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You Can Do it Too! (No, you can’t. Arsehole.)

Warning: This post is severely angry and has very little merit, artistic or otherwise.

 

I don’t know if this has actually ever occurred to you, but just because you are capable of watching someone else do something, it doesn’t mean you can do it. You know how birds fly? Yeah? Well flap your fucking arms and try it. Preferably from the top of a ten storey building.

 

If I have one more customer this week imply that they could do my job, I am going to hand them my mocha-stained apron and tell them to get the fuck on with it. Okay, steaming milk is not difficult. Getting it perfect, however, is an art. Getting it to 90 FUCKING DEGREES without spilling it everywhere, scalding your own face, watching as the chemical bonds fall apart and trying not to gag on the smell of burnt milk, well, that’s not just art, that’s science. And skill. And a variety of other pointless things that I have, and you do not.

If you realised just how irritating it is to have to make two shots extra strong, one normal, with the milk steamed so that it sits on top of the coffee, and then have you desecrate the ridiculous coffee concoction you made me create with FIVE PACKETS OF SUGAR, you would cry. And then you would slap the ridiculous human who wanted the stupid drink in the first place (that’s you, FYI).

You know other times you would cry? When people make you redo their drink THREE TIMES. And then there’s a queue. And then you want the ice ‘crushed’ instead of cubed. And then you want me to brew three green teabags for exactly 90 seconds before pouring it over ice and making sure the ice doesn’t melt. You could do my job? Fuck you. No, really. We should do a Barista for The Day Challenge, where every uppety, super specific, ‘I’m so fucking important and so is my drink’ customer has to serve other uppety bastards. Oh really, you can count change, take the next order, ask about someone’s day and pretend not to care when they treat you like crap? Fine, do it.

 

Oh yes, sure, you’re a Head of Industry, doing the job of ‘the little people’ is so easy. You think because you’ve stood there chatting for thirty seconds every day whilst we make your extra hot mocha, you understand the logistics? You think because you put the sugar in before the espresso hits the cup, or because you stir the sauce before we pour the milk in, you think you’re a coffee expert, do you? Well, you’re WRONG.

You know what else is wrong with you, whilst we’re on the topic? Just because skimmed milk is called ‘skinny’ does NOT mean it’s a magical fat-burning potion. Just because I’m required to ask your name does not mean I personally want to know your name, and you’re allowed to look at me like a stalker. I don’t care about your name, age, where you live, what you do or what you think about when you’re not ordering coffee. (Sometimes, I care. But that’s only if you’re pretty or nice. Or preferably ordering something that doesn’t make me want to slap both of us in the face for taking part in this charade). Replying to my request for a name with ‘If you really want it’ is not acceptable. I do not want anything. All I want is to get through my abysmal day with no-one telling me I can’t do my job, calling me a ‘good girl’, handing me a package of what I thought was merely rubbish, but turns out to be a soiled nappy, or calling me ‘incapable’. That is all I want. Preferably a ‘thank you’ at the end of a transaction, or a smile, if I’m going to start asking for miracles.

 

Oh, whilst we’re at it, a QUARTER shot of coffee in a large size, is actually just flavoured milk. Complaining to me that our coffee is too strong, when you clearly have an intolerance to anything that tastes good, is out of order. Price? Not my problem. You think, as a VERY IMPORTANT customer, you could arrange our prices? Fine, I’ll still be getting minimum wage, as I assume the poor monkeys who work for you are also doing. Send them over to get your coffee next time, will you? That way we can bitch about you. And they never assume they could make your coffee. You know why? Because they know that you’re a control freak, and they congratulate me on being able to make your coffee five times a day without stabbing someone. DO YOU SEE WHAT YOU’RE DOING? DO YOU?

 

Just in case this whole thing was a bit subtle for you, I’ll reiterate: You are not a special or unique snowflake. Just because you designed your coffee order based on a desperate need to feel important, does not mean you can actually make it happen. You might be able to wax lyrical about Van Gogh, or talk about the ballet. Doesn’t make you a black swan. In fact, I think you should work on the idea that you’re not very special at all. And that if you’re the type of person who shouts at a minimum wage coffee monkey that your ‘almost dry’ (honestly, what the fuck does that even mean?) cappuccino isn’t ‘almost dry enough’ then you should consider that you’re not only unimportant, persnickety and average, but you’re also a bastard, and a raving lunatic.

 

Just some food for thought. Why don’t you snack on that, with your small half-caf, half shot, two pumps sugar free vanilla, soya, extra hot, almost wet latte? Fucker.

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Mr ‘I Fucking Love the Brand, Man’

He starts off with these immortal words:

‘Do you have a Burnt-Cinnamon-Dark-Spiced-Caramel-Nutted latte?’

Erm, does anyone have one of those? Should anyone have one of those? It has the word ‘burnt’ in it. Is this the drink for people who can’t make a decision but want a drink equivalent of a cake?

‘I’m…afraid we don’t, sir.’

His eyes boggle out of his face, and he shakes his head sadly, emitting a little sigh.

‘They have them in America. I was in the LA branch. They’ve got some amazing things in America.’

(These are some of them)

I’m pretty sure they have other amazing things in LA, like superstars and Hollywood and stuff. Maybe you’d have noticed them if you weren’t making googoo eyes at a caffeinated beverage.

He settles for a latte with an extra shot, soya milk (ah, yes. You have been in America, I see. Did you come back with a no-carb diet and the desire to dress a little dog in pink clothes?) which is absolutely nothing like the monstrosity he wanted to order.

He then sits down opposite the bar, and shouts across to us about all the amazing things in the American version of our store. There’s a difference in the store cards, and the beverages, and the ordering system. You know what else is different? The American baristas might actually care about this. And I’m betting you sat there and told them all about how our system works. What do you do? Why are you here? All the time? Who loves a brand that much? Corporate schmuck.

So then his parents come in. They seem very polite and order a tea and a black coffee. Both small. He then comes barging over with his ridiculously loud voice and says:

‘Noo! Mum, Dad, you just don’t understand how it works here! You’re doing it all wrong. This isn’t the way things are done.’

He then turns to me and says ‘I’m so sorry about them. They meant they want tall drinks. For here. But in takeaway cups.’

Firstly, I’m outraged on behalf of the parents for the way the little git is talking to them, and then I’m outraged at the parents for creating such an abhorrent being. Is he a brands whore? Is that what it is? Will he complain at his friends for wearing their Nike socks ‘the wrong way’, or that Adidas jackets can’t be zipped up? Plus, I bet he shops in Hollister. That is cause enough to judge him. It’s all about the brand, man. I want the things I wear to say where I got them- I want the name PLASTERED all over!

Ugh. He then sits and explains the whole ordering process and ‘ethos of the company’ to his parents, occasionally looking over to the barista to make sure they’re hearing just how knowledgable he is about such things. Maybe he just really wanted a job with us. I think after that, his parents probably just wanted to go somewhere with weak tea and rubbish coffee, purely so that he couldn’t talk about it anymore.

At least they get acknowledgement that they're smart

And as baristas, we kind of agreed. Sure, our job is okay. It may not seem it here, where all the coffee-drinking detritus of humanity reside in my stories, but our job isn’t bad. It’s a sight higher than a McJob and we don’t have to wear baseball caps. (Although I recently realised our ‘Would you like whipped cream?’ is the equivalent of ‘Would you like fries with that?’ Urgh) But no-one, and I mean NO-ONE is that obsessed with the brand they work for. Unless you work for Apple, maybe. And no amount of free coffee is going to make us choose to sit and chat with someone who is a FAN. It’s just…repulsive. Urgh. Go join a club, or volunteer for a charity or something. Just stop talking about this as if it’s interesting. Jeez.

The ‘Hot Lid’ Fiasco

This was a problem quite a lot in my old store, where customers had so much money that they were not accustomed to following instructions. A bit like buying IKEA furniture, and deciding you could put it together yourself. It all looks very pretty at the end, but there’s a screw missing. And then it collapses, and you curse the manufacturer, because it couldn’t possibly be your shoddy handiwork. Because you’re important.

In fact, that analogy fails, simply because this customer is not the kind of woman who does anything for herself. She has her nails done for her, her legs waxed for her, her coffee made for her. She probably had a caesarean because pushing out her spawn was too much trouble.

She has appeared in this blog before, and we commonly know her as ‘medium-mocha-frap-in-a-large-cup-extra-cream’. I have moaned about her trying to rip us off by essentially stealing whipped cream, and then causing such an earache when we try to explain that she should pay for half a cup of whipped cream, that we let it go. Because my hearing is fairly precious to me. As is my sanity.

 

Now, we don’t know her as ‘the annoying mocha frap woman/whipped cream bitch’. Now we know her as ‘that evil hag.’

If you type 'evil coffee hag' into google, this is what you get.

The following occurred, unusually not to me, but to a fellow barista, who handled it with flair. I instead cranked the ‘Cheerful Barista’ reader ALL THE WAY TO 11. Mainly to prove to customers who came after her that we’re really nice people, and she’s a douchebag.

She orders a caramel macchiato and a small hot chocolate. She normally gets this caramel macchiato ‘to stay but in a takeaway cup’ (sidenote: I don’t care where you’re having your drink. I just want to know in which type of receptacle you require it. I do not need a whole story about how ‘the paper ones keep them warmer’. We’ll all have to deal with our recycling demons one day. Your day will come.) but she didn’t say it this time. And she saw me writing it down and placing the note on one of our new shiny china mugs. So I assumed she, like many others, is interested in novelty value. Because she’s that kind of vapid bitch.

She then does that thing that drives me CRAZY. Waits quietly whilst the whole order has gone through and has started being made before she goes: ‘Oh that should be skinny.’

Cue the barista throwing away a jug full of perfectly good milk. Not at all passive aggressively.

Then she comes back. ‘Oh, those should be take away cups!’

Cue barista throwing the ready made drinks out of the mugs and into the sink. Not at all passive aggressively.

I’m also trying to serve a few OTHER PEOPLE WHO EXIST IN THE WORLD, so she’s kinda stopping me from doing that.

‘Oh, and I want cream on the hot chocolate.’

‘NOT a problem Madam!’ gritted teeth.

The barista puts the caramel macchiato down without incurring any sort of wrath. Then he puts the lid on the hot chocolate. AND THIS SHIT GETS REAL.

‘WHAT are you DOING? I don’t WANT a lid!’

Wow, the drama quote in your life must be super-low right now, if this gets you riled.

‘I’m afraid it’s store policy, we have to put lids on hot drinks.’

‘BUT THAT’S RIDICULOUS!’

Is it, is it really? You handing a hot drink to a young child and then suing the shit out of us when he burns himself….sound at all like the manipulative work of a middle-class bitch like yourself?

‘That may be so, madam, but those are the rules.’

‘Maybe they’re just YOUR rules.’

Yes, baristas love their work so much they spend time making up pointless rules for individual customers to follow. If that was the case, the rule here would be ‘Under no circumstances serve this dumb bitch.’ But no, we have no rules.

‘LOOK, YOU’VE SQUISHED THE WHIPPED CREAM DOWN!’

If you liked it then you shoulda put a lid on it.

Sweet, merciful coffee god, in the name of all that is caffeinated, please remove this woman from my immediate vicinity, before I lose my shit. My voice gets an octave higher and infinitely more cheerful (think Minnie Mouse) as I greet the next customer, who looks rather frightened by my enthusiasm.

‘I’m sorry, those are the rules. I’m not going lose my job over a….lid.’

Anyone else sure the end of that sentence was going to be ‘whipped cream bitch’?

‘WELL, put it in a regular mug! Did you HEAR ME? A REGULAR MUG!’

I’ll show you a fucking regular mug…when you look in the mirror. That’s right, I went there. Ooh, burn.

The loud cow then obstinately walks over, dumps the poor kid with this mountainously creamy hot chocolate (which she proceeds to eat- that skinny macchiato working out well for you there?) and then actively encourages her son to play loud music from her iPhone. Is there anything ruder than playing music on a phone in public places? Isn’t that reserved for chavs on the back of the bus? The worst part? She only had THREE songs, so he kept repeating them. Two of those three songs were Michael Buble.

 

She then kept shooting weird death glances over to us to see if the music was annoying. Erm, duh. Yes. Yes it was. She then left, and we knew there was going to be carnage left in her wake. It was like a coffee death scene. Ripped sugar packets, crumbled cookie, shredded lids and spoons sticking to the table with left over whipped cream and spilt milk.

So there’s another customer we’ll be running away from next week. Because, you know, we make up the rules about that.

VIPs: Very Irritating People (Or, Why People on Phones are Bastards)

VIPs: Very Irritating People (Or, Why People on Phones are Bastards)

Can it possibly get any ruder than someone trying to order whilst they’re still on the phone?

I miss these days...big phones, and Michael Douglas still made watchable films

Especially when they answer/call someone during the ordering process? So then I have to mime out questions (there’s a few other hand gestures I’d most certainly like to use instead) and point to different sized cups until they nod. Or usually, wave away my questions with a shrug and a fluttering manicured hand, only to complain very loudly when the drink they’ve received is incorrect.

This is dumb. And rude. People who do this, listen closely: You are not that important. You are not special, you are not ‘in demand’. Unless it’s a doctor telling you that the heart surgery you’re scheduled for is about to happen, or your university application forms haven’t gone through, or it’s your kid at home telling you someone is breaking in downstairs, I DON’T CARE.

It’s about old-fashioned consideration. Which perhaps only happens in places where there aren’t mobile talking devices. If you want to text and permanently ignore that I’m a human being and not just a coffee retrieval device akin to a talking vending machine from the future, that’s fine. As long as you can cogently get your fucking order across and let me do my job.

So there’s one customer who comes in on the phone, walks straight up to the bar and makes a desperate motion for pen and paper. Thinking perhaps that she needs to write down a helpline for people with lifelong rudeness problems, and is looking for a local support group, I oblige. She then WRITES DOWN HER ORDER and carries on talking. And of course, she forgets the ‘here or takeaway’ ‘which size’ and a bunch of other questions that customers never realise are necessary. So I again have to do the ‘Guessing The Specifics Dance of Death’. Which looks moronic.

Now this doesn't make me want to puke. This is NOM. But this is not what irish cream coffee smells like.

Now, she’s a regular, so I would probably let her off. Except for the fact that she has an Irish Cream latte. At nine in the morning. Which smells like whisky. Which makes me want to vomit. Thanks. I really needed you ignoring me, and then making me dance the coffee monkey dance, and then making me want to puke. Awesome. This has been a wonderful encounter that’s enhanced my day, and truly made me feel that minimum wage I get for being here is completely worth it. Thanks.

She’s not even the worst, though. Sure, there’s the pinched-face bitches who think they’re so important because their manicurist is on the phone, asking to change their appointment, who make more and more outlandish faces as I suggest drinks for them to shoot down, until I eventually get the right one.

Possibly the only people I would accept this behaviour from

If your daily dose of caffeine means so little to you, then stop ordering stupidly complicated things and expecting me to understand your little one-act play of ‘This is what my face looks like when I drink my drink.’

Anyway, onto the worst. I’ll start with a disclaimer: I am not a man-hater. I’m a feminist, an egalitarian, and generally, I know a lot of nice men. Some of them like football. So it’s not about that. But this guy was the biggest Big Male Response Cliche of all time. So know that when I write this, I think HE is a massive tool. But the rest of you, you’re okay. For the most part.

He wanders up to the counter on the phone, and stands there, talking away, not making eye contact, until eventually my frustration causes me to throw my arms up in the air in a ‘what the hell do you want?’ sort of gesture. (It’s okay, I was smiling my coffee-monkey smile. You know, the one that’s held up by staples, gaffer tape and self-loathing.)

He then stands there, the phone still to his ear and says:

‘Hmm…I’lllll haaaaaave…..I’llll haaaaave…..Hmm…I’lll haaaave…’

I’ll spare you the repetition, this went on for approximately seventy-five seconds, whilst I bit my tongue to stop me from screaming out ‘WHAT? WHAT DO YOU WANT? WHAT?’

I’m assuming the person on the other end of the phone would be in the same position.

He orders a medium cappuccino to take away, thank goodness.

And then he LEAVES THE QUEUE. As in, he suddenly carries on his phone conversation, and walks back to the pastry case, where he briefly inspects the paninis, and then stands staring into thin air.

There are five people in the queue behind him, waiting to be charged at my till.

So in the interest of fairness (or just that I was briefly shocked into stunned silence- doesn’t happen often) I give him thirty seconds to find a panini. Except that he’s not looking for one. He’s just standing there. Talking about the BLOODY FOOTBALL.

Hardly a business call worth holding up five people, who all have equally important things to be doing.

So, after sharing a variety of incredulous stares with staff and customers alike, I call over to him.

‘Sir, if there isn’t anything else, would you mind coming back here to pay for you drink?’

He then does the single most infuriating thing I may have ever experienced. He puts his finger to his lips, makings a ‘shh’ing gesture, and tells me to wait a minute. Luckily enough, I didn’t have a rage blackout, as I thought I might, but instead erupted into hysterical giggles, which was probably safer for everyone.

Phone bastards. I hope he’s paying too much for his contract and his football team lost. There. Hah.

Not the Younglings!

 

Ah, children. The purity of youth. The beginning of a downward spiral that sends you scuttling into teenagerdom, and emerging as an emotionally scarred adult. What wonderful little critters children are. And, quite rightly, I’ve moaned about them here before, in passing. When they make mess, when they put their sticky little mitts on my beautifully polished pastry case. When they decide to individually count every coffee bean on display, or create a fort out of straws. Usually, when they steal the chocolate powder. But in general, you can’t really blame kids for being kids.

But, I’m going to try. Because sometimes, you can just look at a child and see who they’re going to become. Usually, their mothers.

Miss ‘Uh, yeah?’

So, a very sweet and polite girl comes to order a drink, I’d say she was about twelve. She get’s halfway through saying that she’d like to takeaway when her stormtrooper friend marches up and interrupts.

‘Uh NO excuse me I WANT THIS ONE.’

Um, why are you shouting, are you accustomed to the butler being in the West Wing when you call for him? I’m standing right here. I know you are underdeveloped and therefore I seem quite high up, but shouting is unnecessary.

‘WE WANT TWO CARAMEL FRAPPUCINOS. CREAM BASED. WITH CREAM. DO…YOU..UNDERSTAND…THAT?’

Oh. Sweet. Jesus. That flash of red behind my eyes was either blinding rage or a seizure. Keep calm.

‘Yes, MADAM. I completely comprehend your order. That will be five pounds.’

Grit teeth, smile wide. She’ll be entering adolescence soon. There will be pimples and puppyfat and gossipy girls and boys who reject her because she’s scary. She’s got a hard time ahead, believe in karma. It will be alright. I am a grown up. I win by default.

‘Uh, excuse me, I’m not done yet. Shouldn’t you ask if I want anything else?’

I’m afraid we don’t offer personality transplants here.

‘What else would you like?’

‘A half-shot decaf caramel coffee light DOUBLE BLENDED- you always forget to double blend it- with extra drizzle. Do you think you can handle that?’

Well, it rates right up there with brain surgery, but I’ll certainly do my best.

Then she pays with a fifty pound note. I hadn’t even SEEN a fifty pound note when I was twelve, let alone been responsible for one.

So, it’s a Saturday afternoon, and there’s a drinks rush, so whilst I desperately swirl around slamming blenders, measuring milk, squirting scream, and generally doing what we call ‘The Frappuccino Dance of Death’ she decides to get involved.

I hand over the first two drinks. The polite one smiles and nods.

‘You DO KNOW we’re waiting for another one?’ She’s flicking her hair, whilst I’m trying to let her know that pissing me off when there are fourteen beverages waiting to be made, twenty more people in the queue and I’m holding a container of strawberry sauce is not a good idea. She clearly doesn’t get the hint.

‘Where’s MY drink?

‘DID YOU ORDER IT?’ I bark.

‘Uh, duh, yes, you served me.’

‘THEN IT’LL BE WITH YOU MOMENTARILY, WON’T IT?’

I give her three times the amount of whipped cream and wish her an acne attack. My colleague pauses and grins. ‘This is going in your blog, isn’t it?’

And here it is. Young people. Pfff. Yes, come in and order things, you appreciate our expensive froofy drinks. And we appreciate your pocket money. But you know what? When you come in wearing head-to-toe Hollister, talking on your iPhone and talking to me like I’m some sort of undead waitress programmed to attend to your every need, I need you to think about something. You are going to end up like your mother. And I serve your mother every day. She is also an arsehole. You’re probably going to marry a man like your father (espresso drinking timid man who never replies when you ask how his day is) and be as rich and entitled as you are now. And then you are going to get old and die.

There’s a free dose of perspective with every cold drink today, come along quick! You too may benefit from an extra help of reality with a side of whipped cream!

 Have a nice day from Cafe Disaster – keep your younglings away from me.

 

 

 

 

 

Miss ‘Uh, I’m like, here all the time’

 (I assume that as today is a momentous occasion what with the death of a terrorist and all, that maybe moaning about coffee-drinking customers is perhaps not as relevant…that said, when is it ever relevant or useful to secretly bitch about people on the internet? I’m looking at you, Perez Hilton. Still, here’s a post for you all.)


It’s easy to spot a gobby customer. In fact, it’s easier to hear them. But this one was misleading, she was quiet, fairly polite, and nothing about her really gave away the fact that she was about to bug me.

And then she ordered soya hot chocolate.

Not the worst of crimes, I’ll admit, although personally, the idea makes me gag.

So I tell her how much it costs.

‘Erm, it’s usually less than that.’ She pops her chewing gum.

‘Well, that’s soya milk, we charge for that.’ I shrug apologetically. If you want it cheap, order dairy like the rest of the population. That’s like complaining that having kids costs a lot, when it’s your decision. Or that Versace’s bags cost more than Primark. You’ve chosen the more expensive choice, don’t start on me.

‘What, so it’s, like, a pound more?’

‘Well, no, it was originally two pounds, so it’s-’

‘Okay, yeah fifty pence more, whatever.’

No, you numerically-challenged moron. It’s thirty pence. I’m a literature student, and even I can work that out.

‘No, it’s less-’ I try.

‘Yeah, well, they never charge me for that, and I’m always in here.’

‘Actually, we’ve always charged for soya.’

She pauses, hand on hip and sizes me up. ‘Well I come in here every day, and they never charged me that much. Well, whatever. Doesn’t matter.’

She walks off.

A word to the wise, dear readers. Never try the ‘But I always come in here!’ line. I’ve done it myself, and you know what, if you need to say it, it means you’re annoying enough that we’d remember you. If you were in every day, we’d remember you anyway.

And this madam had never been in. So she was trying to goad me into giving her free stuff.

Well bollocks to that. I’ve said it before. If you want free stuff, be nice. It’s really fucking simple.

Here endeth the rant.

Taste Ratios (The Tale of the Lemony Muffin)

‘So…explain these muffins to me.’

It shows you how long I’ve been working as a barista, as this didn’t even seem like a strange question. 

‘Well,’ I reply cheerily, ‘this is our muffin selection, this one has this, this and this in it. This one has nuts. My personal favourite is this.’

‘What about the lemon muffin?’ The customer points to said muffin.

‘What about it?’

‘Explain it, what’s in it?’

‘Er, lemon.’

I start to suspect this is, in fact, a customer service training exercise, and she’s an undercover market researcher. Except she’s a policewoman. That level of undercover market research may be a little too committed.

‘Yes, but how lemony is it? Is it very lemony?’

What, like you want a percentage? It is 75% lemony, with 15% sugar and 10% ZING.

‘Erm, well yes, for a LEMON MUFFIN, it’s definitely the more lemony choice amongst our pastry options.’

‘Hmm, I’m not sure if I want a lemon muffin that’s very lemony. What about the peach muffin, what does that taste like?’

There is no way to reply that the peach muffin tastes like peach without sounding sarcastic.

‘It…tastes…like…a sweet nectarine-like fruit that’s been blended in with the muffin mixture.’

Okay, that sounds even more sarcastic.

‘So there’s actually pieces of peach in the peach muffin? Does that mean there are pieces of lemon in the lemon muffin? Or is it just lemon flavoured?’

This is where I start clawing at my own face asking for some kind deity to please make it stop.

You know what lemons and coffee have in common? They both make me bitter

You’re the police, shouldn’t you be off fighting crime instead of worrying about exactly how much a muffin tastes like the thing it’s named after?

She thankfully takes the damn lemon muffin after all, and my colleague comes up to me after.

‘Hey, I wanted to ask you a question. You know orange juice…does it taste like oranges? How orange-tasting is it on a scale of one to ten? Because I don’t think I want my orange-tasting juice turned all the way up to eleven.’

On this day, I made the vow, to never eat a lemon muffin again.