So, two years ago I spent sometime working as a Barista in a coffee shop. It definitely wasn’t the worst place to work. The pay was fairly good (in terms of other jobs I’ve had) and I pretty much got as much coffee as I wanted and although I had yet to start college at this stage I was still drinking a hell of a lot of the stuff to keep myself functioning like a half way normal human being. When work finished you also came out smelling like coffee, which isn’t half bad.
However, no matter where you work or what you do there will always be little pet hates or things that just tick you off. (Mainly in the form of certain customers) Wherever you work, it doesn’t really matter if it’s a coffee shop or a clothes store, there are certain types of ‘stock’ customers that you can just see from a mile away. Some of these customers can honestly make you wanna tare your hair out…
This being the case, I compiled a list of Barista ‘complaints’ based on the year and a bit that I worked in the cafe (that-will-not-be-named-in-case-they-somehow-see-this-and-hunt-me-down-Yeah-no-thanks) These are things that not only me but other Baristas that I’ve met (Yes, we all just happen to know each other, obviously) both past and present have been agreeing with, so I thought I’d throw them up on my blog and see if anyone else can relate. (or maybe just laugh at the misfortunes of a tiny, angry ex-barista)
First on the list of complaints is…
The Starbucks customer:
Okay, so there’s a couple of variations of this kind of customer, however the one thing they all have in common is that, for them the epitome of a coffee shop is Starbucks and any other coffee shop is some kind of foreign country. Now, I love Starbucks, it sells heart-attacks in a cup and they all taste so good. HOWEVER, Starbucks is Starbucks and every other coffee shop is just not Starbucks. (Take a shot every time you read the word ‘Starbucks’ and you’ll be on your way to alcohol poisoning real quick) This customer is like the stereotypical English tourist, you know the ones that go abroad and complain when they realise that they can’t get a full English breakfast in a traditional Spanish restaurant. (Okay, yes I understand creature comforts but still, live a little)
First we have the Menu ninja:
These customers are generally, but not always, a group of preteen girls (no hate) Now I’m not saying that an old man in his late eighties isn’t going to rock up to a coffee shop and request a raspberry and lemon twist, creme based frappuccino but, well… It’s just not as common. Honestly though, if they did I’d be more than willing to make it. (Go you old man, live your life)
Really though, you can spot this group a mile away. They’ll ask you for some form of a frappicino and you have to say, as politely as possible that a frappicino is a Starbucks branded and copyrighted drink that you can’t get anywhere else and push business right out the door it came in as your boss stands over your shoulder pissed off at the loss of revenue. (Yay)
Second to this is the customers that ask for ‘secret‘ drinks from the ‘secret Starbucks menu‘. I’m sorry but incase you just, you know… missed it… this place isn’t Starbucks so please, restrain yourself… (Please note that the majority of Starbucks don’t even know what the secret menu is and if you try order off it they will proceed to murder you with their eye)
The third and final variation of the Starbucks customer (that I’m actually bothered enough about to write about) is the ‘Sharpie Warrior’
The Sharpie warrior will pretty much go undetected until they get to the till. They’ll order their drink, all normal so far. No warning bells. Everything seems A-Okay. But then they do it. *Cue the dramatic, tension building music* They ask you to write their name on the cup. (OKAY, OKAY… I get that thinking of this as annoying just makes me seem lazy but it’s really not! … Okay maybe a little… but not really)
Honestly, it doesn’t matter if it’s the busiest lunch time rush you’ve ever seen or a quite Sunday afternoon, this is just so unnecessary. Firstly, I have more than likely got three other orders on average to take along with yours and the likelihood of me writing your name on the wrong cup is high. Secondly, the time it takes me to write your name, with proper spelling (as you will enviably pull me up on any spelling errors and make me rewrite it) will take up far too much time as well as the fact that you’re holding up a line of people when you’re just going to throw the cup out soon anyways. Thirdly, this isn’t Starbucks. (Writing your name on a coffee cup isn’t a coffee shop thing, it’s a Starbucks thing.) This isn’t something I mind so much when things aren’t busy but nine out of ten times a coffee shop is pretty busy, esspecially when it’s part of a chain. However the worst thing about this customer is when you use the stock excuse of ‘I don’t actually have a pen, they route through their bag an hey guess what they’ve got a sharpie. Really it’s just very unnecessary. Or maybe I’m just petty? More than likely…
Other than Starbucks mix ups however there is still plenty more complaints and pet peeves to rant about…
The Wi-Fi leech:
This customer will literally ask you if you have to buy a coffee to use the wifi. They’ll sit around all day, sipping on that one coffee they bought nearly two hours ago, just so that they can stay connected to the wifi. This isn’t really an issue. However, it becomes an issue when that one person who bought that cup of coffeee also had six friends who have literally bought nothing and are just taking up a huge chunk of the seating area just to leech on your wifi. This is a coffee shop, not your personal hotspot. Sorry
The complicated coffee king:
Like, your last relationship this customer, not only makes you cringe but your co-workers and everyone else in the queue as well. Their sheer presence just irks you and they always, always. always show up when you least want them to, like say five minutes before closing or in some random bar on a night out with your friends. You wish you could jump over the counter and tackle them to the ground but, you know that’s considered bad behaviour and morally wrong so you have to grit your teeth and carry on.
Their typical order will go something like, “can I get a creme based mocha, without coffee and skimmed fat-free milk?”. (Basically hot chocolate?, The complicated coffee King ‘s orders are a bit like morse code)
The air drinkers:
Similar to the complicated coffee kings, air drinkers like to make things as complicated as possible, however they also want a drink with zero calories… in other words they want air. Their typical order will go something like, “can I get a creme based, sugar free, soy free mocha, without coffee or caffeine and skimmed fat-free milk?”. Yes, that is literally a glass of foamed milk and yes I have had someone order it.. more than once. (Give me strength)
Hide and Seek hot chocolate lovers:
Remember your slightly awkward twelve year old self that just tried waaay too hard to be cool? No? Just me?… Well that’s exactly what comes to mind when I think about this particular customer. These are the coffee free mocha people. Yes, you did read that correctly. A mocha is essentially hot chocolate with a shot of coffee… So, yeah a coffee free mocha is literally just Hot chocolate… Seriously, no one is going to shun you for asking for hot chocolate however you will be shunned for deliberately asking for something that just like twelve year old me with my self cut ’emo’ side fringe, is trying desperately to be something they’re just not…
The passive aggressive low fat milk customer:
Just W h y ? Fair enough if you have some valid reason but nine out of ten times you don’t and honestly what is the point of ordering watered down milk. It is a proven fact that if you’re ordering the most thick, luxurious drink to ever grace the earth then choosing low fat milk will not make a blind bit of difference, it’s still a heart attack in a cup. It is also scientifically proven (by moi) that coffee tastes a billion times nicer with full fat milk. However, for future reference, low fat milk person, the majority of coffee places use low fat milk as their go to anyways, honestly no need to ask…
However, to add insult to injury. This customer isn’t just asking for low fact milk, they’re demanding it. They will argue to the death for their low fat milk. It’s as if they’ve had to fight tooth and nail for their low fat milk too many times in the past and they’ve become a jaded low fat milk warrior with a bitchy attitude.
(Side note: A friend of mine (Shocker, yes I do actually have some friends) says that when they would run out of low fat milk where she worked, they would just use normal milk with mixed with water… this is actually more common than you’d think…)
The Chatter-box: (Aka Sharon the soccer mom that sat at the window table on her phone for two hours every Wednesday religiously for nearly a year)
This customer goes undiscovered for their first half an hour in the store. They’ll be civil at the till, they’ll collect their drink and sit themselves down without any bother. They’ll start chatting away to their friend, be it sitting beside them or on the phone. About half an hour later they’re back up at the till. And what do they do? They hand you a full cup of coffee and start complaining that their half an hour old drink isn’t scalding anymore. Hmmm, I wonder how that happend? Contrary to popular belief, coffee isn’t actually a magical substance. Sure it’ll do a lot of magical things but staying hot for a lengthy period of time isn’t one of them. Moral of the story drink your coffee and then gossip to your friend Barbra about how your daughter’s ballet teacher didn’t give her a lead position in the Easter Show.
(Yeah, having half hour arguments with soccar moms about cold coffee wasn’t exactly the highlight of my Barista experience)
The five seconds before closing people:
You people make me cry.
You run in at 5:48. (The place I worked in closed at 6:00 pm)I’ve turned off the coffee machines. They’ve been cleaned. All traces of coffee powder gone, everything sparkly clean and you rock up out of absolutely no where and hey all that work is gone to waste and I have to spend another twenty minutes trying to clean both the coffee machine and it’s utensils all over again. (Wooo) All I wanna do is go home and here you are preventing that. I’ve been here since seven this morning just let me leeeeeaaaave.
The quiz masters:
Now, most people can’t really tell the difference between a Latte and a Cappuccino and during a morning rush these kind of mix ups happen all the time. It’s crazy busy and you’ll accidentally give the Latte to the Cappuccino personal and visa versa. H O W E V E R these people are the opposite of that. The know-all, quiz master customer will take one look at your coffee, one sniff, one sip and turn their nose up at it. They will grill you with questions about the milk you used, where the beans are sourced from. One woman even asked me what type of metal was the milk foamer made from. Yeah… Why…
Honestly, I must sound like the moan-iest, bleak human to ever grace the earth but, these are only half of the complaints I had in mind for this post.
The free coffee and those few amazing co-workers really are the only things that kept me going. Honestly, being a Barista can be really fun… you know… when you block out all the awful aspects about the job…
Let me know what you think in the comments, if you relate to any part of my angry little rant or maybe have your own pet hates from somewhere you’ve worked or are currently working.