Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Be Nice To Your Barista

I want to talk about a very serious thing. If you are standing, you should probably sit. If there are children in the room, please shoo them away. If you are multitasking, put your cell phone down, turn the t.v. off and listen to what I have to say.

*Sigh*

What I’m going to talk about today is a condition I have entitled FBA. Flagrant Barista Abuse. You see, there’s a lot of flagrant barista abuse out there by some not so nice people. There are a lot of people out there walking all over the baristas behind the counters of our local coffee shops.

That is why I am putting out this very important PSA called Be Nice To Your Barista.

Because they are good people and deserve not to be treated that way. They have good things for you. They would never do anything wrong like switch decaf for regular or use whole milk instead of skim. Maybe they would, but I would like to think we all go to the coffee shop thinking good things, trusting things about our baristas and the things they do. Which is why we need to treat them right.

What I’m talking about is R.E.S.P.E.C.T. for C.O.F.F.E.E.

Can there be any other way?


There can. Unfortunately I witnessed it twice just last week.

Early morning, I made a trip to the D & D. Long line, out the door. A dozen antsy people waiting for their tasty morning pick-me-up in 16 ounce cup. Maybe a bagel. Maybe even a donut. Or two.

Standing, waiting oh so long to get to the front of the line, I notice two young women to the right of me. One has just dropper her giant grande big gulp of iced latte all over the counter. The counter is covered in tan liquid running every which way. The other is demanding her bagel – for the tenth time – while her flip-flopped foot taps impatiently in the growing puddle on the floor.

The store is packed. The clerks behind the counter are more than busy. Bagel orders and “I’ll take a big one” fly out of every other mouth. But these women don’t seem to see that. Or just seem to think they are the only people waiting, they only people that have an extreme caffeine and bagel need.

One starts shouting at the clerk about her bagel order. Two bagels, one toasted, one untoasted, one with extra cream cheese on the side, the other with cream cheese. It was an order so confusing even I couldn’t tell what should be toasted or smeared. And the poor clerk was even more confused as the other clerks shouted wheat plain, blueberry toasted, etcetera at him over and over again.

The iced latte catastrophe was no better. Though the woman dropped her own cup, it was the clerk’s problem. You know how this goes. The clerk tries to clean it up, the woman demands a new supersized iced latte with cream and sugar and extra Hazelnut.

I watch all of this unfold. I witness the abuse. I want to politely tell them to go away. I’m sorry, you are too picky, careless , bitchy, rude to be standing in this line. You had your chance, you screwed up. You dropped your coffee and your overly complicated a circular piece of bread. Please go. And, by the way, that’s what you get for asking for coffee ICED.

I thought it would stop there. The maltreatment of those stuck behind the counter fortunate to have so much coffee passing through their hands.

No such luck.


Next day – I’m at Caribou. What can I say – everyday was coffee Friday last week.

The man in front of me asks for a medium light roast. The barista quickly pours the cup, hands it over.

“You want to pour me a new cup that you don’t empty the last part of the pot into?” he says.


Whoa. WHOA. W-H-O-A. He did not. He did NOT just say that.

He did.

“But the pot was brewed 10 minutes ago,” the barista said, voice a little shaky, a little confused. Really, for $7.50 an hour, he doesn’t get paid enough for crap like this. Especially this early in the morning.

“I don’t want the bottom of the pot,” the man snaps. Come on. COME ON. At least try it first. There’s no way on this busy of a morning at this time of the morning that any ounce of coffee has been sitting in a pot for more than 10 minutes. Get over it. Try it. Drink it. Like it. Move on.

“WE BREWED THIS POT 10 MINUTES AGO,” the barista said, again, not loudly, I just added the caps because it was that evident that he was telling the truth since an electronic timer was sticking on the side of the pot that read 10:37. As in 10 minutes plus the 37 seconds wasted in explaining it to this man…again.

The man walked away.

There you have it – two unrelated cases of FBA. And what is the cure? Well, you can step up next to the line, give a big smile of sunshine, ask for your simple cup of coffee, thank them for allowing the world’s best beverage to pass through their hands into yours, and go about your day.

Be nice to your barista. It is because of them we wake up each day, we are productive, and pleasant, and headache free. Imagine a day without them, a world without them.

On second thought, go grab a cup of coffee and drink that thought away.

4 comments:

AGA said...

Exactly. Be nice to your barista because they have the power to give you free things! Plus, it's just the right thing to do.

Love your blog, by the way!

Ali

Alicia Parr said...

Little known fact - I used to be a barista. Back right after graduating with my impressive post-grad degree and trying to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up. Guess what? It wasn't a barista. Doesn't pay well.

Kat said...

Thanks for standing up for us baristas! By the way, there is a name for the people that are so unkind. I call them "Pre-caffinated". (There are definitely more out there than you would think!)
Love your blog, by the way! You make me laugh all the time.

Anonymous said...

I can relate 100% to this blog. I am a part-time barista doing it in order to get health insurance. If this were my permanent job, I'd hang myself. Baristas are poorly paid and do take a lot of abuse from spoiled jerks who think their feces doesn't stink. I'd like for one of them to try multi-tasking at 5 a.m., keeping a smile on their face, getting ridiculous requests, and hardly any tips.

Thank you for this blog!