first, i hope everyone had a great holiday.

now, on to the griping:
this wasn't a great christmas for my bux. in fact, we barely even noticed it was the holiday season. there were some good things that happened, like barista buddy coming back, and surprise gifts from customers, but all in all my store lacked cheer.
part of it was our district manager who came in often to point out every microscopic flaw my bux had. another part of it was the virus that attacked many of our baristas, causing a lot of shifts to be run short.
but the biggest thorn in our collective side is our newest newbie, crack junior.

now, i'm sure you all remember my rants about mr. 'cracks-under-pressure' newbie who forgot his partner numbers, couldn't remember recipes, and had a non-existent attention span.
well...crack junior is all that and more.
in fact, the first time i saw crack junior i said to superlead "doesn't he remind you of mr. 'cracks-under-pressure'"?
unfortunately the resemblance isn't just physical.

crack junior has been at my bux for weeks and still doesn't know how to make a single drink. he isn't friendly to customers, mis-marks cups, and does not listen at all to anyone. everyday i come to work there are new crack junior stories from my fellow baristas.
"yesterday he knocked over the trash, and instead of cleaning it up he just looked at it like it was a newborn baby."
"i sent him back to do dishes and very plainly told him to ask me where everything went so he wouldn't have to pile it all up on the shelf. i go back to check up on him and sure enough everything is piled up. when i reminded him he was supposed to ask me where to put things, he just looked at me."
"i taught him how to prep the whipped cream containers and made sure he knew to use WHIPPING CREAM and not HALF&HALF. of course, every single one he prepped was made with half&half."
"the lead sent him on a trash run and told crack junior to empty all the trash cans in the lobby. he even pointed out where each and every trash can was. so after crack junior comes back and says he's done, the lead asks him 'you got all the lobby trash?' and crack junior says 'uh, that's the one next to the milk and sugar?' and the lead says 'yeeeeaaaaaahhh, but you were supposed to get ALL the lobby trash - like the ones near the doors and in the bathroom.' crack junior shrugged his shoulders and says 'uh, no. i didn't know i was supposed to get those too'."

everyone has a crack junior story and everyone is at their limit with him.
and even though he is just as useless as his predecessor, there is something different about him that really rubs everyone the wrong way.
a fellow barista brat thinks it's just we have no more patience for such stupidity. that we were ecstatic the other newbie quit, and we now have no tolerance for people who can't catch on.
i think it's a bit more than that.
crack junior doesn't act clueless when he works. he acts like he couldn't care less. in fact, he acts like he's above wearing the green apron.
apparently crack junior is a recent graduate of famous university where he had a very high gpa. and apparently working at bux was the last thing he wanted to do with his life after receiving his diploma.
i'm fine with that.
if you think wearing a green apron lowers your status, then DON'T WEAR THE FRIGGEN' GREEN APRON! go find a job that fits your self-worth and be good at it, instead of 'settling' for bux and making your co-workers lives harder because they have to pick up your slack.

this weekend i have two shifts with crack junior.
wish me luck.

customer rant: don't lie to customers about drink recipes. just don't. when i order a chai latte, i expect a chai latte. not a chai latte with an added shot of espresso. when i inform you that there's espresso in my chai, don't lie to me and say, 'oh! i accidentally used the old recipe. the one where we used to put coffee in the chais. they recently changed it, but i'll make you a new one!" believe me, i'll respect you more if you just cop to the fact that you made a mistake, instead of making up a story about drink recipes changing.


thanksgiving came late

in the past couple weeks there's been a few events at my bux that have made the brat very, very happy:

1. doobie newbie is finally getting the hang of being a barista.

as you well know, it's been a looooooong journey getting doobie newbie on track. constant on the job training didn't work. warnings that his status as a barista was in danger didn't work either. amazingly, the only thing to light a fire under his apron was working with mr. 'cracks under pressure' newbie.
that's right. apparently all doobie newbie needed to get in line was to work with someone who performed just as poorly as he did.
"what is wrong with this guy?" doobie newbie complained to me. "he can't remember anything! he doesn't even know how to make a latte!"
"uh, yeah." i tried to reply evenly. "see how your job becomes twice as hard when you work with someone who can't perform basic barista duties?"
"oh my god." he shook his head, sensing not an ounce of irony. "he so useless! why does he even work here?"
with every shift he shared with mr. 'cracks under pressure', doobie newbie improved exponentially. he's now a completely different barista than he was three weeks ago, and although there's always room for improvement, he's no longer the one guy everyone hates to work with.

2. mr. 'cracks under pressure' finally got a clue.

i'm not sure if it was due to the constant coaching from all his fellow baristas, the constant complaints from customers, or the constant bouts of "forgetfulness" but mr. 'cracks under pressure' finally realized bux was not the place for him. let me tell you, not one barista was sad to hear that he'd put in his two week notice. and i wasn't even upset when he did a no-call/no-show on my shift. as i told my manager - it was easier to work my shift one barista short than to have to spend the night babysitting the newbie. i wish him all the best and hope he finds a job more suitable for him.

3. barista buddy is back!

i had the pleasure and privilege to work with barista buddy when i started at my current bux. he is one of the greatest guys i've ever met, and our store was heartbroken when he was transferred out of our district. well now he's back, and my fellow baristas and i couldn't be happier. customers are also happy to see him back which hopefully means are tips will be better as well.

so now, as we are heavily into the red cup season, i have several reasons to be enthusiastic about my bux. we are finally pulling out of that dreadful downward spiral, and things are definitely looking up. yes, we still have those horrid ovens, and yes some of our customers are certifiable, but at least we exchanged one bad egg for a good one, and a formerly failing barista is now doing his green apron justice.

partner rant: why is there james taylor on our holiday cd?!? last year our cd was filled with christmas, hanukkah and seasonal music. now, just as we get into the holiday mood, non-holiday music pipes through our speakers and makes it feel like it's just an ordinary week at bux. even customers have asked "where's the christmas music?"