Recall! A Day in the Life of A Barista

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Here at Jeffpearlman.com we like mixing things up. Hence, today marks the beginning of what I hope will be a regular segment—Recall! A Day in the Life of a Barista (In Starbucks, “Recall” is when a drink has to be made again). Spending so much of my time working in coffee shops, I’ve bore witness to the nightmarish job that is the Starbucks Barista. Fortunately, one such Barista (with the promise of anonymity) has agreed to offer her tales from the front line. Here we go …

You would think a simple latte is a matter of life or death, the way these customers stare at us with desperate, unyeilding eyes, practically bent in half leaning over our side of the counter.

And if I had $1 for every time someone went to tell me that I was making a mistake on their drink when I was actually preparing the drink for the customer ahead of them … well, I’d be able to leave work after an hour.

OK, perhaps I’m exaggerating—but not really. Example: My coworker is pouring milk for a vanilla latte that was called to her a couple of minutes before a cappuccino. “Cappuccino Woman,”  a mere two seconds after ordering her beverage, proceeds to yell at my coworker for pouring “too much milk” in “her drink.” Calmly, the customer is told, “This is not you drink.” However, so distraught is “Cappuccino Woman” over her supposed ruined beverage that she has to be told yet again, “Exscuse me miss, this is not your drink.” After a haughty “Oh,” she tries to make herself feel better by scolding my coworker, saying “You really shouldn’t speak to people that way in customer service.”

Excuse me?! Well, you shouldn’t be out ordering any kind of caffeinated beverage if you’re too hyped up  to realize that your drink would not be magically ready in 30 seconds or less.

Much to my coworker’s credit, she merely smiled, handed off the drink and offered a sincere, “Have a nice day!” Such is the way things go, being wrongly chastised yet powerless to fight back. If you want to keep your job here at Starbucks, you merely smile and move on.

Such is life on the other side of the counter.


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