when it's ok to hate baristas

today i scored a day off and i'm blogging from a bux i don't usually go to.
these baristas have it easy. not one customer in line and only about four of us in the lobby - all on our laptops.

so, in my bux, whenever there is down time, we stock, prep, do trash runs, clean counters, make change, and everything else that needs to be accomplished in order for our bux to successful.

want to know what the baristas are doing here?
one is leaning against the back counter, two are standing behind the pastry case talking about that "classic" film the davinci code and the other barista is doing 'the robot' to whatever song is playing right now.
yep - highly productive set, these baristas are.

these are the kind of baristas i hate. the ones that are lazy as all hell, don't give a bean about customer service, and have the audacity to deeply sigh when someone comes to the counter to order a drink.
um, hello but aren't you getting PAID to take orders and make drinks? i know that's what my fellow baristas and i are paid to do.
i also hate this type of barista because they will be the ones to screw you over for your closing shift. nothing will have been prepped or pre-closed, which means you won't get out on time because you're doing the work of the mid-shift before you - as well as your own duties.

i have no idea what sort of manager these baristas have, but they need a good apron whipping, that's for sure.

customer rant: don't friggen' argue with me about my drink! i asked for a tall roomy americano and you gave me an americano with raspberry syrup. "oh, see, they put an 'r' in the custom box, so that means raspberry," you told me. when i informed you that an 'r' in the SYRUP box means raspberry and an 'r' in the CUSTOM box means roomy, you just rolled your eyes. "that's not how we do it here." you said. um, excuse me but isn't YOUR register partner the one that marked the cup? so i guess they do indeed do it that way at your bux. well, everyone except for you, apparently.


hello, operator?

apparently my fellow barista brat and awesome assistant manager had the sunday night from hell. i think they both have temporary deafness due to the frappuccino blenders running all night long. but, admittedly, sometimes the worst nights produce the best stories.

case in point: last night's craziness made for a longer night of cleaning up. usually we bring in our outside tables and chairs about ten minutes before we lock our doors. on nights when there are still a ton of people hanging around the outside of our bux we might wait until after we've mopped the inside of the store before we bring in the outside furniture. and yes - we DO have to literally pull the chairs out from the asses sitting in them because most of our customers assume we are open for as long as they want us to be.
well, we're not.

so last night when my fellow barista brat kicked the loiterers off our patio, one of them decided to use his cell phone to call bux.

"uh, what time do you guys close?" the guy asked from right outside our locked door.
"actually, we closed almost an hour ago," my awesome assistant manager informed him.
"what time do you guys open in the morning?" the guy asked while standing right in front of our posted hours of operation.
"we will be open again at 5am."
"well, can i order a drink right now?"
"we're closed."
"well, i'm standing right outside." the guy said - like he was doing bux a favor.
"um, i know. i can see you."
"so, can i get a drink?" idiot guy asked again.
"sir, we're closed."
"well, doesn't starbucks have a 'just say yes' policy?"
"actually we do. but it's only in effect when we're OPEN." my awesome assistant manager let him know.

the not so funny part of this story is that the guy will probably call back later in the week to make a formal complaint with the manager. and he'll probably get a free drink out of it.

barista rant: if you're looking for a particular mug that bux used to carry it's fine to call stores and ask them if they have it in stock. but it is NOT ok to ask ME to call all the bux's in my district so you can locate your precious mug. and it's not acceptable to give me attitude when i inform you that i am too busy at the moment to rattle off the phone numbers of those stores. sorry lady, but i have a job to do and the ten customers in line get top priority over you, get it?


invisible friends

this weekend has been slightly less busy. i think it must have something to do with the holiday weekend.

to drum up excitement for the new banana frappuccinos we've been sampling them like mad. two straight hours out of each day are spent making about a billion tiny cups of frappuccinos to hand out to people in bux, outside of bux, in the shopping center, at the movie theatre and at the mall across the street. i guess the great minds in corporate figured our customers wouldn't be able to keep from ordering the damn things if they just got a taste of them.
well, i'm here to let them know that their marketing strategy backfired.

instead of people buying a frappuccino after taking a sample, they're just coming back for more samples. yup, they're coming back three or four times to "taste" the new drinks. and if they happen to stop by at a time when we're not sampling, we've been instructed to make samples anyway. oh joy. every ten minutes some freak comes in asking for a sample and we have to make them. all friggen' day long.

today we had a guy literally load up on samples. he drank two of them right in front of us and then grabbed SIX more.

"uh, they're for my friends outside." he said while he tried to figure out how to balance two more.
"well, your friends can come in and get their own samples." my fellow barista brat informed him.
"what?" he asked, sensing the barista was annoyed. "it's not like you're not going to give them all away anyway!"
"it's not like you're going to give them all away, either." i chimed in.

i hope he gets the runs from his greediness.

barista rant: just because you had the "brilliant" idea of adding blackberry sauce to your vanilla bean frappuccino doesn't mean you can talk my ear off everyday about how bux should offer your version of the drink. guess what? i'm not interested. i don't care and i'm not going to call corporate and suggest your recipe to them. nor am i going to try and sell this drink to my other customers. basically, if you want to see your drink on the menu board, then you can open you're own coffee shop.


want some sugar, sugar?

we have this regular customer who is very nice, but very odd as well.

miles orders a grande drip with room everyday - sometimes two or three times - sits at a table and people watches for hours. what makes him a little odd is that he always has a goofy smile on his face while he watches the customers in my bux.

one day while i was doing a trash run, i saw miles put a note on someone's car in the parking lot, then run away before he got caught. i thought it strange but quickly forgot about it.

that is - until one of my loyal customers came in and asked me about miles.
"who is that guy that sits here and smiles at everyone?" she asked.
"oh, that's miles. he's here everyday." i told her.
"well, yesterday i found a note on my car, stating that i smiled at him when i walked into bux, that he thinks i'm gorgeous and he wanted to know if i was single. he even left his phone number."

a couple days after that ANOTHER loyal customer came in telling me the same thing. but the funny thing was he had left the exact same note on her car a year earlier at a different bux. it seems miles likes the ladies. and he likes to leave notes. and apparently it worked because last night he came in with his girlfriend.

mind you - at first we all thought it was his mother because of the age difference, but i'm pretty sure no one kisses their mother with tongue. at least not in public.

i guess the lesson here is persistence pays off. either that or beware of smiling coffee drinkers.

partner rant: don't say "i'm sorry! i apologize!" when i ask you to do something correctly. hey foolio - i'm not looking for an apology - i'm looking for you to do things the right way. if you're getting tired of me telling you the standard way to write cups, make drinks, etc. - then do them correctly in the first place and you'll never hear a peep out of me. but if you continue to screw things up, you can bet your tip money that i will be right there to point you in the right direction. your choice.


understaffed blues

today is friday and i have no idea what kind of shift i'm in for tonight.
once upon a time i had the world's best manager and i never had to look at my schedule with concern. she always set me up with great people, scheduled shifts properly so we could all take breaks in a timely manner, and always listened to her partners. not only that - she was great at interviewing and hiring solid people.

so, when she was my manager (well, actually in my heart of hearts she still is) i never dreaded going in to work. not even on friday night when i knew it would be insanely busy. unfortunately that is no longer the case.

my current manager means well, i'm sure - but she is hardly seasoned (imho). she's an outstanding barista, but her scheduling needs A LOT of help. what's really sad is she doesn't seem to listen when her partners point out the days when we are understaffed.

not listening + overworked baristas = requests for transfers and two-week notices.

not even my awesome assistant manager can get through to our current manager, and i've heard her try on several occasions.

not only that, she doesn't hold the slackers accountable for anything although she expects 200% from her seasoned baristas. yeah, not exactly fair. it would be easier to dislike her if she were an awful person, but she's actually very nice and personable. she just can't handle managing a high volume store.

it's sad when you can list off at least five baristas that are ready to jump ship because all they hear is "upsale! cut hours! BANANAS! send him home early!". then at the end of the week we are told "hey, don't cut so much labor that you're hurting for bodies during the weekend". um, hello?

i myself have decided to change where i hang my apron. wish i could go to my former manager's store, but unfortunately they're all chalked up.

barista rant: why do you point to the menu board and ask "is that any good?". do you really not realize that from where i'm standing i CANNOT see the menu? that even if i could i would not be able to discern which drink you are pointing to? and that "good" is totally subjective? did you know that i'm not a mind reader? i'd be happy to give you my opinion of any drink, so long as you actually let me know which one you are interested in. is that too much to ask?


who's on first

you won't believe it, but yesterday we had yet ANOTHER customer grabbing someone else's drink!

it was during a rush and i was marking cups for the register baristas. a customer ordered her drink and gave me her name - jen. then the next customer gave her order and her name also was jen.

"what's your last initial because we have another jen lined up." i said.
"oh, my last name starts with an 'h'". she replied.
"ok, you're 'jen h.'" i confirmed.

two customers later we had yet another jen. i asked for her last initial and it was 'p'.
so, there were drinks for jen, jen h, and jen p.

fast forward three minutes and i hear a customer yelling over at the bar.
"what the hell! i ordered a venti, not a tall!" one of the jen's was complaining to the barista.
"oh my god, i can't believe that girl gave me the wrong size AND put the wrong initial down! i told her 'p'! not 'h'!"
"um, i'm jen h." jen #2 piped up. "that's actually my drink."
"no!" jen p yelled again. "that girl specifically asked for my last initial and i TOLD her!"

the barista then gave jen p her drink and it was a full ten seconds before she realized that she was the idiot, not me. no apology to jen h, just an "oh, i figured that girl got it all wrong" before she sauntered out the door.

partner rant: don't lie to me! don't pretend that a barista called in sick one hour before his shift when he actually let you know two days earlier that he couldn't come in! don't tell me that there was no time to find coverage when you had TWO days! did you think i wouldn't find out that you screwed my closing shift over? did you think i wouldn't find out that you dropped the ball? dude, please don't insult my intelligence, ok?


i want your bux

to expound upon yesterday's barista rant, i'm offering a few more examples of when customers take drinks that don't belong to them.

incident #1
a woman ordered two white mochas - one for her and one for her mother. the barista called out the drink five times and waited fifteen minutes before dumping the them down the drain. about ten minutes later the woman walks up to the bar demanding to know why her drinks weren't ready yet. the barista explained that he believed the drinks to be abandoned, but was happy to remake them for her. again, she neglected to pick up the drinks when he called them out. by the time she got around to taking her drinks, there were two other drinks on the bar for two other people. of course she grabbed the wrong ones and took them back to her table. it was her mother who had to inform her that they weren't drinking white mochas (dumb lady didn't even notice!). she again comes back to the bar and yells at the barista for making the wrong drinks. when he pointed out that she had TAKEN the incorrect drinks - drinks that had other people's NAMES on them she gave him a dirty look and hissed "this is YOUR fault" before finally taking the drinks that had been remade for her.

incident #2
a woman ordered a mocha frappuccino. when I called out a mocha she grabbed it. it took her two whole sips before she realized the beverage in her hand was hot - and not iced blended. she came back to the bar, informing me that i made the drink incorrectly, that she had ordered a mocha frappuccino.
"is your name susan?" i asked her.
"yes," she responded with attitude.
"well, your mocha frappuccino is right in front of you. the drink in your hand belongs to someone else."
instead of apologizing, or even looking sheepish, she just placed the hot mocha on the bar and said "well, i only took two sips. they won't notice." before grabbing her frappuccino and walking out the door.

incident #3
a regular customer brought in her personal mug for her latte. when i called out her drink a man grabbed it and walked off. i literally had to chase him down and knock on his car window to let him know he had taken someone's personal mug, not his drink which came in the usual paper starbucks cup. how could this man not realize the plastic to-go mug that said "world's best mom" wasn't his?!?

partner rant: hello! put the damn caps back on the sharpies! you know that we use the sharpies to mark every cup. you know what a pain it is when a sharpie goes missing, or is totally dried out. so why the hell can't you put the cap back on before you leave your register to do a lobby? why is it so hard to put the cap back on when there's no one else in line? do you think it's there for decoration? do you really not understand that no cap means a dried out pen?


newbie knows worst

today i visited a bux i used to frequent quite often. it used to be my favorite bux to hang at because the partners were really cool and the store was always clean. the reason i don't go there so often anymore is because there is hardly any seating available. they have become super, super busy.

i saw a couple familiar baristas and chatted with them a bit. i could sense they were annoyed - and it wasn't too hard to figure out why. of the six baristas on the floor, four of them were new.
i know the pain of working with newbies. i don't want to imagine what it would be like to deal with four of them during a busy morning rush.

the lead barista was working on bar. she was doing a fantastic job until a newbie showed up to "help" her. not only did newbie get the drinks out of order - she started to pull shots before her milk was steamed (a cardinal sin for baristas). newbie put too much foam in a latte and when the lead barista asked her to take off the excess foam and add milk, newbie scraped off the foam and plopped it into the steamed milk pitcher instead of the dipwell. then newbie pulled regular shots for a decaf drink, resteamed nonfat milk (eww!), put too many pumps of syrup in an easy vanilla cappuccino, as well as pissing off the lead barista.
i hate newbies that don't listen/learn and i know the lead barista at this store does too.
they ended up sending newbie home early because she was hindering the flow - not helping.

barista rant: LISTEN for your drink. don't just assume that any drink i put on the bar belongs to you. don't sip the drink (that wasn't even yours), wrinkle your nose and tell me that i made your mocha wrong. the reason it tastes funny is because a) it's not a mocha and b) it's not YOURS! listen for your name - that will ensure you get the drink you ordered and paid for, ok?


toe-may-toe, toe-mah-toe

my awesome assistant manager had an incident with a know-it-all fifteen year-old yesterday.

awesome assistant manager: "brittney, here's your tall white mocha frappuccino and your grande caramel frappuccino."
know-it-all teen: "this isn't what i asked for! i wanted a white CHOCOLATE frappuccino. not mocha!"
aam: "yes, that frappuccino has white chocolate."
teen: "YOU said white MOCHA. i don't want MOCHA, i want WHITE chocolate."
aam: "a white mocha frappuccino has white chocolate in it."
teen: "oh my GOD! i can't believe you work here and don't know the difference between white chocolate and mocha!"
aam: "mocha just means there's coffee in the drink. if you want a white chocolate frappuccino it won't have any coffee. it will taste like a milkshake instead."
teen: "no! MOCHA is the brown chocolate. WHITE chocolate is WHITE! i want WHITE chocolate, not brown MOCHA!"
aam: "look, no matter what you call the drink, the fact is this drink is made with coffee and white chocolate, therefore it's called a white mocha frappuccino."
teen: "i want to talk to the manager."
aam: "fine, just a second."
awesome assistant manager walks away then walks right back.
aam: "hi."
teen: "YOU'RE the MANAGER?"
aam: "yes."
teen: "well i want -"
aam: "yeah, i know WHITE chocolate."

i wish i could say this sort of thing happens only once in a while.
unfortunately i can't.

barista rant: do you not see me making drinks? can you not tell that i am very occupied steaming milk and pulling shots? don't you see the ten people waiting for their beverages? so why do you waltz over to the serving counter and tell me that you need forks and knives? am i anywhere near the pastry case? did i hand you food? no! don't ask the person making drinks for utensils, ok? because in order to get them for you i have to walk away from the bar and all the drinks waiting to be made. so, here's a suggestion: why not ask the person who actually handed you the coffee cake for a fork. and if you really want to look astute, try asking for the fork while you order the pastry, ok smartie?



i am absolutely dreading going in to work tonight. i know it's just going to be a repeat performance of last night: a billion customers going to/coming from the da vinci code and ordering twice as many frappuccinos. ugh.

i've ranted several times about frappuccinos, but ever since we've added banana and coconut it's gotten even worse (if you could imagine). the problem with the banana is that it can (and is) incorporated into any type of existing frappuccino. before, in a line of ten blended drinks, you would usually have about three caramels, two java chips, two mochas, a vanilla bean, a plain coffee and a strawberries and cream.
believe me, that was bad enough.
now it's a banana coconut, caramel, banana caramel, strawberries and banana, mocha, banana mocha, mocha coconut with banana, banana creme, double chocolate chip with banana, yadda, yadda, yadda.
every frappuccino is different with a different topping which means it takes even longer to prepare and serve them - which in turn means angrier customers.

i actually feel sorry for the customer who tries to give me attitude tonight. i'm already at my limit with the billion different blended drinks bux now offers, all i need is some idiot with complex to say the wrong thing to turn me into vesuvius.
can't wait!

partner rant: as if the stinkin' banana frappuccinos weren't bad enough! now you're forcing me to listen to the dixie chicks while i work my shift. what are you doing?!? do you WANT me to go postal? do you WANT me to scream with frustration at the noise you impose on me? whatever happened to the good old days when you played madness, morcheeba, mc solaar, manu chao and bob marley? i even loved the classical cd's! but ever since you decided to be best friends with alanis morissette, the music sucks. i hate you hear music. i hate you.


sue happy people

thankfully i only hear the phrase "i'm gonna sue starbucks!" about once a month.
of course, each time i hear this i just roll my eyes. kind of useless to sue a multi-million corporation when you're the one at fault.

the first time someone threatened to sue my bux was after an older man burned himself. the idiot refused the drink tray i offered him and instead attempted to carry four lattes by himself to the table where his family was seated. his method was hugging all four drinks to his chest, which only resulted in two of the lids popping off and the hot liquid spilling on to his chest. immediately we gave him towels to clean himself up as well as a gel salve to help cool down burns. i filled out an incident report to send to the corporate office, all the while he and his family were threatening to sue us.
excuse me?
of course nothing ever came of this because the whole thing was obviously the guy's fault. but it still was annoying to hear them threaten legal action because of his stupidity.

just recently we had a woman threaten to sue, as well as charge us the cost of cleaning her vehicle because her raspberry latte stained her carseat. this woman didn't even place her drink in a cup holder. instead she just sat it on the passenger seat because it was "easier to reach". when she made a sharp turn her drink fell on it's side and some of it leaked out of the lid (you know - the hole people drink from). well, i guess the raspberry syrup didn't go so well with her beige interior because she wanted to sue. what a genius.

and then there's the father who wanted to sue us because his daughter doesn't know how to drink from a cup and spilled her kid's cocoa all over her nice cashmere sweater. who buys cashmere for a kid? of course he felt his daughter's inability to intake beverages was the fault of bux. when he realized screaming about dry-cleaning bills was getting him nowhere, he then changed tactics and asked for ten free drink coupons. uh, no.

can't wait to hear what the next "lawsuit" will be.

customer rant: your store is a pigsty! i can't believe how messy you guys are! i came in to order a drink but after seeing how dirty your counters are, how filthy your milk pitchers look, and how all the trashcans are overflowing i walk right out. i'm sure i'm not the only customer to do so. please, maintain the standard, ok?


when getting lei'd is bad

have any of you been in a bux today?
of course there's been a change-over to promote our new banana frappuccinos - but really, did bux have to go with the surfer/hawaiian motif? it looks like we're using all the rejected 'old navy' signage. truly unappetizing, and not at all what we should be going for (imho). we already sell a billion frappuccinos so it's not like we really have to market/whore ourselves out to the little mall trolls. do we?

my manager had the "brilliant" idea of doing a banana cheer everytime someone orders a friggen' banana frappuccino. she wants us to get all 'harujuku girls' and scream out B-A-N-A-N-A-S before we start blending those horrid drinks. thank goodness she didn't ask to borrow the banana suit from the smoothie people next door - but we will have to wear a giant yellow visor while we trudge through the shopping center sampling the new drinks.

the bux near me is forcing their baristas to wear hawaiian shirts, leis and grass skirts. let me just say "i wouldn't be caught dead..." it's sad to see their little faces with forced smiles, asking everyone if they'd like to try the new frappuccinos, then waddle away with their plastic skirt swishing behind them. not pretty on a 6'4" 270 pound guy, i assure you.

hopefully our next change-over will reflect what bux is truly about: pseudo intellectual middle-class snobbery.
i can at least handle that.

partner rant: yes, i know i asked for a 'tall roomy americano'. so why the hell did you leave my cup filled only half way with water? roomy doesn't mean half full. if someone asked for a venti drip with room would you only fill it half way? no! because that would be a tall drip in a venti cup! so don't get lazy on me, ok? just give me enough room for cream and i'll be happy.


two for tuesday

at my bux we see all sorts of people coming in to get their coffee. many of them are repeat customers, and of those there are a couple that truly stand out.

we have this one woman who loves to touch everything. i mean EVERYTHING!
she walks into the store caressing whatever crosses her path: tables, chairs, people. whatever it might be, it gets touched. then before ordering her coffee she spends about fifteen minutes at our display, making sure all the mugs are perfectly spaced with our logo facing forward. chocolate bars must be right side up, tea boxes have to line up perfectly, and all mints must stand proudly. after perfecting the look of our merchandise, she finally decides to order her coffee.
her drink is always something easy, like a vanilla latte or a mocha, but she spends a ton of time talking to us - and touching us! she always wants to shake our hands and when she does she hangs onto it with a firm grip while her other hand caresses the forearm. so weird! after she let's go, she picks up her drink and then walks over to anyone sitting alone and tries to touch them as well. for awhile we thought she was some ocd prostitute because was always siding up to men who were sitting alone. after a visibly awkward conversation she would then offer to give the guy her phone number.
she's always very nice to us and i guess i shouldn't complain since she always retouches our displays.

we also have a guy that comes in every weekend. he's in his thirties, but is socially retarded (seriously! i'm not just being mean). for whatever reason i'm his favorite barista and he always shouts his hellos to me.
he'll walk into bux and shout "HI BRAT!" from across the store. if i happen to be in the backroom i'll hear him bellow "WHERE'S BRAT!" over and over until i make an appearance. if i managed a day off he'll shout "BRAT, YOU WEREN'T HERE YESTERDAY!"
one day he came in and noticed i had a new shorter hairdo.
"yes, jeff. thanks for noticing."
"you think so?"
another time he was complaining about a drink some other barista made him.
"i'm sorry. i'll make you another one right now."
"well, hopefully this one tastes better."

partner rant: why do you lie? when i sent you to do a lobby run you told me you emptied the trash, but you didn't! you said you changed the milk containers, but you didn't! you said you windexed the door, but you didn't! what, do you think i'm too stupid to notice fingerprints and overflowing trashcans? if you hate doing lobby runs, then quit!


you muthah buxtah!

tonight's post will be a huge two-part rant.

partner rant: what the hell! the last three weeks you've totally understaffed us on sundays! why are there only eight people on the schedule, and yet we are open from 6am to 11pm! 17 hours of operation and only eight people staffed. do the math!
if you haven't noticed - sundays are friggen' busy! i mean reeeaaaallllyyy busy! we have the pre-church folk, the pre-garage sales folk, the post church folk, the post-brunch folks, the moms running errands, the dads coming in before golf, the kids on their way to/from the mall, the college students studying for exams, and everything in between.
and it doesn't stop. at all. all day long. so, wouldn't it make sense to schedule enough people to run the store, prep the store and clean the store instead of making the eight of us work twice as hard for the same pay?
and couldn't you have at least given us a couple extra people on mother's day? did you honestly think business would be slow on a friggen' holiday? don't you know everyone and their mother wants a frappuccino on a hot day? all week long we hear "we gotta cut hours! send people home early!" but you're doing it at the expense of service and cleanliness. not exactly what bux is supposed to be known for, eh?

barista rant: are you kidding me? you slacked on mother's day and waited until the last possible minute to get your mother a gift. then you had a brilliant idea - "mom likes coffee! i'll go to starbucks!", so you arrive at my store expecting me to become your personal shopper and create a wonderful mother's day gift bag. then you complain because it doesn't look "festive" enough. um, dude, this is bux - not friggen' barneys, ok? so don't bitch to me because the mug you wanted had a tiny scratch, and don't huff because we don't carry ribbons and bows. don't expect credit for being a "good son" when you ran into bux five minutes before meeting your mom for dinner. i'm very happy i neglected to remove the price tag from her gift which clearly shows how cheap you really are.

friday night hell

just got home from a hellacious night closing.
damn you lindsey lohan and your stupid movie! thanks to you we had teen and preteen girls all night long ordering caramel frappuccinos to take with them to the movie theatre.

this is just a sampling of the customers i wished i could do bodily harm to tonight:
mr. "this just doesn't taste right" - sorry dude but i made your mocha the way i make all mochas, and none of my other customers have ever complained about it before. so i can only conclude that the problem lies with you!
mr. "this is too watery" - you claimed that you couldn't drink a frappuccino that was so liquefied so i remade it thicker only to have you then turn into mr. "this is too icey".
miss "um, my friend ordered the wrong thing for me, teehee!" - as if your waistline is really going to notice the difference between a java chip frappuccino and a java chip frappuccino light!
mrs. "i want two half caff shots! not one regular and one decaf!" - let's go back three seconds, shall we? what the hell do you think two half caff shots are made of? loosen that hausfrau bun and think it over, ok?
mr. "who's your manager?" - yeah dude, i'm really shaking in my skechers since you threatened to tell my manager that i didn't offer you a free drink because we ran out of maple scones.
miss "hello! i said herbal iced tea! not passion iced tea!" - hey bitch-in-training, before you mouth off and complain about your drink, make sure you actually have something valid to complain about. also take note that passion tea is indeed herbal tea.
and, of course, let's not forget mr. "your toilet wasn't flushing, but i really had to do number 2 anyway. sorry!"

partner rant: why the hell do you ignore me when i ask you to prep? could you not see that i was the only person on bar and i had ten drinks to make? so when i asked you for more caramel syrup and more whole milk why did you continue to call down the line? and when there was no one else in line, why did you start talking to the register barista about your "new ride"? did you forget we need milk to make drinks? did you fail to realize that you weren't doing anything useful? doofus, you're an assistant manager! please, make an effort.


leave the drama for yo mamma

why can't people leave their drama at home?
i work with a guy that is normally a super barista buddy. he works really hard, he gets along with everyone (including customers), and you used to never have to worry about him leaving you a crappy shift.

sounds like he's got his beans in order, yes?
well - no.
barista buddy turns into super-whiny barista baby when it comes to his girlfriend. he's moody, he's listless and he's in the backroom every ten minutes trying to call her and beg for her forgiveness.
it doesn't matter that all his friends have told him this girl is no good. it doesn't matter that his managers have told him his barista baby behavior is affecting his job, and impending promotion. none of that matters because he's "in looooooove!"

now, i wouldn't normally be bitching about this except for the fact that my schedule is being directly affected because of him. whenever girlfriend puts the pressure on him, he calls out on his shifts, or gets some newbie to cover for him, thus making my job harder. or if he can't call out, he spends the whole shift acting like his dog died and is totally useless.
some might think, "well, he's going through a tough time. don't be so hard on him." but can i just let you know that when his grandmother died, when his aunt was in a coma, and when his brother was in juvie he was a real trooper. sure, he wasn't chipper but he did his job and he did it well. so why can't he leave the drama at home now like he did before?

barista rant: it's bad enough you didn't order your drink correctly, but don't yell at me when i put whipped cream on your frappuccino! so, you forgot to tell the register partner that you didn't want whip. ok. so why are you yelling? and really, can't you just stop sucking the straw when you get to the whipped cream? it's a stinking frappuccino! the whipped cream won't melt into the drink! it just moves down the inside of the cup as you inhale your frappuccino. why, when i offer to scrape the whipped cream off the top, do you give me a sour look? you're the one who didn't order correctly and now you want me to make you a whole new drink because this one has whipped cream cooties? grow up!


brewing a cup of anger

at bux, we rebrew coffee every hour. i'm not sure often coffee bean, western bagel or peet's rebrews, but we do it every hour. of course, in the morning we rebrew many times within the hour.

so when an older guy came in today and asked us how old are coffee was, i honestly told him that it had been brewed twenty minutes earlier.

"so it's going to be bitter!" he exclaimed.
"well, no. it's our house blend which is actually quite smooth." i informed him.
"miss, when coffee gets old it gets bitter. you should know that since you work here!"
"i can let you sample it if you'd like, SIR."
"can you dump out that batch and start a new one?" he asked.
"no, that would be wasting coffee. i can do a french press for you if you want a fresher batch."
"i'm not gonna drink old coffee!" he said using big head movements to emphasize his remark.
"sir, it's not old. and a french press is as fresh as you can get."
"the other starbucks rebrews their coffee every fifteen minutes!"
"i don't believe that, but if you do you can certainly get your coffee there," is what i really wanted to say to him, but instead i just informed him that all bux rebrew every hour.
he ended up leaving and bitching the whole way out, only to come back in ten minutes and order a cup of coffee. didn't the foolio realize his coffee was now ten minutes older?

i really, really hate when customers think they know my job better than i do. i hate when they spew some major BS, thinking it's fact and feeling as if they've schooled me. and i especially hate it when they pull the whole "i'm a shareholder!" card, as if every single one of my partners isn't one! hello! that's why we're called "partners"!

customer rant: you're bux needs serious help! you have three people working the drive thru and one person for the cafe. that means she not only has to ring up customers but she has to make the drinks as well. sure, that's fine and good if there's only one person in line, but today there were three people ahead of me. learn your deployment! take care of your cafe customers!


enemy within

there's an unwritten rule between bux partners. i learned it my first week working for bux, and i've made sure to pass it along to every newbie that comes through my store.

the rule is: never, under any circumstances, does a partner go to a bux other than their own and order a frappuccino. never.

this might sound dumb, or even seem like a non-issue, but it is very, very serious indeed. baristas don't like making frappuccinos because they are time-consuming, messy and loud. of course, bux makes a huge profit off these drinks and promotes them to no end, so our shifts are spent in "frappuccino hell". once you get stuck in the frappuccino corner - you're there forever.

because we hate making the drinks, we have a code to never order one from any bux we might visit. most partners are very good about abiding by this rule. some, however, refuse to.
not only do they order blended drinks, but they customize them to the point of stupidity! one pump raspberry, two scoops java chips, half an espresso shot, whip cream on the top and bottom, caramel on the sides of the cup, half creme base and half coffee base, double blended, mocha affigato style - and all at a thirty percent discount.

my bux makes a point to remember these partners. we make a point to remember what bux they are from. we make a point to let them know that their drink is ridiculous and they should know better.

barista rant: turn your damn ipod off when ordering! don't stand there and wait 'til the song ends before giving me your order. don't sing along to the music when i ask you what size you want. don't wave me away when i tell you how much the total is. guess what? bux is not the place to audition for those itunes commercial, so shut the damn thing off!


not so manic monday

fun customer stories from today:

woman walks in, stands in line, makes it to the register and when asked her order she gets a blank look and says, "what am i doing? i already had coffee! i don't want coffee now, i want a smoothie!", then walks out.

teenage boy walks up to the register and asks for a caramel frappuccino.
"what size?"
"hey joe - what size can i have?" teenage boy asks his friend.
"whatever size you want," friend replies, then pays for teenage boy's drink.
"that's nice," i said. "not all friends will pay for someone's frappuccino habit."
"well, he's my bitch," friend says. "gotta keep him happy!"
to which teenage boy screams out, "I'M NOT GAY!"

older woman orders a latte and asks for it extra hot.
"well, not super hot, but hotter than regular. but not so hot it will burn me. i want it hot, but i want to be able to drink it right away, not have to wait too long for it to cool down. just make it real hot, but not too hot, ok?"

middle aged customer flirts with male barista making frappuccinos.
"hey, when you get to mine make sure it's not too watery. i like 'em thick." she said and licked her lips. "it's a good thing i don't work here because they'd fire me for sexual harassment." she continues. "i wouldn't be able to keep my hands off your buns!"
at which point male barista went to the backroom to hide.

barista rant: did you know starbucks is not a dojo, nor a public park? so why do you come in every day and ask for a "tai chi latte"? when we tell you the proper name you just shrug your shoulders and say, "as long as it's tai chi i'm happy." next time you ask for your tai chi latte i'm going to start doing katas - reeeaaaallll sssslllloooowwww.


he loves me, he loves me not

this is the reason i'm frustrated with howard schultz tonight:

customer walks in and asks for a cold green tea.
"an iced green tea, a green tea lemonade, a green tea frappuccino, a blackberry green tea frappuccino, or an iced green tea latte?" i asked her.
"ok, did you want the green tea blended like a milkshake or with ice cubes?"
"not blended. i want it iced."
"iced - ok, did you want an iced green tea latte that's made with milk or did you want it without milk?"
"um, no milk."
"all right, did you want a plain iced green tea or a green tea lemonade?"
"uh, i guess regular green tea."
"did you want that sweetened?"
"oh my god! why is this so fucking hard? i just want a cold green tea!"

remember the days when you could walk into a bux, order your drink, have it made and then leave in under three minutes? well, those days are over. now ordering your drink is harder than putting up your profile on eharmony.com! you answer all the barista's questions, but that doesn't mean you and your drink are "compatible".

this is the reason i like howard schultz tonight:

my awesome assistant manager told me tonight that since bux did so well this past fiscal year, all employees will be getting a bonus on our next paycheck. that means an extra $125 for me and my fellow barista brats. yeehaw! espresso shots are on me!

barista rant: yes, our bux is small. yes, there aren't enough tables for everyone. but that doesn't give you the right to drag a chair to the middle of the store, plant your butt in it and block access to the registers and the serving counter. nor can you put a chair in front of the bathroom door, then give attitude to everyone who asks you to move so they can relieve their bladders. and you may not put the chair directly in front of the condiment bar and use it as a makeshift table. don't throw a hissy if there isn't an empty table. you'll get no sympathy from us.


please sir, may i have another

it's funny how sometimes when you put a customer in their place, they try and become your best friend.

incident #1
a customer came in and wanted a doppio macchiato in a tall cup with steamed milk and foam all the way to the top of the cup. at that point the drink is no longer a doppio macchiato but a double tall cappuccino. when i explained this to the customer she got all bent out of shape, informing me that "all the starbucks do it!" and that she "always orders it that way!".

well i let her know that this starbucks won't do it and we will charge her appropriately.
she tosses some more words at me, i volley them right back at her, and after she realizes that she won't get her way, she turns sugary sweet and lets me know she doesn't mind paying more money, she was just confused because the other stores charged her differently. then, as her drink was being made, she talked about how much she loved our bux because we make the best drinks and have the nicest baristas, yadda, yadda, yadda.
talk about bi-polar.

incident #2
customer orders an extra hot latte with no foam. she stands by the bar watching as every drink is made, then starts screaming at the barista because he was putting foam on a drink.

"dammit! i specifically said no foam! you better remake my drink from scratch!"
"ma'am, that's not your drink," i tried to tell her while she was still yelling.
"did i or did i not make it clear that i didn't want foam!"
"yes you did make it clear!" i had to raise my voice to be heard above hers. "that's why there won't be any foam on your drink when he makes it!"
"oh, i thought that was my drink," she muttered.
"is that why you were yelling?" i couldn't help it, she really pissed me off.

now everytime she comes in she's sweet as pie, always making a point to say hello to me and chat with me about some stupid subject, telling me how i'm such a hard worker and how much she loves how fast we make her drinks, blah, blah, blah.

so the moral of this story is put a bitch in her place and she will love you forever, haha.

customer rant: there were five baristas on the floor. no drinks had to be made and no one was doing prep or cleaning. so why did i have to wait at the counter for five minutes before someone even acknowledged me, mush less take my order? no apology for the delay. nothing. just a deadpan look and monotone voice when you asked me what i wanted. way to be legendary, folks.


i don't speak english

just to warn you all:
bux will be selling two more new frappuccinos, both containing banana sauce, coconut syrup and stupid little coconut flakes to go on top of the whipped cream.
that scream you hear is all baristas pulling their hair out and crying uncontrollably.

why bux? why?

what's funny is that different regions have different roll out dates. from bravemonkey i found out that canada had citrus cupcakes before part of the states. and from alex i heard that london has already started their summer promo and are currently serving banana frappuccinos (but without the coconut syrup and flakes).
london is actually where i first saw the caramel creme and strawberries and creme fappuccinos - almost a year before any bux in the states made them. but my favorite london bux story is when i tried to order an iced caramel macchiato and they wouldn't let me!

"we can't make that," super hip london barista informed me.
"why not?" i asked, genuinely surprised.
"because it's not on the menu," she stated.
"uh, well you have hot caramel macchiatos on the menu."
"yes, we can make them hot but not iced." london barista seemed not to see how idiotic her statement was.
"okay, why don't you ring me up for a hot one and just make it iced?"
"because it's not on the menu." she said again.
"all right," i said, but i wasn't about to give up on the iced drink of my choice. "i'd like an iced grande three pump vanilla latte with caramel drizzle on top. can you make that?"

london barista rang me up, not even realizing they were indeed making me an iced caramel macchiato. crazy london buxters!

barista rant: why do you bring in your filthy personal mug for refills? why can't you rinse it out once in awhile? is your sense of smell gone? are you not tortured by the pungent odor of rancid milk and coagulated whipped cream like i am? next time i'm not rinsing your cup. maybe a mouthful of grossness will teach you to clean your own damn cup.


iced temper tantrum

this story comes courtesy of my local bux:

a customer came in and asked for an iced green tea. at bux the tea is brewed double strength so we add water and ice to it. we also ask customers if they would like their tea sweetened or unsweetened. this customer was very precise in how she ordered her tea: no sweetener, no water, easy ice.
that meant she was getting double strength tea and not very many ice cubes. simple, right? pretty self-explanatory.
however, customer became angry when taking her first sip of green tea the way she ordered it.

"this tastes awful! it's too strong! it's not supposed to taste like this!" she yelled at the baristas.
the baristas at my local bux tried to explain that it would taste different if ordered the regular way, but she wasn't having any of it.
"i'm not paying for this! this tastes terrible!"
so the baristas offered to brew a special cup of iced tea just for her. the only problem was it would take four minutes for the tea to steep.
"what! you're going to make me wait even longer! this store sucks! i can't believe you don't know how to make iced tea!"
so the baristas had no choice but to refund her money.

when the ex-customer left the store (still bitching, by the way) she wanted to demonstrate just how upset she was about the iced tea - so she kicked the large glass door on her way out: shattering it.

yes, this customer threw a tantrum and broke the glass door at bux. luckily it's a safety glass door, so although the glass was damaged beyond repair, it didn't come crashing down in shards. if it had i'm sure the bitch customer would have sued!

partner rant: i always set you up for success on your shifts, so why the hell don't you do it for me? nothing is prepped or cleaned which means my shift will be even harder because i'm doing the work you didn't do. and then you have the nerve to tell me it was a slow day and you were bored. bored!?! don't you know the barista motto? "if there's time to lean, there's time to clean!" learn it, love it, live it.


you are the weakest link, good-bye!

i've ranted about an idiot partner many times before but today really takes the cake.
not only is she slow, lazy and dumber than dirt - she absolutely refuses to do her duties, even when she's reminded a hundred times per shift.

"please unload the sanitizer", "fill the whipped creams", "do a floor run" are all phrases that have to be repeated to her at least five times before she actually takes action. of course she doesn't do any of them properly and has a sour attitude to boot. she's been with bux for three stinkin' months and still doesn't know how to make a latte! basically she's collecting a paycheck for doing nil.

so today when i had to yet again remind her of her duties, she responded by leaving the floor and going to the backroom. for ten minutes. i was then informed by my manager that idiot partner was in the backroom crying because i "yelled" at her.

how drole. anyone who knows me knows that i don't yell at people. it's because i don't have to. my manager then told me that idiot partner was quitting on the spot because she was no longer comfortable in such a "hostile" environment.
that's when my manager and i did a little happy dance because idiot partner voted herself off the island.

yes - work was a little bit harder because we were short a body but it was well worth it to never have to set sight on such a dumbass again.

barista rant: yes my bux is small. yes we have cabinets in the lobby because there is no space in the backroom. yes, we know it's inconvenient when we ask you politely if we can get into the cabinet behind your chair. but seriously, it only takes about ten seconds of your time. so why the attitude? why the bitching about "not being able to enjoy a simple cup of coffee"? why the rolling of eyes and the "do you really have to do this NOW?" when we explain that napkins for the condiment bar are located just behind you. guess what? there's a bux down the street with a huge backroom and no cabinets in the lobby. why don't you go there if we "hassle" you too much?