bux love

bux partners can't keep secrets. they just can't. it's in our genetic make-up to pass along any juicy bit of info that might find its way into our ears. "everybody talks" is the pat answer whenever someone asks "where did you hear that?" and it's true. everyone does talk.

that's why it's so funny when partners who start dating think they can keep it a secret from everyone else in the store. as if the rest of us are oblivious to the "discreet" caresses and furtive whispers in between taking orders and making drinks. they expect us to believe it's just "coincidence" when they walk into the store together and when they give each other rides home. and they think denying what is fact will somehow make us ignore all the obvious signs before us.

bux has a policy about dating. basically, you're not supposed to do it. really, management doesn't usually care if baristas date each other so long as they don't bring their love drama to work, but no one is allowed to date outside their rank within the store. so if a lead gets it on with a barista then a transfer is in order for one of them. that's why partners try so hard to keep their amour private even though that's about as easy as pulling a great shot from a verismo.

all around the district you'll hear stories about managers sticking their biscotti where it doesn't belong, leads leading baristas astray, and the odd ménage à trois (i'm serious. i remember one that involved a barista, her manager and his pregnant wife). it doesn't matter if the drama happened in a different district - in a matter of days the gossip will travel by way of the green apron express and everyone within a twenty mile radius will know your business because "everybody talks".

barista rant: you are not a bux customer, yet everyday you come in to get a glass of water to go with the bagel you bought at the sandwich shop next door. if you don't want to pay for a drink, that's fine. but why don't you ask the the sandwich shop for a glass of water when you shell out your money for the bagel? if they don't have water (which i know for a fact they do) then at least save the damn cup we give you!


soy what?

we have some stubborn customers at my new bux - especially when it comes to soy milk.
i don't know if it's the area my new bux is located in but we go through multiple cases of soy a day.

i'm not complaining, and i certainly don't mind steaming soy for lattes, mistos or caramel macchiatos (but i do hate soy cappuccinos! the soy we use doesn't steam as well as some other soy milks do) nor do i mind putting soy in iced mochas or adding it to iced cafe con leches. what i do dislike, however, are the customers that will waste ten minutes of my time trying to convince me to go against policy and blend them a soy frappuccino.

i've posted before of the whispers that we will be making a soy frappuccino in the near future, but if i don't have a recipe card for it - i'm not making it! these customers who want the soy frappuccino will often settle for an iced white mocha WITH whipped cream. so apparently their aversion to dairy frappuccinos isn't because they're lactose intolerant.
after growing tired of iced soy drinks, they will again try and coerce us into blending soy for them.

"please! i'll tip you a dollar!"
"come on, just this once - for me?"
"i know you're supposed to say yes to anything i ask! i heard an interview with howard schultz and he said so!"

these are just a sample of the different ways customers beg for soy frappuccinos in my new bux. but you want to know the best part? after ten minutes of whining and pleading they end up saying, "fine! just give me the damned caramel frappuccino with extra whipped cream."

customer rant: i have a suggestion. if you are a new barista and you don't know the drink recipes - don't go on bar. if you are put there, then don't fight with the customers about how the drinks are made. i ordered an 'old school' iced americano and you put water in it. when i informed you that 'old school' meant no water - just ice and espresso - you rolled your eyes and said, "ma'am, ALL americanos come with water." 1) i'm not old enough to be a ma'am, all right? 2) don't try and school customers that know more than you (especially if they are partners). 3) learn the damn drink recipes!


there's no crying in starbucks

a couple weeks back i mentioned the 'management shuffle' that was occurring at my new bux. the manager that transferred me over to this store was sent to a different store and an assistant manager from yet another bux was sent here to be "acting manager".

can i just say the gal can't act?

when she first came to my store i could tell she was a type-a personality. it didn't really bother me because our schedules almost never overlapped, but believe me i heard more than enough stories from my fellow partners to know my first instincts were correct. over the course of a few weeks "acting manager" has become increasingly annoying with her nitpicking and sucking up to the district manager.

one day "acting manager" overheard two of the partners talking about clubbing in the backroom. one of them called the other a "horny whore" as a joke and "acting manager" freaked out. not only did she chew the two partners out for their "off-color and potentially insulting humor" she took it upon herself to have private meetings with each one of us employees to reiterate how important it is that none of us have a sense of humor.
ok, she didn't use those words but that was indeed the message.
she also said our bux has a reputation for having bad morale, unhappy customers and partners that smack talk 24/7. i personally haven't really seen any bad attitudes except for bitter old dude, but of course i'm not an "acting manager" and therefore i'm probably not as savvy as her (please note extreme sarcasm). so this whole week has been spent watching our every moves (and words) around "acting manager" and the assistant manager (who just happens to be close friends with "acting manager").

now if i got on twelve different partners' cases about being negative and talking crap i certainly wouldn't be caught doing those very same things if had any brains, now would i?

apparently "acting manager" has a short memory. either that or she thinks she doesn't need to follow the rules she's been trying so hard to enforce. why else would she be making raunchy jokes and complaining about my fellow baristas right in front of me?

but the icing on the cake this morning was seeing her lose it in the backroom. i'm talking a full blown cry fest - complete with the "but this job is so haaaaard!" and the "why is this happening to meeeeeeee?".
apparently "acting manager" is in over her head and can't complete the tasks assigned to her. apparently "acting manager" likes to pretend she's tough but doesn't have the beans to back it up. apparently there will be yet another management shuffle in the near future.

partner rant: did you not just see me clean the drains? were you blind to the fact that i was on my hands and knees scrubbing for the better part of an hour? so why the hell did you just dump coffee grinds down the sink when i specifically asked you to dump them in the trash so they wouldn't dirty the drains? are you inconsiderate, dumb or a combination of the two?


i don't KARE-uh-mel

this is by far the dumbest exchange i've ever had with a customer:

barista brat: "hi, what drink can i get for you today?"
idiot customer: "gimme one of those caramel (KARE-uh-mel) blended thingies."
bb: "sure, what size would you like that caramel (khar-mul) frappuccino?"
ic: "what?"
bb: "what size would you like?"
ic: "yeah, i heard you."
bb: "um, ok. did you want me to pick a size for you?"
ic: "you know, i don't appreciate you making fun of me."
bb: "i wasn't making fun of you."
ic: "well, you were making fun of the way i said 'caramel'."
bb: "no i didn't."
ic: "then why did you feel the need to correct my pronunciation?"
bb: "i never corrected your pronunciation."
ic: "yes you did! you said it like this - CARmel."
bb: "ma'am, that's how i say that word."
ic: "so! i say it like this - KARE-uh-mel."
bb: "ok...."
ic: "i just came here to get a drink. i didn't think i'd be judged for how i say things."
bb: "believe me ma'am, i not judging you for that reason."

after her drink was made my fellow barista buddy put it on the hand-off counter for her.
barista buddy: "grande caramel frappuccino on the bar!"
idiot customer: "is that the same thing as a KARE-uh-mel frappuccino?"

barista rant: when it's closing time you have to leave the store, ok? don't sit there expecting to hang out all night. and when i walk over to where you're sitting and nicely inform you that it's ten minutes past closing, don't try and shoo me away because you're on the phone. guess what? your cell phone is portable - meaning you can still talk on it as you exit my store. don't huff and point to the phone attached to your head as if i'm supposed to slowly back away and leave you alone. if you don't want me to bug you during your phone calls then why don't you make them somewhere else.


a tale of two mommies

mothers come in all the time with their kids. at my previous bux my biggest rant about mommies was that they let their kids run wild in our store while they sat and drank their coffee. i didn't think a mommy rant could get worse but i have been proven wrong.

the first mommy actually deserves a rave.
as she walked into the store with her two young children i heard her say "now remember, we are only here to get coffee beans. no drinks and no treats, ok?"
she picked out the pound of beans she wanted and handed them to me. meanwhile her kids started to get squirmy and began to whine for some madeleines.
"i already told you, we are just here for beans." she reminded them.
the kids started to whine louder.
"no sweethearts," she continued in her same gentle tone. "mommy already said no treats."
the kids started to cry and pout. "but we want them!" they whined in unison.
"i know you want them but mommy already told you that we weren't going to get them." she remained firm yet even-toned.
"wow," i commented as i handed her back her change. "you're a good mother. most parents would just give in as soon as their kids started making a scene."
"thank you," she smiled. "when they cry it tears at my heart but how else will they learn? if you give in you're just teaching them the wrong lesson."

i swear, i think i'll buy her a coffee the next time she comes in the store.

the second mommy earned this rant.
she and her daughter headed straight to the bathroom when they entered the store. finding it locked, the mom walked to the register and ordered her coffee.
"mommy!" her six year-old called out. "i need a bathroom."
"we have to wait for the person to get out before we can use it." the mom responded.
it was at this time i noticed the girl had very noticeable (and recent) stains on the seat of her pants. it was obvious she'd had an accident and needed to change her clothes - at the very least clean the mess inside her undies.
"mommy, it feels yucky."
"well that's your fault." the mom chided her in front of everyone in the store. "i told you to go poopie before we left the house. next time listen to me and then you won't have to walk around with messy underpants."
"uh, there's a bathroom at the restaurant next door and at the donut shop two doors down." i informed her as i uncomfortably watched her daughter squirming.
"no, she just has to learn to listen to me when i tell her to go to the john before we leave the house." she retorted. "the worse it feels the easier it will be for her to remember next time."
at this point her daughter started to cry softly to herself, clearly embarrassed.
"will this teach you to listen to me next time?" the mother asked as she picked up her drink. "or do you need to poop in your pants a second time?"

i swear, it's tempting to poison her coffee the next time she comes into the store.

partner rant: i know you're not my permanent manager, but will it kill you to listen to your partners when it comes to the schedule? not only do you keep scheduling people against their availability, you're forgetting to make sure there's manager coverage each day. now the rest of us have to scramble to fix your mistakes. please, listen to us when we tell you the schedule needs to be fixed instead of waiting until the last minute.


i want a golden goose and i want it now!

last night a woman and her teenage daughter came into bux. they weren't looking for coffee, they were looking for a job.
the mother was one of those "pressure sale" avon lady types. you know, the kind that won't take "i'm really not interested so get that damn booklet out of my face" as a "no".

so last night when she and her daughter asked for an application, i happily handed one over and explained that in a week there will be a hiring fair at a nearby bux.

"well, why can't she go to a hiring fair at this store?" mom asked.
"there actually isn't one scheduled for this store," i explained while thinking "is going an extra mile really going to put you out?"
"can she just fill this out and have an interview tonight?" mom asked while her daughter looked like she wanted to crawl under a rock and die.
"i can take the application but i have no idea when a manager will get around to calling you. that's why it's a much better idea to go to the hiring fair. it's an on the spot interview."
"why don't you just put a note on her application for the manager to call and set up an interview?" mom was getting testy with me.
"i could stick a twenty dollar bill on it, it still doesn't mean a manager is going to call to set up an interview." i was getting very bratty.
"well, this is a ridiculous way to conduct business." she looked down her nose at me. "if the employees don't even know how an applicant can set up an interview, how is anyone supposed to get a job here?"
"i'm sorry," i smiled sweetly. "did i neglect to tell you about the hiring fair?"
"we're not interested in that!" she huffed. "all we want is for a date and time to see a manager - that's all!"

so you know what i did? i gave her the date and time of the hiring fair AGAIN.

partner rant: please don't come into the backroom while i'm on my break and tell me about your intestinal problems. especially while i am eating lunch. don't describe how much it hurts to go to the bathroom and how you'll never eat goat cheese again. and don't tell me that the reason you're telling me all this is because you didn't want me to get "bored" during my break.


one plus one equals four

if you know anything about this barista brat, you know she's not a complete subscriber to the "just say yes" school of thought.

yesterday a woman in chanel sunglasses came in carrying two drinks which were clearly more than 24 hours old. one cup held the melted remnants of a tangerine frappuccino juice blend and the other was marked as a venti mocha.

"these were both made very wrong," the lady said in her heavy accent. "can you please to remake them?"
sensing a scam i asked what was wrong with the drinks.
"my friend said 'white mocha' but they gave her mocha and this other one doesn't taste so good."
"ok, i can remake them for you," i offered and started to mark two new cups.
"no!" she stopped me. "please, because of mistake i would like this to be small white mocha and small latte." she pointed to one of the cups. "and this to be small of tangerine drink and small caramel frappuccino."
"you just said you didn't like the taste of the tangerine frappuccino." i responded, realizing she had probably gotten away with this a million times before.
"well, maybe this time it will be tasting good." she shrugged her shoulders. "please, just giving me new drinks for these."
"i'm not going to give you four new drinks." i informed her. "I'll remake them for you, but that's it."
she tried to bargain with me, telling me that two small drinks for one large one was fair, but i remained inflexible.
"i have no problem remaking them for you, but i'm not going to give you four drinks, one of which you said you didn't like in the first place."
"fine!" she threw her hands up in the air. "just giving me new ones."

before handing her the newly made drinks i wrote in big bold letters "NO REMAKE, NO REFUND" on the cups. bet she won't be trying this again anytime soon at my bux.

barista rant: yes, i know the bathroom door was propped open after we mopped. yes, i know you asked me if it was ok to use the bathroom. but what i meant was you could CLOSE THE DOOR and use the bathroom! what gave you the idea that our other customers wanted to hear you pee while they waited for their drinks? were you really in such a hurry to go that you couldn't take the 2.7 seconds to shut the door behind you? please, some things are meant to remain private affairs.


how NOT to ask out your barista

1. "the stalker"

do NOT sit at the table directly across from the hand off counter and stare at your barista each time she calls out a drink.
do NOT pretend you were 'just spacing out' when she makes eye contact.
do NOT make it evident you're just trying to muster the nerve to talk to her.
once nerve is located, do NOT ask a stupid question such as "hey, what exactly is a frappuccino anyway?"
do NOT inform your barista that drinking coffee makes you pee a lot.
do NOT mutter a "good-bye" and leave, only to come back thirty seconds later to ask your barista if she is working the next day.
do NOT walk out the door only to return a second time to make sure your barista heard you when you said "good-bye".
do NOT call bux half an hour after leaving to ask the barista out over the telephone.

2. "the flashy dealer"

do NOT ignore your barista when she asks "what can i get for you today" and continue talking into your telephone.
do NOT make your barista wait while you finish telling the person on the other end of your phone that you just got kicked out of your baby mamma's house.
do NOT toss money at your barista while still talking on the phone.
do NOT continue to talk into the phone loud, informing the whole store that you have a grand worth of weed in your belongings.
do NOT give your "business" card to your barista, letting her know that the strip club you're managing has a pole with her name on it.
do NOT offer your barista ten bucks to give you a ride to your buddy's house so you don't have to call a cab.
do NOT ask your barista if she wants to "have some fun" later on.
do NOT tell your barista that you don't care if she has a boyfriend, you just "wanna flow and shit".

3. "the creepy ghost"

do NOT write a poem about your barista on a bux napkin with your phone number on it and leave it on the table for her to find.
just don't.

barista rant: do you really think i have the power to make bux lower their prices? do you think i was the one who decided all bux's nationwide should hike up the price of your pastry an additional five pennies? if you realize i'm not the one who makes those kind of calls - then don't gripe to me about it! there's nothing i can do to change it, so just accept the higher price and move on. or better yet - save yourself the calories and skip the snack, ok?


partner for life

this week i didn't work with the talker. i worked with 'bitter old dude' instead.

he's not really that old, but he is the oldest among us. he's not a manager, he's not a lead - he's your run of the mill barista. hence the bitterness.

'bod' spends his time complaining about bux, about taking orders from people almost half his age, and of course he hates customers. the only people he seems to like are effeminate man-boys. only for them does he deign to crack a smile.

he's been at this bux since it opened it's doors and will probably stay here until he reaches retirement age. because of this he believes he should get special treatment from everybody. that means newbies must bow down to him, managers should never write him up and starbucks should pay him more for his plentiful years of "service".

but the most annoying thing about 'bod' is how his he smack talks like a thirteen year-old girl.
the first day i worked with him he gave me the run down of all the people he had "issues" with in our bux. let's just say i spent my whole shift listening to this guy bitch. and let me tell you - no transgression is too minute for him.

"yeah, our first manager was ok but one day i told her i had trouble getting to sleep the night before and she put me on register anyway. i know she did it just to annoy me. i totally looked at her different after that."
"you know that customer that was just here? one day she shorted me a nickel and promised to bring it the next day. she NEVER did. you just can't trust people."
"have you met jenny who works in the morning? i totally thought she was pregnant, but turns out she's just getting really fat. serves her right for drinking frappuccinos all day long."

when 'bod' was leaving for the day he said, "i'm really glad you came to this store. you seem really laid back. i like that."
which i'm sure will be translated to "that new girl has the personality of a dinner roll" when he bitches to the next partner he works with.

barista rant: please don't use "fancy" barista terms if you don't know what they mean. you thought it "a double tall wet cappuccino" sounded really cool when you heard it on tv, so you decided that would be your new signature drink. when i made your double tall wet cappuccino you picked up the cup and told me there wasn't enough foam. "a cappuccino is supposed to be half foam and half steamed milk!" you whined. "yes, but you ordered it 'wet', which meant you wanted more milk and less foam." you really didn't have much to say except, "well, just put more foam in it!" and after your first sip you complained that it was too strong. "um, that's because you asked for a 'double'" i informed you. "well i didn't think it would be this strong." you muttered as i remade your drink. please, lay of the barista talk, ok?


not tuesday - "sue"sday!

this morning a guy came in an ordered a grande tea with some added steamed soy. a little time consuming, but pretty easy to prepare nonetheless. he wasn't too friendly, but he wasn't an outright dick, either. at least not until ten minutes after leaving the store.

"dude!" one of our regulars exclaimed as he walked in the store. "there was, like, a total car accident outside."
we weren't surprised that we couldn't hear it because all partners suffer from 'blender deafness'.
"what happened?" we asked.
"some random dude was pulling out of his parking space and backed into a car that was driving by."

my fellow barista buddy went outside to see if anyone was hurt. when he came back into the store ten minutes later he was followed by 'grande tea with steamed soy' who was soaking wet. barista buddy handed him some clean towels to dry off.

"are you ok?" i asked, genuinely concerned.
"i'm pissed!" he growls. "look at this!" he spread his arms out so i could get an even better look at his wet clothes. "this car came out of nowhere when i was backing out of my space and my tea spilled everywhere!"
"do you need ice?" i didn't think he was burned, but i offered anyway.
"no, but are you guys going to pay to get my car cleaned and to replace my d&g shirt?"
i kid you not, the guy said 'd&g shirt'.
"i'd be happy to give you some towels to soak up the tea," i told him. "but we don't pay for car detailing or designer shirts."

can you tell i was losing my cool?

"well, this is all starbucks' fault! why shouldn't you guys pay?"
"how is this our fault? i saw the two cars, you clearly backed into the other guy." barista buddy piped up.
"yeah, but the accident happened because you didn't put the lid on my tea properly!" the customer lied.
"um, you said that you spilled the tea because of the accident. and also," i reminded him, "you put the lid on your tea after you added honey and tossed the tea bags."

don't mess with THIS barista brat!

"i should sue you guys, i really should!" he mistakenly thought the threat of a lawsuit would make us shake in our little non-slip work shoes. "that way you'd have to pay for the damage to both cars!"
"ok, i'll get the incident report form and we can fill it out together." i wasn't playing this game anymore.
"no, i'm not gonna stand around here and fill out some report!" he bellowed. "you'll be hearing from my lawyer!" he said before walking out the store with our towels.

to quote catherine tate: "am i bovvered?"

partner rant: how lazy can you get?!? you knew your shift included mopping the floors. did you really think using dirty mop water from the morning was going to be acceptable? did you not notice that rank and foul odor following you about as you lethargically dragged the mop on the floor? don't get pissed at me because i told you to redo it with fresh water. if your job was done properly the first time you wouldn't have to do it again, now would you?


you're not hired

a company like bux that grows at an insanely fast pace (it's been said a new bux opens somewhere in the world everyday) needs to hire a lot of partners. in food service there will always be turnover, and bux is no exception.

so what is a huge corporation supposed to do when they need workers?
well, they invent a stupid name to elicit interest in working for bux.

that's right. at bux we don't have 'open interviews'. we have 'hiring fairs'!
i wonder what marketing genius came up with that term. was s/he sitting down to a steaming cup of coffee and thought, "gee, we need loads and loads of employees. how can we ensure the maximum amount of applicants will show up? i know - we'll call it a 'hiring fair'. that way they'll be excited about getting a job AND they'll think working for starbucks is like being at a fair! oh, what fun!"

well, it is like a fair - just not with the rides and the snow cones. it's more like the judging of a prized sow. you know, you parade past the managers and they write down their individual assesments before huddling together and picking the winners. and then those that ribbon are taken away and slaughtered for barbecue.
ok, it's not quite that bad.

but it is true that one will have a much higher chance of becoming a bux partner if they attended a hiring fair instead of just randomly turning in their application to the bux of their choice. the cool thing is you have the chance to talk with more than just one manager and if you've said all the right things and your availability is good, then most likely you will get the coveted phone call informing you that you've been hired.
the bad thing is you don't necessarily have a choice as to what store you go to. say you want work at the bux near the local library (the same bux that advertised the hiring fair). you interview well, you dazzle the managers and you even get a phone call the next day. unfortunately for you - it's to work at the bux three blocks away. you know, the one that stays open late and is next to all the restaurants and movie theatres.

can you say "i'd really rather work at that other bux" when they call you?
of course you can. but they're more likely to appoint you CEO than let you change bux after the busy store has already claimed you.
sad, but true.

does the hiring fair work? well, if by "work" you mean getting bodies into green aprons, then yes. but if you've read any of my past rants about "newbies" then you can pretty much guess what my thoughts are about this process (or the results thereof).

barista rant: so you were polite and hung up the phone when you placed your order. that was decent of you. but as soon as you'd paid, you got right back on the phone and started chatting away. who am i to complain? well, i'm the person that had to remake two drinks! because you were so consumed in your conversation about your gyno visit, you grabbed the wrong drink - twice! it didn't matter that they were hot drinks and you'd ordered an iced one. no - you just sipped it a couple times and then realized 'hey, this isn't what i ordered!'. it might have been excusable if it happened once, but no...you did it yet another time. here's a suggestion. why don't you wait to talk on the phone until you're done with the bux experience. or better yet, why don't you just stick with landlines. i'm sure you're driving sucks as well.


sunday, freaky sunday

sundays seem to bring the most random collection of customers to bux.

in the 'too much information' department, we had two customers who shared much more than they needed to.
first there was the lady who was (seemingly) overly concerned about the moisture level of our crumble coffee cakes.

"are they really dry or are they pretty soft?" she asked us.
"well, the top is crumbly - so that might be a little dry, but the bottom part is moist like a cake." we told her.
"is the top really, really dry?"
we kind of shrugged our shoulders. seriously, i'm not sure if the crumbly bits are 'really dry' or 'really, really dry'. i wasn't taught that at barista school.
"you can always get a refund or exchange it for something else if you don't like it." i suggested.
"well, ok. i just hope it's not super dry." she said before paying and finding an empty table.

about five minutes later she walks back up to the register with something wrapped in a napkin.
"you see?" she said through a barely open mouth. "it's too dry!"
then she opened the napkin to reveal her false teeth - as if it were somehow proof that the crumbly bits actually were 'really, really dry'.

the second customer was a guy who spent ten minutes at the register telling us how he hasn't had a date in six months. that information in itself wasn't over the top. the disclosure that he was having frequent herpes outbreaks was indeed much, too much info.

in the 'i'm soooo friggen' high maintenance' category we have three freaks with too much time on their hands.

the first was the lady who wanted a doppio macchiato (that's just foam with two shots poured over the top). this lady, however, didn't just want the foam. no - she wanted the creamy layer that hid just BENEATH the foam.

"you know, that stuff that's not quite foam and not quite steamed milk!" she said with a smile, as if that would make me think she was any less of a high maintenance barbie doll.

second was the guy that wanted his shaken iced tea to have fresh ice when it was poured into the cup. that meant we had to shake it with the ice, then strain the liquid into a glass, and add fresh ice that was not previously used in the making of his drink.

and third was the kid - that's right, an eight year-old KID, that wanted a chocolate milk.

"but only two pumps of chocolate. give me an extra pump of vanilla and use milk from a container that hasn't been opened yet - i like fresh milk - and then just put about five ice cubes in it, but make sure all the syrup is completely mixed in, and then i want whipped cream with caramel on top. but just one swirl of caramel, not a whole bunch, ok?"

can you imagine what this kid is going to be like in ten years?

barista rant: we have gone over this so many friggen' times! when you ask for a venti drip, and i then ask you if you'd like room, just say yes! if you just say yes, then you won't feel the need to pour hot, steaming coffee in the trash can to make room for the milk you're about to put in your drink. if you continue to say "no, no room" then i won't leave any! so please, just say yes! that way when i empty the trash it won't weigh ten extra pounds from the coffee that you and all the other idiot customers dump in it to make room!


annoying regular and regular annoyance

so, miss "look at me!" came in again tonight.
of course she scanned the store upon entering and when spotting me behind the bar, marched right over to me and started to gab.

"brat! how are you?" she asked before launching into a tirade about the gym.
"I went there bright and early to get the machine i wanted and you know what? there was someone on it! i know there's about ten other machines just like it, but i don't like them."
"oh, really?" i asked in between calling out the drinks i was making. i really don't know why she has latched herself on to me.
"honey, i've signed up with a trainer and i bought a zone diet book!"
"oh, really?" was my standard response as i continued to make drinks.
"yeah, but i don't think it's working that well. when i was younger i would have dropped five pounds by now - but look at me!" she lifted her shirt to reveal the same folds she showed me last time.

i'm frightened she's going to flash me every time she comes in.

but the most annoying customer of the night goes to miss "cappuccino".
she properly asked for a frappuccino with whipped cream. but then she wanted to add two more drinks.
"cappuccinos - two of them." she informed the register partner.
"cappuccinos? you mean the hot ones, yeah?" she verified.
"yes, two cappuccinos with whipped cream." the customer answered.
"alright, one frappuccino and two hot cappuccinos with whipped cream?" the register partner again verified because whipped cream on top of cappuccinos is almost unheard of.
"yes!" the customer was getting testy. "that's what i want!"

so, after making her frappuccino, i made two cappuccinos and topped them with whipped cream. yeah, it was an odd drink but i'd heard my register partner verify it twice so i just figured the lady had odd tastes.
"no! not these! i want them like this one!" she pointed to the frappuccino after i'd set her drinks on the bar.
"didn't you ask for hot cappuccinos?' i asked although i already knew the answer.
"i asked for cappuccinos but not hot ones." she tried to backtrack.
"well, cappuccinos are hot." i informed her - upset because i knew i was going to have to redo the drinks.
"oh, i was confused," she lied with a smile plastered on her face. "can i get them cold?"

i so wanted to say 'no', but of course i just sighed deeply and dumped the made to order cappuccinos and instead prepared the ice blended drinks for her.

barista rant: why can't you ask for everything you want at one time? why do you wait until i've made your iced coffee to ask me to put extra syrup in it. and when i've added the extra syrup, why do you then ask me to put it in a bigger cup and add extra ice. and when i've added the ice and given you a larger cup, you then ask me to add a touch of half and half to it. and when i've done that you then ask me to put a dome lid on top and fill it with whipped cream. is this how your ocd manifests itself? if so - please get help.


details? who needs details?

this story comes way of a fellow barista buddy at a different bux.

often bux will get phone orders from customers that want their drinks ready as soon as they walk in the door. other phone in orders are from movie sets, corporations, business meetings, cheerleaders, etc.
when a large phone order comes in, any barista worth their salt will verify the location with the customer because more than once an order has been placed at one bux, only to have the customer arrive at a bux three blocks away. also, an experienced barista will jot down the customer's phone number.
i actually know a partner that received a phone order for twenty bone dry soy cappuccinos. figuring it was someone's idea of a joke, the barista asked for a phone number. at first the customer on the telephone balked and tried to refuse giving out their number. when realizing the barista wouldn't start making the drinks unless he gave her his phone number, he relented. not two seconds after the barista hung up, she called the number the customer gave her only to be greeted with a "dominos, can you hold please?".

but i digress...

yesterday my fellow barista buddy was the leading the shift at his bux. the phone rang while they were in the middle of a rush and when he picked it up he found it was a customer wanting to order over thirty drinks for a commercial shoot. he handed the phone over to a newbie who's shift was just about over to write down the drinks so he could finish helping the customers that were actually in his store.

well, not only did newbie neglect to verify the location, she forgot to get a phone number. she just handed the list over to my buddy and punched out for the day.

the drinks were made and placed in boxes - waiting for the person who ordered them to come pay and pick them up. twenty minutes pass and no one came to claim the drinks. thirty minutes pass and no one came to claim the drinks. mind you, the frappuccinos were liquefied and the lattes were tepid by this point. my fellow barista buddy figured the phone order was meant for a different store and dumped all the drinks.

cue to this morning: bright and early a customer walks in and informs my fellow barista buddy that he's there to pick up the order.
"um, what order?" my buddy asked the customer.
"the large order for the commercial shoot. there was like over thirty drinks! i called yesterday and specifically told the girl they needed to be ready first thing this morning!"

that's right, folks.
newbie neglected to tell my buddy that the order was for the NEXT DAY!
let's just say she'll be cleaning the drains for the next week or so.

customer rant: dude! you close at midnight! i know it sucks to be at work so late but those are your hours of operation. so why the hell are you flicking the lights on and off at 11:30?!? a full half hour before you lock your doors and your trying to chase the customers out of the store! if you really hate closing that much - change your availability, but don't make your customers experience suck for the last half hour.


look at me!

short morning shift today (hooray!) but filled with very odd characters.

oddball #1 - a man ordered two completely different drinks: a frappuccino and a sugar-free hazelnut nonfat latte.
"i'm sorry but we're out of sugar-free hazelnut. would you like to try sugar-free vanilla instead?" i asked him.
"oh no!" he exclaimed, showing me just how upset he was over it. "my husband won't let me drink anything else!"
honestly, i thought the guy was kidding, but he wasn't.
"he's going to spank me when he finds out it's not sugar-free hazelnut," he informed me, and i giggled thinking he was making a joke.
"no," he leaned over the register and looked me straight in the eye. "he's REALLY going to spank me," he whispered in a haley joel osment 'sixth sense' kind of voice.
my mind is still reeling from that one.

oddball #2 - i was on bar making drinks and for some reason a woman waiting for her drink decided i was her new best friend.
"honey, i'm going to the gym right after this," she told me.
"uh, yeah?" i responded, not quite sure why she was giving me a rundown of her day.
"yeah, i've gotta lose about twenty pounds."
"oh, really?" i mean, what was i supposed to say? i couldn't be honest and reply, "looks more like thirty to me" could i?
"you should have seen me ten years ago!" she continues. "i could eat whatever i wanted and not gain a pound!"
"wow," was all i could muster.
"look at me!" she nearly shouted and lifted her shirt to expose a few rolls of fat. "look at me!" she shouted again, her shirt still up in the air.
"ugh, er...um" was my only response.
"and my legs! i used to have legs to die for, but look at me!" she turns around and hikes up her shorts to reveal her dimply flesh. "look at them!"
i expedited her drink just so she could leave, but no - she stood there sipping on her raspberry hazelnut mocha between flashing spells - what a kook.

oddball #3 & #4 - a woman came in with her daughter (who was only about seven or eight).
"um, what do i want?" she asked, as if i would know the answer. "honey," she addressed her daughter, "what is it that mommy always gets?"
"a car-a-mel mac-chi-a-tto!" she replied in her cute sing-song little kid voice.
"ok," the woman told me. "i want that."
"what size?" i asked and pointed to the different sized cups.
"honey," she addressed her daughter again, "what size does mommy get?"
"you get a gran-de." the little girl replied.
"that size." the woman told me.
"uh, anything else?" i asked the woman, realizing i should have just asked the daughter to save time.
"honey," the woman asked the little girl, "does mommy get anything else?"
"why you al-ways as-king me?" the daughter responded. "i don't like it when you drink coff-ee!"
"oh!" the woman replied to her daughter, then turned back to me. "i guess i'm going to cancel that order today. sorry!"
and off the two of them went.

customer rant: i know your store is busy and i know your partners are stressed out, but that doesn't mean you can yell at them and call them names. you don't even care that you called your register partner a "dumbass" in front of customers! what makes you think this is ok behaviour? what makes you think you can treat your partners any damn way you feel like? and what makes you think your customers won't be complaining about it? my advice? start looking for another job pronto.


blah, blah, blah

so, although quite bratty, i can also be a chatty barista.
but i'm not a 'i'm going to talk your ear off and you're going to want kill yourself to escape my voice' barista.

uh, yeah - worked with one of those today.
he is very nice and seems to be a decent worker, except for the fact that he never shuts his mouth. mind you - it's not that i hate conversing with people, i just hate being talked to non-stop for my entire shift. you can't get a word in edgewise, and if you walk away or start cleaning something, this guy will follow you around with his mouth running the whole time.

his favorite subject is himself.
every sentence must commence with an "i really hate...", "i'm allergic to...", "someday i want to...", "i believe that...", "i'm an avid...", "i'm really talented at...", "i can't stand people who..." only to end his tirade with a "but i'm a really humble person".

let me tell you, you can only nod your head and say "uh-huh" and "yeah" so many times.
it got to the point that i was outwardly ignoring him just to stay sane. he noticed and changed tactics by saying, "do you know what i like best about..." to try and manipulate me into asking "what?" therefore forcing me to listen to his endless list of likes and dislikes.
honestly, i probably wouldn't have minded so much if he kept busy while he gabbed. but he didn't. he just continually wiped the same square foot of counterspace with a rag while telling me the exciting tale of how he chose his shampoo.

i work with him twice more next week and i'm not looking forward to it. especially since we're in a slow store and i can't even count on customers as a distraction.

barista rant: did you not see our posted hours of operation? it very clearly states what time we close and yet half an hour after we've locked our doors you appear like a stray puppy. "please can we get a drink? just a small one!" you beg. when i give you the universal hand sign for "we're closed - go home!" you press your palms together and plead some more, "i just really need a coffee. pleeeeeeeeeease?". again, i let you know we have closed for the night. your response? you stomp your foot and threaten to never come to my bux again. honestly, do you think i care?


move the left...move to the right

another "soy blended drink" lady came in tonight. of course i was quick to inform her that "blended" and "soy" are diametrically opposed in my bux. she sighed and pouted, but she did NOT walk away with a blended soy drink.
score one for the brat!

so, i alluded to some drama on the horizon. guess this new district is doing a "management shuffle". of course, there are many reasons to do the shuffle. sometimes it's because a certain manager isn't cutting it. other times it's because they're da bomb diggity and they are moving to a store that really needs their skills. and other times i think it's because a district manager gets a bug up the bootie and wants to disturb any sense of familiarity a store might have.

which reason applies in my new district? really, i have no idea. i haven't been here long enough to know the dirt. heck, i haven't even met all the partners in my new bux yet. but whatever manager ends up in my bux - i'm ready. the other partners seem a bit jaded and just shrug their shoulders when talking about the shuffle. it's almost as if they don't even care - and maybe they don't. the current manager hardly seems bothersome, but neither is she endearing. none of the partners seem sad at all that she will be leaving and i've barely worked with her so i'm not sad either.

so, hopefully a nice laid back and chill manager will be picked to join our bux, although from what i've heard of our district manager, i guess i should prepare for the worst.

partner rant: you've been here HOW long? over a month? and still you're not sure how many shots go into a grande latte or how to mark a cup for an extra foamy caramel macchiatto. even five minutes after i gave you the recipe for a tall mocha you forgot it. how is that possible? it was one stinkin' drink! was it truly a struggle to keep '3 pumps mocha, one shot espresso, steamed milk, whipped cream' in your memory banks five minutes later? i guess so because when i asked you to repeat the recipe you gave me a dumb look and giggled, "i forgot! tee hee!". you better start remembering if you want to keep your job.


just say "yes" to saying "no"

so, i encountered my first high maintenance customer at the new bux.

you may remember my rants about bux customers that want us to make drinks that aren't on the menu. i'm not talking about adding a couple pumps of syrup here, or using organic milk there. i'm talking completely made up beverages that are pains to make, just to satisfy some person's bizarre need to feel special.
not only are the drinks annoying to make but the customers watch our every move, squawking if an extra granule of sugar makes its way into the cup or if the milk is at 166 degrees instead of 165.

an oft requested non-menu drink is a frappuccino made with soy milk. there are rumors that bux will actually start making a soy frappuccino, but as of now we don't do them. when customers would ask for a soy blended drink, i would let them know we didn't have any such drink but i could make them a soy drink on the rocks. that usually appeased them, but even if they bitched and moaned, i didn't comply.

so, today when a woman came in requesting a drink that was ice blended and made with soy,i was prepared to give her my usual "we can't do that" speech. unfortunately another partner piped up and asked, "well, what is it you want? i'm sure i could make something for you even though it's not on the menu".
i cringed inwardly knowing that she had set herself up for the nightmare of a lifetime.

sure enough, the lady wanted a soy blended drink, but made with tea instead of coffee or espresso. now, we have three different iced teas every day. one herbal, one green and one black. are you really shocked to learn that none of these teas would do for miss "blended soy"? no, she wanted a MIX of mint tea and chai tea (NOT the sweetened concentrate - just the plain stuff) which meant we had to special brew the combination just for her. that meant waiting four minutes for it to steep. then she wanted sugar free syrup added to the tea and then soy and then blended.

my fellow barista did all this for the lady, and guess what?
"um, this just doesn't taste that good at all. can i just have a caramel frappuccino instead?"

see? that's why i just say no when it comes to freaky specialty drinks.

barista rant: i'm sorry we ran out of plastic forks. i know it's an inconvenience, but really your reaction was pretty pathetic. "can you check?" you whined, and when i informed you that i was positive there were no plastic forks in our store, you got agitated. and when i told you that the sandwich shop next door was sure to have them - you squinted your eyes and sneered, "then why don't you go ask them for some, so the next time a customer wants a fork you will have them?" sure, i'll have plenty of forks on hand next time you come around. the better to stab you with, my pretty.