Starbucks – the other side of the counter (part i)

It’s Monday morning.  Let’s start off your week with a Starbucks entry by guest-writer Wesley.

For millions of people, their morning routines start with a trip to the local Starbucks coffee shop to get a quick caffeine fix to start the day. “A tall mocha, non-fat, no-whip, double shot, sugar-free, and extra-hot.” They grab it and walk off, holding the cup with the now-famous, green, split-finned siren logo as if it were a prized trophy for the social elite. Many people are familiar with the Starbucks story, and how it started off as a small coffee shop in Seattle(?) but has progressed to infiltrate every street corner in North America.  As an ex-barista, here are some interesting tidbits and observations on how to make the most of your Starbucks experience:

  • Find Chai lattes too watery? Ask for “easy” or “no” water.
  • Hate chunks of ice in your Frappuccinos? Ask for them double blended.
  • Breakfast sandwiches too dry and toasted? Ask to have it heated 10 seconds less in the oven.
  • Be wary of pastry samples baristas may be handing on the counter.  More often than not, they are past-due (or about to expire) and used as a quick way to get rid of them.

Now here are some of my frustrations from the other side of the counter:

  • If you give us a ridiculously long drink in an attempt to sound sophisticated, we do NOT find it amusing.
  • Our sizes are as follows, in ascending order: tall, grande, and
    venti. Tall = small, grande = medium, and venti = large. We will scoff at you if you cannot understand our naming scheme.
  • We will begrudgingly make you your customized 250 degree latte. However, I would like to say that the milk becomes scalded and gross and it would be a shame to accidently burn ourselves just to make your morning coffee.
  • Don’t ask for a sleeve on an iced drink. A little part of ourselves dies every time a customer kills a tree to protect their fingers from a bit of cold plastic.
  • We silently judge customers that ask for non-fat lattes with extra whipping cream, extra caramel drizzle, and extra pumps of syrup…

Now, don’t get me wrong- Starbucks partners do more than just complain about the occasional fussy customer.  On the other hand, we also do love connecting with our regulars, sharing our passion for coffee, and chatting about sports, news, and pop culture (or pretty much anything) while we prepare your drink. Most of us genuinely love our jobs and have tons of fun in the middle of the 8am morning rush. Frequent a Starbucks, be friendly with the partners, and I will guarantee you that you will soon become a “regular” and enjoy a fantastic, uplifting Starbucks experience.


3 responses to “Starbucks – the other side of the counter (part i)

  1. Additional tips for coffee drinkers:
    – Be wary of anything white/brown on the milk steaming sticks. That isn’t from regular use, it’s leftover/burnt milk from the last customer’s drinks!
    – Be patient with your barista, it’s a part-time job with a high-turnover rate. Let them know when they make a mistake so they can learn =)

    Note to barista:
    – When I ask for a grande cup of water, just give me a cup of water and don’t tell me to go “wait in line” JUST to order a cup of water -_-”
    – Machiatto = shots at the TOP of the drink! my fav drink is Marble Mocha Mocha Machiatto and I rarely get what I want….

  2. You are teaching me how to be a customer who is worthy of your service?

    Guess what the word “service” means, mister high-and-mighty counter help: YOU do what I want, WHEN I want, HOW I want it. That’s why you get your $8 an hour. You serve me, not the other way around.

    As for your “passion about coffee”, you use SUPERAUTOMATIC coffeemakers to make your bitter, burnt brew. The coffee you make DOES NOT TASTE GOOD. Let me say that again: you are a professional coffee maker who does not know how to make good coffee. And you’re smugly putting me down?

    A minimum-wage foodservice employee who makes coffee by pushing a button has reduced me to tears because I want to keep my fingers dry with a sleeve and not get condensation on my laptop — which I use for my REAL JOB.

    My humble apologies, diaperless monkey.

  3. Wow, you look down on me because I can’t remember your stupid Italian names for Small, Medium, and Large that don’t even correspond to the size of the cup?

    Also, it is somehow my fault if you burn yourself because I asked you to make me hot coffee?

    And reducing the artery-clogging milk fat in my latte so that I can have more caramel drizzle is against your high moral standards for coffee drinking? If I have caramel, I am required by the Barista code to also have as much saturated fat in the drink as possible as well?

    These are excellent examples of why Starbucks is irrelevant, why it’s going out of business, and why I don’t buy coffee there.

    And the previous poster was right: you’re making waaaaaay too much of your job as a minimum wage coffee pourer.

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