butterfly catcher

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


krazy kids

a barista from another bux sent me this gem:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


jingle bux

'tis the season to order disgusting drinks.

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

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

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

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

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

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


two for the price of none

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

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

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

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

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


whip it good

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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


change for the worse

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

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

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

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

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

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


drinking and driving

only two incidents from this weekend stuck out:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


return to sender

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

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

oh. what. fun.

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

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

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

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

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


red cups are back!

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

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

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

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

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

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


bux soap box

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

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

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

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


i feel your pain

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



the buX-files

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

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

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

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

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

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

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