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Mr ‘This Song is ALL About Me!’

You know those people, the ones who think the world revolves around them? Yeah, well guess what? They’re WRONG. Don’t get me wrong, if you decide half-way through a gargantuan order of fifteen items that actually, no, you didn’t want the lemon muffin, you want a granola bar, but you only want it if there’s no nuts and extra raisins in it, and by the way, that latte you ordered about an hour ago was skinny, right…then I’m going to do my best to oblige. Before committing a very public suicide and naming you in the note as a cause of death. But I will do my best to serve you. Because that is what I’m here to do.

 

From runt-of-the-web.com

I know we’ve been through this before, but I’ll give you a brief list of the things I’m not legally required to do:

-flirt with you

-make you feel better about the fact that your football team didn’t win

-agree with you that my life and job are shit and wasn’t university a waste of time

-write a letter to head office asking them to bring back the old sandwich bags

-be outraged about the lack of variety of gluten-free food in the UK

-agree that you clearly know more about coffee than the people who design the consistency of our lattes

There was a certain little man over the Easter weekend who decided he was very important. This was not the case. Because if you are a very important person, you a) usually have someone to fetch your coffee for you, and b) understand the importance of things running smoothly.

This man could not have made life more difficult.

You want to order two very simplistic drinks? Okay. 

You want to talk reaaalllly slloooowllly enunciating everything because you think I’m a braindead coffee automaton? Not okay. 

You want to reload your loyalty card? Okay.

You want to do this in the middle of ordering five things and talking on the phone and counting out ten pounds in change? Not okay.

You want to be a painfully ridiculous arse who takes twenty-five minutes to order two coffees and a cookie? Okay.

You want to yell at me for the fact that your coffees have been sitting, beautifully made, for twenty of those minutes, because we are very efficient and you are a massive tool? Not. Oh. Kay. Not at all okay.

I shall also neither confirm nor deny that he was clearly meeting his imported Thai bride. Good luck with that, future Mrs Pernickety. Sign a pre-nup, okay? Otherwise, you’ll be counting out that settlement in twenty pence pieces.

Oh, and he decided to inform me, with his coffee wizard knowledge, that they way we make drinks is incorrect, as when they have one shot of espresso, the milk is creamier and fluffier. Erm, I’m sorry, who taught you physics? Chemical bonding? Heat, expansion, convection and all that other crap? Also, where did you train as a barista? Or are we taking this superior knowledge from a man who has ordered TWICE THE AMOUNT OF WHIPPED CREAM on his caramel macchiato? Now, I know I am merely a coffee pleb, here to serve, but do you think it could be, oh, I don’t know, THE CREAM that makes it SO FUCKING CREAMY? Yes? So do you think maybe you could shut the hell up about how the coffee to milk ratio alters the texture of milk? Only because, you know, YOU KNOW NOTHING.

 

You know how I know that you know nothing? Beyond your ridiculous texture comments? Because you pronounce espresso ‘EXpreZZo’. Well done you, you’ve had a pointless twenty-five minute interaction about something you don’t know about. I’m now not only worried about being two different people; an enraged coffee monkey, and a chilled out normal-type person, but now I’m also worried I have a drinking problem. And if you tell me that an extra shot of vodka will make my orange juice more silky, I may have to bludgeon you to death with the EXpreZZo machine. Doofus.

Could you do me a favour, please, and the next time you get huffy about your triple-shot-extra-hot latte not being ninety fucking degrees, could you take a breath and get some fucking perspective? You could think about kids in third world countries, or the fact that you still have your health. Or, if it helps, you could think of a barista, who once had dreams and ambitions, slowly losing all faith in humanity because of your ridiculous fucking drink needs. Get a clue. Drink decaf. Maybe invest in an espresso machine. Because, guess what? This song is NOT about you.

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Why Facial Expressions are Not The Same as Adjectives, and Other Problems

Why Facial Expressions are Not The Same as Adjectives, and Other Problems

There’s been an endless rush of people doing this recently. They buy a new drink, go away, taste it, and the come back (usually by hovering around the till instead of queuing behind the ONE person who’s already ordering, like a polite human being) until I look up.

Then they say:

‘There’s something wrong with this drink.’

‘Oh, I’m terribly sorry, what’s wrong with it?’

Oh, it’s just a bit... INSERT RANDOM FACIAL EXPRESSION HERE’

Um. Okay. The first time this happened I just opened and closed my mouth a few times before spluttering:

Uhhh…um, okay, so what you’re saying is...’

They replied:

‘It’s just a bit…you know…INSERT DIFFERENT RANDOM FACIAL EXPRESSION’

‘Right…so it’s…bad?’

She then adopts a superior attitude and starts baby talking.

‘Ye-es…it’s ba-ad.’

 

Is the size wrong, Natalie?

Oh, well good to know you’re so comfortable with the mono-syllabic words that you can drag them out, but how about giving me a fucking vowel, here?

 

‘What’s exactly wrong with the drink, madam? Is it the temperature? The taste? The texture?’

See all these words I’m using? They’re ways of describing things. So if I was to say ‘this woman is really stupid’, stupid would be the adjective. See how this works?

 

 

‘It’s the taste!’

Aha, we have hit on SOMETHING. Even if it’s one of the least definitive things ever

‘It tastes a bit…RANDOM FACIAL EXPRESSION’

 

Too spicy?

Oh sweet lord, have mercy.

‘Would you like me to remake the drink, madam, or would you like a different beverage?’

I want something else, something that tastes more...GUMS MOUTH SEVERAL TIMES.’

 

Something that tastes more like a dog salivating over a sausage? Oh, okay, I’ll see what I can do. Would you maybe like something that tastes like half an eye-roll, three quarters of a smirk and a ding-dong noise? I could work on that for you.

 

Would you prefer decaf, Mr President?

For the love of baristas everywhere…USE YOUR WORDS. If it doesn’t taste right, then fine, get them to remake it. Or maybe you should have taken Food Tech at school where they made you sit around for hours exploring the use of words like bitter, sweet, savoury, spicy, strong, weak, tangy etc.

On the other end of the scale I had a woman who made that face, and then explained the drink was ‘vile. It’s just vile.’

What’s vile about a regular latte, madam? Is it bitter? Too strong? Did you want a sweetener in there?’

‘It’s just VILE, and I NEED you to do something about it.’

 

Possibly that something is only serving customers who are able to cultivate enough of a vocabulary to properly assess a situation and explain what the problem is without reverting to melodrama. I should just give up and go work with monkeys. I’m sure monkeys could tell me why the coffee was wrong. Without using any words. And I’d probably understand them perfectly.

 

 

...or squirrels?

If I’m Shouting, You’re Not Listening.

 

Some would say this blog is an extension of the fact that I am an unheard barista. The ignored voice expressing the plight of the everyman. You know, something nice and metaphorical like that.

But quite literally, no-one can hear me. I shout! I do! But you try balancing two milk jugs timing four and a half shots and adjusting the blender whilst screaming (politely) for someone to own up to ordering a fucking panini.

I don’t know about you, but when I go to a coffee shop (which to be fair, outside of work, is now very rare) I have gone for a purpose. I have paid for something I wish to consume. So I’m pretty bothered by whether or not it turns up.

Here is how it should go:

 

I order a heated wrap.

I pay.

I sit down.

I hear a barista announcing said wrap is ready, and I happily claim it so that I might immediately consume it.

 

This makes sense, yes? So why do people insist on ordering things, and then making me walk around the shop wailing the name of their sandwich and making uncomfortable eye contact with people who would much rather leave me alone?

I then return with the unclaimed sandwich, put it on the side, call it out a few more times to no avail. Lo and behold, five minutes later I get a ‘why haven’t you brought my sandwich yet? It’ll be cold now!’ (Assume a whiny, irritating-as-hell voice here)

It happens with drinks, too. People seem to forget that there was a queuing system when they ordered the drink, so there’s probably a queuing system in the making of it.

 

So when I shout:

‘Medium gingerbread latte to go’

and they reply

‘is this a gingerbread latte?’

and I say

yes’

they then take the drink.

 

They open the lid, throw some sugar in, take a sip, then say:

‘I don’t think this is my drink.’

‘It’s a gingerbread latte.’

 ‘I ordered a regular latte.’

Yes, that’s why you shouldn’t have taken that one. Which I now must throw away, and make a new one before I can hand over yours. Because there’s a SYSTEM. One which you’ve just fucked up by the way, thanks. Considering how English people are so good at queuing, it’s amazing that they have such trouble with the concept that they’re not the only person in the world sometimes.

Why don’t you listen? Why? Is it me? Am I actually saying it in my head? In a different language? Is my enunciation lacking? Or perhaps is it that you think anything I put on the hand-off point must be for you, because you are so special?

 

One of my favourites is when I shout out:

‘Medium Latte’

And the eager beaver standing there simply says ‘No!’

Like I’m a moron. No, actually. You’re the moron. I’m not assuming this is yours, you’re just hogging the drinks-retrieval area, and pissing off other customers as well as myself.

A special one this week was the man who made me scream out four times ‘Grande skinny Americano-one-shot-decaf-two-shots-regular’. (You try – it’s not easy!) And then I simply left it on the side.

Then he ambles over and angrily asks ‘Is this my drink then?’

‘It’s a grande-skinny-Americano-one-shot-decaf-two-shots-regular, sir.’

‘Yes, that’s mine.’

‘Well then, feel free to take it, Sir.’

I am making fifteen other drinks, I do not have time to confirm whether or not you know what you ordered. Fuck off.

‘Well you could have TOLD ME you’d made it. GOD.’ Hearing an old man emphasise certain words like a teenage girl is rather disturbing, let me tell you.

Normally I’d let it go and bitch about it here, but I replied with a ‘I called it out MULTIPLE TIMES, SIR!’ 

When really what I wanted to say was the following:

‘I’m very sorry that the volume of my drink-announcements was not to your liking, but seeing as it’s the festive season, maybe you could go fuck yourself?’

 

I have a suspicion that if I did a search on all the times I used the f-word in this blog, my mother would be rather disappointed. Perhaps I’m not quite using the vocabulary instilled in me by an English Literature degree. But perhaps by gaining a literature degree, I should be making coffee for a living. What have you got to say to that, government officials? Because I’ve got some choice words for you, as well.

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!

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.

‘No Such Thing as a Semi-Dry Cappuccino’ NEW Coffee Song!

Hey there coffee drinkers!
There’s a new snarky song from Twisted Barista (because she loves you, and hates everyone else) and you can find it here:

 

Because, well, there IS no such thing as a semi-dry cappuccino. What you’re basically asking for is a slightly foamier latte. Which is fine, if that’s what you want. But don’t go pretending you want a cappuccino with no foam. A cappuccino is foam, dumbass. Don’t order it if that’s not what you like.

I’m sure you can find some more cappuccino ranting on this site  by searching the categories on the right side of this page.

Enjoy! Remember, you can check these out directly on the Twisted Barista Youtube channel, and on our Caffeinated Soundtrack page.