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Sunday, Bloody Sunday.

It’s been a long time coming folks! The latest post! And it’s extra long and full of vitriol! Enjoy!

 

There’s just something about Sundays that sucks arse. Big time. The clearest and simplest reason is that you’re serving people who are spending time (not quality time, but time nonetheless) with their families and friends. Which just reminds you that you are not.

Or it could be that people are just massive wankers on Sundays.

Examples, you say? Why, of course.

 

The Hungover Arsehole

 

‘Give me a fiveshot black Americano.’

‘You’re welcome’

‘Are you being SNIPPY with me? I have a HANGOVER!’

 

Oh, I’m sorry, did I miss the part where having an overabundance of alcohol in your system means social norms don’t apply to you? And maybe if you’re so fucking hungover you shouldn’t have DRIVEN to the coffee shop. Or maybe you should have had a shower. That would have made you feel better. And the rest of us would really appreciate it.

 

These aren’t really too bad. Usually, you look a bit affronted, then they get all bashful and go ‘sorry, raging hangover’ and together you laugh at why a thirty five year-old man still can’t figure out how to hold his drink. It’s a delightful bonding exercise.

 

Except, there’s The Drunk Arsehole.

 

‘OI LOVE! OI! YOU! YEAH! YOU! DARLIN’! WANNA GO ON A  DATE?’

‘I want to get you a cup of coffee.’

‘THAT’S LIKE A DATE INNIT?’

‘Do you normally pay your dates?’

‘…I’ll have a black coffee. Two sugars.’

 

The worst of these was the bigoted, homophobic, racist moron dancing around with a broom and a traffic cone on his head, shouting insults. The best was the confused tipsy man who walked in after a Christmas party and asked if he was anywhere near Leicester Square. That was the last place he remembered from the night before. Staff parties. Lethal. (Note: He was about 15 miles out of central London).

 

 

Now, none of these compare with the families. Or, more especially:

 

 

The One-Day-a-Week-Dads.

 

The worst thing about this particular specimen of customer is that they’re not always divorced dads who don’t really know how to bond with their kid in the limited time they have. That, maybe, I can understand. They buy the kids everything they could possibly eat or drink in the hopes that providing will make them the world’s best father. That’s fine, good luck to you.

It’s the ones who aren’t separated that drive me nuts. You’re looking after your children for AN HOUR. And you don’t know the dimensions of the buggy so you keep bashing into people, and you wait in a queue, telling the kid to be quiet so you can phone Mummy and ask if dear little Tarquin is allergic to nuts or dairy.

 

THIS IS YOUR KID. Stop treating it like a one day training exercise. Yes, we do babychinos. Yes, it’s just froth. Yes, chocolate has dairy in it. No, your wife doesn’t normally give your kid chocolate cake at eight in the morning. Yes, I can get you a high chair. No, it’s not adjustable. Yes, a chocolate cream has chocolate in it. No, we don’t do sugar-free caramel.

No, I’d rather little Timmy didn’t hold up a queue of fifteen people because you want him to put the card in the machine because your wife said it’s good for his motor functions. Now we have to reset cash register. Thanks. At times like this, I miss your wife. And that’s saying something, because she’s a vindictive spoilt cow who talks to me like I’m a moron. But at least she knows what she wants to fucking drink.

 

And don’t spend fifteen minutes lecturing me on why you don’t want to pay for extra shots of coffee, just to insist on a take away bag for your cake, and EAT IT OFF THE TABLE. What, you’re sitting there on an ipad but you refuse to spend twenty pence so you can have a plate? No, go ahead, please hold up an entire slew of people to ensure your child gets ‘the best possible babychino, in a bigger cup’ (who knew dick-swinging could apply to childcare?) but then sit and ignore the kid by having loud, obnoxious phone conversations with Larry at the office. And then sit waiting desperately for your wife to appear, only to hold up your darling demon child, and show her he’s still breathing and everything.

So you both toddle out, happy that you have proven your interest in your mini-me, and I am left with the destruction you have caused. The bits of tissue dear little Joel has shredded, the crumbs of carrot cake he decided to press into the sofas. The stickers on the floor, the chocolate milk sprayed across the windows, and in general, enough mess to warrant three cleaners and a forensics team.

 

Now I’m not saying all our dads are like this. We have a few stay-at-homes who come in every day, collect their coffee, allow their very polite children to ask for some water, and then quietly entertain them for an hour or so. These people are lovely. But they do not come in on Sundays. Because they, in their infinite wisdom, know that arseholes are about.

 

Oh, and a special shout out to the Sunday Dad who came in ten minutes before closing, ordered a drink, dithered about making me change said drink and then said I looked tired. When I pointed out I’d just worked a ten hour shift, he said ‘Oh yes, that would make you tired. I’ve spent all day watching TV.’

Did I go off about how I have two degrees, and am now going off to my second of three jobs after I finish that shift? Nope. Instead, I decided to pity someone who wastes a Sunday in such a manner.

So go forth readers, enjoy good coffee, make good children. And for fuck’s sake, don’t waste a Sunday!

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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.

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!

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.

Mother (Tonka) Truckers

This title is not inferring that I’m ranting about mothers who drive trucks. I hope you get that. Good luck to those women, whoever they are. This is about mothers who think their darling angel children can do no wrong. So basically, any mother with a child under five years old.

See, kids make no sense

Now, I understand these poor harrowed women probably come to a coffee shop to get out the house, to escape the monotony of ‘brekkie doodle’, ‘twinkle twinkle la la’ time, followed by ‘tinkles’ and ‘beddie byes’ but seriously. Just because you love your child, doesn’t mean I have to.

 

And just because you’ve decided to procreate and bring another child into this overpopulated universe, doesn’t mean I have to clean up after them.

 

So there’s this lady, and she’s pretty and softly spoken, and has two little kids that she dresses in pink so people will know they’re girls. And they’re cute. She sits there for about an hour, not doing much except looking around at this strange ‘outside’ world that other people are inhabiting. And I kind of feel for her. Except she never cleans up after her kids.

 

They take coffee beans from the side, smush cake into the sofas, pour drinks on each other, pull out all the straws/sugar packets/napkins and shred everything like eager little guinea pigs. And then they leave.

 

You know what cleaning up the mess of someone else’s inability to correctly use contraception feels like when it happens every day? It feels like you’re now not only a barista/therapist/waitress/emotional punching bag but you’re also a nanny.

 

There are others, like the women who spend fifteen minutes standing at the till saying to a child who CANNOT TALK YET, ‘Sweetie, tell Mummy what you want. Tell Mummy! Do you want this one? No, what about this? Do you like this? What do you want darling, tell Mummy!’

Well, hey there, four-month-year-old, would you like me to tell Mummy what you want? What’s that? You want Mummy to stop expecting you to be a child-genius and order what she wants so the other paying customers can get served sometime today? Oh, how surprising, me too!

 

There’s then the mothers who make a big deal of getting their child to ‘tell the nice lady what you want’ and then spend the next five minutes telling them why they can’t have it. There’s the mothers who are so used to shouting ‘THEEEO NOOO! PUT THAT DOWN! DOWN, I SAID! DOOOOOOWN!’ that they have no qualms about doing this whilst ordering, and thus automatically screaming in my face. I usually give these women decaf. Just to protect the eardrums of their younglings.

 

There are mothers who are so excited to see other mothers that they spend ten minutes arguing who should pay for whose lunch, both waving cards at me whilst cooing over each other’s children. The baby-talk automatically overlaps into ordering. And ‘I’ll have a Latte-wattee, yes I will!’ is just terrifying.
And occasionally, there are the mothers who come in with cute, quiet babies, order a coffee, sit and enjoy it, and when they leave, the only proof they were there is an empty coffee cup with a bunch of baby wipes they’ve used to clear the table with. These mothers are angels. Please, come again. And tell your friends…how to behave in an environment that is not focused solely around your sweet little bundle of DNA.