that's what i said! "booty trat!"

so, besides the obvious cultural and historical differences between north and south (pick a state, any state), i've come across a drink ordering difference as well. in my part of town, when a customer asks for something "blended" it usually means they frequent coffee bean and what they are ordering (or trying to order) is a frappuccino. sometimes their cafe of choice is some independent shop that offers "frozen cappuccinos" or "blended macchiatos".

whatever their supplier of caffeine may be, the word "blended" usually translates to "i want that frozen, crushed ice, milkshake type frappa-crappa".

so, today i was thrown for a loop when a middle-aged (ok, i'm being nice here) lady came in this morning and asked for a grande blended latte.
"do you mean a coffee frappuccino?" i asked - well used to asking this of thirteen year-olds.
"no, i want a grande blended latte," she repeated.
"we can't blend the lattes. they're hot drinks and we only blend frappuccinos." i informed her.
"i know it's a hot drink." she was getting testy. "that's what i'm ordering. a blended latte!"
"well, what do you want us to blend in your hot latte?" bratty factor in full effect.
"just give me a grande blended latte! i come to starbucks every morning and order one. how can you not know what a blended latte is?"

well, turns out she wanted a grande percent latte. at least that's what a drink made with half whole milk and half nonfat milk is called in my part of town. up north, where this lady is from, they don't use the word "percent". they say "blended", which in my opinion makes no friggen' sense, but whatever. vocabulary sorted and problem solved.

oh, and just as a side note: guess what symbol they use in the milk box for their blended lattes? yup. a percent sign.

barista rant: i understand you using spare change to buy a cup of coffee. but using all the change you could find in your car/house/piggy bank to purchase your coffee, muffin, paper and sergio mendes cd is not cool. ever heard of coinstar? did you realize it took you nearly five minutes to count out all your pennies and dimes? and what is it about saving the damn quarters for yourself? if you insist in using coinage, you could at least be considerate enough to give us the quarters!


show me the mocha

my fellow barista brat relayed a priceless gem of story to me. i must pass it on, just because it so beautifully illustrates how stubbornness+stupidity=major attitude.

during an opening shift, there were only two partners on the floor. the morning rush wouldn't start for about an hour, and only a smattering of customers had actually entered the bux so far. fellow barista brat was on bar while the manager was on register. the manager had to answer a phone call in the back, leaving the barista alone on the floor.
customer walks in, orders a venti mocha and starts to look at the pastry case. since the barista had no register, she made the drink, then proceeded to ask the customer if she could get him something from the pastry case. "i'm lookin'!" was his gruff reply.

so, the manager comes back to the front line to ring up the customer. "i already paid!" he told the manager when she gave him the total amount due.
my fellow barista brat was not about to let this guy get a free drink.
"no you didn't."
"yes i did. i gave you seven dollars and you gave me a nickel in change! see! here's the nickel!" he pulled the coin from his pocket.

meanwhile the manager printed up the last five receipts to prove no mocha had been rung up, while the barista brat informed the customer that venti mochas don't cost $6.95, nor did she even have a register to ring him up.

"i don't care if it doesn't show up in the computer! i handed you seven dollars and you took it! i already paid!" he yelled again before leaving the store without his mocha. just as he reached the front door, he looked at the bag he was carrying. it was from the bagel place two doors down.

"oh!" he exclaimed. "i gave the seven dollars to the bagel place. i'm sorry. you're right - i didn't pay yet."
no doubt, sir. no doubt.

barista rant: why do you stand at the window near the bar seconds after ordering, eyeing every drink i make? and when i put whipped cream on a venti hot chocolate, you yell, "wait! i didn't want whip cream on my marble mocha macchiato!" when i inform you that this drink is someone else's, you still don't back down. "I don't want raspberry syrup in my drink!" you yell as i make (yet another person's) beverage. so i let you know that there are still three more drinks to make before i start yours, you give me a dirty look, like i'm lagging. lady, you just ordered five seconds ago! don't you remember waiting in line? finally, when i make your drink and hand it to you, you feel the need to verify. "is this mine? a marble mocha macchiato with no whip cream or raspberry syrup?"
what - you didn't watch me make it?


crying over spilt milk

floor, meet latte.

it happens at least every other day, if not multiple times within a day. someone got a little excited, a little careless or a little clumsy and dropped their freshly made drink all over the floor. whether it's iced, ice blended, or steamed, it's at some point been spilled, launched or squeezed so hard the contents no longer remain in the cup.

it happens. and although annoying during a rush, it's something we baristas expect to happen every shift.

most the time the customers are very apologetic and even help clean their mess up. other times they are only concerned with how fast their drink will be remade. and occasionally they don't even bother to tell us about the mess and just walk out the door. how obnoxious does one have to be to not even inform a barista about a wet floor that can be a potential hazard?

well, it happens. more often than this barista brat likes.

i once was walking in to my bux, getting ready to start my shift and witnessed one of these socially stunted people drop his cup, kick it across the floor, then step over the mess and walk right out the store. i picked up the remains of his cup, ran out the store and firmly placed it in the guy's hand. "here, i think you forgot this," i told him, then went to start my shift (my first task, of course, being to clean up the jerk's mess).

accidents happen. we know that and we don't get pissy because of it. we get bratty when someone "accidentally" leaves their brains at home and doesn't act with common decency.

barista rant: how cheap are you people? it only costs 55 cents for an add shot. why do you (on practically a daily basis) return to me with the lame line: "um, this doesn't taste as strong as it usually does. can you put more espresso in?" yeah, it's not as strong because you keep getting free add shots. if your addiction has increased from two shots to three, guess what? you have to pay for it. if your piggy bank can't handle the extra 55 cents, then you seriously need to rethink your beverage choice (among other things).


the (f)atkins diet

i've seen a resurgence of atkins diet fans in my bux. there was a year where it was all about atkins, but then it cooled down. well, it's back and the results are definitely not pretty.

i'm sure everyone on the planet knows how the atkins diet promotes weight loss through carb cutting. protein is good, fat is good, but carbs are evil. so what is an atkins dieter supposed to order when at bux?

believe it or not there is one dairy product we have in our store at all times that is totally carb-free. that product is heavy whipping cream. you know – the stuff you use to make whipped cream. that really thick, heavy liquid that will clog arteries faster than rapunzel clogs a drain when washing her hair.

so, these atkins dieters rejoice when hearing we can indeed make a carb-free latte for them. they salivate at the prospect of a caffeinated drink fitting into their diet craze lifestyle. what they don't know (or at least don't appear to know) is just how unhealthy their drink of choice is.

here are the fa(c)ts:
a venti atkins latte has a total of 1800 calories from fat and a whopping 216 grams of fat, but hey, no carbs.

why on earth would someone follow a diet that tells them drinking 1800 fat calories is ok, but eating a banana is taboo? not only that, it's a bitch to steam heavy whipping cream. it literally screams at you, letting everyone know you're using it for purposes it was never meant for.

please quit ordering a triple venti bypass, your heart will thank you.

customer rant: don't look at me like i'm the freak when you write my drink down wrong and then try to overcharge me! i've been fluent in starbonics for years, so you need to seriously catch up if you think a grande one pump classic iced coffee is anywhere equal to an iced grande three pump vanilla latte. when i reiterate my drink you just look at me blankly and state, "that's what i wrote". so not true! for a third time i tell you my order, but you do nothing. when i ask why you're charging me for a vanilla latte when i clearly (three times!) asked for iced coffe you exclaim, "oh! iced COFFEE. you told me iced latte." oh, how i hate you.


"but the other bux does it!"

even though bux strives for consistency, it's well known that every bux is different. they each have their own personality and clientele. that being said, there comes a time for this barista brat to put her foot down.

i have a customer that likes her lattes made from soy and nonfat milk. she likes both milks steamed together instead of in two separate containers. no problem. she tips us well. there is another who absolutely hates his iced coffees shaken. so we don't shake them. again not a problem. and of course, we have mrs. double-short-nonfat-freepour-nowhip-onepumpmocha. yeah, she's kind of a pain, but easily handled.

these are our regulars and we know them well. other bux's have regulars too. sometimes they make it to our store. and almost always they order some crazy off the menu concoction. but occasionally they will expect us to do something totally 'illegal' as far as bux standards go. like asking us to make them a personal caramel macchiatto for the price of a refill plus add shot. or (my personal fave) "um, i totally want a frappuccino but i don't do dairy. can you make it soy? you know, just put the soy milk in the blender with all the other stuff and mix it up for me?" or a "i want a totally carb free frappuccino. will you blend it with whipping cream instead of the usual stuff?" when informed that we indeed cannot do these things for them, they always shoot back with a "well the other store does it for me all the time!"

yeah, i swear i hear this at least once a day. of course my first duty is to inform them that no bux should be doing these things. always they persist in telling me that their bux does it all the time.

"then go to your bux. we won't do it here." is my ending remark and they not-so-happily order a frappuccino with *gasp* regular dairy mix.

seriously, if you somehow get your super personalized cup of stupidity from some barista that should know better, then keep going back to that barista. don't expect me to humor you because you hate to order off the menu. it won't happen.

partner rant: why are you such a jerk now? you used to be a barista buddy and all the store loved you. but now you've turned into a barista bastard for no reason and the whole store hates working with you. what blows my mind is that you obviously make an effort at being a first-rate jerk. now you complain that you're encountering all the same problems you had at the other bux. you know, the problems that forced you to transfer to our bux in the first place. umm, dude - think about it: totally different district, totally different store, totally different partners, totally different customers. it's pretty obvious to the rest of the world that the problem lies with you.


drinking for two

what is it with pregnant women and their quad venti white mochas?

i don't know if some new medical study has come out, claiming caffeine is actually good for a fetus, but it seems there must be some new discovery because only about 1 in 5 pregnant women have been ordering decaf. it's something i don't understand at all. why would you ingest four ounces of espresso when expecting?

sometimes the hormones cause the women to forget, or at least that's what they tell me when i ask, "would you like that decaf?" while eyeballing their six-month bump.

but mostly they just look at me like i'm the weird one, wondering why on earth i would ask such a question. occasionally they will preempt us by saying, "well, i always stay off the hard stuff but today i need a little extra boost" which of course is a lie because they never order decaf. sometimes it's the mom-to-be's second or third cuppa that day. i'm wondering if they think all the caffeine will help on delivery day and the newborn will just shake and quake its way out.

but us bratty baristas have a secret. sometimes we accidentally pull decaf shots.

customer rant: your store is big. it's massive. it has two condiment bars and at each bar there are two carafes of half&half. that's a total of four half&half carafes. so why is each and every one empty? if you're so damn busy you should be especially diligent with your floor runs. but no, as long as the trash isn't overflowing you think all is good. well, it's not. believe me, i hate coming over to you baristas to ask for more half&half while you're in the middle of a rush, i really do. but remember - i wouldn't have to ask if you just did your job.


tokin' in the boys room

the bux bathroom holds many secrets, i'm sure. during my frequent floor runs i've found: a lit cigarette, a used feminine pad on the floor (a good three feet from the trashcan), chinese takeout, hair trimmings, groceries, and puke - in the sink.

a lot goes on in there, a lot more than what the bathroom was intended for. the newest bathroom activity is joint smoking.

yes, because my bux is frequented by many, many jr. high kids who can't do it in the privacy of their own home. a car is out of the question as well because they haven't a driving permit.

nope, these kids were dropped off at the local shopping center by mom, and before she comes to turn them into pumpkins, they toke it up at the bux. not behind the bux, not in the empty parking structure near the bux, but in the bux.

why? i'm guessing it's because they get a a craving for frappuccinos after partaking of marijuana. oh, and the fact that they're losers who think they'll never get caught.

this trend hasn't spread to our neighboring smoothie and bagel shops, although honestly they don't clean their bathrooms as often as the bux does. who knew jr. high potheads were such sticklers for cleanliness?

i'm counting the days until one of our many cop customers go into the bathroom after one of the hemp homies. that should be a day to blog about.

barista rant: what part of "sorry, we're out of cinnamon powder" don't you understand? you didn't believe me, so you asked the register partner and they told you the same thing. this still wasn't good enough so you began rummaging through our condiment bar shelves, hoping to score some prime ground cinnamon. what? you think we told you there was none because we were saving it for someone else? maybe you thought there was some cinnamon shortage and we were divvying it out to only two or three customers a day. well, after your great cinnamon search you came up with nothing. nada. zilch. maybe you'll believe us baristas next time. or maybe you can start carrying your own stash of cinnamon powder from now on.


i hate you but i crave you

you are unbelievable.

you stood in line for five minutes. you spent two minutes telling me that coffee bean makes a far superior ice blended product and that you're surprised they haven't run the bux out of business. and then you ordered your venti caramel frappuccino and slapped down your credit card as a form of payment.

umm, methinks there is a genius in my midst.

ok, not really. nothing even close to it. does it make any sense at all to sing the praises of another company's product, only to rack up your credit card (plus interest) to purchase a drink made by 'the enemy'? especially when there is a coffee bean just a few blocks away from bux? and a gloria jean's within walking distance? and some other independent coffee house across the street?

what - were you expecting me to defend our frappuccinos? did you anticipate a battle of ice blended wits? were you ready for me to make the best friggen' caramel frappuccino you've ever had in your life to win your loyalty?

sorry, but no.

you came, you paid, i made, you left. end of story. and guess what? you'll be back.

partner rant: throw your damn cups away! every time i come in for a closing shift, the backroom looks like a graveyard of talls, grandes and ventis! how hard is it to toss a cup in the trash? and it's not like one can't tell the cups are yours - they have your name on them for grounds' sake! you're just as bad as the customers that leave trash all over the tables before they leave. be considerate of your fellow partners and take care of your own garbage.


but last night you said it would be free!

working at the bux, you see scamming trends. as you can probably well guess - this barista brat is not a fan of the scams. especially when they aren't clever or well thought out.

the latest batch has been really, really dumb. the claim is the scammer left their purchases behind, or their multiple drinks were made incorrectly, or they forgot to take their ground beans with them, but as luck would have it, they called the store and were guaranteed their purchases/drinks/beans would be refunded or returned the next day.

normally they start with an "i called last night and the guy working said you'd hold my four mugs for me and i could pick them up today" or a "last night when i called they said i could have a refund for my five lattes that tasted bad".

i guess this must work as some bux out there, but it doesn't work at mine. with a simple glance at the week's schedule, i can deduce that the caller is indeed a liar. when i inform them that there were no guys working the previous night so they must've called a different store, they bluster. when i tell them that i was the only person working the night before that could have promised any sort of refund, and they certainly didn't talk to me, they bumble about talking to "someone".

one guy even called pretending to be fleetwood mac's tour manager, claiming the beans he bought at my store had a hair in them and he was so embarrassed that stevie nicks was witness to this debacle. well, i'm not a fan of fleetwood mac, but i was savvy enough to know they weren't anywhere near my bux at the time this guy called.

it's pretty clear: as long as there is bux, there will be people trying to scam the bux. i accept it, but they must accept when they've been caught.

barista rant: are you blind? did you not see me at the condiment bar changing the trash? was it not perfectly obvious when i said "excuse me" so i could remove the trash from the bar and change it? i know you saw and heard me. so why, while i was in the middle of a trash change, did you dump your nowhere-near-empty cup into the hole where the trash used to be? are you really that much of a dolt, or was it some form of customer passive aggressiveness? be observant. it's not that hard.


service animals only

i know toy poodles aren't new, but it seems there's been a rash of them coming into my bux. well, their owners at least.

now, any place that is considered food service is not allowed to have animals in the store. the only exception are service animals. however, it seems people conveniently forget that "mr. fluffs" is supposed to stay outside. sometimes they insist their tiny chihuaha with the louis vuitton vest is indeed a service dog.

well, even though the owners might resemble someone mentally challenged, these vanity dogs do not qualify. they must stay outside the store. and yes, that includes when you order and when you collect your drink.

just because you smooch your pup, sleep, eat and cuddle with him does not mean it is sanitary. just because you haven't caught some fatal doggie disease does not mean you can bring him into a business that serves food and drink. and just because he's your best friend does not mean we have to accommodate you and break the rules so your paw-mate can be with you 24/7.

guess what? there's a reason pets aren't allowed at the bux. if you're too dim to figure out why, then move to dog-friendly paris and you'll never have to worry about it again. well - actually i think the bux in paris don't allow pets, either.

partner rant: quit stealing aprons! i know for a fact you were given two when you started working for the bux. it really isn't that hard to forget that every barista needs their apron every shift. so, why do you think you're sly when you pilfer one that belongs to someone else? it's pretty obvious you did it considering you were the only person in the backroom when they went on break. oh, and the fact their name is written on the apron kind of gave you away as well. it's pretty lame to steal an apron from your fellow barista, so act responsibly and bring one of the two you own.


something for (almost) nothing

bux, being the huge corporation it is, has it's share of non-fans. those that say "down with capitalistic pigs!" and others that absolutely refuse to pay more than a buck for a cup of coffee. this post is about the latter.

bux has a policy about refills. you only have to pay fifty cents for your refill, but the the "rule" is within the store/within the hour. that means you can't buy your cup of coffee on your way to work, then on your way home stop by bux and get a refill for fifty cents.


well, everyday there are those people that will do their damnedest to get that refill, even if the empty cup was fished out of the trash. i'm not a total bar nazi - i will most likely tell the person that for this time only i will give them the fifty cent refill and then proceed to inform them of the policy. usually this works. sometimes it does not.

what annoys this barista is when someone tries the refill trick umpteen times. fine, it served you well for a while, but now that we've caught on please cease and desist. i guarantee the whole of my bux knows about you, so it doesn't matter that you wait for a different partner to be on register. i've already given them our secret bux hand signals, and they will indeed charge you the correct price.

don't get mad or rude because we are doing our jobs. if you really want a cheap cup of coffee, you can always make it at home or get it at the office.

barista rant: if your credit card came up as 'declined' on our register, don't ask us to swipe it ten more times in the hopes that it will miraculously work. i understand it can be frustrating and embarrassing, but i promise you that repeated swipes will only give us the same 'decline' as the first time. please don't hold the line up while explaining to us that you paid your bill, or that your bank always screws you over. there's honestly nothing we can do if the register refuses to allow you to use your card, so please just accept it and give us another form of payment.


a little something extra

this morning i made a venti latte for a mother of three. she was in a hurry, but was still very pleasant and polite. after handing her the latte, she proceeded to the condiment bar to doctor it up to her specifications. she came back to the bar after a couple minutes.

"um, excuse me," she had not a hint of attitude (so nice!). "i think there's something in my latte."
this really puzzled me because i had just made her drink and i know all that was put into her cup was espresso, steamed milk and a quarter inch of foam.
"if you stir it, you can feel there is something down there." she informed me.

sure enough, i stirred and there was definitely some sort of foreign object in her drink (which was really, really odd considering i'd just made it).

"i'll remake it for you," i told her. "but let's find out what's in your drink."
i poured the latte into the sink and had to laugh when i saw what was left in her cup.

"it's something from the espresso machine, huh?" she asked when she saw my smile.
"actually, it's from the condiment bar," i said and showed her the alien object.

it was the lid to the vanilla powder we keep near the sugar and milk. apparently she unscrewed the cap, poured some vanilla into her latte, and instead of screwing the cap back on, absentmindedly dropped it into the bottom of her cup.
well, she did have three kids to look after while she was fixing her drink.

we both had a good chuckle over that. it was really nice to see someone not freak out when something went wrong with their coffee. you wouldn't believe how many people screw up their own drinks up while at the condiment bar and then blame us for it, or give us tremendous amounts of attitude.

customer rant: be professional! if you misread a drink, or if you heard it wrong, just remake it! don't blame your fellow baristas for your mistake. don't explain to me that you thought the "V" meant valencia, not vanilla because the register partner didn't write it as "VAN". first of all, you should know that vanilla is always written as "V". second, you'll only make enemies of your fellow baristas if you play the blame game and third, you'll just come off as a complete dumbass to your customers.


you give baristas a bad name

today i went into your bux for the first time. sure, this is a new store and most likely the partners are new to the company, but still - we do have standards, you know?

this is what i witnessed during my visit today: register partner not wearing a hat (and yes, your district's health code does require hats), partner taking a smoke break outside still wearing his apron, drive thru person eating a muffin behind the pastry case, and barista calling out drinks incorrectly. oh, so sad.

no, your partners weren't rude, but they were far from timely and they certainly didn't care about bux standards. when the barista called out "decaf latte" i had a feeling it was my drink. i did not, however, pick it up because my name was not called, nor did the barista mention the hazelnut or nonfat milk that was supposed to be included in my drink.

so i waited.

finally, when the other customers had taken their drinks and left, the decaf latte was the only cup left on the serving counter.
"what drink is this?" i asked.
"decaf latte," the barista responded.
"decaf grande hazelnut nonfat latte?" i specified.
"yeah," was the barista's answer.

please, oh please, learn how to call drinks. and please don't give the rest of us baristas a bad name.

partner rant: i know bux is selling cd's now, but the music you're making us baristas listen to is driving us insane. sure, it's cool to showcase new and established artists, but i swear if i have to listen to any more females shrieking or males emoting, i think i might go crazy. every once in a while you will pick something good, or even inoffensive to the ears, but most of the time it just seems like your trying to drive our customers out of the store. yeah, not exactly what i'd call inviting.


good riddance to bad rubbish

sounds horrid, but this barista brat becomes quite happy when a primadonna partner is told their services are no longer needed at the bux. not just the primadonnas, but also the pilfering and pissy partners.

unfortunately, during my time at the bux, i've seen more than my share of partners that can't/won't hang. their interview was great, they seemed enthusiastic and unafraid to put in a hard day's work, but once they're on the payroll they're as productive as jelly. so annoying!

it seems the idea of being a barista was more entertaining than the job itself. that's all fine and good. this job isn't for everyone. but if you know you hate it at the bux, if you know you're not willing to work, and if you know your fellow partners can't stand you because you refuse to work - then suck it up and leave.

if you choose to stay and make everyone's job harder, then fine. don't be surprised if we revel in each and every one of your write-ups. don't be shocked when we hand you the bleach and scrubbie and tell you to clean the drains each and every day. don't wonder why we will give you a chore and duty each and every time we see you slack.

bottom line: if you're receiving a paycheck, we will insist you earn it.

barista rant: you do realize we put names on cups to make it easier for you, right? that's so when we call your name, you know your drink is ready. so if i'm at the register and spell your name "sara" instead of "sarah" don't yell at me. sure, you can correct me, but please refrain from going off for two minutes about how everyone forgets the "h" in your name and how the last two times you went to the bux they neglected the "h" and now you're day is ruined because of a missing letter. a silent letter, at that. take a deep breath. calm down. your coffee will be more enjoyable if the veins aren't popping out of your head.


too bad we haven't a 'no loitering' policy

today an older woman came in, clutching her bagel sandwich from the place next door in one hand, and a horrendously oversized purse in the other.

"can you do me a favor?" she asked as she plopped her sandwich and her bag on our counter. "will you blend these for me in one of your blenders?" she pulled a fruit soda and some dietary packet of powder from her bag. "i hate mixing it in a cup. it always clumps!" she explained while holding out her goods for us to blend.
"sorry, we can't blend those for you. it's a health code violation," i informed her.
"oh, come on!" she replied in disbelief.
"sorry, ma'am," i said and started to help the person behind her.
she went to a table, mixed her stuff herself and finished her bagel sandwich in about twenty minutes.

the point of this story?
well, i continue to be amazed at the people who take up our tables and chairs without purchasing any coffee. not only that, this woman wanted us to mix her damn liquid lunch in our blenders, just because she didn't want clumps. since she was old i can't blame the innocence (or rudeness) of youth. she owned plenty of years to know better, but she just didn't care.

i've noticed that bux has become a meeting place, a resting spot, and a place to sit your ass when you have no other place to go. that's not so horrible. what makes it bad is that nothing was purchased to merit occupying tables and chairs. it's especially horrid when regular customers show up and there's no place for them to sit and enjoy their coffee.

very cool that people like the bux atmosphere. too bad they aren't willing to pay for it.

barista rant: i know we are bratty, but we are not dumb! i heard you order a grande espresso frappuccino and a tall coffee frappuccino. i made them perfectly and timely, but when i presented them to you, you told me i messed them up. that the tall was supposed to have the espresso, not the grande. so fine, i remake them for you (although the mistake was yours, not mine!) and presented you with your newly made drinks. i can't believe you had the gall to try and take the other two drinks with you. when i took the "mistakes" and started to empty them into the sink you called out, "wait! i would've taken those too!". yes, exactly. this bratty barista knew you wanted two free drinks. and no - you don't get them.


bux don't babysit

bux is kid friendly. truly it is. we serve kid's cocoas, we have chocolate and vanilla milk, and we even sell those giant marshmallow squares that are ever so popular.

but there is a difference between kid friendly and babysitters.

i don't understand you parents that come into bux with your kids, order your drinks, then as you sit and enjoy your beverage allow your kids to tear up the store. they run around, grabbing stirrer sticks to play with, tossing equal packets, and dropping everything off our display etagere. they even break our espresso machines we have on display.

and what do you do? nothing. you sit there sipping your mocha valencia, never once telling your kids to behave.

when we round up the young'uns and bring them back to you, we are greeted with a sheepish smile and a "sorry". but then you let them run free again and the next thing we know there is a flood in the bathroom because they wanted to see how many paper towels would fit in the toilet.

i understand you want to relax. i understand you want to enjoy your bux. so does everyone else who comes here, so next time either control your kids or leave them with grandma.

customer rant: why do you serve expired coffee? i see the light blinking on the shuttle, i know it's more than an hour old. why did you not just re-brew? why aren't your timers set to tell you when the coffee is expired? and why do you go ahead and serve old coffee, even when you know you should dump it and re-brew. no, this is not to standard and yes, i will call you on it every time.


waiting in line

my bux is a very busy bux. especially on the weekends. it is usual for the line to go all the way to the front door, and we do our best to ensure the wait isn't too painful.

so, i'm curious as to the behavior of some customers who wait in those long lines. it would seem that if you had to wait a good five minutes just to place your order, you'd have spent that time figuring out just what it is you'd like to drink. right? makes sense to me.

what doesn't make sense is waiting forever in a line, then spending an additional two minutes reading the menu board deciding between having your usual and trying something new. meanwhile, those behind you who actually know what they'd like to order must endure you're excruciatingly slow decision making process.

i have a question. just what goes through your mind those five minutes you stood in line? i know it wasn't "hmm, what will i order today?" because i'm sure five minutes is more than an adequate amount of time to make a choice. is it "gee, why is this line so long?" or "i wonder if the back of my head is as pretty as the front?" or even "when i win the lottery...."

please, be productive. figure out what you want before we ask what you'd like to drink. the line will move faster that way.

customer rant: today i ordered a latte and you gave me a cappuccino. your excuse was that i asked for nonfat milk, and since nonfat milk foams much easier than regular milk, a nonfat latte by default will have more foam. "not if you let the milk settle" was my response. "you ordered nonfat milk" was your baffling reply. thankfully you tried again, and guess what? you let the milk settle and *poof* you magically made a latte. please don't argue with the barista brat and make up lame excuses as to why you don't want to make drinks properly. that will only ensure a "customer rant" in the barista brat blog.


grande attitude

this morning, at my local bux, i witnessed one of those customers from hell. one of those people that just waits for the opportunity to go off on someone.

situation: register barista misunderstood order, marking only one shot for crabby customer's venti latte, not an extra shot.
barista on bar made drink to order. crabby customer, upon hearing there was only one shot in her latte instead of three, decided to go off on barista at bar.

not a "hey, this was supposed to have three shots" or even a "i paid for an extra shot so don't stiff me".

crabby customer decided to channel all her pent up rage and anger with a "you need to learn what a latte is before they let you on bar! how hard is it to put an extra shot in my drink? is there someone back there that actually knows how to make drinks? is your manager here? i can't believe this!"

yeah, i couldn't believe it, either. this lady made a total scene for absolutely no reason, bitching the whole time while her drink was being remade. finally, when her latte was made to order she left bux - still bitching on her way out.

"i hope you made all those shots decaf," i said to the barista brat on bar when he handed me my drink.
he winked in response.

barista rant: why, oh why, do you respond "no" when we ask if you'd like room for cream in your coffee, then proceed to empty four ounces of your coffee into the trash can to make room for the milk you're about to put in? why? is it a control issue? are you afraid we will leave too much room? it can't possibly be fear of us leaving too little room because you've already demonstrated your ability to empty hot steaming coffee into the trash. so, what is it? is there some sort of adrenaline high that occurs when you make room for cream? or are you just being annoying?

so long, farewell

post is late tonight because of a late night closing. i might have been able to post this twenty minutes earlier, but there was a large group of people congregating in my bux this evening. we must truly have a wonderful store, because they didn't want to leave. at all.

i think it's great when customers hang out. i think it's cool that we have regulars who enjoy reading/working/studying in our bux. but what isn't great or cool are those who think just because they ordered their drinks two minutes before we close, they can hang out for as long as they like.

not so!

this might be news to some, but us barista brats are given a time frame to clean up and leave. that means we will not budge when we say "sorry folks, we're closing!" you do indeed have to go home when we tell you to. it doesn't matter that you just settled into a comfy wooden chair and were about to start a meeting of the minds. it doesn't matter that you tossed a dime into the tip jar after you ordered. what matters is we said "good night, we're closed".

partner rant: what part of "sweep the floor" do you not understand? i swear, every time you did your lobby i reminded you to sweep. you nodded your head, as if to acknowledge my request, but then you don't deliver. no broom, no disney-sweeper. nada. and yet you walked over the same straw wrapper three times. "sweep the floor" i again urged and you gave me a blank look. "sweeeeeeep the flooooooor" i tried once more, this time using hand gestures. finally, the wheels started turning and you grabbed a broom. too bad you missed the straw wrapper.


your medium does not offend me

some of you need a new hobby.
i have some news for you: the words 'small', 'medium', and 'large' do not offend us baristas. if you have no desire to speak starbonics - no problem! we don't care. if you come in and ask for a large caramel frappuccino, we will give you one. sure, we'll call it a venti caramel frappuccino, but still, you're getting what you ordered.

now, this post isn't a complaint for those of you who use the words 'small', 'medium', or 'large'. it's for those that expect us bratty baristas to keel over dead when you sneer "gimme a ssssmmmmaaaaalllll cup of coffee". you know who you are - you come in armed with your paper, ready for a fight over words. and sometimes you pull a soapbox out from where the sun don't shine to orate.

"why can't you call it a large?" "this cup isn't tall, it's small!" "who are you to tell us how to order our coffee?"

guess what? we don't care. really. even when you tell us you're going to join that movement/website/petition to force the bux to change the name of their sizes, we don't care. order your drink, pay, leave. simple.

so please, continue to call a grande latte a medium latte if it makes you happy. just be quick about it.

barista rant: if you want to have your book club meeting in my bux, fine. just please order some damn coffee! it is ridiculous and rude for a party of six people to waltz in, take over 2-3 tables, hang out for an hour and spend less than fifty cents a person. and asking for two empty cups so you can turn your venti mocha into sample mochas for your group is so gauche. since you're only meeting once a month why don't you splurge and order that white mocha you've always been meaning to try, but are too scared to consume the calories. go ahead, treat yourself. i'm sure being cheap burns a lot of calories.


behind the bar

i love my fellow baristas, i truly do. whether they be barista brats like me, or barista buddies, i have the joy of working with awesome people. mostly.

occasionally we will have a guest barista in the store. most the time they are cordial, nice, and inoffensive. sometimes, however, we get a barista bitch or barista bastard. these are no joy to be around.

barista bitches/bastards are uppity, cranky and tend to be bar nazis, complaining about everything my store does differently than theirs. i'm not talking about making drinks differently, or even how we mark the cups. i'm talking about the placement of our bar towel, how close our sanitizer is to the registers and where we keep our cup sleeves.

um, hello? get a life. please. you're spending six hours in my store. you're getting paid for your time and you'll be getting tips (which happen to be much higher in my bux than yours). if my bux offends thee so much, then don't cover/ask for shifts. stay where you feel comfortable and leave us happy baristas in peace.

barista rant: put down the damn phone! how hard is it to say "hang on a sec" to whoever you're talking to so you can place your order? and don't you dare give me a dirty look because i greeted you with a "hi, what can i get started for you?" while you had your phone to your ear. if you refuse to converse with me - the barista brat who is taking your order - then i will be forced to ask you a million more questions 'til you hang up the phone. so be prepared! if that phone is stuck to your ear, expect to hear me ask "decaf or regular?" "one shot or two?" "iced or hot?" "anything else?" "how about a pastry?" "need a gift card?" and anything else you can think of. learn some manners.


bux is not full service

this morning, at my local bux, i saw a couple get up from their table and leave a hideous mess behind.
"Um, you gonna clean up your trash?" i asked (i was an incognito barista today).
"it's all good. they'll clean it up," was the dude's response.
"why don't YOU clean it up. this isn't denny's, you know.' yeah, although incognito i was still a brat.
"it's all good." he repeated as if it were more potent the second time he said it.
"suck it up and pick it up," i snarled to no avail.

what is wrong with you people? did you not see the three trash cans scattered around the store, as well as the two trash cans outside? have you ever, in you're whole bux drinking experience, been served at your table? did you walk in, sit down then have a barista walk over to you, take your drink order and then bring you your beverage? and after you'd finished did the barista then return to your table, present you with a bill and then hand you your change?

what? that never happened? you've never been to a full-service bux? damn straight! that's because the bux isn't a restaurant/cafe. if you took your drink and pastry to your table, then take its remnants with you when you leave. simple.

partner rant: yeah, so i know you were covering a shift today. and i'm sure this bux appreciated the extra set of hands. however, although this isn't the usual place you hang your apron, kindly refrain from having a lemon face when calling down the line. don't bark out "what drink are you ordering" without a hello and a smile. we don't want to start the day drinking a cup of your anger.


green apron does not equal doormat

yeah, so it rained today. and sure, traffic sucked and you were late for work. and of course someone snaked your parking spot, which meant you had to park a whopping two spaces further away from the door. and to top it all off, you stepped in a puddle on your way to the bux.

you were mad.
ok, that's perfectly understandable.

however - that does not mean you can yell at me because your life sucked for the last eight hours.

you heard me, green apron does not equal doormat. just because you are willing to pay close to four dollars for your caffeine fix does not give you the right to berate us baristas - bratty or non-bratty.
and you should consider yourself lucky that my fellow barista didn't give you decaf shots. or resteam your milk. even though you deserved it!

barista rant: flush the damn toilet! this is a public restroom for grounds sake! how hard is it to push the little silver handle until you hear a whoosh sound? if you're capable of ordering a double tall one pump vanilla soy no foam extra caramel macchiato, you're capable of ensuring the toilet water is no longer yellow when exiting the bathroom.



i'm not going to go into the whole tipping/non-tipping "controversy". really no need. as i see it, if you want to leave a tip, then please do so. if you don't want to tip, then keep your money. most baristas (bratty or not) feel the same.

there is only one breed of non-tippers we baristas truly, truly hate: the celebrity non-tipper.

you know who i'm talking about. the actor/singer/model who pulls up in their ferrari/porsche/hummer and would rather appear on the surreal life than part with the nickel i gave them back in change. the ones who are pissed because we don't gush about how wonderful their last film/song/campaign was. the ones who expect us humble (and bratty) baristas to feel privileged just to make their beverage.
well - not so! sorry, but you don't get special treatment because you are famous and make more money than the rest of us. and you best be careful because we baristas are always quick to inform whoever will listen what a cheapskate you are. then we will summize that you must be in financial trouble, your career is dead and you will soon be on skating with the stars. i mean, why else would you so desperately hang on to that nickel?

barista rant: please learn the difference between an iced latte and a frappuccino! don't give me a blank look then boldy declare "i didn't order that" when i present you with your drink. yes you did order it! i distinctly heard the words "gimme a latte - an iced one" come out of your lying mouth. if you really wanted a frappuccino, then ask for a frappuccino. simple! and if you find yourself again in this situation, it would be much better if you said "i'm sorry, i ordered the wrong thing" and we will most likely remake your drink without a scowl.

my venti cup runneth over

so i guess it had to happen at some point. the good part of my heart says this blog is to inform and educate. my bad part says anything it damn well pleases! in every post i will have either a barista rant, a customer rant, or a partner rant. yes, i'm a barista and have many things to say on that matter. i'm also a customer, and since i know what's standard on the other side of the counter, i have many things to say about the customer experience. and of course, i am a partner and i have many, many opinions of my fellow partners. tonight i am tired after a very late close, but i will inaugurate this blog with all three rants. oh joy.

barista rant: why do you ask me, the barista at the bar, if drink x is "yours"? did i take your order? no. did i count your change back to you? no. in fact, before asking me "is this mine?" did we ever have any sort of interaction with each other? NO!
how on earth can i possibly discern if drink x is yours? i promise you, i will be much cheerier and less bratty if you were to approach me in this manner: "excuse me - what drink is this?"

customer rant: why is it every morning i come here there is no half & half for my coffee? why do you have three - count 'em three! - empty half & half containers on your condiment bar? i just saw you do a lobby, so why did you not check the containers? why must you assume that at least one of the containers must be full? and why does this happen morning after morning? (all you stores near freeways - i'm talking to you!)

partner rant: why do you make everyone's job harder? why can't you learn the friggin' cup markings? how hard is it to remember that an "M" in the drink box means mocha? than an "X" in the decaf box means decaf? this is not rocket science! learn the damn markings!