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Category Archives: Festive fuckers

We, The Enablers (Or, How to Stop Being An Attention Whore)

We, The Enablers.

 

Sometimes, I think of myself as a drug dealer. Because really, that is what I am. Sure, I’m a legal drug dealer, just as the bartenders and off-licence lackeys are. But ultimately, I’m an enabler. And Christmas is the best time to see this.

Because people get really excited about whether or not to add gingerbread to their normal drink. They go ga-ga for whipped cream. And they dope themselves up on caffeine and sugar to make it through the holiday period.

Now, I make it sound like a bad thing, but enjoying a cup of coffee is fine, but in this New Year, maybe it’s time to question some of your habits. Why do you NEED your espresso macchiato to be ‘bone dry’? Is it really just that it’s how you like it, or is it that making a barista create something that only you have makes you feel a bit special?

Have you considered that perhaps it’s not the coffee itself that you are addicted to, but that feeling you get when we greet you, and instead of calling out the drinks order, just call out your name, because we all know how you like it? Doesn’t that give you a little thrill, a rush of power?

If this is the case, I regret to inform you that you’re probably an attention whore. We’ll put up with it until you start requesting copies of Da Vinci paintings on your Flat Whites, and then you’re out of here.

Do you really like the taste of that triple-shot, extra-hot-soya-wet-cappuccino? Or do you just like the way it rolls off the tongue, in that second of release, defining you as a person? A person who knows about their kind of coffee, who is special, not only for ordering a disgusting drink, but for being one of the few people who can actually say it?

Do you think it endears you to us? Do you think we go ‘Oh, yay, it’s that lady with the half-eggnog, half-soya again! I do so love getting two disgusting milk substitutes on my face! Yay! She’s so clever, with that clever drink!’

 

Maybe, in 2012, when you go through that inevitable breakdown that will happen if we just once can’t create the drink you need, you might examine your priorities. Why does it matter? Why is it so very, very important for you to be so special in a coffee shop? Why do you have to specialise everything, personalise it to you? You go into a restaurant and order one meal, but substitute everything, don’t you?

 

I need you to realise something: you’re high maintenance. And if you continue to be so, not only will you understand that you’re not at all made special by your continual customisation, but that no-one will ever love you.

Especially not your barista.

So think about that, would you? In the spirit of existential crises, and caffeinated beverages, and for everyone’s sanity. Just…stop being a dick, okay?

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Don’t Go Chasing Waterfalls…Piss off and Bug Someone Else, Like You Used To.

 

I’m going to have to return AGAIN to the problem of hot water. Because really, some people get it, some people don’t. We’re not insured for hot water. Because it is free, and therefore we cannot be insured against it. And it is a bit burny. Which means it’s dangerous. Which means we need insurance so our LOVELY fuck-over-anyone-for-something-free customers don’t sue us. Without even buying a drink.

So another stick-up-her-arse-golden spoon-not-wedged-far-enough-down-her-oesophagus  type comes in. She wants hot water. No. Sorry.

‘I’ve had it before.’

This is steam. It burns. It also comes out of my ears when you insist on being a moron

So what? Not here.

‘I’ve had it before.’

Sometimes, just because things have happened once, doesn’t mean they happen again. Times they are a-changing. Roll with it. Also, your argument is illogical.

‘Well, I’m going to Bosta then! THEY’LL give me hot water. How do you like that?’

I like it very much. Very, very much. So much that I might send Bosta a Thank You card for getting your arrogant arse out of here, and a complaints card that they didn’t do it soon enough.

Also, why are you coming into a coffee shop to get hot water, you fucking cheapskate.

Also, you’re not going to outsmart us by asking for tea without the tea bag in it. She gets this smug smile on her face like she’s worked out E=fucking MC squared.

Then we tell her she has to pay for tea, even if she’s not using the teabag (duh). And watching the smile fall from her face was probably the only moment of enjoyment. Apart from when she tried slamming the door behind her. The automatic door. Quite frankly, I’m scared of what the dumb bitch could do with a cup of hot water.

 

Phew. Man that feels better.

 

(This post was written in typing, blinding fury at the end of a shift. Mainly because I was scared that by the time I’d driven home, I would have retained my composure and sense of perspective. And no-one here wants that, do they? They want my rage! So, hope you enjoyed!)

 

Happy Bloody New Year Indeed!

‘The Dreadful Parentals’

There were some fine contenders for Arsehole Customer of the Week this week, and it was a tough choice. Did I go for Mr ‘Aahm a Real Businessman, see, and you’re takin’ advantage of my good nature’? What about Mr (assume Gap Yah voice) ‘I just fucking love the brand, yah’? Or even that sour-faced bitch who’s just always a bit of a sour-faced bitch.

Nope, because what I had planned to write today got thrown out of the window when this happened.

 

‘The Dreadful Parentals’

 

Starting with ‘Mrs ME ME ME’

Also known as ‘That frappuccino bitch. You know, the one with the whole milk. Who brings her own plastic cup in. Looks like she’s got a stick up her arse and botox in her cheeks. Yeah, that one.’

 

To be fair, she would have merited her own post at some point, just because of her drink, which is this:

‘A grande in my own cup, decaf-triple-shot coffee frappuccino with whole milk, three pumps of sugar-free vanilla, four pumps of base, double blended, whipped cream on top…and could you put any left over into an extra cup for me. Cheers.’

 

Fucking. Kill. Me. Now.

She’s always been a bit uptight, especially since it ‘never seems thick enough’ and then I try to add ice she complains that I’m watering the drink down. Sadly, physics has not occurred to this woman. You put a lot of liquid in a blender, it doesn’t necessarily matter how many times you blend it, it’s still liquid. And EVERY time she tries to double check that I’ll do my darndest to make it thick. But HOW can I do that, when you keep adding liquid to a drink that has been created by what I presume are food scientists to reach the right consistency?

Yes, you’re very fucking special. You’re a unique snowflake who has a drink unlike any other. This also makes us hate you.

What’s worse is, today, she brought in her children. This was shocking in itself. Someone who has enough time to devote to making other people miserable through her drink choices usually doesn’t have time for children. What I’m saying is that she is not maternal. That is an understatement.

So she orders two medium eggnog lattes with whipped cream for her children. Firstly, what is it with people giving their children caffeine? Sure, when it’s hidden in a milkshake-type drink, of course. But a grown-up drink? Why?

Secondly, I have become convinced that every time a customer orders an eggnog latte, it’s because they hate me. They want to punish me for being such a horrible human being. That’s the only explanation. Eggnog sucks.

She then, in her annoying ‘chav with money’ (baaaaaabe) voice tells me she needs ‘the calorie leaflet thingy’. She’s been having wholemilk with whipped cream four times a week, I doubt she needs to start worrying about the calories now.

‘Naao, it’s my son. He’s diabetic, so I have to know how many carbs are in an eggnog latte, and how many in the cream.’

Erm. What? I’m no expert on diabetes, but surely it’s the sugar content you’re looking for. Is this all some desperate ploy to make your child lose weight? Convince him he has a life-long disease?

Also, you could have figured this out before you ordered. Or you would know about these things because, erm, let’s think…You’re his MOTHER. Most mothers tend to know what their diabetic kids can and cannot eat.

AND you ordered him an extra pot of whipped cream whilst you were waiting for us to figure it out. We are not carbohydrate calculators. If we were, we would probably be working in a juice bar, or a gym.  

Whilst this would have made me have a coronary usually, I’ve been rather relaxed. It’s Christmas! Also, this is just more strange than anything else. Was she lying about diabetes? Was she just dumb? Is diabetes really about carbs and I’m the stupid one? What is the meaning of life, and what the hell actually is eggnog?

None of these questions will be answered next week.

Onto the next mad bitch.

 

Mrs…I Don’t Even Know What

‘My daughter wants a little coffee…like, for kids’

I look down at the child. She appears to be about five.

‘Oh, you mean a babychino?’

She pauses, thinking deeply.

‘It’s warmed foam milk, like the top of a cappuccino, for kids.’

‘No! No, I want actual coffee. Black coffee, like mine, but in a small cup. Like an espresso cup.’

This is the madness that leads me to making a one-shot-decaf-black-Americano in a espresso cup. For a five year old. Her mother didn’t even ask for decaf. The little girl then asks for chocolate. The mother replies ‘No more sweets, you’ve already had enough today.’ It was nine in the morning. It’s entirely possible that this is a mum-type lie to stop a child eating rubbish. But in this case, I’m not so sure.

She then let the kid finish off the rest of her caffeinated Americano. After putting more sugar in it. What is WRONG with these people? Who WANTS a caffeinated five-year-old? Why not just give her a pint of Redbull and be done with it?

 

 

Mrs ‘MUM MUM MUM MUMMY MUMMY MUM’

 Finally, again returning to the mothers who bring in their children, buy them something sugary and then spend the rest of the time ignoring them, we have the demon children. It’s not their fault they’re demon children, they’re literally yelling for attention. And banging on the windows, laughing, screaming, scraping chairs, running back and forth and other things that make the little old lady in the corner suddenly cry out:

‘They’re savages! Savages!’

Here endeth the rant. Lock up your kids. Or your parents. And a little bit of advice, in this festive season? A child is for life, not just for Christmas. So try not to fuck them up too much as young children. That’s what the teenage years are for.

Mrs ‘Can’t Abide’ AKA The Sorry Tale of the Big-Mouthed Bitch

Some days are just bad days. Or rather, bad shifts. When you get the Friday afternoon, usually you don’t mind because your brain goes ‘ooh, Friday! It’s almost the weekend!’ Except when you actually get to the Friday afternoon, you realise that you were once again duped by your own excitement.

Friday afternoons suck. Mostly because the local school gets out early and we have pre-teens demanding frappuccinos and paying for them in ten pence pieces, but sometimes purely because people are dickheads.

An example of such dickheadery in the Friday rush is below:

 

Nice Old Gent: Hello, lads and ladies, I would like a medium Americano with a dash of milk, and the lady would like a cup of hot water, please.

Barista: Really, really sorry but we can’t serve hot water.

Nice Old Gent: Really? (We expect a sudden meltdown)

Barista: I know it seems stupid, but it’s company policy now.

Nice Old Gent: (long, terrifying pause)…Okay! No problem, I’ll just go see what else she wants.

 

He dashes off and we breathe a sigh of relief. An easy, understanding customer who is willing to compromise despite our pretty silly but justified policy? (The same as last week, you can see why we have this policy here.)
Except a lady suddenly bustles in and starts screaming drink orders left, right and centre, so my colleague starts writing them down on cups for me to make. Then the Nice Old Gent comes back, so my colleague asks if the lady could wait one moment whilst he finishes this other transaction. Holy shit did we not expect this.

 

Big Mouthed Cow: Why didn’t you TELL me there was someone in front of me? YOU PEOPLE always do this! I can’t ABIDE bad service, I just can’t abide it. That’s just me, you know? That’s something that just gets to me. You could have told me to wait, and then served him, and now you’ve made HIM uncomfortable. I just can’t DEAL with this TERRIBLE SERVICE. ALL THE TIME. I just CAN’T ABIDE IT. I CAN’T.

 

Wow, well someone has a word of the day calendar, don’t they? Or they just saw The Big Lebowski for the first time. In which case, they should be more relaxed. The Dude abides.

Whilst I begin loudly humming Christmas carols and saying THANK YOU SO MUCH to every customer who walks by, just to release the aggression, the Nice Old Gent comes around.

Nice Old Gent: So you really can’t serve hot water?

Me: No, I know it’s really stupid because we can serve tea, but it’s a new policy. Someone ordered hot water and then threw it in a barista’s face. She was scalded so we can’t give it out anymore.

Nice Old Gent: That’s so terrible! I completely understand! (How fucking NICE is this guy?!)

Nice Old Gent then leans in and whispers: I’d be bloody careful if I were you, love. That harpy behind me looks like the water-throwing type!

I then hand him his drink, he thanks me, then looks a bit scared.

Nice Old Gent: It’s definitely mine, isn’t it love? I’d hate to have taken hers, pretty sure she’d tackle me to the ground!

 

Oh sweet lord, you lovely, lovely man! You’re a wonderful human being who has transported me from that bitter sick feeling in my stomach to the understanding that all is right with the world! Merry Bloody Christmas, everyone!

So Can’t Abide comes around (and although I know it’s petty, she looked like what my favourite movie reviewer calls ‘A Big-Lipped Alligator Moment) and starts on at me. She’s also ordered a fucking Eggnog Latte, one of the most annoying drinks in the world, due to the fact that it’s chemical structure is heavier, and therefore is difficult to aerate, and thus makes A FUCKING LOUD NOISE. Much like the woman who wants to drink it. She then asks for it to be half soya. If I didn’t know she was a tool before, I do now. Mixing egg and bean milk with extra-hot decaf espresso. Fuck right off.

 

To truly understand the Big Lipped Alligator Moment check out this site.

Me and my colleague then just stared in awe, unable to even find the words beyond sounds like ‘garble garble what the fuck?’

 

We then have about sixty-seconds of pure, beautiful peace, in which we find the innermost strength, deep down in the depths of our souls, fuelled by beauty, love and caffeine, to forgive the rude bitch. It’s Friday, it’s close to Christmas. She’s probably one day soon going to be found dead in her flat, slowly being eaten by her underfed chihuahua. And that, my friends, is what we call JUSTICE.

 

But she breaks this ‘goodwill to all coffee-drinkers’ thing we had going by walking up, pausing in the middle of the store and pointing at me.

‘YOU! We’ve spilled some apple juice on the floor. Come and clean it up.’

You think this dog is too cute to eat anyone. But he knows a bitch when he sees one.

Of course madam. Of course. Of fucking course, you pretentious arsehole with an inability to think of anything but yourself. I would LOVE to get down on my hands and knees whilst your children kick me in the face and call me ‘cleany lady’ whilst you suggest that perhaps I should get a mop. I suggest you get a personality transplant, toot suite.

 

(I know, I know. Cleaning up after clumsy children and lazy adults is my job. I do it willingly. But most people, especially mothers, tend to at least apologise, or try and wipe up a bit of the mess themselves. But if you told her that she would clearly reply: ‘Well, she’s getting PAID for it, ISN’T SHE?’ Which is a fair enough point for the Dragon Lady to make.)

So what can I say about all this except that it’s a standard Friday in December? Well, if I was smart I would have said the exact perfect thing in response:

Her: I can’t ABIDE bad service.

Me: Well, I can’t ABIDE people who treat those in the service industry like shit just to make themselves feel better about their empty, meaningless and ultimately lonely little lives…And adding soya to your Eggnog adds just as much fat, so enjoy wobbling around the sales, MADAM!

 

...Ehem, Happy Holidays....? Everyone! (Well, almost everyone. You know who you are.)

A Quick Rundown of Mundanity and Moronity.

(Yes, I know that’s not a word. I’m an English graduate. Yes, sometimes educated people make coffee. Shocking, isn’t it?)

 

So, upon returning to work, I was eager to notice how fucking annoying everyone is. Except sadly, they have for the most part let me down. People have been cordial, polite, happy. Excited about Christmas and happy to compromise. Stupidly happy to pay an extortionate amount of money for a festive-themed drink. Which, obviously, makes my job at the cafe easier, and my job at this blog much more difficult. Hmph.

 

Still, I managed to glean a few moments.

So I present to you:

 

Mrs ‘It’s Not Like This at Harrods!’

She seemed fine, mostly. Her granddaughter’s cuteness made up for her grating voice. And that tells you how cute that baby was. Nails on a freaking blackboard. Especially when deciding to buy a cookie for said granddaughter, and then insisting that the little girl carry the plate over to her granddad. Now generally, this is a pretty sweet but anxiety-ridden moment, watching a four-year-old toddle along holding a china plate with a cookie the size of her head. Except the grandma seems to need to tell her husband that the child is coming over.

‘TREVOR! TREVOR! SHE’S WALKING TO YOU, TREVOR! WATCH OUT, SHE’S WALKING! HOLDING A PLATE! A PLATE!’

Of course she’s holding a fucking plate, you just gave it to her. Also, poor Trevor (who I assume has probably suffered irreparable ear damage, just as I have) was only standing slightly behind her. That’s a lot of unnecessary name-calling. Even if it is his actual name.

She then proceeds to order, change her mind, reorder, forget what she’s ordered and start all over again. This is fine, she’s an old lady, I’m not agist. But here’s the kicker: she asks for a cup of hot water.

Our health and safety does not allow for us to hand out hot water (you can understand why here) so I offer her tea (yes, I realise putting a teabag in the cup does not negate the fact that I would be handing her a cup of hot water). She doesn’t drink tea (what a sad existence). She then requests ‘hot water, with a few thinly cut slices of fresh lemon.’

Um. What?

I guffaw back that we don’t have any fresh fruit available beyond bananas. And I wouldn’t want to put them in hot water.

‘You’ve no lemon?’ She’s aghast! Could it be, a coffee shop that doesn’t serve non-calorie, non-caffeinated, not-really-a-drink, drinks? For shame.

‘Well, okay then.’ She sighs deeply, about to compromise. I tell her our camomile tea is lovely (bleugh). She reinforms me that she doesn’t like tea. I am clearly a cretin.

‘Well, how about hot water with some fresh mint?’

I’m sorry, how is fresh mint a step down from lemon? I know, I’ll go and pick it from the rooftop herb garden that I keep for just such occasions. And also, gross, steamed mint in a cup. I resist pointing out that we have mint tea, which is in fact, mint in hot water.

‘I SUPPOSE I’ll just go without a drink then!’

Oh great, I’m supposed to feel guilty because you’re high maintenance? How is that fair? And all I could think was poor, poor Trevor. He’ll have to hear all about her terrible ordeal with the lack of mint. Probably at close range and high volume.

 

Mrs ‘I KNOW ABOUT THESE THINGS’

Occasionally, we get drinks wrong. Or rather, to defend my barista family, we make drinks the way we’re told, and you like them a specific way that does not always coordinate with our training. You picky bastards.

But for the most part, if you think a cappuccino is a bit too fluffy, or the latte’s not got enough coffee in it, we’ll fix it, with a smile and an apology (even though it’s clearly your fault for being so demanding). However, it’s all in the way you say it. Because when we explain why we’ve made it that way, there’s one thing you can reply with that may be the most infuriating thing in the world. It is a red flag in front of a bull:

 

‘Well, I’ve been having them for years, and I’ve never had one like that. So it’s clearly wrong.’

Oh really? Wow, you’ve been drinking that for years, have you? And have you measured the consistency, caffeine-levels and foaminess of each one? That’s a lot of effort. Wow, you sure are a coffee connoisseur, we should hire you to stand over us and let us know when we’re fucking up a cappuccino.

You’ve been drinking them for years? I’ve been making them for years, who do you think has a better concept of how the fucking drink is made correctly?

 

Speaking of Understanding Your Mouth, there are things like this:

 

‘I hope you make it better today, the last one tasted like water.’

How on earth does it taste like water when it is made from milk, coffee and caramel syrup? Maybe you should stop smoking and you’d be able to taste the fucking thing.

 

‘Where’s the coffee in this?’

Erm, in the mug with the remainder of your drink, that is, the tiny droplet of milk you left in the bottom before complaining about it. Which leads me to assume that the coffee left the mug at precisely 3.15pm, where it then travelled in a vertical direction down your oesophagus. I therefore believe your phantom espresso shot is in your stomach. Ah, the powers of deduction.

 

‘This doesn’t feel heavy enough’

It is.

Drink it. Taste it. It’s good. It’s the exact weight a cappuccino should be. I can weigh it for you. If you try judging your drinks with your mouth instead of your hand, it’s a much more pleasing experience.

 

In Other News:

Today included a Pointer, who decided saying ‘Pan Au Raisen’ or even ‘that swirly pastry thing with the raisins’ was too much. So he just jabbed his finger against the glass for five minutes whilst I interjected with ‘this one?’ until he eventually said ‘yes’ instead of ‘no’.

A woman seriously asked me this:

‘Could you stop the automatic door from opening every time someone walks in?’

 

Well, then it would cease to be an automatic door, and become simply a door. Its sense of identity would be lost, as well as its meaning in life, and it would kill itself out of desperation. And we like our door. It confuses customers who can’t figure out how to open it. Here’s a clue: It’s automatic. And there’s a big fucking button.

Short answer:

‘I’m very sorry Madam, we can’t stop the door from being automatic. It’s not its fault it’s different. You could move to sit someone else.’

‘THERE IS NOWHERE ELSE!’

‘Well, that’s a very bleak outlook on life you have Madam.’

 

So, that’s it for now, I promise to be more scathing next time, instead of mildly philosophical and quietly amused. In fact, I can guarantee it. Fucking Eggnog lattes. What the hell is eggnog? Why do we add it to coffee? Why is there no alcohol in it? What kind of disgusting things do the people who enjoy them eat? These and other questions answered next time, on Cafe Disaster.