A few weeks ago I made a post about ridiculous coffee shop people and thought that was that. I said to myself, “well done, you’ve gotten that off your chest, you’ve thoroughly laughed it off and all is right again in the world!” Alas, I was sorely mistaken. Because there is no end to the variety of humorous/bizarre requests one must attend to as a coffee shop worker. Here are a few examples of people you should never aim to be:
1. The guy who decides it is reasonable to pay for 1.94$ coffee with a hundred dollar bill – and then throws a hissy fit when told that is not possible.
Alright sir, let’s have an honest discussion about this belief. What did it say on the side of this building? Was it Starbucks COFFEE or Starbucks BANK? I believe it was the former. So what I can promise you is a nice steaming hot beverage served with a smile. But what I cannot promise is that I carry ninety eight dollars and six cents in my till. My bosses value my safety and those of my coworkers so large bills are kept securely in a vault that I do not have access to. If you continue to press me I will happily give you several rolls of quarters, dimes and nickels, along with a couple of fives if you are lucky. If you would prefer to not leave the store with a five pound bag of coin, please quit harumpfing, pull out that fiver you know you have tucked in your back pocket and pay for your beverage like a normal human being.
2. The woman who orders a no-foam latte and refuses to leave the store until every last bubble has been carefully eliminated from the top of her beverage.
Now, I get it, Starbucks prices aren’t cheap. We pay the high prices because we want a good quality drink made just the way we like. I understand. I am a customer too. However, let’s take a second and look at the science of this demand. A latte is known throughout North America as being espresso and steamed milk with a layer of froth on top. So let’s accept the first issue here – you aren’t REALLY ordering a latte – you are ordering espresso and warm milk. Then let’s deal with the fact that it’s steamed milk. Not microwaved milk. Not stove heated milk. It’s steamed milk. Meaning, hot air is being shoved through a jug of milk and as it bubbles and escapes, foamed milk occurs. So please understand it is not the easiest thing in the world to dissect foamed milk. I get it, you want more bang for your buck, and that’s cool. I will make you the most foam-less latte I can possibly manage. But if you insist on hovering over me until the cup is positively brimming with warm milk – I will not wish good things for you. So please, mam, take a step back and ask yourself “is this life or death?”, “is getting a bubble free latte going to save starving kids in Uganda?”, “can I get through my day knowing that I consumed half a millimeter of foam?” Ask yourself these questions and then proceed accordingly. Thank you.
3. The person who always wants something for free.
I must say, Starbucks is an incredibly generous company. They donate coffees and pastries to charities, they welcome people into their cafes and washrooms regardless of whether they are a customer and most wonderful of all, they give their employees license to offer a free coffee or a special treat to loyal customers. They want their customers to be happy so if your coffee comes out wrong you’ll likely get a coupon for a free one the next time you come. Or if you’re having a particularly bad day, a kind barista just might give you a petite cupcake for free. And those are wonderful treats. But let’s keep in mind people – they are treats. They aren’t a right, they’re a privilege. Just because the baristas at your regular Starbucks don’t charge you for soy doesn’t mean you can berate the ones at every other Starbucks when they click that additional 75 cent button. You made the request – so accept the consequences. Coffee can be expensive. If you’re going to drink it every day, you’re going to have to pay for it every day. We like doing nice things for people when we can so let us keep doing that instead of yelling “60 CENTS FOR VANILLA SYRUP!!!???” at the top of your lungs and storming out. Because, trust me, when you sound that ridiculous – no one is on your side.
4. The person who doesn’t know what they’re ordering but is adamant that you somehow make the impossible happen.
Let’s face facts here – we are baristas. We are minimum wage workers – we are not snobs. We do however get a lot of training in our jobs and in the majority of cases – we do know what we’re doing. So things you should avoid requesting are the following:
- A caramel macchiato without the caramel drizzle. My poor naive friend, a caramel macchiato without the drizzle is simply a vanilla latte with the shots poured last. The only caramel in that “caramel” macchiato is the criss crossing drizzle on top. I understand you might want to cut some calories – but that is a very nonsensical way to make it happen.
- A no foam caramel macchiato. Now, this one is just fine so long as you accept what is presented to you. However if you look at it and say, “where is the caramel?” I will be fighting the urge to vomit on your face. Let’s be rational here people, how do you physically expect heavy caramel to magically sit afloat on pure liquid. It isn’t scientifically possible. Accept the foam or accept that the caramel is sitting at the bottom of your cup. There is no middle ground.
- A no foam espresso macchiato. What is an espresso macchiato you ask? It is espresso poured over foam. It is two components: espresso and foam. If what you really want is steamed milk than suck it up and pay for the latte. But do not get mad at the barista for making exactly what was asked of him/her.
- A no foam cappuccino. Now come on people, that is just ludicrous. A cappuccino IS foam. It is precisely espresso and foam. Does that mean it will feel lighter than a latte? Yes. Does the fact it is lighter mean we are ripping you off? No. We are giving you precisely what you asked for. You are welcome.
Now…all that being said…my blog is about happy happenings and despite the ridiculousness of my past few shifts I have many things to be thankful for.
- The lovely mother and daughter team that learned my name the second week I was on the job. They’re full of smiles, wait patiently and are full of thank yous. Makes my morning every time!
- The regular who doesn’t give me a dirty look for forgetting the drink he orders every day, but simply repeats it and smiles warmly.
- The owner of the building who brings us candy every time he comes in.
- And most importantly – the wonderful people I work with that help me laugh off any rough encounter. Cause let’s face it – what can’t you handle when you’re laughing?