6.21.2007

train in vain

working at bux one tends to become jaded when it comes to fussy customers.
usually it's pretty easy to roll with the punches when a customer bitches that their drink isn't hot enough, their muffin not moist enough, or if the aroma of their coffee doesn't "dance enough" on their tongue.
but even though a complaining customer is par for the course, there are times when you come across a person so mad at the world that they leave a lasting impression.

case in point:
yesterday morning my bux was in a state of flux. we were a person short on the floor, had a brand new trainee (don't worry - i have TONS of stories about this newbie to post) and a steady flow of customers that just wouldn't cease.
unfortunately, when we have to train a newbie on bar, it makes a longer wait for our customers.

now, what people might not realize is that we baristas have NO say in what a newbies training schedule will be. it doesn't matter if we tell our managers that putting a newbie on register training during a busy monday morning rush is insane, or if we explain with great detail that teaching a newbie how to make frappuccinos during the hottest part of the day is idiotic - managers will squeeze newbie training in wherever they see fit, even if it makes no logical sense.

so, yesterday morning we baristas had no choice but to follow the 'wise' decision of our manager and train the newest apron-wearing member of our staff on how to work the espresso bar. as you can rightly guess, customers had to wait an unusually long period to claim the drinks they had ordered several minutes before.
doobie newbie (yes, indeed, this guy enjoys his herbs) was placed in the care of my awesomely amazing fellow barista brat. not only did she have the almost impossible task of teaching doobie newbie how to make drinks, she had to appease the horde of upset customers at the same time. honestly, most of the customers left happy, especially since awesomely amazing barista made sure to apologize to every one of them about the long wait, but there was one woman who made it well known that nothing awesomely amazing barista could say could make her happy.

"is mine ready yet?" she hissed at awesomly amazing barista. "i've been waiting forever!"
"yours is up right now," aab informed her and began to apologize for the dely.
"why the hell are you guys so slow?" she growled. "there's no reason why i should have to wait ten minutes for my drink!"
"i fully understand, and you're right," aab answered her sincerely. "it's just that we are training right now and it takes a little longer to make drinks."
"you guys shouldn't be training right now!" the customer raised her voice to a level that made everyone turn and look in her direction. "that's no way to run a business! you should do your training some other time!"
"i totally agree with you, but i have no control over when they schedule training." aab responded in a kind voice.
"this isn't even right!" the customer screeched and shook her drink at aab. "you put too much milk in it! i ordered an iced latte and there is too much milk here!"
"well, i can remake it for you if you'd like - "
"forget it!" the customer shrilled and grabbed her drink. "i'm never coming back here again. i'm going to phone your manager and complain!: she called out as she made her way to the front door.

none of us were surprised when the phone rang and a highly tense woman's voice demanded to speak with the manager. upset that there wasn't a manager around to bitch at, she settled for one of the shift supervisors.

"you guys, that lady was so pissed!" the shift supervisor told aab and i after hanging up the phone. "she complained about the service, the wait, the training and the 'extra' milk in her cup. but she also SPECIFICALLY complained about the 'puerto rican looking fella that probably barely speaks english and stood there like an idiot staring at the cup'."
now, i myself, get frustrated with doobie newbie's inability to move beyond a snail's pace, but her comment was still somewhat shocking.
"and when i asked her if there was anything i could do to fix her experience," he continued, "she just yelled at me. she said, 'i'm just gonna toss my latte, drink my soda and be unhappy!'"

can i just say we will not miss her patronage?

barista rant: please don't plop your baby on the register counter, then walk away. i'm sure you thought that since i was standing right there, i would ensure your baby wouldn't fall to the floor, or start chewing on the paperclip next to her. i'm sure you figured that since you were only 'gonna take a second!' to browse our display shelves, we would have no problem entertaining your little angel. well, guess what - baristas do not babysit. we are not here to keep your kid from injuring herself while you choose between a green or purple commuter mug. be a parent and keep an eye on your own kid!!!

20 comments:

Grumpy Housewife said...

*snort*

Like, ohmigod, she couldn't get her iced latte RIGHT WHEN SHE WANTED IT RIGHT NOW OMGWTFBBQ!

I hate people like this.

Why do people think they are entitled to get their drinks within a nanosecond of placing their orders? Is there something wrong with their synapses that tell them time lapse? It takes fucking TIME to make a fucking DRINK. Especially when you are TRAINING someone.

I get it, most reasonable people get it, but not her, I guess. SHE is much too IMPORTANT than to have to wait for some mere trainee to make her drink, dammit!

If she'd screamed at me, I don't think I would have been so nice. The first time she screamed, I would have been politely trying to defuse the situation. After that, well, I'd be giving as good as I got. And I'd have snatched her drink out of her hand, and flung her money back at her when she complained about the drink, too.

But this is why I don't work in the public eye anymore. I'm not a nice person when having to work retail. Food service would be SO not happening.

Ohiobux said...

Holy cow, my question is why would you call and complain but you don't want anything out of it. I mean really people need to have a little more compassion for newbies (no matter how slow). I had a shift supervisor who made me cry on my first day cause I wasn't "fast enough" it wasn't even a customer it was a fellow employee. I never understood poeple like that. Thanks for the fun posts it brings back memories of working for bux.

Anonymous said...

well always look on the bright side :D you won't have to deal with miss royal pain anymore :)

omg, i have regulars who comes in and expects us to babysit all the time. Both parents just sit there engrossed with their laptop (their watching drama's btw) while cute little baby runs in the bar and tries to help me take out heavy glass plates O.O

-fern

Johnny Yen said...

can i just say we will not miss her patronage?

Unfortunately, in my experience in the service business, they rarely keep their promise not to come back.

I love how she added a little racism to her being an overall asshole.

cheer34 said...

I thought drug testing was mandatory? How did doobie pass? I owned a cookie store for a while and some of the kids I had working there were as slooooooowwwwww as turtles. One of the kids told me he purposely worked as slooooowww as possible at his other job because no one was going to tell him what to do or work him like a dog. I was fast to let him go.

me said...

i find it funny how she calls right after leaving

Anonymous said...

Well, I have no idea about this specific situation but I don't go to starbucks at all anymore because of the horrendous waits that occur at every single store in our area that I have visited. I am talking 5-10 minute waits for a cup of drip. There seems to be a corporate edict that the people working there have been given friendlyness as a priority over all else. Nothing wrong with being friendly but this has gotten ridiculous. Most register people chat up the customers so much that it creates a serious logjam in line. Comments brat??

Larry

jp said...

She'll be back.

I can't wait.

Moxie said...

Hope Madam Bitch-a-Lot doesn't come back when the Moochers reappear. They may give her some ideas. Yeesh.

Anonymous said...

Hi Brat
I love reading your blog and I think it helps all your readers to not be those obnoxious customers (me included!) I am in love with the new Dulce de leche Frappecino (actually not so new but I don't live in a town with a bux so I just recently heard about it. Is this a limited time drink or will I be able to order it forever? Thanks, and keep on writing cause your stories keep me entertained at work each day!!

Manuel said...

Ah, we were all newbies once. And there is nothing like a bit of "herb" to get you through those first day nerves....

"doobie newbie", hahahahaha

Sharpie said...

hi hi--

So glad you're back, we've missed you!

And it is unbelievable to me how people treat others in the food industry. The slightest mistake or delay and a grown women is acting like a spoiled little brat. I wonder what she does for a living-- god forbid she makes a mistake or is slower than usual. Do you think she would like to be treated like that?

Working at the theater, I practically live at the bux across the street and I must say I've seen employees have good days and bad, but generally everyone is wonderful. Some of the customers, however-- I don't know where they learned it was okay to treat ANYONE like that.

Anyway, keep writing-- love your stuff!

Subservient No More said...

I swear, we HAVE to be in the same city.

Steve said...

That is unbelievably obnoxious. I used to have a real hard time staying friendly when someone overreacted so much to something stupid. What a bitch.

Anonymous said...

Brat!
Soooo glad you're back.. i've missed your posts!

Vampiress Miyu said...

Wow, I work at Starbucks and just discovered this blog. <3 it! We get crazies like that all the time; as does everyone in retail, I'm sure. It reminds me of a story of my own I'd love to share.

This one time I was on bar, I saw this older lady with froofy hair at the register. It was the peak point of the morning rush and there had to have been at least 6 customers ahead of her. I overheard her ordering a triple venti nonfat no foam extra hot latte. The second she snatched her change back, she dashed over to the bar to proceed to lean over the counter and stare me directly in the eye. I gave her a generous smile and continued busily finishing up drinks.

A fellow barista called out a caramel frappuccino behind me. She glanced at it quickly and exclaimed "This isn't my drink!" Well no shit, lady, the people waiting patiently in the lobby have been here far longer than you have. I just smiled and said "I'm sorry about the wait, ma'am. I have your drink started, it won't be much longer." To which she snarled "I would certainly expect it shouldn't, I've been waiting FOREVER."

The next drink I was finishing was a plain, no nonsense latte. As I spooned just a touch of foam on the top, with her still leaning closely to examine my every move, she so sweetly reminded me her drink was no foam. "I know; the next drink is yours ma'am, I promise."

I finally finished her drink, with careful attention to detail and not a bubble on top so she could get on her merry way. She snatched it up, slammed it down so hard a bit spouted out onto the counter, and popped of the lid. "I said NO FOAM" she pointed at a few bubbles now forming on the surface.

I'm sorry lady, but if you take a full cup of near-boiling milk and slam it down; yes, a few bubbles will appear. If I could change the laws of physics for you, believe me, I'd love to make you happy. She insisted I make her a new one, which I quickly obliged to, just wanting her out of the store.

After finishing this one, I placed it on the counter, not a speck of foam in sight, before lidding it and asked "Does this one look okay?" She begrudgingly replied something along the lines of "It'll have to do..." before finally taking her leave.

The moral of my story and yours? There are fewer differences between many grown adults and three year olds than we'd like to believe.

Anonymous said...

Bonus points for The Clash title :p

RastaManErn said...

You in the service industry are far too nice to idiotic customers. I envy your patience.

dude said...

Asshole? Please, come again. Racist/sexist/homophobe/whatever to my partners? Never come back.

barista brat said...

grumpy housewife - i SO want to be there when you go off on some customer in line!

ohiobux - i know! i don't get that either, except maybe she just wanted to waste our time since she felt we'd wasted hers.

fern - wow, those parents can't watch tv at home? oh yeah - YOU'RE not there to babysit at their house!

johnny yen - yeah, that little racist remark was just the icing we needed that day.

cheer34 - bux doesn't do drug testing. and apparently doobie newbie was very alert during his interview.

me - yeah, i guess we must have really pissed her off.

larry - yeah, 5-10 minutes is a super long wait. and it's true - corporate wants us to chat up every customer, AND get them out of our store in under three minutes. IMPOSSIBLE!

jp - so far she's been a no show, thank goodness!

moxie - haha, yeah, there's nothing worse than a moocher with attitude!

anonymous - dulce de leche is seasonal only. we have already run out at my store, but corporate always seems to bring back the big sellers.

manuel - if only the herb helped him!

sharpie - you tell your local baristas to take care of you!

subservient no more - haha, i think you always had it WAY worse than me!

steve - you said it.

anonymous - thanks!

vampiress miyu - wow, that woman is a real prize. and she'll probably have all the same complaints the next time she comes in as well.

anonymous - thanks, haha!

rastamanern - i fear my patience will run out, believe me.

dude - exactly.