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Mr ‘I Don’t Wanna Be Your Friend’

 

Mr ‘I Don’t Wanna Be Your Friend’

Every now and then, there’s a certain customer at a certain time of day who just emotionally kicks the shit out of you. And I usually expect it, when it comes to extra shots of coffee, or busy businessmen, or sleep-deprived mothers. I do NOT expect it from average old men who could probably be my grandfather. I also don’t expect their emotional shit-kicking to come in the shape of etiquette lessons.

No, YOU have a great day, cute winking dog!

Take note:

Seemingly Nice Old Man: I want a double espresso for here.

Me: Okay, that’s £1.80. How’s your day going?

Seemingly Nice Old Man: Look, you were friendly enough when you smiled as you took my order. I don’t need you to ask how my day is. I don’t want to share the details of my day with you.

Me: (without changing from cheery chipmunk voice) Not a problem at all Sir, here’s your coffee.

 

Now, okay, if he doesn’t want to share, he doesn’t have to. I’m not asking him to come to couples therapy and get his Kumba-Yah-Yahs out. I’m being polite. As defined by the terms of my contract. Because it’s my job to ask how his day is. And when people say shit like that, it doesn’t actually make me want to spit blood, it just makes me want to curl up in a ball, burst into tears and ask whatever deity exists WHY people are SO SHIT.

 

Does he think actually give a flying fuck about his day? I don’t know him. He’s ordering an espresso. He’s wearing average clothes, and I can’t even recall his face. All I can recall is the derision in his voice. And really, Mr Average, just fuck you. Because your meaningless little life is just that- meaningless.

You will live as a grumpy old man, and eventually no-one will ask you how you are, because all the people who are paid to do so will have topped themselves or run away screaming. And the people who aren’t paid to do so PROBABLY DON’T CARE.

 

See,if it was HIM ordering, I wouldn't have asked, because I know he's a badass.

And yes, you have to strain to remember all the lovely people throughout the day who make work worth it. The smiles and the jokes and the regular customers who not only are pleased that you’ve asked about their day, but ask about yours. Because they recognise, oh, what’s that, that I’m HUMAN BEING. And just as you deserve the right to shrug or go ‘okay’ if I ask how your day is, I deserve the right to not be treated like a fucking insurance scammer just by enquiring as to your general well being.

Let’s be clear: I am not trying to steal your identity. I am not trying to seduce you. I am not trying to weasel my way into your life so that you sign over your worldly possessions to me and then I’ll poison you. I am not looking for a father figure. I am not looking for spiritual enlightenment. I am not particularly interested in you.

 

I AM JUST (Say it with me!) DOING MY FUCKING JOB.

This whole ‘friendly’ thing seems to be attracting a lot of people. People who think I want to shag them. At least 90% of the time, this is not the case. If I ask how your day is, it does not start some sort of caffeinated power struggle. Let me outline the situation here: You want coffee. I provide you with the coffee. I do this in a polite way, hoping that you’re having a nice day. This is, mostly, because the terms of my job insist that I do so, by ultimately because standing in silence whilst the card machine loads is unnecessarily awkward.

 

So, the next time you think that someone is butting into your life when they’d rather fuck off, please consider that it’s entirely possible they would quite like you to fuck off as well.

 

Have a nice fucking day.

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‘I’d much rather be THERE, you’re just closer’

 

And other things you shouldn’t say to an enraged barista.

Now I’m the first to rage and rant about my coffee shop. We’re not the quirky, individualised independent shop where artists hang out. No sirree bob. We are a small cog in a major conglomeration, and we are here to make money. However, if this blog is anything, it is a fierce defence of the wonderful people who work in this industry. And we take a lot of shit from people.

THIS is an independent arty coffee shop...one of the best, in fact.

Like this douchebag, for example.

Old Raggedy Man: I’ll have a cappuccino, love, thank you.

Now, old men calling me love, that’s sweet. I’ll go for that, it makes me think of my grandparents. So I try extra hard on his drink. That cappuccino was a fucking work of art. If there had been a coffee painted on the Sistine Chapel, that would have been it. Fluffy and foamy, and peeping over the rim of the cup, like a freshly risen loaf of bread. Beautiful. So I hand if off, and all is well.

Except I return from loading the dishwasher to the same old man, with a sour expression and a half-full cup of coffee. He’s not calling me ‘love’ now, evidently.

 

Not mine, but it is ART.

Him: Do you SEE this cappuccino?

Me, with a plummeting heart: Yes, indeed I do, sir!

Him: This is NOT how a cappuccino should be! There’s no coffee in it!

Me: Well, we put one shot of espresso in, would you like it more milky?

Him: MILK! No! You’re not listening to me, there’s no coffee in this! It’s three quarters foam!

Me: Well, that’s what a cappuccino is, sir. Would you like another shot of coffee in it?

Him: I don’t want to pay for more coffee that should be in it anyway!

Me: I’ll give you the extra shot for free, sir.

Him: Its just ridiculous! I’m trying to drink it, and there’s no coffee, just foam and milk.

Me, getting rather fucked off with both how irritating it is to listen to someone whine about something for being the way that it should be, and at my own inability to respond with something other than soothing, accommodating noises: Well, I’m sorry about that, sir. That’s our standard way of making them here.

 

And then he says something that should never be said to a coffee house barista (and I’m taking some liberties with spellings here for possible legal reasons).

 

The bastard then says: Well, I don’t have this trouble over at Bosta!

Now, that’s just rude. I try to explain that we have different sizes, and every place is different, but of course, my first thought is Well, fuck off to Bosta then! 

This kind of treatment is the equivalent of turning to your girlfriend, pointing at a woman across the room, and saying ‘You know, I’d rather be shagging her, you just happen to be here.’

And really, if you’d rather be with her, why are you here at all? Could it be that your wonderful Bosta baristas have been avoiding your gaze, refusing your calls? Has your wonder woman upped and left, taking her extra espresso shot with her? Because why else are you here? If you’re in such a committed relationship with your coffee shop, walk the extra thirty steps and go there. Leave us be, you foul little man.

Perhaps there’s something in the human psyche that’s always looking for something better, and then reverting to what it knows. Maybe that’s the reason people stay married. Or maybe, just maybe, this man was just one of thousands of idiots I serve every week, and I should get over it.

You know who else should shut up, whilst I’m at it?

Man: Why do you have these little plastic spoons? They don’t have plastic spoons at Cafe Mero. They have real silver ones!

Again, the response is only ever going to be ‘Fuck off there, then!’

Man: Use this (throws a Bosta card at me)

Me: I’m afraid I can’t, sir.

Man: WHY NOT? Why on earth can’t you? It’s very simple!

Me: This is not the coffee shop you are looking for.

 

(Big Up to all the Star Wars fans who got what I was going for there.)

 

Man, wandering in like a lost child: Is this the only Bosta Coffee in the area?

Me: No.

 

Do I expect you to pledge allegiance to our coffee, our branding, our choices on whether to offer you an extra espresso shot or a gluten free brownie? No. But I expect you, once you have made your choice, to shut the fuck up and resign yourself to your fate. Just like marriage. You are, I presume, a smart, independent human being who is capable of changing your life to suit your whims. Well, so am I. So, I repeat, fuck off to the coffee shop of your choice, and please make sure it is not mine.