no lovin' for the oven

i have no idea who came up with the idea. i have no clue as to why a committee approved it. and i'm not quite sure how the guys in seattle could fool themselves into thinking it would be a huge money maker that would push our stocks back up to 35 bux a share.
but whatever the case or cause was, we baristas are now cursed with ovens in our stores.

i'm sure you can well guess our initial protests to the convection ovens: it's yet another machine to clean, another way to make the line move slower, and another item for customers to bitch about. and although i'm sure all these concerns were brought up to corporate, in their infinite wisdom they decided that all company owned stores NEEDED to have ovens on the premises.

now, the ovens were brought forth so that we could serve breakfast sandwiches. and i'm sure someone, somewhere bought a cup of starbucks coffee and wished they didn't have to then travel to mcdonald's for their egg mcmuffin. so for them, the introduction of the ovens was marketing genius. however, there's an equal (if not larger) number of people who were glad that they didn't have to smell the scent of pre-cooked eggs and soggy bacon while they waited for their lattes.
and yes - not only are they annoying to clean (seriously, the aroma of the cleaning spray induces gagging) and increase the wait time for customers, they are also very hazardous to baristas!

everyone in my store has fallen victim to these awful ovens. i have received blisters just from removing pastries from the oven (with the specified long handled tongs, mind you), superlead received a third degree burn from a breakfast sandwich that fought back (yes - the cheese splattered on her as she opened the oven), and other baristas also begrudgingly wear the battle wounds from these 'new money-makers'.

but it's not just the blisters, burns, and added cleaning that frustrate us baristas. it's the customers that want their muffins, danishes and sandwiches warmed to specific temperatures, or want their lattes 'zapped' so that it's a little hotter, or even want the bottom of their coffee cake room temperature, while the top is 'browned' a bit more. and of course we try to educate each customer that we cannot cater to their whims, but still arguments ensue.

my favorite so far:
customer: hi! i'm in here everyday! can you warm my slice of pizza for me?
barista brat: (searching brain for recollection of customer, but there's none) i'm sorry, we can't warm up items from other places. just starbucks food.
customer: but i'm in here everyday! it's just a slice of pizza! can't you zap if for half a minute?
barista brat: no, i'm sorry. it's a health code violation. we are not allowed to put anything in the ovens that isn't from starbucks.
customer: well, just leave the pizza in the box! seriously - i'm here everyday! can't you just do it for me?
barista brat: uh, no. it's a violation, plus the box would catch on fire.
customer: (now wearing a bitch-face) it will NOT catch fire! i KNOW how a MICROWAVE works!
barista brat: it's NOT a MICROWAVE. it's an oven and the answer is still 'no'.
customer: i can't believe you won't do this one little thing for me. i'm here everyday!

partner rant: i know that although our aprons are green, we are far from being a 'green' company. and really, i'm ok with that. what i'm not ok with is the amount of food waste in our stores. why do stores get in trouble for not marking out enough pastries? i understand you want our customers to have an abundance of choice, but when i have to toss out dozens of pastries and sandwiches a night, it's clear there's a waste problem. if you want us to get rid of the excess pastries, then at least make it easier for us to donate these food items to charities or shelters.