re-wrap recap

i'm trusting everyone's holidays have been fantastic.

besides the expected christmas cards in my mailbox, i also received a letter from starbucks about how although they used to match 401(k)s, it is now up to their discretion whether they will match, and if they match how much they will match.

"does this greatly affect the brat?" some of you may wonder.
well, not really.
in fact, i'm not sure how many people at bux it does affect. the only buxters i know who have enrolled in the 401(k) option are salaried managers, and not even all of them have done it.
but i thought you all might like to know that it's not only labor being cut by seattle - benefits are being cut (oh, excuse me: "modified") as well.

i can tell you, however, that this was the slowest holiday i've experienced at bux. though because of the shortage of hours alloted it seemed pretty hectic. i made sure to keep track of some of the best and worst of the season my store was fortunate enough to experience.

- the customer who bought every barista in our store a present (even though she only knows half of us).
- barista buddy who kept everyone smiling and laughing, even when we had a line to the door and one of our machines had broken down.
- our loyal and patient regulars who didn't complain at all when the last minute shoppers held up the line so they could purchase 20 gift cards.
- not-so-newbie barista who baked us all christmas goodies.
- my manager who gave me the holiday schedule i wanted
- the customer who felt so bad at holding up the line while she had us wrapping mugs that she bought drinks for the next three customers in line.

- the woman who brought in a gift card for 50 dollars, demanded cash, and when we couldn't comply made us turn that one 50 dollar gift card into ten 5 dollar gift cards, and THEN made us give her the cash for each gift card one transaction at a time.
- seattle for sending out a memo to all the stores saying we MUST ring up customers properly and follow the refill policy, yet STILL tells us to 'just say yes'.
- the nut who made us put her latte in a ceramic mug because 'i can't stand these goddam red cups year after year!"
- the family that decided on a whim during a morning rush to order a coffee traveller, then complained loudly about how long it was taking for it to be ready, even after we explained that we would have to brew a batch especially for their traveller. and when it was finally ready, they decided to order a second decaf traveller, but demanded it be free since they would have to wait another ten minutes (of course we did not comply).
- they guy that yelled at me for not caring about dying africans when i informed him that we are not equipped to take donations for the (red) campaign.

partner rant:
holiday used to be my favorite time to work at bux. i loved the decorations, the music, even the eggnog, but this year was such a downer. sure, you can blame the economy, but i put most the blame on you, seattle. this is NOT the same company it was when i was a newbie. this is NOT the company i hired on to. this is not even the same company from two years ago. i know you have stock holders to keep happy (hello - i'm one of them), and i know you need to be profitable as a corporation, but the decisions you've made over this past year have all stunk. i'm talking every single one of them. and none of them have turned this company around like you said they would. so please, start listening to your managers and baristas (you know, the people that actually work IN the stores) if you really want to see changes that will make this company what it used to be.



you can always get what you want

ok - this story is too good to leave off the blog.
i don't care that it didn't happen in my store, or even my district. trust me - this is great:

every few years each bux gets a major remodel. usually that means a fresh coat of paint, new artwork, new furniture, and updated pastry cases and shelves.
it just so happens that in this particular bux, there is a regular who really, REALLY loved the comfy chairs. he would come in every morning, ask for a venti iced water (that's right - he never bought drinks), claim a comfy chair and camp out on it for several hours. apparently he was a budding sitcom writer.
no, he didn't ACTUALLY write for sitcoms. nor did he ever make money for any of his scripts. nonetheless, bux had become his workplace and everyday he came in for his venti water and his comfy chair.

now, you might have rightly guessed that he was very upset when this bux was closed for remodeling.
"how am i going to get any writing done!?!" he demanded of the baristas. "you are seriously messing with my flow!"
so, he eagerly awaited the re-opening of this bux so that he could settle into his comfy chair with a free water. imagine his devastation when he found his comfy chairs had been replaced with some not-so-comfy seats. he apparently raised the biggest stink because he could not write his sitcoms while sitting in the less-comfy chairs because it strained his back. he called the manager, the district manager, the regional manager and the starbucks customer complaint line. he brought in his own special padding to use and demanded the baristas keep the padding in their backroom because he couldn't be bothered to lug it back and forth everyday (you know - because of his bad back).
still, he continued to complain to everybody and anybody about his missing comfy chair. he told corporate that he was going to sue.
he felt a lawsuit was necessary because (please stay with me here):
he couldn't write in the new chairs because they made his back hurt
which meant he couldn't make any money
which meant he couldn't afford to take his girlfriend out
which meant she didn't want to date him anymore
which meant he became depressed when she dumped him
which meant he had to pay for therapy
which meant he would also have to pay for anti-depressants
which meant he would no longer be an effective sitcom writer since he was going to be taking medication
which meant he couldn't realize his dream as a sitcom writer

want to know what bux did?
they CAVED!

that's right - they searched high and low, far and wide to find him his precious comfy chair. and NO ONE ELSE was allowed to use his chair, which meant the poor baristas had to bring out the chair for him when he arrived, and carry it back to their backroom when he left.

so, to recap, a non-paying regular who would spend hours camped out at bux (occupying a chair that should have been for paying customers) managed to get what he wanted from corporate by threatening to sue.

i have to laugh, or else i'll cry.

barista rant: no, i will not sell you one of our red aprons. it doesn't matter how funny your girlfriend will think your gag gift is, we will not sell it to you. don't wave your twenty dollar bill at us and expect us to chance losing our jobs so that you and your girlfriend can have a giggle on christmas morning. don't act like we're stupid for not being tempted by your money, and don't insult us by saying we don't know the value of a dollar. WE are not the ones spending twenty bucks on a laugh.


centers of the unibux

i've blogged often about customers with entitlement issues.
you know, the ones who think they are allowed to bypass the register partner and order their drink directly from the barista at bar.
the ones who expect you to stop pulling shots, pouring frappuccinos and steaming milk so you can get their venti cup of ice water.
the ones who want you to call every store in your district to find a mug that is on clearance, no matter the fact there is a line out the door.
the ones who think we baristas are slacking at our jobs because we didn't save the last blueberry muffin for them and we should have known to since they didn't come in and get it at 7am.
the ones who want you to remake their drink three times because "oh, i don't know, it just doesn't taste right".
the ones who expect free drinks every time they come in because one time in the distant past a barista was rude to them.

today we had some royal gems as far as entitlement goes:
- since howard now expects every store to run a negative 3% variance to ideal, we are noticeably short handed during the morning rush. in fact, many customers commented on how well we were doing and how they appreciated us obviously working our apron strings off. there was one customer, however, who felt that even though we were busting our butts just to stay afloat, SHE still wanted us to go above and beyond.
"i want a bagel with butter - TOASTED!" she barked as she threw down a hundred dollar bill.
"ma'am, i'm sorry but i don't have enough change in my drawer for that bill. do you have anything smaller?" register partner politely asked.
"no, i don't." said big baller, jutting her chin out. "that means you gotta give me my bagel for FREE."
"uh," register partner surveyed the line and decided it was worth it to give away the bagel. "i guess we can do that for you today."
"and i want it toasted!" big baller stuffed her benjamin in her bra (in her friggen' bra!), "and i want it buttered BEFORE you toast it - with TWO pats of butter on each slice!"
"ok", register partner sighed.
"AND after it's toasted i want you to let it cool down before you put it in the bag so it doesn't get soggy, understand?"
"i understand she's a bitch," register partner whispered to me as she prepped big baller's breakfast.

- a man set up camp in one of our leather chairs. he ordered a frappuccino, a bottle of water, a sandwich and two pastries. he then pulled out his laptop and began surfing the web.
about ten minutes after he'd settled into the chair, a customer came up to mr. split assistant manager and myself.
"excuse me, but i thought you'd like to know that the man over there in the corner is watching porn on his computer and the volume is up high enough so that i could hear it." he told us.
i didn't know whether to gag or laugh. i mean, who does that? who goes to bux to watch porn?
"i'll take care of it. thanks for letting me know." mr. split said before heading into the lobby to talk to mr. happy.
"i'm sorry sir, but we've had a complaint about the nature of what you're watching on your laptop." he awkwardly started. "we don't mind you staying here, but you have to watch things that are appropriate."
"who the hell are you to tell me what to watch?" mr. happy grunted.
"well, we just can't have you viewing explicit content on our grounds."
"i just bought twenty dollars worth of stuff - i can watch whatever the hell i want to!" mr. happy was now getting angry.
"this isn't coming from me -" mr. split assistant manager was getting intimidated. "it was brought to my attention and it's my job to come over here and talk to you. it's not coming from me."
"you gonna refund me my twenty bucks?" mr. no-longer-happy growled. "if you make me stop watching what i'm watching, then you have to give me my money back. i paid for this seat and to use your damn internet!"
"it's not coming from me." mr. split almost whimpered.
apparently this was enough to ruin the mood for mr. happy because he left - without his twenty dollars but with a free drink coupon.

- and there was the woman who expected us to kick out the person occupying the bathroom so that she could use the mirror to re-apply her make-up.
when we informed her that there was no way we would tell someone they had to leave the bathroom before their business was done just because she wanted us to, she then pulled the "well, you HAVE to. i come here every morning for my REFILL and you're supposed to just say yes to your customers!"
"well, i already told they guy in the bathroom 'YES', so you'll have to wait your turn." i responded.
she then took my manager's business card to report me.
gee, i'm so scared.

partner rant: i appreciate your initiative, i really do, but for the love of espresso PLEASE finish a task before you start a new one. yes, i know the trash needed to be changed, and yes the coffee needed to be rebrewed, and yes the pastry case was empty, but what good does it do if you pull out the trash without putting in new bags, empty the urns without starting the rebrew, and opening boxes of coffee cakes without putting them in the case? it does NO good. in fact, it makes the store messier. so please, please, PLEASE finish up a task before heading into the next.


less means more (work)

latest word from the bean tree is that howard has decided to be proactive about our profit losses. so he has figured out a way to help save money, and therefore save our company.
"is he finally getting rid of those sandwiches brat hates so much?" you might be asking.
"i bet he's realized that brewing coffee every half hour means a lot of wasted dollars down the drain." some of you might have deduced.
unfortunately for all of us, the corner mr. schultz has decided to cut is labor.

that's right.
you see - apparently he's learned (over his decades in the business) that when your customers are already unhappy with your products and your service, the best thing to do is cut labor. that nothing will get those profit margins up like having less workers on the floor to serve drinks and deep clean. that you customers won't mind a bit having to wait longer in dirtier stores for your beverages that have been made by baristas who are overworked and micromanaged.

i guess it's a good thing howard didn't ask my opinion about how to get our stock value back up, because if he had i never would have suggested running the store with less labor. you see - i would have made the sorry and misguided decision to cut costs by not keeping a fully stocked pastry case all day long, which leads to hundreds of dollars a week in expired pastries that have to be thrown away.
i would NOT have spent the money to re-tool all the espresso machines - especially since those very machines that were re-tooled are being replaced by brand new espresso machines (that i'm sure cost a pretty penny).
and yes, i would have gotten rid of those damn ovens!

i guess i just don't see the long term cost benefits of having less employees on the floor to do the same (if not more, in some cases) amount of work.
i don't see how it would appeal to a customer to spend their hard earned money at an establishment that doesn't seem to care anymore about quality or service.
it seems that all the things that made bux so great (for the barista AND the customer) are being phased and/or forced out - only to be replaced by mediocrity at best.
i'm sorry, but i don't know any regular customers that come to bux because the coffee is "so great". they come, day after day, because of the connection they have with their baristas.
well - if this connection is no longer possible, then what reason do they have to keep coming back?

barista rant: please do not play 'whack-a-mole' with your beverage at my bar. i know it seems like it will be lots of fun to jam your straw into your iced beverage one-handed, but when you miss and end up spilling the entire contents of your drink all over my bar - well, fun is the last word to describe it. please use both hands to poke your straw through the lid, that way you won't have to wait for me to remake your beverage, and i won't have to wish a pox upon your house.


'tis the season

we baristas are now officially in the swing of holiday, which of course means our customers have started to behave rather poorly under the guise of 'the season'.
already we've seen an increase in rudeness, selfishness, and rage - and we know it's only going to get worse.

the first wench of christmas was an older women, smartly dressed, and with her phone glued to her ear. when she made it to the front of the line she decided her call was far too important to put on hold and ordered her drink in between a shower of "i don't believe it!", "then what did you say?" and "uh-huhs".
when the register partner tried to verify the order, the wench just waved her off and rolled her eyes, clearly upset that her conversation was being interrupted. so register partner marked the cup to the best of her understanding and handed phone wench her receipt.

well, wouldn't you know - not two seconds after i handed phone wench her drink, did she erupt with "this is NOT what i ordered!".
mind you, she was still on the phone, so when i informed her that i could remake her drink, so long as she told me what it was she wanted, she didn't hear a thing. instead she huffed and started yelling into the phone about how incompetent bux baristas are.
then she looked at her receipt and growled that she'd been charged for the wrong size.
"i can give you the difference - it's no problem," the register partner offered, but of course this fell on the deaf ear that didn't have a phone attached to it.
"this is ridiculous!" phone wench bitched into the receiver and huffed her way out of the store.
"that's what happens when you order WHILE talking on the phone!" i called out to her.
of course, she didn't hear a word.

we also saw an increase in energy with the school kids that filter in for their frappuccinos and raspberry waters. they are so excited about their upcoming two week vacation that they are bouncing off the walls, even without the aid of caffeine. not only are they boisterous and loud, but they are extremely clumsy. we've had to rebuild our holiday display twice since last friday, and we've had to mark out four ceramic mugs that were broken to bits because these kids are kinetic nightmares.
well, at least they've been more polite than the older patrons.

partner rant: are you deaf? how can you not hear that annoying 'beep-beep-beep' coming from the coffee timer? i was on my break in the back room and i STILL heard it. you are standing less than two feet away from the damn thing! it's not enough that you've apparently learned to tune it out. the whole reason it's beeping is to tell you to rebrew fresh coffee! so why the hell were you serving expired drips when i came back from break? oh, i know. because you just DON'T care.


lies, lies, lies - yeah

i know i've blogged before about lying customers who think baristas are the most gullible form of mankind on the planet, and how their untruths are as transparent as clingwrap, but since i've been back behind the bar it seems as if there has been an outbreak of dishonesty.
now really, do these people really think they're the first ones to come to the register with an empty cup and claim their beverage was made wrong?
that one of our baristas promised them three free drinks?
that they bought four pounds of coffee and accidentally left them in the lobby the day before?
that the manager 'from the other bux' said our bux would give them an espresso machine at a 50% discount?
that one of our baristas was so rude that our manager was going to give the customer ten free beverage coupons?
that they bought a sandwich the night before and it had a bug in it, just like the last four sandwiches they'd 'purchased'?
that the coupon they made using photoshop was approved for use by mr. schultz himself?

just last night i had this happen:
"uh, where's my drink?" skater dude asked the barista on bar.
now this was during my closing shift. i was the register partner, one barista was on break and the other barista was on bar. after ringing up all the customers in the store, i went to the backroom so i could fill milk carafes.
"what?" my fellow barista asked skater dude, finding it improbable that i would forget to mark a cup.
"my drink - i ordered a drink and you never made it." skater dude responded with much attitude.
"hang on just a sec," bar barista said to skater dude, then poking his head in the backroom asked, "hey brat - did this guy order a drink?"
i walked out of the backroom to find skater dude impatiently tapping his cell phone against the hand off bar.
"dude - you didn't order a thing." i practically spat, pissed that he was trying to run a game on us.
"yeah i did," he countered. "i ordered a venti -"
"no, you didn't." i interrupted him.
seeing he'd been caught, and we weren't stupid enough to believe him, he sheepishly walked out of the store muttering, "oh, i thought my friends bought me something."

and today this happened:
customer: "so, like, i called your corporate office because last week you guys overcharged my credit card by a hundred bucks. they told me that all i had to do was come back here and you'd give me a cash refund."
barista brat: *knowing full well this guy was a scammer* "i'm sorry, but i can't do anything on this end for you. if you're already talking with corporate about it, they should be able to help you out."
customer: "oh yes you can do something for me because your head offices said you have to."
barista brat: "sorry, no."
customer: "you do. i was on the phone with helen this morning and she said you had to give me the hundred back in cash."
barista brat: "if you like you can come back tomorrow when my manager is here -"
customer: "no! i don't have time to be running back here everyday! you guys OWE me. helen TOLD me that you HAVE to give me the money."
barista brat: "i'm sorry, but i don't have any authority to give you cash."
customer: "yes you do! HELEN gave you that authority!"
barista brat: "sorry, but my manager would be the best person to help you."
customer: "you ARE sorry."
barista brat: "yeah, have a great day."

barista rant: telling me how much fun it is to work with me, and how great you think i am will NOT blind me to the fact that you are the laziest of the lazies. smiling a lot and trying to be my buddy will not keep me from getting on your case every time i see you slacking. and offering to bake me a cake to welcome me back to the store (even though you were hired while i was away) is not enough of a bribe to make up for your bad work ethic. guess what? getting me to like you is the easiest thing in the world. all you have to do is your JOB.


my new bff

i'm back at bux and it's pretty much the same - except harder since my store lost some core people who were replaced by some pretty weak newbies. oi. and right before holiday as well.

my first shift back seemed like it would be pretty uneventful. my manager was nice and gave me a short shift to ease me back into the whole coffee slinging thing. in fact, the day would have been pretty much golden if it weren't for the borrowed partner who was scheduled to work with me.

now borrowed partners can either be really great, or really horrid.
sometimes they want to make such a great impression that they work very efficiently, or they have such great personalities and work ethics that they seamlessly blend in with our regular partners and customers.
but sometimes they are pissed they have to cover a shift at a store that's not their own, so they have bad attitudes, are lazy, or spend the entire day commenting on how much better their store is.

the borrowed partner i worked with is in a class all her own.
right from the beginning i knew she wasn't going to be stellar, but i was hopeful she would at least be decent. she's been with the company for a couple years so presumably she knew how to make drinks and ring up customers. she's also in her late forties, so i was hoping maturity wouldn't be an issue.
in between rushes, when baristas should be cleaning and restocking, she slid next to me and said in a hushed tone "i think i might be pregnant".
now, let me just say that although i consider myself a friendly person, and i welcome conversation, telling me that you might be pregnant when i don't even know you is waaaaaaay too much information for this brat. really, all i want you to do is work, capiche?

"my husband has been out of the country for three years," she continued in subdued tones, "and i know he has been cheating on me. i have been faithful for over twenty years, but i can only take so much, so i started going out to clubs - "
"can you refill the milk fridge?" i interrupted her, not knowing a better way to get her to quit her story.
seriously, i was in shock that she was pouring all this out to me.
me! a person, who ten minutes previous, was a complete stranger!
"and i met a man," she continued after re-stocking the fridge. "and it is nothing serious but i think i am pregnant. my son is going to kill me if i'm pregnant! but what else can it be? i am ten days late and i am nauseous."

now, i really didn't want to deal with this my first day back. all i wanted was her to do her job. maybe some light conversation about movies or music, but that's all. no shoe dropping. no maury povich moments. just two baristas making coffee and keeping a clean store.

"my husband doesn't even send me money, and now i might have someone else's baby. what do you think i should do?" she asked in a whisper.

are you serious?!?
what the hell?!?
not only does she confide in someone she doesn't know, but she asks what SHE should DO?
WHO does this?!?

"uh, i have NO idea." i answered - incredulous that i was even having this conversation. "why don't you go take a break." i suggested just to have her out of my hair.

when she came back from her break she again slid next to me to pour out her woes. i, as nicely as i could, informed her that we really didn't have time to talk since there was so much work that needed to be done. she seemed to understand, but not two minutes later she had cornered barista buddy and again was whispering to a stranger that she thought she was pregnant. and when barista buddy made it clear this was not a conversation he wanted to be a part of, she started telling customers about her problems - still in that same hushed tone that made it seem like she wanted it kept a secret.
lady! it's no secret if you tell it to the whole world, no matter how low you keep your voice!

to maintain my sanity i put her on dish duty in the backroom and kept her there until her shift was over. i wasn't trying to be mean, but really, this lady had no clue as to what was appropriate. and being well into her forties you'd think she'd figure out that bux is certainly not the place to field advice about out of wedlock babies. at least it shouldn't be.
"welcome back, brat!" barista buddy laughed after she'd left. "by the way," he whispered, "i think i'm PREGNANT!"

barista rant: we don't mind that, although you're homeless, you come in and use our bathroom - especially since you are usually respectful and are relatively clean. but you may not panhandle in our store. it is NOT ok to ask customers if they will buy you a cup of coffee or a sandwich. and if someone is nice enough to buy you a meal, don't come back twenty minutes later and expect us to give you a cash refund because you didn't like the sandwich!


district manage-errors

next week i will again be a barista, so this post will be yet another customer rant:

i know how much it sucks when the district and regional manager come to visit (re: scrutinize) a store. not only are all the baristas and managers on edge, but the higher ups always seem to forget that we actually have a store to run. they will continually pull a barista off task to wipe down the lobby chairs, dust the light fixtures, or clean a coffee spill near the outside dumpster. they turn a blind eye to the line of customers waiting for service. they ignore the fact that there is one barista on bar and fifteen drinks on deck. and they blame the store manager for everything - even things beyond their power.

i understand these higher ups have a job to do, and that they want their stores to look perfect, but they must remember that customers don't come in to bux to admire the bean displays. they come in for their beverages and they don't want to wait an inordinate amount of time to partake of them.

it should be apparent to the higher ups that we baristas HATE these visits because it is literally like throwing a wrench into the cogs of an already strained machine. it ruins our mood to be nitpicked, it breaks our flow, and it annoys the customers.

and today it really annoyed THIS customer.

not only did it take an eon to place my order - it took three times as long to get my drink. and it wasn't because the baristas were being slow and lazy. in fact the two baristas on the floor were busting their asses to stay afloat.
the reason?
barista #3 was scraping gum from underneath the hand off bar.
barista #4 was cleaning the grout in the backroom.
and the store manager had been pulled off the floor so the district manager could relay to him everything that was wrong with the rtd case.
such as the vitamin waters had some of their labels facing off center, one of the organic chocolate milks was missing a straw, and one of the protein trays was on the wrong shelf.

now, i understand that these things need to be taken care of - but NOT when you have a line to the door and only two baristas actually working the floor. unfortunately district and regional managers are rarely aware of what working as a barista is really like, and even if they once knew they have blocked out the memories.

i felt really bad for the manager and his employees at this bux. visits like this always suck - for them AND for the customers.


not-so-secret shopper

i've taken a much needed break from bux.
for the past few months i've been a customer only, and not a barista. soon i will have to return to my place behind the bar, but i must say that i have truly enjoyed my time away from my store. and although i've always believed myself to be very in tune with the feelings of my customers, i have now a more complete perspective of their experiences.
yes - i have walked a mile in their caffeine-deprived shoes, which is why this post will be a huge customer rant.

rant #1 -
there is really no reason - NO REASON - why i should have to wait six minutes for my second beverage. especially when both beverages are americanos and only require espresso and water. i can't fathom what possible justification you might have for making my first americano, then ignoring my second to make three frappuccinos that were ordered AFTER mine. did you need a break from pulling espresso shots, or are you just really daft?

rant #2 -
i am fully aware that some customers can be rude jerks, but i am not one of them. in fact, i smiled when i walked up to your register and politely ordered my beverage like so: "hi, i'd like a tall, roomy americano, please."
what is so offensive about that?
seriously, i'd like to know because the stinkeye you gave me really seemed out of line. as did the "you want WHAT in your americano?". and the fact that you did not hand me back my change, but dropped it on the counter while bellowing out "NEXT!" to the customer behind me. i do not expect you to kiss my butt, but a modicum of tact would be much appreciated.

rant #3 -
your. bathroom. is. disgusting.

rant #4 -
i appreciate the fact that you are cleaning the condiment bar, i really do. and i REALLY appreciate the fact that you are changing out the milk containers. what i don't appreciate is watching my coffee turn cold while i wait for you to bring out the new milk containers. instead you decided it was a perfect time to go outside and chat with one of your friends and take pictures on your cell phone.
and when i asked the barista for some half and half, he just pointed at you and said "she's bringing it" when clearly you were on an unofficial break.
please finish your tasks before slacking off, yeah?

rant #5 -
i understand that training in necessary, but if you're going to put a newbie on bar, please let there be a more experienced barista there to double bar, especially when the line waiting for beverages is three times as long as the line waiting to order. it is NOT time effective when the newbie has to ask the person on register "how do i make this?" every time she picks up a cup. i saw three drinks that went out wrong, and you know what? those three customers didn't bother to let the newbie know because they didn't have the time to wait for a remake - not that the second drink would have been made correctly anyway.

rant #6 -
i know it's fun to work with your friends. in fact that's one of the reasons i love working at my store. however - please be polite and professional enough to take a break from your conversation to take my order. just because you are avoiding making eye contact with me while i wait at the register does not mean you can finish your chatfest uninterrupted. you are, remember, getting paid to work. you are not getting paid to gossip - that is just a perk.

rant #7 -
please do not clean the wax out of your ears while on register. ever.

i've really enjoyed my life as a "civilian" but very soon i will be back behind the bar with more rants.


shock and uh

one of the best things about working for bux is interacting with our regular customers. most of them are awesome (not just because they tip well and give us gifts during the holidays) and it really means a lot to know that we baristas have a hand in making their days just a little bit better.
because these regulars are so comfortable with us, they talk quite freely with us about pretty much anything that crosses their minds. often times our conversations are mostly innocuous. but on occasion, our customers will say things that leave us baristas with our mouths agape, wondering if we really heard what we thought we heard.

for instance:

one of our regulars had been absent from our bux for several weeks.
brat: hey matt! where've you been? we haven't seen you for awhile.
matt: hey brat, i just got back from israel.
brat: cool, was it for vacation?
matt: yeah, it was great. you ever been to israel?
brat: no. i have friends who tell me i should, but to be honest i'm kind of nervous.
matt: oh, all that bombing stuff is exaggerated. just make sure you fly el-al when you do go.
brat: yeah, i heard el-al is one of the safest airlines.
matt: it is - because we really know how to smoke out those arab terrorists!
brat: ...........

we also have an elderly man who comes in every afternoon on his rascal scooter. he's really a character, talking to anyone who'll listen. he also uses his scooter as an assault vehicle on anyone who gets in his way. the other day i was on register when he ordered his coffee.
mr. rascal: heya, give me a cup of coffee for here and one of those marble cakes. make sure there's plenty of chocolate on the marble cake, alright?
brat: no problem.
i held up a couple slices for him to inspect before placing the one he wanted into a pastry bag.
brat: here you go.
mr. rascal: i just got back from visiting my brother and sister-in-law.
brat: did you have fun?
mr. rascal: oh yeah, they made sure i got plenty of chocolate while i was there.
brat: that's nice.
mr. rascal: you know - it's true what they say about chocolate.
brat: what, that it's a natural anti-depressant?
mr. rascal: no! what, are you dumb? chocolate makes you horny!
brat: (laughing) uh, o.k.

one of my fellow baristas was at the condiment bar when a regular walked over to put sugar in her coffee.
customer: i love this store, you guys always work so hard and it's so much cleaner than the store down the street.
barista: thanks, we try!
customer: plus, i like the patrons here better.
barista: yeah, we have a pretty good batch of customers.
customer: the other day i was late for work so i just ran into that other starbucks. what a mistake!
barista: really? what happened?
customer: well, you know how that store is crawling with armenians?
barista: uh......
customer: well, there were these two guys in line in front of me that seriously just stepped off the boat.
barista: uh......
customer: they kept asking for 'latte coffees' and the poor barista kept trying to explain the difference between a latte and a coffee, but they just kept ordering 'latte coffees'. so she rang them up for two lattes. i guess that's not what they wanted because when they picked up their drinks, they took a sip, started yelling in armenian and threw their lattes on the floor! i felt so sorry for the baristas working that had to deal with those f.o.b.s!
barista: uh.......

and my personal favorite -
customer: how many shots of espresso can you put into a venti drip?
barista buddy: we can pretty much add as many shots as you'd like.
customer: is five shots too many?
barista buddy: not if you like it very strong.
customer: it's not the flavor i care about. i just need to jumpstart this guy. (he starts pointing to his crotch)
barista buddy: *tries very hard to complete the transaction without looking at the customer's crotch*

barista rant: don't come and complain to me about another customer sitting in "your seat". if you haven't already noticed - there is no assigned seating in our cafe. there are no rsvp signs, and no hierarchy that guarantees you get your favorite chair by the window every time you come to drink your mocha. don't bitch and moan to me, telling me i should have "seen you coming" and let the customer know that they'd have to find another seat. that's not my job, and if having your own personal spot to place your butt is so damn important to you - then go home!



as per every six months, my manager sat down with me recently to go over my review. now, i never sweat these things because i'm very good at what i do, and my managers know it. in fact, my reviews are always very short and sweet because there's never any need for clarification or discussion.
this review, however, was by far the most entertaining one i've ever had.
of course i scored very high, and of course my raise was deserved, but there was one comment my manager made that had me in stitches.
under "areas of opportunity" my manager wrote:
'brat needs to be more welcoming of new policies and needs to embrace change within the company.'

i tell you, i let out a roar of laughter when i read that.
you see, i don't deny that i've been resistant to the 'new and improved' changes bux has been making. in fact, i've been quite vocal within my store concerning the ridiculous (in my opinion) decisions howard has made since his re-coronation as ceo.
not only do these new decisions add more work (with no additional labor allotted) for baristas, but they also are money-wasters.
does anyone remember that failure called 'chantico'?
now the latest thing is our vivannos, which have not been the smashing success we baristas were supposed to make them.
and remember when howard said he was getting rid of the the breakfast sandwiches? well, he's not. they are here to stay, and will be joined by oatmeal.
that's right.
we will soon be selling oatmeal as part of our breakfast menu.
'but what about the coffee, howard?!?' you might have heard me scream.
well, his answer is this: protein lattes.

i. kid. you. not.

oh yeah - coming soon bux will be offering protein lattes for those customers who feel the milk in their beverage is just not enough protein in their cups.
now maybe it's me. maybe i'm the one that's totally off base. perhaps there are a million people out there who sigh each time they take a sip of their bux beverage and think "oh, if only this latte had five more grams of protein - THEN my life would be perfect!"
or maybe this will be yet another promotion that will be pushed, then forgotten.
and, to top it all off, those horrendous chanticos have gone through a metamorphosis and will return as 'signature hot chocolates'. which again means more work for the baristas with no added labor to the schedule.

seriously, howard needs to work an hour in my store - or any store - so he can see the reality of what is going on in bux. sending us memos and dvds with 'inspirational' tripe which supposedly reiterate his passion for coffee is NOT cutting it with us baristas. we don't believe it anymore. his actions do not match his words.
but maybe it's just me. maybe i just need to find bux redemption in the bottom of an oatmeal cup.

barista rant: are you blind, or just passive aggressive? first you literally PUSHED me out of your way while i was cleaning up the condiment bar. excuse me for assuming you'd like to prepare your coffee at a clean spot. then you rolled your eyes because i was restocking the napkins. seriously - it took me all of 5 seconds to fill the napkin dispenser, so why the attitude? and then, after i'd cleaned and stocked, you decided that spilling nonfat milk all over the counter was apparently justified. not only that, you grabbed a napkin to wrap around your cup, yet left that nasty spill in plain sight. it took all my control to keep from calling you a cow to your face.


the steve urkel of starbucks

blogger hates me....it really does. it ate yesterday's post so i'll have to start anew.

for the past few months my schedule has been very consistent at bux. this means i normally see the same customers each week and work with the same baristas. occasionally, however, i'll work with a barista that i barely know.
for months i've been hearing complaints about the latest transfer to our store. she was hired (i believe) because she wouldn't need to be trained like a newbie, but on day one it was apparent to everyone that she knew next to nothing about making drinks. she also is compulsively late to her shifts, with each "reason" being more fantastic than the previous one.

"my power went out!" was the excuse she gave for her first bout of tardiness.
"the police blocked off my street and i couldn't leave until they searched my car!" was what we were told the next week.
then the stories got more elaborate:
"my dog was throwing up all night and i had to take him to the emergency hospital. in fact, he might die, i'm not sure, but i'm supposed to make sure he gets his medication every three hours, so can i leave early?"
"oh my god! i accidentally switched phones with my sister and when i set the alarm i didn't realize it was on pm and not on am. that's also why i didn't answer when you called me!"
"my car broke down and the taxi service says they won't come pick me up because i only have a credit card and their only available taxis are cash only. and the bus that comes near my house just changed the schedule so i won't be able to get there for at least another couple hours!"

but her tardiness is not the only reason for complaints. she's loud, annoying, just stands in front of the register, gets in the way of those actually working, and tries to become your new bff within the first five minutes of meeting you. if you correct her, or ask her to do something she squeals "my bad! i'll do better next time!" only to continue in her usual habit of laziness.

so, when i found out i'd be working several hours with her this past weekend, i wasn't that enthused. however, i'm used to dealing with lazy baristas, so i figured it really wouldn't be THAT much more work to deal with her.
how. wrong. was. i.

if it were just the fact that i had to tell her what to do every five minutes, it wouldn't have been that bad - but having to listen to her run her mouth non-stop was really draining. whether she was chatting with the customers, or trying to talk to us baristas, it was physically exhausting to just be around her while she had the mouth runs. and it wasn't that she was just talking to hear herself talk - she definitely wanted an audience who would give her feedback and input.
i'm sorry, but i'm just not that patient and/or compassionate to deal with the issues of someone i hardly know, and really don't like.

"good god, is this what you have to deal with everyday?" i asked superlead after our new annoying partner had left for the day.
"actually, she was tolerable today. usually it's much, much worse."
"maybe it's just because she's young that she's so immature." i tried to reason.
"uh, she's not that young." superlead gave me a look. "she's in her thirties."
"you're friggen' kidding me." i couldn't believe superlead was telling the truth.
"seriously, she's way old enough to know that her behaviour is NOT how you influence people and gain friends."

which brought me to a strange sort of quandary. on the one hand i feel bad for her. socially she is totally inept. it's clear she wants to be liked, and not feel like an outsider, but she is going about it in a way that only alienates her more. which leads to the other hand - she has been on this planet long enough to know that her method of social interaction clearly does NOT work. that forcing herself onto other people is NOT the way you make new friends. and that being lazy and making up dumb excuses certainly isn't going to make her any more popular.

so, i guess i'm just counting myself lucky that i don't have to work with her all that often, and when i do i guess i'll just try to deal. like always.

barista rant: i'm sick of you scammers trying to get things for free, and then threatening my job because i won't comply! so what, you spent thirty dollars on a gift card last week. so what, you claim my manager gave you a free drink because you threw thirty bucks down for that gift card. firstly, i don't believe he gave you a free drink. secondly, no matter how much you bitch, you're not getting a free drink for buying another card. thirdly, i don't care if you call my manager to complain about me and try to get me fired. we don't give away free drinks when you buy a gift card! if you really got a free drink last time, consider yourself lucky and don't threaten to get me in trouble because i'm doing my job!!!


customer comeuppance

for the most part my bux has some really great customers. of course, we get our share of caffeine addicts that believe our only mission in life to serve them in a manner suited for ramses the great. no matter how accommodating we baristas try to be, these customers are dead set on being annoyed by everything we do (and do correctly, i might add).
i've been in my green apron long enough to know that these people are just outright jerks and nothing i do will make them happy. the poor newbies, however, who are blindsided by these vicious customers are usually rendered useless for a few minutes and have to compose themselves in the backroom until they are 'strong' enough to continue making drinks and ringing customers. it really is trial by fire, and unfortunately we can't always tell which customers will be the pains and which will be the angels.

in the past week we've had a couple gems to deal with. and yes, the poor newbies did take the brunt of the abuse, but at least there was some sweet justice that followed:

- on a busy friday morning one of our newbies was having a very difficult time with a picky customer. this customer wanted a "perfect pastry" from the case and made the newbie offer each pastry up for inspection.
"that one is too small!" she'd complain. "that one isn't square enough!", "that one doesn't look flavorful enough!". i swear, i thought she was auditioning for the role of friggen' goldilocks. finally when she 'settled' for a less than perfect pastry, she repeated an equally annoying process when ordering her drink. not only did she give newbie very specific instructions to write on the cup, but she micromanaged every single letter he wrote and demanded to inspect the cup after he'd marked it.
"what the hell is this?!?" she asked, upset that newbie wrote "3=" in the custom box instead of "3 equals" and made him rewrite the whole damn order on a new cup.
while waiting for her drink, she accused newbie of giving her the wrong pastry, and demanded deafeningly he change it for a better one. by the time her drink was ready, newbie was on the verge of a breakdown. after arguing with another person at the condiment bar, picky customer finally left our bux. upon exiting the store, she tripped over her own feet and dropped her perfectly marked drink as she tried to catch the pastry she'd flung through the air. the pastry landed in a puddle of water, and her drink spilled all over the sidewalk.
"FUCK IT!" she screamed and got in her car and drove away.

- my bux parking lot is very cramped and busy. now, i'm not a road rage sort of person, but i do expect other people to obey traffic rules. even though i had the right of way, a bitch in a white bmw decided the red octagon with the white letters that spelled out "STOP" was not intended for her. she gunned her motor and pulled directly in front of me, cutting me off and gesticulating wildly the whole time. i could only laugh because of how ridiculously she was behaving.
as she waited to pull into a spot directly in front of my store i managed to squeeze my car past hers, park in a vacant spot only ten feet away, and enter my store before she'd had a chance to complete her parking job.
because of her actions in the parking lot i was not surprised to see her stomp into my bux, huff about the loooong line (seriously, there were only two people ahead of her), and then demand her drink be made quickly because she was in such a hurry. now, i could have been a horrid barista and made her a disgusting drink, but i decided it would be much more poetic if i had a newbie make her drink instead - since i was sure it would take newbie twice as long. of course, the bitch with the bmw was quite vocal about having to wait, and i just smiled sweetly and explained that we had a new partner training on the bar. then bitch with the bmw got a call on her cell phone and went outside for ten minutes, while her drink sat on the hand-off counter.
when she came back into the store, she complained that the drink was too cool and wanted it made again because she comes in "all the time!" (and no - none of us baristas had ever seen her before). so of course i let newbie make her drink for the second time. surprise, surprise, bitch in the bmw wasn't happy with drink #2 either. so it was made a third time (still not by me, of course) and she still wasn't happy with it, but since we'd "wasted so much of her time" she took it anyway and angrily drove off.
awww, sweet schadenfreude!

partner rant: ok. i understand that part of my job requires me to 'talk up' new beverages and products we sell. and i know another part of my job requires me to participate in store meetings where we learn and discuss these new products. but when we baristas (rightfully) voice our concerns and doubts about our new fruit blended drinks, we should not be berated, nor blamed for the past failures of the bigwigs in seattle. telling us the reason breakfast sandwiches and chantico drinks went bust was because we baristas were not "solidly behind the product" is a bunch of bull. no matter how much we may try to convince our customers to try something new (or even lie to them and tell them how much we love it) will NOT ensure that customers will go ga-ga over a mcmuffin ripoff or a small cup of melted chocolate. in fact, give us baristas credit for the fact we all successfully predicted how terribly those new products would be received instead of using us as the scapegoat for how poorly our company is doing at present.


the brat lives!

not sure if anyone is still checking up on this blog since i've been away for months.
i have some very good reasons for being absent, and some very bad ones.

honestly, i've been frustrated with the whole bux environment and haven't really wanted to blog about it. this blog, after all, is called 'barista brat' and not 'barista bitch'. i felt all my posts were becoming quite bitter and angry, and although this is where i come to vent - i didn't think it appropriate to spew just for the sake of spewing.

so....i'm back.
not quite as cheerful as i used to be, and still very bitter, but i will make a concerted effort to entertain and not just emote.

i'm sure many of you saw the reports that bux will be closing 600 stores nationwide.
as of now, my store is not on the short list to be shut down. in fact, i don't think any of the stores in my district will be affected, so it will be business as usual for the brat.
am i surprised by the news that bux is doing so poorly that they will have to shut down 600 stores?
uh, i have a two-word response: breakfast sandwiches.

ok, ok, i know the stupid ovens and sandwiches were not the sole reason for our stock plummeting and our sales dropping. but honestly, when bux focuses on products that are NOT coffee related, the stores suffer. it's true.
now we are hit with the news that some stores will be serving sorbetto beverages (and yes, that means they will have yet another huge, annoying machine to deal with) and all stores will have new 'nutritional fruit blended beverages' on the menu.
are there not enough jamba juices, robeks and booster juices on the planet for people to get their smoothie fix? does howard schultz really think offering a smoothie to a frappuccino drinker is going to bring our stock up? does he think people will forgo the long lines at jamba to stand in a long line at bux just for a 16 oz smoothie that contains a banana and some protein?

honestly, i was hopeful when it seemed bux was putting the focus back on coffee. but i think superlead was right when she said she believed it was more of a publicity stunt than an actual commitment to serving the best coffee all the time. we baristas are not feeling 'backed up' by the bigwigs in seattle. this company has changed since i was a newbie barista, and i know that change is to be expected. but to be perfectly honest: bux was a much better employer 'back in the day'. i still hang on to the hope that howard can pull it all back together, but so far i've not been impressed with his decisions.

barista rant: baristas and managers are not perfect, nor are we clairvoyant. we did not expect the insane heatwave, and yes we were caught unprepared. i'm so sorry that we did not have enough flat lids for your iced drinks. i'm sorry you were so inconvenienced with looking at a dome lid sitting atop your iced coffee. did you not notice that every other customer ALSO had a dome lid? so why, after seeing the ten people ahead of you walk away with dome lids on their drinks, did you walk up to the bar and ask me for a flat lid? uh, HELLO?!? did you honestly think i was saving them for the special people who knew how to ask for them? did you think somehow i would manage to pull one out from my apron just for you? use your brain! or is that dome empty too?


beware the gripes of march

ok - so when superlead tells me to get off my ass and start posting, i know i'm in trouble.

as i'm sure most of you know, we baristas all got "re-trained" last tuesday.
was it worth it to close the stores early for this training?
for the baristas who already do their job the way they're supposed to, it was a waste of an evening. for the baristas who cut corners, don't pay attention to detail, or know how to aerate foam properly, it was a good way to make it clear that they need to change their ways.

in a way it was nice to hear that howard wants us to go back to quality - that we shouldn't feel pressured to hand off a crappy drink in record time.
"the customer would rather wait a few more minutes for a drink that tastes good, rather than instantly get a drink that tastes bad." said our trainers. "if you mess up a drink, go ahead and remake it - it's better to hand out a drink that tastes of quality."
"so, does that mean it doesn't count against us if it takes longer than three minutes for the customer to get their drink after walking through the front door?" superlead asked.
"no." our trainers told us. "the three-minute rule is still in place."

uh, yeah.

BUT on a totally different note, i must take some time to tell you about doobie newbie.
as you may recall, doobie was a very difficult newbie.
totally baked in the beginning, it seemed like he would never get the hang of being a barista. not only was he super sssslllllooooooowwwww, but he couldn't remember drink recipes, how to ring up customers, or even how to change the trash.
week after week we expected to see him quit or be fired.
week after week he hung on.
and now months later i am so happy to say that doobie newbie is now a GOOD barista.
sure, he's not super fast, and he still has some doobie moments, but he is a completely different person now than he was when he started.
and it certainly wasn't an overnight change.
it was very gradual. one week he could actually remember how many pumps to put into a grande vanilla latte. a few weeks later he was no longer making mistakes when marking cups, etc. finally, the time came when no one was complaining about him anymore, a time when i wouldn't cringe when i saw he was working the same shift as i was.
i made sure to tell doobie how proud i was of him, and how glad i was that he was fully in the barista groove. it's now a pleasure to work with him, and he always puts in 110% when he works with me.
yay for doobie!

and now i must start my very long barista/partner rant:
the other day there were only two baristas on the floor (i happened to be the barista on register that day). it was one of those 'machine gun burst' afternoons, when four or five customers would come in at a time. after one of our mini rushes (in which we ended up with a line of 6 frappuccinos as well as bar drinks) another group of four customers entered our store.
"i want an venti decaf americano." an older woman told me, then paid for her drink. after that a man ordered a hazelnut latte, a woman ordered an iced tea and her friend ordered an iced coffee.
the barista at bar was still working on the frappuccinos, even as i was taking the last order. when he handed off the final two frappuccinos, the older woman threw her hands up in the air and hissed at my fellow barista "where is MY drink? i ordered waaaaay before that man and he has BOTH of his drinks!".
"i'm sorry ma'am, but there was a line of drinks ahead of yours. i'm starting on the americano now." he politely informed her.
meanwhile, since i had no customers to ring up, i made the iced tea and iced coffee drink while my fellow barista waited for the decaf shots to pull for the bitter woman's americano.
now, i would have waited to hand off the iced tea and iced coffee since it was clear the bitter old woman was already in a tiff, but fellow barista went ahead and called out those drinks while the last of the decaf shots were pulled.
"ma'am, you're drink takes longer to make than those other two. i've been working on your drink this whole time." the barista calmly explained, but she wasn't having any of it.
"get me your manager!" she hissed at me, apparently sick of dealing with the barista at bar.
i went to the back room to get mr. split and quickly explained the situation: that the woman was mistaken in thinking the frappuccinos were ordered after her and that the other two drinks were not espresso based drinks.

soooooo -
the bitter lady gets on her soapbox and just starts spewing anything starbucks related that comes to mind.
"you're supposed to be focused on customers, but this is the WORST customer service i have ever received! i've been a loyal customer for years - i'm even a SHAREHOLDER, but i will be selling my stocks soon because it's clear that this company is going down the tubes!"
mr. split patiently listened to her go off before he apologized and offered her a beverage certificate. he also attempted to explain that there were indeed drinks in queue before hers, but she wasn't about to listen to reason. she started AGAIN about the stocks, and horrible customer service, yadda yadda.
so then mr. split offers to refund her drink, AS WELL AS giving her a free drink coupon.
this is the part that really upsets me.
starbucks is so "focused" on making the customer happy, that they basically let stupid customers get away with anything. what is so frustrating is that this woman TRULY thinks she was wronged! not only that - she ends up with two free drinks!
baristas are powerless in situations like these. this bitter old woman is going to call up corporate, believing her drink was left behind (because policy says to let the customer complain, and then do WHATEVER we can to make them happy), corporate will come down on us and our district manager will have to have a special meeting with all parties involved so that we know what we did wrong and how we should avoid it in the future.
if we actually try to explain our part of the situation, we are labelled "defensive" and "argumentative" and can possibly get a write up for it.
i know how important customer service is, but it is also important to back up your baristas.


perpetual grind


i can't believe it's been almost a month since i last posted. i can assure you its not because things have been dull and boring, that's for certain.

let me start with the biggest news of all - howard schultz has again taken control of our company. this news has made several partners and share holders ecstatic. in fact, when the news broke my store was abuzz with hopeful chatter of rising stocks and disappearing ovens.
so, has this rotation of power actually changed anything?
well, not yet.

BUT the company IS going to finally do something about the ovens!
well, not exactly to do with the ovens but their horrendous output of stink.
bux, in all it's infinite wisdom, has decided that customers and partners have a valid complaint! in fact, bux apparently wholeheartedly agrees that burnt cheese and pre-cooked eggs are no substitute for the olfactory heaven that is brewed coffee.
so, to combat the stench of the ovens, baristas will no longer be opening pre-packs of ground coffee to brew. oh no. we will now have to grind pounds upon pounds of beans for our daily brew.

pounds upon POUNDS!

now, a pre-packed case of ground coffee comes in units of 28. my store goes through at least two cases a day. that's 56 packs. 56.
a full batch of coffee that we grind weighs .56 pounds (wow, what a strange coincidence!)
so, let's do the math. 56 packs multiplied by .56 pounds equals 31.36 pounds.
did you read that?!?!?
we have to grind a minimum of thirty-one pounds of beans a day! not only will it take an insane amount of labor to grind these beans, we also have to portion each batch out!
guess how many extra hours bux has given us for this huge daily task?


somehow, some way, we are going to have to squeeze the extra labor from our milk-stained aprons.
now, for those of you who have been loyal bux customers for more than ten years, you might be saying to yourself: "what the hell is brat complaining about?!? i remember the baristas used to ALWAYS grind the coffee themselves!"
and i will respond with this: "but those baristas back in the day didn't have sandwiches (warmed or pre-packed), dozens of frappuccino combinations, extra machines to clean (more than one bar, the frappuccino dispenser, and two ovens), an insane amount of syrups, and friggen' shaken ice teas!!!!"

the modern bux barista has more duties, more customers, and less time to accomplish all their tasks. and now, our beloved siren has made sure that there will be no such thing as 'down time'. that there will be no pauses in the customer flow where we can catch up on prepping, cleaning and training.

and for those of you that think "well, i get lattes anyway so my drink won't be affected by this." - think again.

grinding 31 pounds of coffee means one less person on the bar to make your drink.
BUT that's not the only issue you'll encounter!
bux has ALSO decided that our espresso machines don't give off enough of an espresso aroma, so now all our machines will be retooled to pull longer shots. that's right - they are 'fixing' our espresso bars so that they too can combat the horrid stench from the ovens.
that means it will take longer to prepare your drinks. mind you, the whole reason we have these automatic bars is because the manual ones were "not efficient enough".
but bux is only 'fixing' one bar at a time, so if you order two tall lattes, one will taste significantly stronger than the other - meaning ordering your bar drinks is basically a crapshoot. it might be too strong, it might be too weak, but the one thing you can count on is that you'll be waiting longer for your caffeine fix.

all i can say is that these latest corporate "improvements" have made me very happy that my non-barista life has been so very productive and lucrative.

barista rant: if you're going to use 'fancy lingo' to order your drink, then know what the hell it is you're ordering!!! if you ask for a 'skinny vanilla latte' that's what you're going to get. we have posters all around the store explaining what a skinny vanilla latte is. so when we call it out, please don't take a sip and pretend to gag, claiming splenda makes you ill and you specifically did not order sugar-free vanilla. don't then ask for a skinny mocha to be made with regular mocha and percent milk. and don't argue with your barista when he tries to educate you!