Actually, it IS Rocket Science

You want soy with that?

Probably the most enjoyable jobs I’ve ever held have been those that circulated around comfortable atmospheres with little-to-no mental acumen required on my part; namely the position of a barista.  Being a coffee-shop employee comes with the hardest part up first: memorizing what arbitrary titles of different drinks and special requests are synonymous with what actions to take next, and after  going through those actions a few times it becomes second nature and you can just coast along on autopilot in a location specifically designed to chill you out.  I also preferred it because due to the fact that I am, for the most part, easy to wake up in the morning, I could knock out my shift in the earliest part of the day and have entire afternoons off to do whatever I wanted.  Like torment other friends who were still at work.

However, somehow the different times that I held this profession were always shit on by different circumstances.  Like the first time my best friend and roommate got me the job, explaining that the management was super laid back, only within the first week of my arrival the management switched hands and I was placed under the care of the most micro-managing boss one can imagine (dude literally crept up behind you while you were steaming milk and would RE-POSITION your hand without warning to achieve “OPTIMAL STEAMED MILK”).  Or the one boss who had us measure out our milk in proportion to our coffee with MEASURING SPOONS.  Or that time the band I was in and I were involved in a hugely detrimental car accident and I spent the majority of the night in the hospital getting stitches in my face only to be required by my boss to come in the next morning. THAT was fun.

So I learned little techniques of uber-sneaky undermining that I used when I had had enough of so much bullshit that were just deviant enough to at worst slightly-inconvenience those who made my otherwise simple job a source of eternal frustration and pissed-off-dom.  Nothing gross like spitting in anyone’s latte or picking my nose and placing it in their food, in fact depending on who you asked, probably did more of a CONvenience than a disservice.

For instance.  You asked for a medium chai latte?  That means two pumps of the chai tea concentrate.  You know what, valued customer?  You get THREE pumps!!  (This actually garnered a lot of compliments.  Showed you, mgmt)

You wanted a ranchero snack wrap?  Why don’t we make that a snack wrap supreme! (meaning I slugged an extra helping of shaved turkey and an extra dipping sauce in there for good measure)

What’s that?  You’re unhappy with your drink that you just downed over half of?  Here.  Let me fix you a brand new one, on the house.

And for the one guy who called me an idiot on my first day of work for putting 2% instead of skim in his beverage, how bout from here on out I ask you along every. single. step of the way of making your half-caf-no-whip-choc-drizz-skinny-blend-red-eye-latte, just to make sure I get it right?

tip your baristas.


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  1. * Sula says:

    Ha-Ha! I try to be a consummate cheerful, grateful, big-tipping customer to baristas (and all food-restaurant-service-personnel, for that matter.) I have kids who have worked in those positions (As a former barista, Ben could share lots of stories with you!) As you have learned, those are often times (not unlike public school teachers) the thankless jobs, requiring every ounce of sanity and intelligence one can muster to do the job well! I also (selfishly) get quite an ego-pump from out-shining the bratty, whiney, entitled assholes whose sole purpose seems to demand that they make life miserable for everyone else around them…
    Keep up the good work and let that beautiful smile dazzle ’em!!

    | Reply Posted 6 years, 11 months ago

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