Hey, here’s a question: Do you ever find yourself inexplicably staring into the cold, dead eyes of a caffeine addict? No? Then you must not be a barista. I don’t know if it’s the demand for attention, or the fact that they should probably switch to decaf, but people stare.
Not even like ‘Oh, that crazy woman has mocha sauce on her neck and is begging the espresso machine to hurry up’ type staring. More like ‘If I kidnapped you and stole your clothes I could probably wring them out and get a hit by drinking that’ kinda staring.
Please stop, it’s creepy. If I am making eye-contact with you, it is because I am LISTENING TO WHAT YOU ARE TELLING ME. It is not because I want your babies. When this is the case, you’ll never know.
Similarly, if you have been into the store every week for the last year, and if you have been an ARSEHOLE, I am going to remember your drink. Even if you haven’t been in for three weeks. Because THAT’S MY JOB. You don’t need to blink at me and go ‘Oh. Creepy’. Also, if it’s that easy for someone who neither knows nor likes you to figure out your schedule, maybe you should shake it up with a little spontaneity. Not that ‘go to work-get coffee-go to the gym- get coffee’ isn’t massively exciting. Every day. But…well, if you were in a movie where you got mixed up with the mob, you’d be really easy to find and kill. That’s all I’m saying. Luckily, you don’t do anything interesting enough to get involved with the mob. You know how I know this? Because you’re ALWAYS HERE, looking at me like I’m nuts because I can remember you’re that rude guy who always throws his money at me and demands a double espresso.
Also, whilst we’re on this subject, please do not ‘congratulate’ me on being able to remember your drink/name/the topic of conversation the last time we talked. If you’re pleased you can say ‘Oh it’s so nice that you remembered!’ That’ll do fine. Do NOT call me a ‘good girl’ (try and pat me on the head and I will go fucking apeshit. I am not a dog. I do not work for treats or respond to reinforcing good behaviour. Fuck you.) tell me ‘Oh look, you have a memory!’ (Yes, I am, as we have established, a HUMAN BEING. When you’ve got a robotic barista asking how your kid is doing at uni, maybe THEN is the time to freak out).
I am providing a service. I am providing a personalised beverage and/or food whilst letting you know that you are a special little snowflake, just as individual as every other fucking moron that comes in here and pretends I’m a stalker. I’m NOT. I’m just fairly OKAY at my job, which requires REMEMBERING things.
But back to uncomfortable eye-contact. Sometimes it happens accidentally. You’re making a latte, milk gets in your eye, you squint, and Robby McRandom thinks you’re hitting on him. You ask how someone’s day is, and they ask you what time you get off work. You ask if they want whipped cream on their hot chocolate and they look at you like you just pulled a leather whip out of your apron pocket. What the fuck is wrong with everyone?
Eye-contact is a necessary part of human interaction. Otherwise, it doesn’t seem like we’re listening to you. So then you SHOUT IN MY FACE. Or, alternately, your eye-contact is so dead-and-creepy that I look away, and then you think I’m being coy. Read back this post. Do I seem at ALL like a person who is capable of acting coy? If so, then you’re still not using your eyes the way they need to be used. Which is to SEE when you are making minimum wage coffee monkeys uncomfortable.
If you don’t want me to remember who you are, consider this list of people we DO remember:
-The arsehole customers who are always rude
-The arsehole customers who always make you remake their drink at least twice
-The arsehole customers who have ridiculously complicated drinks orders
-The nice customers who come in every day and have a slightly unique drink (read: ridiculously complicated but we don’t mind)
-The nice customers who have had a distinct conversation with you about something you’re interested in (travel/ interesting job/festivals/local news/coffee)
-The nice customers with hilarious/cute children
-The nice customers who have previously bought us a gift at Christmas (I know, right?!)
-Anyone with a specific signifier (the Raspy Voice Lady, the South African Music Teacher, The GingerBread Family, That Woman Who Keeps Trying to Get Free Stuff etc)
-Anyone who at first seemed cute, and then turned out to be an arsehole customer
-Anyone who at first looked like an arsehole customer, but then turned out to be a sweetheart.
-Anyone who comes in more than once a day.
The rest of you: Be more interesting.
Also, perhaps consider drinking something other than a latte, and changing your name to something with more than one syllable. Or possibly cultivate an accent, or a hobby that you’re comfortable talking about in public. Trying to convince your wife to sleep with you, and asking for pointers does NOT count as ‘Acceptable waiting-for-coffee conversation’ FYI.
You remember how people interact in the Real World? They remember people who have shown interest in them. You know, like conversation? If you ask me how I am, I’m not automatically going to assume you’re chatting me up. I’m going to assume that, like a decent human being, it makes more sense to have an asinine conversation about the weather for thirty seconds, than to stand there in silence. But, whatevs.
And if you’ve never been caught in an awkward situation with a Starer, then it’s entirely likely that YOU are the one causing these awkward situations. Stop. Staring. And drink decaf.
Here is a hilarious video about being a Starbucks Barista. This doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m a Starbucks Barista. It just means that all of us deal with the same shit, day in, day out. Big love to all the baristas out there, whether you’re Starsmucks, Bosta, Mero, Met a Pranger or any other coffee shop in the UK, the USA or indeed, the world. Because, for the most part, what we do is necessary (if not actually important) but it could be worse. I can think of a bunch of jobs that involve customer service, and a lot of them also involve chicken grease and burger flipping. I’ll take smelling like whipped cream any day.
Regardless, this video is awesome, and I think I should marry this man. We would have outraged, indignant babies. With caffeine addictions. Not that I’m being a stalker or anything.