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.