gravity works at bux, too!

i wish customers would learn how to order, i really do.

today a woman came in and ordered two vanilla lattes. we made them in only a minute and handed them directly to her. that's when she decided to inform us that she wanted them cold.

"cold with ice cubes or cold and ice blended?" i asked so i wouldn't have to remake the drinks yet again.
"ice blended," she told me.
what she neglected to tell me was that she wanted them both decaf. it wasn't until after the drinks were remade that she let us in on that interesting factoid. so - back to the blenders i went to make her decaf cafe vanilla frappuccinos.

"oh! i wanted the ones with no coffee at all. the ones that are all white," she tells me after i finished putting the lids on them.
one customer and four wasted drinks! great. but there is a happy ending - a happy ending for this barista, at least.

when the customer took her drinks to her car, she set them up on the roof when she put her kid in his childseat. as luck would have it, she parked in the front row so all the baristas were witness to both her frappuccinos sliding off the roof of her car and onto her back.

yes - annoying customer got caught in a vanilla bean shower. it was worth it to remake her drinks yet another time just to see the show.

barista rant: don't get huffy with me because my manager is cracking down on customers who want something for practically nothing. don't give me an earful because she charged you correctly instead of letting you cheat bux yet again. and don't threaten to go to another bux expecting me to beg you to stay. you won't be begged and you won't be missed.


i done been tagged

fellow blogger sling has tagged me.

the rules:
i must write six weird things or habits about myself, then tag six other bloggers and notify them in their comments section.

here goes...
1. i can carry six gallons of milk at a time - three in each hand. i consider this somewhat of a habit because i do it several times a day at bux.
2. way too easily i get sucked into watching 'date my mom' or 'yo momma' on mtv.
3. one of my prized possessions is a copy of the book 'the neverending story' in french.
4. i've gone weeks at a time without caffeine *gasp! hiss!*
5. um...ok...i admit it - i still listen to radio disney on occasion.
6. i can open coke cans with my toes (no joke!).

so, here is who i'm tagging:
1. [sic]
2. benny
3. alex
4. littledevilworks
5. silversonic
6. ale8one

robb - i didn't tag you because i know benny will!

customer rant: today i ordered two drinks. both were hot and both made with nonfat milk. so why the hell did i have to wait five minutes after receiving my first drink to get my second one? why did the three people behind me get their hot drinks before you made my second one? and when i asked about my second drink you were snotty and said "it's coming!", as if i were being impatient. how about serving the drinks in order like you're supposed to, eh buddy?


chemical warfare

this morning i was assaulted!
well, my nose was at least.

my sense of smell is keen, but by no means is it overly sensitive. yes, i can tell if someone is wearing perfume (or if they should be wearing it) and sometimes i can even tell what brand it is, but i am not one of those folks who gets a headache just from walking by the candle shop in the mall.

so, this morning when a lady came to bux wearing enough perfume to counter the bog of eternal stench, i had a sneezing fit. quite annoying since i was on register. this woman was wearing so much eau de TOILET that i started sneezing before she even made it to the front of the line, and when she ordered she asked me with a sneer "are you sick? you shouldn't be working if you're sick!"
i was tempted to tell her that i'm allergic to fertilizer but instead just rang her up as fast as i could, all the while breathing through my mouth (which was equally bad because you could taste that horrid smell!).
it wasn't even a nice scent. no guerlain, no chanel - not even that horrible spritz sold by j.lo! it was what i call "old lady perfume". kind of a mix between turpentine, the kmart garden center and fabreeze.

as she walked through the store you could see customers covering their mouths and noses, some resorting to breathing the steam coming from their lattes. after her drink was made and she had gone, that smell lingered for an hour. i swear, my apron still smells like her and i'm worried no amount of detergent will wash it off.

barista rant: were you sent here for the sole purpose of annoying me? first off - you asked me if we still made eggnog lattes. eggnog! in april? then you wanted an espresso macchiatto, but wanted a mix of nonfat foam and soy foam. are you kidding me? and then, when we started to mix both milks to steam them, you freaked and said you wanted nonfat foam on top of the espresso, soy foam on top of that, then another dollop of nonfat foam to top the whole thing off. and after we humored you and made your high maintenance macchiatto, you told us that it didn't taste "right" and wanted us to do the whole thing all over. you suck!


leave your mark

my bux bathroom is a magnet for trouble. i've already posted about the tokers (who must have lost their allowance because it's been a while since someone hotboxed it in there) and i've talked about the kids who use it as a personal water park. it's also used as a tagging ground. seriously.

in the time i've been at my bux we've had the mirror replaced six times because of someone etching "simox", "la guapa" or something equally unintelligible into the surface. the trashcan has been defaced on a monthly basis, as well as the walls, paper towel dispenser, toilet seat and door.

never having been a tagger myself, i'm pretty sure the intention is to leave one's mark.
but in the bathroom? in a bux? on the toilet seat?!?
this just seems like idiocy in my book.

i wonder - does one go into the bux bathroom with a safety pin a head full of bad intentions? or is one sitting there doing their business and suddenly get the urge to pull out a sharpie and leave a visual marker as well as a chemical one? does one get more points for a bux bathroom as opposed to a chipotle bathroom? are phone calls made to inform friends of your most recent work? are photos taken? or is there some sort of adrenaline rush that comes when a full bladder is banging on the door while you're furiously etching away?

really, i'm sure there are better ways to spend your alone time.

customer rant: i know you're in a drive thru store, but remember your cafe customers! don't leave my drink to be made after all the drive thru people have been taken care of. especially since i ordered before they even pulled up! there is no reason i should wait ten minutes for my one drink to be made when there was no one in front of me in line. remember - bux has drive thru for driver convenience. NOT because it's a faster way to get a drink. at least that's how it's supposed to be.


boo-hoo latte

sometimes baristas can be too adept at remembering their customers.
twice this week i have driven customers to tears because my memory is just too darned good.

incident #1
middle-aged woman i haven't seen since the holidays came yesterday. she has always been super pleasant and nice - one of those customers who always has a smile on her face, even if her drink was made regular instead of decaf. so, after a couple minutes of hellos and chit chat, i asked her how her husband was doing.
"oh," she said while her eyes teared up. "he passed in january."
i gave her my condolences, but of course it was useless. she was too upset to stay and order her coffee.
i felt like such a cad.

incident #2
young woman comes in today after a long absence. she orders her drink and informs me that she isn't in as often because she moved to another city. we talked about her new place of residence and how traffic is worse in her neck of the woods. she told me her new condo was really nice and she couldn't wait for the weather to clear up so she could barbecue.
"oh yeah, i forgot how you and your friend used to barbecue all the time," i told her.
"my friend?" she asked, her eyes clouding over.
"um, yeah. the guy with blond hair that used to come in with you," i said, sure i hadn't confused her with someone else.
"that was my fiance," she starts to cry. "we broke up and that's why i moved away."
she had a breakdown right at the register. then she spent fifteen minutes in the bathroom trying to compose herself.
my cad status confirmed.

i think i will spend the rest of the week hiding behind the bar.

partner rant: if you were too busy to prep - no problem. if you were too short staffed to pre-close - i understand. but if you didn't do prep and you didn't pre-close, then why the hell did the store look like a hurricane hit? it's not that hard to wipe down counters and load the sanitizer during your shift - even if it is busy. and when i pulled the numbers from the computer, it was clear you had over an hour of lag time! please don't turn over crappy shifts. it makes me less inclined to leave the store nice for you.


going, going, gone

top signs newbie partner will not work out.

1. newbie admits reason for wanting to work at bux is "free frappuccinos all day long!"
2. newbie won't learn bar because newbie hates the sound of steaming milk.
3. newbie thinks "sense of urgency" means looking out for terrorists.
4. newbie won't clean toilet because "that's, like, work for maids and janitors!"
5. newbie spends first day on register trying to collect as many phone numbers from "hotties" as possible.
6. newbie is caught giving away free drinks to said "hotties".
7. newbie's 10 minute breaks last over 20 minutes.
8. newbie comes in on days off expecting free drinks.
9. newbie spends entire workday talking about her "myspace" site.
10. newbie cries when told she has to remove nail polish because of health code reasons.

i guess from the other side of the counter it looks like all baristas do is make coffee and ring up customers. some newly hired partners are shocked to find there is more to wearing green aprons than calling out drinks and collecting tips. usually these newbies weed themselves out when they find bux isn't the dream job they imagined. too bad we have to put up with them in the meantime.

barista rant: how stupid did you look when you tried the whole "starbucks challenge" on me and i passed with flying colors? i saw the sparkle in your droopy lidded eyes when you asked me for a cup of fair trade coffee. you were sure this barista brat would fail and you would spend the rest of the afternoon gleefully posting about another starbucks debacle. but when i asked you if you were willing to wait four minutes for a french press, and when i charged you for only the cup of coffee and not for the whole press, your eyes lost their light and sorrowfully you pulled two dollars from your hemp sack to pay me. gee, i wonder if that cup of fair trade would have tasted better if you actually had something to complain about.


bux blocker

i am not fond of the customers who think i was born with a green apron and put on this planet just to serve them.
i really hate it when there are eight other customers behind them.
this afternoon we were short handed and there were only two partners for about an hour and a half. i put myself on register since i'm decidedly cheerier than my fellow barista buddy. half an hour into our short-handed shift and all was well, that is all was well until high maintenance trophy wife stepped up to order.

"i want one of those sugar free frappuccinos," she told me. i, in turn, informed her that although the sugar content is reduced in a frappuccino light, they are not sugar free. "i know one has sugar. give me the one without sugar," was her response.
so, after another lengthy explanation about frappuccinos with or without sugar, trophy wife decides to order a hot drink.
"well, just give me one of the hot mochas. but i want that one sugar free as well."
"we only have sugar free vanilla or sugar free hazelnut syrup. i can make the mocha with nonfat milk but i can't make it sugar free."
meanwhile the line was getting longer behind our high maintenance "guest".
"whatever, just make me a drink with chocolate that is sugar free," she says then walks over to the pastry case.
"our sugar free chocolate tastes like vanilla," i told her as to avoid another lengthy explanation and handed the cup to my fellow barista.
"whatever," she said again. "um, which cupcake is better?" she asked as she adjusted her underwire.
cut to the line growing even longer!
"they all taste exactly the same," i lied, just to speed up the process.
"maybe i'll get one of these mini loafs. what does the lemon one taste like?"
"um, i think it tastes like lemon," was my sarcastic response. too bad she didn't pick up on my snotty tone.
"i like lemon. let me have the lemon one."

i finally was able to ring her up, swipe her credit card and bid good riddance. unfortunately, just as i started to help the next customer, trophy wife comes back to me.
"this is too lemony. give me the cupcake instead."
i grabbed a cupcake, stuffed it in a bag and practically tossed it to her.
"can i have a fork, too?" she asked, totally ignorant of the evil eyes i was giving her.

i tell ya, i know i'm going to lose my barista title one day for going off on a customer like her. i can just feel it.

partner rant: bux! are you kidding me? how many more syrups and sauces are you going to make us stock? what happened to the good old days when we only had brownie bits at the cold beverage station? now its java chips, vanilla bean powder, malt powder, matcha powder, strawberry sauce, blackberry sauce and an abundance of syrups! and now you're adding banana sauce and coconut syrup? you have effectively added twenty minutes to our closing time because of all the added containers we must wash and stock. and then our district managers tell us our cold beverage station looks "cluttered" and "messy". they only have you to blame, bux. only you.

mother knows best

tonight one of those annoying spoiled teens came in, but this time with her mother. mom was being nice and bought huffy teen a twenty dollar gift card. teen orders a venti caramel frappuccino with extra caramel around the cup, extra whip cream, and extra caramel on top of the whip (you know - the staple drink for high schoolers).
teen hands me her gift card to pay for her drink ($4.15), but mom wants to order something as well.

"oh, can we add a small passion iced tea to that order?" she asked pleasantly.
i was about to give the teen her new total when she whined "mooooooooommmm!, this is MY starbucks card!"
"i know, i just bought it for you and i forgot i didn't have anymore cash. i'll give you the $1.45 when we get home."
"nnooooooo!" huffy teen whined even louder. "this is MY starbucks card! use a credit card if you don't have anymore cash!"

this was the point when mom got pissed.
"excuse me? actually that's my gift card because i paid for it. are you really going to be that selfish and not pay for my iced tea?"
then mom turned to me and said, "i'm sorry for wasting your time. please cancel both drinks. apparently my daughter doesn't deserve a drink tonight." and then she turned to her daughter and said, "you won't get another frappuccino until you learn how to behave. when you quit acting like a spoiled brat maybe i'll let you come back here."

and off they went.
so nice to see a parent actually parent in a bux!

customer rant: your bathroom is disgusting! it always stinks, there's never any toilet paper, and it always looks as if someone has tracked mud all around. you're supposed to check the bathroom every ten minutes, but it doesn't appear that you check it even hourly! i've heard other customers complain, but still you guys are content with the most disgusting bathroom this side of the mississippi.


don't let the door hit you...

oh happy day!
the former barista buddy turned barista bastard is transferring out of my bux. this morning my phone was a flurry with text messages, notifying me of his imminent departure.
yes, all partners in my bux are happy to see him go. mind you, we used to really like him but ever since he aligned himself with the misfit manager (who was subsequently fired) we all hated working with him. he thought misfit manager was his ticket to moving up the bux ladder so he became misfit manager's bitch - tattling on partners, acting like an ass, and barking orders to his fellow baristas. when misfit manager was fired, barista bastard became even more of a dick.

the funny thing is he was transferred to my bux about a year ago because of "issues" within his store. i remember him complaining about his previous bux, that the partners were fake, that management didn't appreciate him, yadda, yadda, yadda. he was really cool to work with for about six months, then it steadily went downhill from there. so, when he started to complain that our partners were all fake, that management was passing over him, and he was getting sick of the drama - well, it became pretty clear that the problem has always been him.

no, he will not be missed. yes, we are thrilled to see him go. now if we could only do something about our useless assistant manager.

customer rant: today i ordered a tea. you filled a cup full of hot water then started to dunk the tea bag into the cup. i asked you to pour the hot water over the tea bag so it could steep and you gave me a blank look. "you're not supposed to dunk a tea bag." i informed you. "what's the difference?" you shot back. "please, just pour the water over tea." i asked. you rolled your eyes, made the tea properly and said "gee, i'm sure it will taste so much better now." it took all my self-control to not bitch slap you over the counter. instead i just responded with an "if you drank tea, or bothered to read the coffee and tea manual, you would know the proper way to steep tea." no tip for you today, honey!


you're not the boss of me

new assistant manager is really starting to piss off us baristas. it's not that he's mean or a jerk, he's just seriously lacking any and all managerial skills. he doesn't come from any sort of customer service background and he seems to think telling people what they already know makes him worth his salt.
well, it doesn't.

today he comes up to me (while i'm in the middle of helping a customer) and reminds me to make sure the toilet is cleaned every night.
um, hello?
i asked him which one of my closing shifts had a messy toilet.
"oh, it wasn't during one of your shifts, i just wanted to remind you."
it really bugged me that this manager, the guy that left one of the worst closes in the history of our bux, had the nerve "remind" me to do things that are done on every one of my shifts.
what's next? is he going to remind me to fill the ice bin or to clean the condiment bar? i can tell he means well but he should really make sure his beans aren't burned before he starts throwing his weight around.

unfortunately this incident isn't isolated to just me. he's basically stepped on the toes of everyone in my bux. when i have new partners coming up to me saying "who does he think he is to bug me about a clean apron? he doesn't even know how to make a caramel macchiato!" i know that big time drama is about to happen. especially when i overhear my manager complaining about him.
looks like there might be another staff change in the near future.

barista rant: why the hell do you make me look up the nutritional information for five drinks only to pick the one loaded with the most calories? did you think i needed the exercise flipping through pages? was this like some sort of scavenger hunt and whoever knows the caloric content of a white mocha wins? if you're so friggen' concerned about calories why don't you just order herbal tea and let me get back to work.



after yesterday, today seemed pretty boring. we did have an old actor from "the goonies" come in and that garnered a little attention.
ok, not really. no one even recognized him.

amazingly our customers were on good behavior all day long. of course spring break was over for most students so i encountered very few unruly teenagers. and even though i made about a billion frappuccinos, it wasn't too annoying because we were tipped very well. even though we had no napkins, black tea or hazelnut syrup, none of our customers threw a hissy fit.

i completely expected some customers to be uptight and grouchy because of tax day but no, everyone was cool. maybe i just had the lucky shift. it kind of felt like being in the twilight zone.

almost no point to posting in the blog!

partner rant: please tighten up your orders! this whole weekend we had to pick up product from other stores because you didn't order nearly enough. and today when the orders were delivered it quickly became evident that you neglected to order things we need everyday, like grande hot lids and condiment bar napkins. how hard is it to follow a par system? you've worked at bux plenty long enough to order properly.

let's get ready to ruuuuuuummmble!

easter sunday is usually slower than most sundays. that means less idiot customers and happier baristas.
today, however, the easter bunny brought more than just eggs.

it started quite innocuously. a customer brought in his own mug and asked for a coffee. the register partner filled his mug with coffee and gave him his total of $1.60 (price of a grande drip minus the ten cent cup discount). he tossed a dollar at her and walked off saying, "that's all i have".

register partner asked me what to do and explained the situation. i told her to just ring it up as a refill so her till wouldn't be short. jerk customer overheard me and snarled, "what , you think i'm trying to rip you off?"
"well, you didn't pay the correct amount." i told him and started to tell him our refill policy.
"i don't give a shit about your damn policy. i come in here all the time - "
"well," i interrupted him, "if you come in all the time you should know what our policy is and bring enough money to pay for your coffee."
"well, too bad! i already got away with it and there's nothing you can fucking do about it!" he yelled. "i go to all the starbucks around here and i always get away with it, so fuck you!"
"well, now you can strike us off the list. go ahead to the other stores. you're not welcome here and it's time for you to leave."

during the time jerk customer was being loud and combative, one of our loyal customers decided enough was enough.
"you heard her," loyal customer said. "you better leave."
"mind your own damn business!" jerk yelled.
"if you don't leave this second i'll carry you out myself."
"go ahead and try it asshole!"
so loyal customer walks right up to jerk customer who spits out a "sit your ass back down". loyal customer remained perfectly calm, trapped the guy in a bear hug, picked him up right off the ground and carried him out like a bag of groceries. jerk customer ran off with his tail between his legs. it was the coolest thing i've ever witnessed in a bux. gotta love those loyal customers!

barista rant: don't accuse me of giving you old coffee! i told you i was re-brewing and it would be a couple more minutes for a fresh cup. you said ok. when i gave you the fresh coffee two minutes later, you asked if it was fresh. well of course it was! why the hell did you think i made you wait for it? after you took a sip you came back and asked again if it was fresh. i assured you it was, even showing you the timer but still you insisted it tasted like old coffee. "when i make coffee it never tastes like this!" you told me. when i explained you might not be accustomed to the particular roast we were brewing you said "when i make coffee it never tastes like this!". at that point i gave up. you just weren't worth my time anymore.


gimme, gimme, gimme

stupid customers are annoying, teenagers with attitude make me growl, but the species i hate more than anything are the people that expect you to hook them up or give them something free just because they inhale oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide.

the other day a guy came in (the word "smarmy" comes to mind). i've seen him in my bux only once before, which means he is NOT a regular. he hands me his cup which previously housed a latte and holds up a dollar.
"refill?" i ask.
"no it's a latte." he smirks and continues to wave his dollar.
"well, i can't refill a latte. i can only give you ten cents off for a cup discount but i can give you a coffee refill." i explain, hating every second he waved george in my face.
"this is the local special," he winks at me then points to one of our newer baristas. "he'll take care of it. just charge me for a refill and give him my cup."
"oh, i can take care of it," newer barista says to me and goes to grab the cup, but i stopped him.
"you can have a refill and that's it," i inform the jerk in front of me.
he rolls his eyes and looks to newer barista who only informs him, "sorry man. she's the boss".
after this not so fun exchange i pulled newer barista aside and spelled out the refill policy. not only that, i made it painstakingly clear the reason i was so pissed off. i absolutely hate people who think they can smirk their way into a free (or discounted) drink. it was as if he expected me to be overwhelmed by his self-confidence and i would just start giving product away.

and yes, for our regular customers we will sometimes upsize their drink on us or give them an added shot of espresso. the difference is they never expect it and are always appreciative, whereas this guy walked up to my register and demanded another latte for fifty cents.
nothing brightened my day more than to shut him down.

partner rant: if you're going to fire two closers, at least have the foresight to get their shifts covered! don't wait until the last minute and say "oops! i guess you'll be a closer short tonight! sorry, but hey - still try to get out on time." are you kidding me? what, you think we like staying forty minutes past our original clock-out time? that we're just dawdling and having a grand old time? no! we're working our asses off because we're a person short! don't bitch the next day that some of us accrued overtime. find us coverage or don't complain. better yet - don't fire people that kick ass at their job.


when bux sux

bux is a great company to work for. nowhere else would a part-timer like me get health benefits, tips, stock options and paid vacation. plus, i get to pick my schedule and whatever hours i crave but that might be because i'm da bombest barista brat evah!

there are, however, some bux practices that i don't agree with. one of them is paying externally hired management more than internally promoted partners. i think this practice sux because it is very rare that an external hire is worth the money they are being paid.
my new assistant manager is one of these external hires. sure, he's personable, but he's practically useless as a manager. he stays on register all day long because he's afraid of the bar, he's slower than molasses when it comes to cash handling and he has no clue as how to talk to/manage partners.
my other assistant manager started at bux as a barista and worked her way up the ladder. she is amazing, fast at all procedures, all partners love and respect her and she is ready to fully manage her own store. what a shame she doesn't get paid as much as the other guy.

so bux - if you're listening - start paying your internals as much as the externals! they're the ones who deserve it!

barista rant: why the hell are you complaining that your drink is too hot when you ordered it to be made at 180 degrees? what did you expect the temperature to be? lukewarm? just because you heard another customer ask for a 180 latte doesn't mean you should. and if you do end up ordering something that you don't understand, don't complain about it! let it be a learning experience.


bgtf = stupid juice

blackberry green tea frappuccinos make people stupid.
my former partner, who is a barista brat at another bux, just told me of a customer who is deathly allergic to blackberries, but was willing to risk her life just to savor our new blackberry green tea frappuccinos ('bgtf' is the cup marking). of course she ended up in the emergency room and had to spend the night in the hospital, but days later relayed to the barista brat that being able to partake of the frappuccino was totally worth anaphylactic shock and an outrageous medical bill.
are you kidding me?

and in my bux, the "green tea frappuccinos give me the runs" lady has come in nearly every day to order a venti bgtf. she hasn't yet told me whether the blackberry syrup speeds up or slows down her bowels, not that i'm particularly interested but as you know she likes to keep us informed.
there are also the customers who insist there is no caffeine in the bgtfs because they aren't made from coffee. even though we tell them ('til our aprons turn blue!) that green tea does indeed have caffeine, they shake their heads and tell us that green tea is healthy and nothing healthy contains caffeine.
well - do healthy things also contain insane amounts of sugar, whipped cream and blackberry drizzle? yeah, didn't think so.
but my favorite bgtf story has to do with the stupid bux partner from another store who insists on coming to my bux just to order the bgtfs. why? because apparently we make them so much better than she can make them herself.

please - stay away from the bgtfs! they will make you stupid!

customer rant: listen to me when i'm ordering! don't half listen while you tell your co-workers about how hungover you are because you partied into the wee hours of the morning before your opening shift. it doesn't impress me, it doesn't make me feel sorry for you, and it certainly doesn't help for tips if you can't keep focused on my damn drink order for ten seconds. not only that, you wrote the wrong drink on the cup and when i had to ask for it to be remade, you had the nerve to tell me that you wrote down exactly what i ordered. do your damn job properly. brag about being drunk during your break! and don't start complaining how no one tips you. you've done nothing to merit being tipped!


spring break at bux

uh-oh. it's spring break and that means frappuccinos morning, noon and night. it means rowdy high and jr. high kids all day long, and it means our normal customers will get pissy because the store will be too loud and there will be nowhere for them to sit. it also means lots and lots of stories for the barista brat blog.

for instance: yesterday there must have been an email circulating within the teen boy community because three (count 'em: three!) different teens tried to get a free drink by flirting.
what the hell were they thinking?
the conversations went like this:
"hi, what drink can i get started for you today?"
"hey, i'm mike (<--you can also insert justin or randy). you have a real pretty smile, you know that?"
"uh, thanks. what drink can i get started for you?"
"aw, cmon! you're not gonna tell me your name? i just told you mine!"
"you gonna order a drink or no?"
"yeah, i'm craving a frappuccino."
"ok, what flavor and size?"
"but there's a problem. i don't have any money. you think there's any way i could get a free one? um, did i tell you already you have a pretty smile?"

then there were the rich mall brats who thought it would be super funny to change their drink size twenty times.
"i want a venti - no wait, i want a grande. yeah, a grande. no! a venti, but i can't really finish that. give me a grande. do i want a grande or do i want a tall? well, i'm on a diet so maybe i should get a tall. but if i order a light frappuccino i can order a venti! but will i finish a venti?"

and the hip hop boys who always preface their sentances with, "gimme a" and then throw their money on the counter for good measure. the words 'please' and 'thank you' never entering their daily vocabulary.
oh, this week is going to last forever.

barista rant: what is with you boy scout den mothers? you came in to get a donation for your raffle. i explained that only the manager could authorize that, but i was nice and told you i was willing to put your info sheet in the backroom because sometimes baristas are willing to donate their weekly markout. i made it clear that it was up to the individual partners. so what do i overhear today? the very same den mother telling my manager that all the partners were supposed to donate their pounds of coffee to her stupid raffle. are you friggen' kidding me? after getting her two pounds donation from the manager the damn den mother sighed and said, "is this ALL? last year they gave me so much more. and i thought everyone was supposed to give me their coffee!" lady! you're getting coffee for free! quit your bitching!


do you speak americano?

how hard is it to understand an americano is made from espresso and water?
doesn't our menu clearly state what an americano is made of? when you asked me to tell you what went into an americano, did i mumble? i even told you the history of americanos and how they got their name but i guess my answer wasn't good enough because you asked another barista about this drink. her response must have pleased you because you ordered two americanos.
so why did you bring them back to me five minutes after they were made and tell me they weren't what you ordered?

"they taste like coffee," you told me. "there's no milk in them. and they aren't at all sweet. weren't they supposed to be sweet?"
i so wanted to scream "of course there's no friggen' milk or suger! did at any point in any of your conversations about americanos did anyone ever use the words milk or sugar?"
but instead i told him i'd make him two vanilla lattes since he didn't like the drinks he ordered.
"but will they be sweet? and will they have milk?" he asked.
i nodded my head as an affirmative, sure that if i opened my mouth i would make some bratty remark about his intelligence (or lack thereof).

when i handed him his new drinks he thanked me, but not before asking yet again if they were sweet and if they had milk. some people should never leave the house.

partner rant: two of my favorite barista buddies have been fired. i'm so upset/sad/bewildered i can hardly see straight. i guess the worst part is the timing. they are two of the best closers we have. without them it will take us even longer to clean up the store. it's hard not to blame the manager (who's been in our store for only a month) or our new assistant manager (who's been with the company for only two months) because it seems like they are trying to "clean house". sure, give a write up for being late, or have a coaching conversation about giving away your partner beverage, but firing two of the hardest workers we have? something stinks and it ain't spoiled milk.

no more dolce vita

this weekend two customers told me they hated me. another one said i totally ruined her weekend and at least ten others threatened to take their business elsewhere.

the reason? because i was the bearer of bad news. yes, this barista brat had to inform her customers that the cinnamon dolce latte is no longer available.
i understand that people get attached to their drinks, but attached to the point of heartache when a syrup is no longer available is pretty ridiculous. in fact, it's downright stupid. so what if you're drink of choice isn't available anymore. is that any reason to yell at the barista? does that make it ok to tell people you hate them? what, you think this barista brat was the one in charge of the "no more cinnamon dolce" decision?

well, guess what? you'll get over it. i know it hurts now and you can't possibly see how life will continue, but i assure you it will. just like life continued after bux discontinued chocolate brownie fappuccinos. and those mocha coconut frappuccinos you loved so much. life didn't end when we quit carrying chocolate fudge cake or those dumb penza bars. so suck it up and try a new drink.

barista rant: why do you find it necessary to smear your fingerprints all over the pastry case? why is it necessary to touch the glass barrier that separates you from your snack of choice? why can't you just say "i'd like an espresso brownie" instead of tapping on the glass multiple times and muttering "i want that". what's next? are you going to lick the glass to see what the snack tastes like? keep your hands to yourself and use those verbal skills


bux hall of fame

we have some phenomenal customers. we really do.

like when we had a manager change and the guy ended up being an unethical jerk. our customers filled out tons and tons of complaint cards, as well as talking directly with our district manager. they were instrumental in the guy being fired, or in starbonics, "no longer with the company".
we have one customer that brings us cupcakes every sunday morning. another that bakes us cookies, and several that give us christmas presents during the holidays. these are the customers (or 'guests' as bux likes to call them) that make our job so much fun.

especially when our customers are willing to throw down for us baristas.
tonight, for instance, we had a particularly bitchy lady waiting in line. she was in a rush (oh, aren't they all?) and hated the fact that one of our loyal customers was telling us about her day. she didn't take more than a minute, but the woman behind her threw a hissy fit and started yelling at us to get the line moving.

"can you hurry it up? how long does it take to give her her change back?" bitch lady asked.
"i'm done talking. you can order now." our loyal customer said with more than a hint of sarcasm.
"i'm not talking to you!" bitch lady practically pushed her out of the way. "how long am i going to have to wait to order my damn coffee?"
"oh, grow up! maybe you should lay off the coffee since you're already so tightly wound." loyal customer retorted (all baristas laughing joyously).
"shut up!" was bitch lady's response.
"yeah, make me," loyal customer said as bitch lady walked away. "you heard me! grow up!" she said over whatever bitch lady tried to yell back at her.

then it was two more minutes of loyal customer putting bitch lady in her place. um, did i fail to mention that loyal customer is a classically trained musician as well as a schoolteacher? yeah, she's always been super cool and nice, but tonight she was like a protective lioness over her barista cubs. she won't let anyone mess with us - not a horrendous manager or a customer with an attitude. needless to say, her drink was on the house.

barista rant: what the hell is it with dumb names on your drinks? i really don't care if you want me to call out "bobo" or "pokeman" but what i won't do is call out "bird flu", "sex machine" or "mike hunt" (<--say that one aloud and you'll know why). you're paying for a drink. you're not paying money to make us look stupid . as our loyal customer said, "grow up".


what's yours is mine

bux has a deal with t-mobile and we offer their wi-fi services in our store. many of our customers subscribe to this service. some of them are smart enough to take advantage of the free internet offered by the boba bar two doors down. and then there are those that have their own special devices for internet service. the kind that act like internet antennas.
not a problem if it's contained to the table one occupies. big problem when one destroys our retail displays in the process.

today some guy started pulling things off our shelf to use as tools in his internet quest. mugs, display boxes and even a coffee machine were all game for this guy. he started stacking everything up so he could trap a signal and happily work over the net from our bux. clearly, the guy thought bux was entirely at his disposal.

"i'm sorry sir, but you're going to have to put that all back." i informed him as he made some unstable tower to prop his device on.
"don't worry. i will. i just need to set up for a video conference." was his response.
"you're going to have to put it all back now." i wasn't budging.
"look, i have an important deal and i need to make sure my signal doesn't cut out!"
"well, if you pay for the mugs, the machine and the display box, you're welcome to keep them there. otherwise put them back."

result: i was called a corporate drone before the guy grabbed his stuff and left, leaving me to clean up the mess he made.

barista rant: you're eighteen years old! why are you ordering a kids' cocoa? oh, i know. because you're a cheapie and you only want to spend a dollar. that's fine. just realize when you order a drink for a kid, i'm going to make a drink for a kid. that means it will be quite lukewarm and unenjoyable to anyone that's already hit puberty. when you bitch that the drink is too cooled down, i will smile and say "yes. all kids' drinks are cooled down. no, i won't remake it hotter." if you persist and continue to bug me i'll probably remind you that bux is not burger king and you can't have it your way.


when parents go bad

it's official. this is bad parent week.

now, bux is no stranger to parents who allow their kids run wild while they sip their lattes. we are very used to this, though it never ceases to be annoying. but this week the bad parenting thing has gone to the extreme.
on monday there was a woman who set her toddler on a table then walked away, only to have him fall and bump his head, as well as the mother who allowed her daughter to try and step into our rtd case, knocking down bottles and yogurts in the process.
tuesday was fun as well. a lady burned her child with her coffee and then tried to blame us. she was holding her son, grabbed her drip coffee, then as she answered her phone she tipped her coffee and poured it on her son's leg. he started screaming (rightfully so) and she started yelling at us that the cap wasn't on correctly. oh, indeed it was. she was just too dumb to realize she was holding her coffee at a 45 degree angle.
this morning we had a very outspoken woman in line who complained that people weren't ordering fast enough. she spent two minutes bitching before paying for her caramel macchiato. then she walked over to the bar and asked me to hurry it up because - get this - her baby was asleep in the car with the engine running so she could keep the heater on.

are you kidding me? was she hoping for her very own amber alert?
i can't wait to see what the rest of the week brings.

barista rant: if you know you can't finish a venti chai latte before it grows cold, then order a grande! don't waltz over to me after an hour and complain that your drink isn't hot enough and expect me to make you a new one! don't suggest i resteam it because that is disgusting, as well as being a total health code violation. don't give me a crabby look when i won't give in to you. if you're old enough to shell out the big bucks for your beverage, you're old enough to suffer the consequences of slow sippage.


it's raining, i'm pouring: frappuccinos

i live in a freakishly frappuccino addicted part of town. seriously. i think one year my bux even won some award for highest frappuccino units sold. so on days like today, when it's cloudy and raining, it's nice to have a bit of a reprieve from the blenders. sure, there are those that would order a frappuccino in a snow storm, but there is definitely a noticeable decrease in "frozen" drinks when it's cold.

the horrible flip side is the second it stops raining, or the tiny fraction of a second when the sun peeks out, it's a frappuccino mad house all over again. these folks seem to live for any reason to suck down hundreds of calories.
"woohoo! it quit sprinkling! it's frappuccino time!"
"thank goodness the temperature went up a full degree. now i can treat myself to a caramel frappuccino. hey, the weather sucked all morning! i deserve a treat!"

i think these people live to see their shadows so they have a "reason" to indulge. coffee grounds-hogs. that's what they are.

today i was stuck at the frappuccino station for two hours straight. not one customer ordered a bar drink - no mochas, lattes or americanos. nope, it was all blended beverages this afternoon. it didn't matter that the sun never shone, that the customers were wearing jackets and wool coats, or that the patio furniture was soaking wet from the rain. all these people want, crave and desire are their frappuccinos, and they'll give us hell if they can't have them instantly.

this was the sort of day where i shake my fist at howard schultz and curse whoever invented ice blended coffees.

barista rant: just how cheap are you? not only did you grab a handful of straws, you stuffed your purse full of splenda packets, raw sugar and napkins. you asked me for two extra cups and lids, as well as a short cup full of half&half. thank god you didn't go to the bathroom because i'm sure you would have walked out with rolls of toilet paper and stacks of paper towels. what really sucks is how brazen you are when you do it. at least have the decency to be sly!


would be funny if it weren't true

some of the genius things i heard this weekend from customers at the bux:

"can i get a free drink if my friend works at the coffee bean up the street?"
"is there a way you can make your nonfat milk with less fat?"
"i'm a christian and we believe in charity, so i think you should let me have a free iced tea."
"is there a discount for high school students?"
"how much does a franchise cost?"
"why don't you wear name tags?"
"i swear there's something weird starbucks puts in their green tea frappuccino because every time i drink it i get the runs."
"do you love jesus?" <--ok, so that one i didn't hear first hand. my fellow barista brat got asked that question.
"why don't you sell the starbucks liquor?"
"do you have a microwave?"
"do you card for caffeine?"
"a couple weeks ago my friend ordered the wrong drink for me. can you give me a coupon for a free one?"

i've heard it said there's no such thing as a dumb question. whoever the author of that quote must be a real idiot.

partner rant: why are you soooooo slow? i ranted about you weeks ago, and still you're stuck on the same (lack of) speed setting. how is it humanly possible that you haven't improved in the slightest? how can the phrase "you need to pick up the pace" never permeate through your incredibly thick skull? aren't you embarassed that the newbies run circles around you after two short weeks? or do you just not care? guess who won't be caring when you have no hours on the next schedule?


bux is not the muffin man

here's something some people (amazingly) don't know. bux does not have ovens in their backroom. we don't make the sandwiches we sell and we don't bake our pastries. this doesn't stop people from expecting us to pull a croissant from out of thin air when we tell them we've sold out.

our pastries our delivered to us each day. usually they've been delivered before the morning crew enters the store. but occasionally they are delayed, and we don't have any goodies to sell for a few hours. it makes total sense that people who wanted a muffin with their coffee will be disappointed when our pastry case is empty. that doesn't give them a free pass to yell at us because they can't stuff their face.

"where are your pastries? why didn't you make enough?" customers yell.
"what am i supposed to do now for breakfast?" they ask.
"great! now i have to go to the bagel place for my bagel and cream cheese!" they inform us.

um, ok.
honestly, we don't care. things happen that are beyond our control. we aren't going to beg forgiveness from customers if our pastries didn't make it on time. and we certainly aren't going to give away free drinks because someone has to walk two shops over to grab a stinkin' bagel.

customer rant: i knew there was a reason i haven't been to your bux in a while. today you reminded me exactly why. not only is your store a mess - in the lobby and behind the bar - your partners have total attitude. after ordering my drink, i gave you my partner numbers for my discount. "that's not a partner number," you said. "it's supposed to have more digits," you rolled your eyes at me, as if you caught me in some scam to get discounted drinks. when i informed you that yes, my partner numbers were indeed valid, you snorted. "enter them," i practically had to command you. "oh, you're right." you told me without an apology. thank you for giving me a reason to never come back to your bux.