6.13.2007

mortal combat

dearest readers -
once again i must apologize for my lack of updates. i can promise, however, that by july i should have more time to blog.
so many things have happened at bux in the past couple weeks, and i have SEVERAL stories with which to regale you, but i think today i must focus on an even that happened this past weekend.

now you might recall my post about our infamous scammers – mr. and mrs. moocher. well, since their scam was no longer working at my bux they decided to “patronize” the other bux’ in my district. apparently they’ve been quite successful because it had been several weeks since they’d made an appearance in my store.

last week, though, i was informed of a mrs. moocher sighting. apparently her husband now waits in the car while she tries to pay only eighty cents for two grande drips, two venti ice waters and two empty cups (that she fills with milk from the condiment bar). so when she came in on one of my shifts, i was ready to (once again) inform her of our refill policy and charge her the correct amount.
what i wasn’t ready for, however, was the verbal lashing she had well-rehearsed just for my benefit.

“brat!” she pointed at me after a fellow barista had called me out of the backroom. “i have a bone to pick with you.”
“with me?” i asked with a smile. honestly i had no clue as to what her problem was, but i was amused nonetheless.
“yes, you!” she gently pounded her aged fist on the counter. “you have mortally offended me!”

i guess i didn’t give her the reaction she wanted because she repeated twice more that i had “mortally offended” her. it took every ounce of self control to keep from chuckling because i kept thinking “hey, if i ‘mortally offended’ you, then shouldn’t you be dead?”.

“brat, i always liked you,” she lied, “and i never, ever had a problem with you,” she continued to lie, “but now i am so upset that i don’t even think i want to buy coffee from you anymore!”

to my credit i was nice and did not flippantly remind her that she barely “pays” for coffee in the first place, nor did i inform her that i would in fact be quite content if she chose to no longer try and run her scam on me.

“it has been several weeks since i’ve even been here, you know, and i’m so, so upset because i’m so offended.” she rattled semi-cohenrently. “you know, we don’t always come to this store – sometimes we go to other starbucks. we are very loyal customers, you know.”
“yeah, i’ve seen you at other stores before.” i answered evenly – still not sure of what i had done to “mortally offend” her.
“well, we went to a different starbucks, and before i even ordered my coffee the boy working there said to me, ‘i know who you are. you always try to get things for free – brat at the other store warned me about you.’ and i was so upset and embarrassed!”

now i was surprised for a couple of reasons. first, it seemed odd to me that someone at another store would just come out and tell mrs. moocher that they had been warned about her. secondly, what would make mrs. moocher think baristas WEREN’T talking about her and her scamming husband?

“well, i’m sorry if you were offended –”
“mortally offended!” mrs. moocher interrupted me. “he named you specifically! i was so hurt that you would spread lies about me to someone i’ve never even met before!”
“first off, i have no idea who you’re talking about.” i told her honestly. “and how can you be sure he was telling you the truth?”
“but he named you specifically! he said YOU warned him about ME!” she cried out while shaking her empty coffee cup. “not only that, he got in trouble with his manager because he refused to give me my discount.”
“listen," i told her evenly and calmly. "we get in trouble if we don’t follow policy. i'm only doing my job when i charge you for your grande drips. there's no reason to be offended because i've done my job and another barista happens to know that."
"YOU listen," she pointed her finger at me. "what YOU should be concerned about is whether someone comes in with a gun and shoots you dead. or if they jump over the counter and rob you! you should NOT be so concerned with how much i pay for my coffee!"
"it's true," i conceded before launching into my own tirade. "being robbed is a huge concern, however that doesn't mean i completely ignore policy and let you pay whatever you want just because i don't want to be shot!"
"well, i would never expect you to not do your job." she said in a tone that was part sarcastic and part complimentary. "let's just say this: let's start fresh next time i come in. you have apologized and i accept your apology. perhaps we can forget all this ever happened." she offered before leaving (WITHOUT her two forty cent refills, i must add).

my fellow baristas had a good laugh about my tongue-lashing, their favorite quote now being "brat, you have mortally offended me!".
but the best part of the story hasn't even been told yet!
a few days after mrs. moocher chewed me out, one of my favorite baristas ever came into my bux. he and i used to work together quite often before he was transferred to the bux across town.

"hey brat!" he called out before giving me a hug. "you'll never believe who showed up at my store - mrs. moocher!"
i laughed and began to fill him in on me having 'mortally offended' her, but he interrupted me.
"what a liar!" he shook his head. "she came in and tried to run her scam on me, but i told her 'hey - i know who you are! you used to come into my old store all the time and try to get freebies and discounted drinks.' she tried to deny it until i said 'lady - i worked with brat at the other store. i was there when she told you that you had to pay regular price - so don't think just because i'm at a different store that i'm gonna forget to charge you correctly'."

now i can't wait for mrs. moocher to come back to my store. i have a feeling that she'll be quite disappointed that i'm not so willing to "start fresh".

customer rant: please, please, please let me know if you are out of iced coffee! pouring hot coffee over ice cubes is NOT the same beverage at all! especially DON'T pull this stunt with me since i work with you! if anyone can taste the difference, it's a fellow barista - and if anyone should know better it's the baristas i work with.

32 comments:

Zoltar Panaflex said...

Thank you for another post! I was starting to get worried about you! I don't think I'm the only one jonesin' for a new post!!!

Starr01 said...

Why is it that some people seem think stated prices are "for other people" and not them? I get those types too.
I am glad to see you back.

Elizabeth said...

Yeah! Glad your back!
:o)

6th Floor blog said...

pouring hot coffee over ice isn't the same thing? What's the difference if I may ask, I'm not a big plain coffee difference, I just assumed it was a temperature thing.

And that gun comment almost sounded like a threat.

Mrs. Sara said...

That was my first thought too, that she shouldn't be saying you should worry about people shooting you. Sounds like a threat to me!

Sling said...

Doesn't that whole "You should be worried about someone coming in here,and shooting you" thing sound like a poorly veiled threat??...Does to me.
I think you should report her to the proper authorities....I'm pretty sure that's what would happen if I said something like that.

Christine Fletcher said...

I always wonder why people like this deliberately make life so hard for themselves (and consequently, give the rest of us migraines trying to deal with them.) And for what? To save a few cents? Sad, to spend your days feeling like you have to "put one over" on everyone else. Ick.

Ya Looblue said...

yay! the brat is back! :)
the moochers. what idiots. seriously...they don't just make a huge pot of coffee at home why? sigh. i hope that's the last you'll see of them.

The Pensive Penguin said...

I've come to the conclusion from reading your blog and people-watching at my own local bux that Wal-Mart and bux are real-world manifestations of Charles Darwin's worst nightmare. I mean, according to the rules of natural selection, these people shouldn't exist.

Anonymous said...

How nice to have another post Brat!

Aren't people odd and wonderful? The Moocher is an odd, annoying, and a bit twisted, but it makes for a highly entertaining story later.

Keep up the great stories. There's no shortage of "human potential" to report on!
--David H.

Fatinah said...

classic post Brat! Can't wait for more - I've been missing you!

Beth said...

BRAT'S BACK!!! It will be a good weekend after all.

Mrs. Moocher is insane. But maybe that's because she's mortally offended and therefore braindead.

Anonymous said...

brat i've missed you!!

dealing with my own bratty barista experience in my bux in malaysia reminds me of your entertaining little site :D

anyway in malaysia we don't have a refill charge. If u want a refill you have to buy an entire cup at regular price. So our version of mrs moocher is this old lady who orders a venti americano which has 4 shots inside. because she wants two drinks, she then instructs the barista to seperate the shots (2 in each tall mug) and fill it with water thus making two talls for the price of a venti.
not only is she getting 2 drinks for the price of one,she also uses her daughter's employee card for a discount. i didn't have the guts like you to turn the lady down since she wasn't much of a regular pain :(

-fern

Moxie said...

So good to see you, Brat. Glad all is well.

Oh, moochers...sigh. And I agree with the other folks about her gun comment: that sounded like a threat.

Architect Critic said...

After a couple of my other favorite bloggers stopped writing or at least threatened to, I was worried that you were gone, too. It's good to have you back.

That woman is obviously unstable, and I too saw her tirade as a threat. Be careful with that one.

Johnny Yen said...

Hey-- welcome back! I think there were a few of us who started getting worried!

Good god-- how much money is this over? A buck, maybe? She puts in more work in trying her scam than in just paying whatever she's supposed to pay.

Lisa said...

Thank goodness!! I thought you had quit blogging...then I would have been mortally offended! Welcome Back!

Manuel said...

Can you not just bar her from your bux? I would so tell her she isn't welcome....

Anonymous said...

Please report Mrs. Moocher to 1) Your regional manager (not just your store manager), and 2) The Police. The remark about someone coming to shoot you is the sort of comment mentally unstable people make, and occasionally follow up on. While she may not be that crazy, she also might be that crazy...better not to screw around. A visit from the police may prevent her from going off the rails, and will almost certainly make her think twice about visiting your store (or any other Starbucks) with anything less than pleasantries and a willingness to pay full price and get the hell out.

Hopefully, anyway.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, the brat is back! :)

woot!!! I'm so glad that you are okay and didn't decide to stop postng. I was worried about both. LOL

x0x0x0

Anonymous said...

Wow, you really are good. I would have kicked that lady out. Actually, my spouse works at a public university library where they call the cops on people who threaten them (it happens all the time) - and if the person shows up again - they get arrested for trespassing. I'd think that threatening you with potentially getting shot is enough to call the cops. Stay safe!

Seth said...

Wow, those 2 are nuts. At least they changed their scam a bit.

Brat, I tried an espresso over ice yesterday. I wasn't at Starbucks (we don't have one within 30 minutes, but I think that's about to change) and didn't use the Buxspeak and ask for an "old school americano" but it was delicious! My new favorite summer time drink.

Thanks from a new loyal reader!

Anonymous said...

The iced coffee thing is one of my pet peeves. To make iced coffee you can either pour extra-strong coffee (like espresso) over ice to cool and dilute it (preferably serving it over more ice), OR you can keep regular-strength coffee in the refrigerator and serve it over ice.

If you pour regular-strength hot coffee over ice you don't get iced coffee, you get lukewarm dilute coffee.

jp said...

That was worth the wait. [standing ovation.]

Kiasyn Kelle said...

Employee: Ma'am, can I help you?
Woman: I'd like a half dozen of your chocolate chip cookies.
Employee: We only sell them, like, 1, 2, 3...
Woman to friend: Is she serious?
Friend: She'll take 6.

--Starbucks, Rockefeller Center Concourse

cheer34 said...

Sounds like the moochers do not have much of a life. Getting things at a discount are probably the main focus in their daily routine. Or maybe it's a game with them and they laugh all the way to the bank.

The gun stuff did sound like a threat, be careful.

Glad you're back!

mellowlee said...

So glad to see a post from you!! Miss ya lots!Wow.. That lady is a KOOOOK!

Lux said...

Glad you're back, Brat.

I can't believe that the managers don't intervene when a customer tries to rip off a store-- all you are trying to do is protecting bux's bottom line. Let's face it, your manager should put an end to these freeloaders-- not hang you out there to dry.

Gardenwife said...

Moochers and their ilk are such good blog fodder. Love your site! I have left comments before, but for some reason they don't show up. Hope this one does.

barista brat said...

zoltar panaflex - thanks for checking back! i promise to be better with posting.

starr01 - i think it must be a personality disorder.

elizabeth - thanks!

6th floor blog - someone else already answered this for me, but basically pouring hot coffee over ice just waters down the coffee. when we brew iced coffee, we brew it twice as strong so when it mixes with the ice, the flavor is consistent and not watery.

mrs. sara - i think she might have been trying to scare me as well. but i really do think she is harmless.

sling - but she doesn't have your ultra manly 'stache!

christine fletcher - yeah, they use up brain cells trying to save pennies. i don't get it.

ya looblue - i can only hope!

the pensive penguin - haha, you're right, you know!

david h. - thanks!

fatinah - thanks for hanging around!

beth - i've missed you so!

fern - i can't believe she has the nerve to use her daughter's friggen' discount! insane!

moxie - thanks!

architect critic - she is unstable, but she's also nowhere near intimidating in person.

johnny yen - exactly! i would think it would be easier just to pay the correct price.

lisa - too funny! you slay me!

manuel - believe it or not, there is a very specific checklist for barring someone from bux.

anonymous - yeah, some managers adhere to 'just say yes' and others don't put up with moochers. unfortunately most higher ups go with 'just say yes'. and i appreciate your concern. thank you.

anonymous - yep, i'm back!

anonymous - unfortunately what she does doesn't constitute being kicked out.

seth - aren't those the best! i love them as well.

anonymous - true that!

jp - ah, i have missed you!

kiasyn kelle - too funny!

cheer34 - i think you're right. mooching IS their life.

mellowlee - i've missed you, too!

lux - yeah, sometimes managers just want their shifts to be easy, and not actually deal with issues.

gardenwife - thanks! i know, blogger can be the biggest pain sometimes!

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to say I love your blog and you're in my favorites, so I'll be looking for more updates. You're so funny. Have you considered writing a freelance article like "Barista Rants: What your Starbucks Server is really thinking." I think at least your local paper, if not a larger pub, would love to pick that up. Many of your entries would easily turn into such an article/column! Haha anyway, that's just the journalist in me talking. Keep up the great blogging and thanks :)

jehara said...

i wonder what they need all that milk for. . .