show.
concerned, we called his cell phone numerous times. three hours after he was supposed to clock in he finally called us. turns out his house had burned to the ground just before dawn and he'd spent the morning talking to the fire chief, settling his family into a hotel and calling the insurance company (his parents spoke only broken english). my bux felt terrible and immediately pulled together to help him. some of us donated our tips or bought gift cards. others donated work clothes and groceries. we baristas cheerfully helped him out in any way possible.

this partner lasted only about another two months at bux. although very appreciative of our help he soon returned to his old ways of showing up late, messing up his till and forgetting to bring his hat and apron. he ended up being a no call/no show for a full week - sealing his status as a "terminated partner".
we later learned there was no fire. his family wasn't racking up hotel bills, nor were they clothesless or possessionless. he made the whole thing up because he'd overslept and he didn't want to get a third strike.

did it suck to find out he'd been lying?
it sure did.
did it change our attitudes about helping our fellow baristas when they are in need?
not a chance.

barista rant: you ordered ONE venti frappuccino. you asked me to split it into FOUR tall cups. so why did you complain that all four cups weren't filled to the top? why did you accuse me of "shorting" you? even after i did the math for you and explained that ONE twenty-four ounce drink is not equal to FOUR twelve ounce drinks, you still insisted i give you what you "paid for". guess what? your bullying won't get you free frappuccinos. know why? because i insist you get what you pay for.



one of the best things about working at bux is getting to know our regular customers. it's really great knowing they come into my store, not just for the caffeine but for the service. i've been invited to birthday parties, graduations and house warmings. i've been given christmas presents, books and freshly baked cookies. it makes my day to know i've made someone else's day.

sometimes though, we baristas get unwanted attention from customers. two of my fellow baristas were stalked by enamored coffee drinkers and a barista buddy had to talk to the cops because he was being harassed. most of the time, however, it's just a matter of baristas being adopted by lonely customers.

today was such a day for me. a woman came in asking for a regular coffee. she was unstable on her feet and slurred heavily. i figured she was either drunk or disabled. as if she'd read my mind she blurted out "i'm not a drinker!".
"ok," i answered back.
"everbody thinksh i'm drunk becaush i shlur. but i talk like thish when i'm tired." she informed me.
"ok," i said again, not really sure of what else i should say.
"yesh, thatsh why i wear thish." she pointed to an AA pin on her lapel. "but people shtill think i'm drunk."
"oh wow." i still had no idea what to say.
"jusht the other day two women called me a drunken shlob!" she continued, "but i jusht ignored them, 'caush you know what?"
"what?" i asked out of politeness.
"becaush they were..." she leaned over the counter and whispered, "becaush they were foreignersh."

at this point i started to slowly back away. i really didn't want to get into a conversation about "foreignersh" or "immigrantsh".

still leaning over the counter she continued, "you know how theshe foreignersh can be, right? they act ash if they own thish country!"

"oh," i said and continued to walk away from her. it was obvious she was going to talk my ear off until i was out of sight.
"whatsh your name?" she asked me while still practically climbing over the counter.
"brat." i responded and took another step towards the backroom.
"your really nishe, brat. where are you from? do you work every day? you're sho eashy to talk to!"
"oh...thanks. have a great day!" i was hoping she's say "shee ya later" but she still wanted to talk to me.
"what makesh your coffee sho good? it tashtes better than sheven-eleven."

luckily my barista buddy helped me out.
"hey brat, they need you in the backroom." he lied so that i could escape.
"it looksh like your busy, brat. i'll shee you nexsht time! we can talk shome more." she called out before leaving my bux.
"brat has a new best friend!" barista buddy teased me. "and she doesn't take too kindly to foreigners!"

customer rant: i know how much it sucks when someone spills a drink and you're busy on bar. but throwing them some towels and telling them to clean it up themselves is unacceptable. and when they'd finished mopping up the mess you gave them attitude and called out "hello! are you just going to leave the towels there?". guess what? cleaning up messes and spills is YOUR job. EVERY barista has had to clean up a customer's mess, so suck it up and start mopping.


invisible jerks

when i started my shift yesterday the assistant manager warned me that "everybody is a jerk today!". apparently something was in the air and his morning was filled with grumpy customers and their demon offspring. my first ten minutes on the floor were spent listening to him complain about every customer that rubbed him raw. their offences ranged from not saying "thank you" to suggesting he find a "more experienced" barista to help him on bar.

i guess that's the reason why he couldn't find time to prep or clean for the closers. i guess that's why he decided to spend the last hour of his shift in the backroom and i guess that's why he couldn't be bothered to say good-bye to us when he left for the day.

so, although i had twice as much to prep and twice as much to clean, amazingly i had ZERO customers with attitude. not a one! there were no complaints of "i didn't order it like that!", "this tastes burnt" or "you're taking too long".
i guess i could have deduced that all the idiot customers ordered their coffee earlier in the day and i just hit the cool customer jackpot, but i'm pretty sure the reason my assistant manager had so many complaints was because he is very complaint worthy. he's only been at my bux for a couple weeks and already he is becoming a legend - or should i say "infamous".

partner rant: i understand you're having an off day. i did everything in my power to let you go home three hours early, even though it meant i was running a person short. in exchange for letting you go home and deal with your drama, i asked you to stock the bathroom and condiment bar before you left. it was a task that would have taken you ten minutes tops. so why did you lie to me and tell me that everything was stocked? not ten minutes after you went home a customer informed me that there were no paper towels or toilet paper in the bathroom. mind you, i was in the middle of stocking the condiment bar. you know - the one you supposedly had taken care of.


customer concoctions

this week has been crazy as far as personalized drinks.
here are some of my favorites (and when i say "favorites" i mean "drinks i hated making").

the "half mocha/half coffee frappuccino"
- a mocha frappuccino is a coffee frappuccino that has chocolate syrup added to it. so when the customer asked for a "half mocha/half coffee frappuccino" we figured she wanted half the amount of chocolate added to the mixture...but we were wrong. we were very wrong. what the customer wanted was for us to fill the bottom half of her cup with mocha frappuccino and the top half with coffee frappuccino. she was insistent the mocha frappuccino was on the bottom, which meant we had to make two separate frappuccinos for one drink. if she'd wanted coffee on the bottom we would have been able to add chocolate to the rest of the frappuccino and placed the mocha on top but of course this was unacceptable for her.

the "shaving cream foam espresso macchiato"
- we have a customer who is very particular about his foam. he doesn't want it just thick, he wants it "shaving cream" thick. he will insist a partner make his espresso macchiato over and over until he deems it worthy to grace his esophagus. of course the whole time we're making his drink he repeats "shaving cream thick! shaving cream thick!" like it's his personal mantra.

the "seven second frappuccino"
- our frappuccino blenders have two settings. we press "1" for a single drink and "2" if we are blending two drinks. we have a customer who wants us to blend his frappuccino for only seven seconds. he will stand on the other side of the counter and count out loud up to seven. if he feels we lagged on stopping the blender he will insist we make the drink again from scratch, then demand we count out loud with him.

the "iced two shots regular, one shot decaf, each shot pulled separately, venti two pump cinnamon, two pump pumpkin, one pump white mocha, splash of chai, nonfat milk, caramel sauce around the cup, stirred, easy ice with whipped cream and nutmeg latte".
- if this customer's drink "tastes funny" she asks for a free drink coupon. hello! of course her drink "tastes funny"! i can't believe her taste buds still work after drinking one of these a day.

barista rant: i know you're a partner at another store. i know you feel like you're the bomb diggity, but please don't try and "impress" us by ordering your personalized drink so fast we have no idea what you're saying. and when we ask you to repeat it, don't ask how long we've been with bux as if we're newbies who are too slow to understand your idiot order. especially since you are ordering it INCORRECTLY! here's a suggestion: crack open your training guide and learn the lingo before you try and "school" the rest of us.


share and share alike

i don't even know how to preface this one, so i'll just jump right in -

customer: "hey, does starbucks sell stock?"
barista brat: "yeah, we're a publicly traded company."
customer: "so i can buy stock?"
barista brat: "yes, of course."
customer: "ok, what is the stock valued at right now?"
bb: "um, last time i checked it was around 37 or 38 dollars a share."
customer: "oh, do you know if there's a minimum of what you can buy?"
bb: "i think that depends on who you trade with. as far as i know you can buy as many or few shares as you want."
customer: "ok, can i use my credit card? i think i have enough credit left for about a hundred shares."
bb: "uh, excuse me?"
customer : "i want to use my credit card to buy stock. give me a hundred shares."
bb: "sir, we don't sell shares here."
customer: "you just told me that starbucks sells stock!"
bb: "uh...are you serious?"
customer: "look, i want to buy some stock."
bb: "we don't sell shares here. you need to go to a stockbroker."
customer: "so where do i find one?"
bb: "try google."
customer: "oh, do they sell starbucks stock?"

i half expected the guy to say "you've just been punked!" but he didn't. instead he asked the customer behind him where he could find a stockbroker.

barista rant: you emphatically told me you can't have sugar. you asked what the sugar-free options were. i answered all your questions and i even suggested a way to make your drink lower in calories. so what did you do? you went ahead and ordered a sugar-free frappuccino. hello! i already explained that it would be impossible to make a sugar-free frappuccino, but still you insisted on ordering one. when i (again) tell you that ALL frappuccinos have sugar in them, even the ones lighter in calories, you just shrugged your shoulders and responded with a "whatever". why waste everyone's time asking what your sugar-free options are if you're just going to order something with sugar anyway? and why be so emphatic about not having sugar if you are ORDERING A SUGAR-FILLED DRINK?!?


easy as pi

with our recent newbie outbreak there's been A LOT of confusion at bar. wrong recipes, re-steamed milk and old shots are par for the course when training someone new, but i've been shocked at the amount of "seasoned baristas" who have their own special way of making drinks. admittedly bux has some recipes that can make your head spin (seriously - equal pumps of peppermint AND chocolate in a drink! can you say "diabetes in a cup"?) and of course when a newbie thinks they've finally mastered the 3,4,5 syrup recipe, along comes a rush of customers who order the exceptions to the rule.

most newbies will master the bar in a few weeks (but you should see their terrified faces the first time they have to fly solo) and it will become their responsibility to help the more recent newbies learn recipes and food handling procedures. each barista has their own preferred method of remembering how to make drinks. the method taught to me, and which i now pass down to others, was the "latte base" method. basically, most bar drinks are based off of a latte (espresso, steamed milk, topped with foam) so if you know how to make a latte, you can pretty much figure out how to make the rest of the drinks.

example: a cappuccino is a latte with equal parts steamed milk and foam. a vanilla latte is a latte with vanilla. a cafe mocha is a latte with chocolate syrup and whipped cream instead of foam. an eggnog latte is a latte with steamed eggnog instead of steamed milk with nutmeg on top of the foam.

see? simple.
of course there are some drinks that have their own set of rules and these are the drinks many baristas THINK they're making properly, but of course they aren't.

example: a caramel macchiato is a latte with vanilla and caramel on top - except it gets one pump less of vanilla than a regular vanilla latte and the espresso gets poured over the foam (afer the vanilla, milk and foam have been put in the cup).

far too many baristas aren't aware that they are adding too much vanilla, or that they are making the drink "upside down". and the baristas that DO know how to make them correctly usually make the iced venti version incorrectly. just today my new assistant manager tried to ridicule me in front of a newbie because i put only four pumps of vanilla into an iced venti caramel macchiato.

"that's not how you do it!" he rolled his eyes at me. "i was told you were a superstar on bar. why are you teaching her to do it the wrong way?"
"what's wrong about it?" i asked, although i knew full well he was going to make the same mistake most baristas make when it comes to this drink.
"iced venti drinks get an extra pump of syrup!" he exclaimed.
"the iced venti caramel macchiatos don't," i replied.
"yes they do," he put his hand on his hip for emphasis.
"why don't you look it up," i suggested and continued to help the newbie at bar.
"you look it up!" he shot back like he was on the schoolyard.
"fine," it was my turn to roll my eyes.

of course my new assistant manager played the "oh, they must have changed the recipe" card when the recipe in the book proved me right. and of course he's wrong - again.

customer rant: i'm sorry you hate your job and i'm sorry you hate your manager - really i am. i know how much it sucks to be scheduled against your availability and i know it's equally rotten when you're understaffed, but please don't make your customer's experience suck as well. i ordered my drink politely. i tossed money in the tip jar. so why, instead of calling out my drink, did you merely place it on the bar so you could continue your tirade about how much you hate your store. when i thanked you for my drink you responded with a "yeah, whatever". i promise you, the customer will remember to never tip again if you keep this attitude up.


many happy returns

yesterday a customer came in wanting a refund for a mug she'd "recently purchased".
when she pulled the mug out of her bag and set it on the counter i instantly knew i was going to get a blog post out of it.

"ma'am," i said politely when i saw she was returning a christmas mug - from LAST year, "i'm sorry but i can't give you a refund for that."
"but i have the receipt right here!" she informed me and pulled out piece of paper.

it was one of those moments where you don't know whether to laugh or be insulted. the piece of paper she handed me had the words "ONE MUG - 5 DOLLARS" sloppily scrawled on it.

"ma'am, i'm sorry but this isn't one of our receipts." i told her as i handed back the homemade receipt.
"but i don't want the mug anymore." she pushed the paper back towards me.
"i can't refund your money, i'm sorry." i was still being polite, but i could tell she was getting ready to fight me. "i can't give you store credit, either."
"but it's one of your mugs!" her voice getting higher in pitch. "look - it even has the mermaid on it!" she pointed to the bux logo on the mug.
"yes, it is a mug we sold LAST christmas, and even if you did have a reciept from one of OUR stores, i still wouldn't be able to take it as a return."
"but why not?" she was back to being clueless again. "i don't want it anymore."
"ma'am," i said slowly hoping she'd actually listen to me this time. "we only give refunds if you have a VALID receipt and you bring it back within thirty days - "
"so give me store credit!" she interrupted me.

it's at this time i pull the 'ole "blame it on the computer" excuse.

"i'd love to give you credit, but you see the COMPUTER won't let me. it doesn't recognize the sku number on the mug since
this is from last year. there's NOTHING i can do about it."

she wasn't happy, but she quit arguing with me. of course, for "her troubles" she wanted a free pound of coffee.
uh, no.

barista rant: i'm speechless. you ordered your white mocha at 180 degrees. you even reminded me twice to make sure your drink was "beyond hot". so when i handed you your extra hot white mocha, you took a sip and made a face. then you complained that i made your drink "too hot". i'm sorry? if you don't want a 180 degree drink, then don't ask for one!


afternoon sweets

today i witnessed one of the sweetest things ever in a bux.

a boy, about eleven or twelve years of age, came into my bux in his sunday best (even though today is saturday). he looked a little nervous as he came up to the counter. in fact, he kind of stumbled over his words as he shifted uncomfortably in his patent leather shoes.

boy: "um, hi. uh, excuse me?"
barista brat: "hi, is there a drink i can get started for you?"
boy: "uh, yeah - wait, um, not right now, but uh, i have a question."
barista brat: "sure, what's your question?"

he took a deep breath and asked me his question, rapid fire.
boy: "yes-uh-hi-um-my-grandma-is-going-back-to-england-and-she-gave-me-a-starbucks-card-and-uh-i-wanted-to-pay-for-an-afternoon-tea-but-i-don't-know-where-to-do-that-so-i-came-here-is-that-ok?"
barista brat: "you want to treat your grandma to afternoon tea?"
boy: "yeah, can you do that?"

after checking how much he had on his starbucks card (thirty bucks!) the boy picked out different pastries he wanted to serve his grandma. he informed me that he wanted to bring her to bux in the early afternoon and if it was possible to have the pastries on plates and the tea served in ceramic mugs (alas, bux does not have real tea cups). he paid for the tea and pastries in advance and then went home to have his grandmother walk with him back to bux.

unfortunately my shift was over before they came back but i can't wait to hear how his mini-americanized-afternoon tea was with his grandma.

partner rant: i'm on my break. i have my nose buried in a book. i have my earbuds in - so why do you feel the need to keep interrupting my break to tell me idiotic things i have no interest in?!? there is nothing about my manner that cries out "COME BUG ME ON MY HALF HOUR BREAK! IGNORE THE EARBUDS AND THE BOOK - PLEASE TALK MY EAR OFF ABOUT THINGS THAT HAVE NO VALUE OR INTEREST TO ME!" so why do you insist on tapping me on the shoulder to tell me that when you drink soy milk you get a tummy ache? even when i inform you (as politely as possible) that i'm trying to read, you still want to chat! pick up on the body and verbal language - leave me alone!


the bitter half

most the baristas in my bux are good about leaving their personal drama at the front door. sure, you'll hear the occasional whining and complaining about someone's' parents/school/boyfriend/homies but usually my fellow baristas are pretty good about not obsessing over their issues while they're supposed to be making lattes.

however we now have a recently transferred barista who finds it impossible to not bring his drama with him when he comes to work.
his drama comes in the form of his amazon-sized girlfriend. she's a solid foot taller than he is and has amazon-sized attitude to boot. she's never once come in without her trademark frown and if she's not inside bux bitching her boyfriend out, she's calling him on the phone to give him an earful.

this morning bitched out barista called to say he was going to be a few minutes late. when he arrived he looked like he'd just come back from a sleep deprivation study with his bloodshot eyes and zombie-like stare. not two steps behind him was his girlfriend who was shaking her finger at him while complaining that he had no respect for her. i expected her to leave once bitched out barista clocked on but she hung around, using every chance he wasn't directly occupied to gripe at him some more. i really felt sorry for him. he looked so defeated while he just stood there and took whatever garbage his girlfriend was dishing out.
she left after awhile, but called him about an hour later. he spent another ten minutes in the backroom while she chewed him out. then when it was time for his lunch break she was back at bux to rip him a new one during his thirty minute break.

the really sad thing is every one of his shifts are like this. and if his girlfriend has no problem berating him in public, i hate to think of what she's like behind closed doors.
perky assistant manager has already talked with bitched out barista about his "distraction" while at work. i wonder if he realizes that his girlfriend is bitching him right out of a job.

barista rant: i'm sorry you have a cold, but please refrain from sneezing into your hand before handing me your cash. please don't lick your fingers to separate the dollar bills you're about to give me. and please don't cough in my face when ordering your drink


attitude change

even rude customers can have an off day!

we have a customer who comes in daily to my bux. she's older and immaculately put together. from the top of her highlighted head down to her open-toed fendis she reeks of old money and a rotten attitude. she never once has cracked a smile (although i tend to believe that has more to do with the botox and less to do with her disposition) and never has she been polite when ordering her drink. not only is she a mega grump each day, but she's also too lazy (or just too superior) to throw her straw wrappers away.

so imagine my surprise yesterday when she initiated a short pleasant conversation with me! she still didn't smile but she asked how my day was going and thanked me after her drink was made (something entirely unheard of for her). my fellow baristas and i were in shock when she threw her own straw wrapper away as well as toss some change into our tip jar.

in addition to this customer mr. "distinctly told you!" came in after taking some happy pills. he thank me profusely for leaving enough room in his drink as well as calling me "sweetheart" and "dear". who knows if his new lease on ordering coffee will stick, but it was nice to see he was more than capable of being polite.

of course i'm not holding my breath that these two won't quickly revert to their former grumpy selves.

partner rant: don't give me attitude because you need help finding shift coverage. you're not even from my bux! i know you hate calling around to other stores looking for coverage, but when i ask you to call back because we are experiencing a rush and are too busy to give you phone numbers, don't snarl at me with a "thanks for NOTHING!" before hanging up on me. this is not the way to make friends and influence, ok?


family affair

today's post comes courtesy of a barista brat at my old bux:

"I was working with Brittany (a recently re-hired partner) and although I'd heard from other people that she had an attitude she'd always been cool with me. So, during a rush her two sisters show up to give her a ride home. One of Brittany's sisters ordered a tall cappuccino and when I handed it off to her she pulled a face and said "OMG can you just slap that boy at register!"
I responded by saying "I'm sorry, is there something wrong with the order?" and she said "Yea, it's supposed to be a mocha light cappuccino!"
So I was trying to figure out just what she ordered when I asked "Oh, did you mean the mocha light FRAPuccino?"
That's when she got all crazy and starts speaking really slow, as if i'm an idiot. "I...want...a...mocha...light...C-A-P-P-U-C-C-I-N-O."
"So you want mocha in the cappuccino?" I asked her and she nodded her head. "So what do you mean by 'light'?" I asked because there is no such thing as a mocha light cappuccino.
"A mocha light cappuccino is what I mean!" She said again.
Obviously we were having a communication problem so I attempted AGAIN to figure out what exactly she wanted. "Do you mean 'light' as in weight or 'light' as in non-fat milk?"
"OMG what is wrong with you people!" She practically shrieked and then walked away from the hand off counter.
Next thing I know, Brittany walks over to bar and pretty much pushes me out of the way (mind you, she was off the clock and out of uniform). "Brittany, I can make the drink, I just need to know what your sister means by 'light'." I said as nicely as I could, even though I was pretty ticked off.
"She means non-fat." Brittany told me.
"I asked her that and she said no." I said to Brittany. "I'll finish the drink now that I know what she meant by 'light'." When the drink was made I called "tall mocha NON-FAT cappuccino on the bar" and her sister grabbed it and left.
I wish that was the end of the story but there is more! Ten minutes later my manager called me into the backroom to ask me what happened. I told her the whole story and when I'd finished my manager informed me that Brittany's sister had just called the store to complain about me - but instead of saying she was Brittany's sister she acted as if she was a normal customer. She lied and said that not only did I have a bad attitude but I only put an ounce of coffee in her drink, blah, blah, blah and thank goodness there was a helpful co-worker on the floor (Brittany) who actually knew how to make the drink and if it wasn't for "the co-worker" she would never come back to starbucks ever again!
It's bad enough when you have a bitchy customer, but when that bitchy customer is a relative of a fellow partner AND when they call your manager to lie and complain about you, then it's beyond ridiculous.

barista rant: guess what? we don't make our own pastries. we don't hide them and we don't sell them to the highest bidder. please try and remember this when we run out of your favorite muffin, ok? don't tell me to go back and make you another one, don't say that i'm hoarding them for myself and don't accuse me of "black market" selling them to customers who are willing to toss big money into the tip jar.


crash course

it's equally frustrating for baristas and customers when we run out of product.
believe me, we baristas feel bad when someone orders and pays for their drink, only to find out that after five minutes of us searching high and low we do not have the soy/chai/vanilla/whipped cream/caramel sauce or lemonade to make their beverage.
too many times i've had to apologize to someone because someone dropped the ball when it came to stocking the store.

and yes, it sucks to be chewed out by a customer for having no product (especially since we baristas have no control over what's ordered - that's a management issue) and then the mad district dash to pick up product from other stores sucks as well. it's not uncommon to be called in early specifically for the task of searching out product. it's also not uncommon to be a person short on the floor because a manager has asked a barista to burn their gas driving around town on a scavenger hunt.

i'll be honest, driving around for product should never happen - but it does ALL the time.

that's why, although unfortunate, it was not surprising to hear that a partner was involved in a car accident when she was out picking up product. luckily she wasn't injured. the same, however, could not be said of her car.
now she's requested to talk with the district manager since she believes the accident is in part bux's fault and i can understand why she feels this way. if the store was stocked she would have been making drinks, not making lane changes. i have no idea what the district manager will say or what recourse - if any - the barista might have. let's just say it's going to be a gossip filled weekend!

barista rant: there's no such thing as breve soy! there's no such thing as half&half made with soy at bux! i even explained - in detail - what made soy soy and what made breve breve. so why, after i'd explained it to you, did you look at me blankly and say "i don't care about anything so long as you use breve soy". is it because you're stubborn? is it because you believe if you ask for it enough somehow i will magically be able to create breve soy just for you? please, if you are going to insist on a certain kind of milk, make sure it actually exists.