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March 20, 2007

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DubT

It's sad that some partners are too visibly transparent and fake at work. What happend to being genuine? But then again from our perspective it all depends on the extent the customer insists on talking to the barista while other customers are in line. If you demand my attention, you'll see my unfriendly "fake" side wanting to get rid of you. If you don't insist that I spend more time paying attention to you rather than making drinks, then yes, I will like to talk to you when I can and enjoy conversing with you. Some peolpe are too needy and unrealistic in their expectations of sbux.

seattlesuburb

I would say some of that is true, but most is really just someone who doesnt like their job VENTING. Maybe starbucks is not a job for them. Some parts were funny tho.

baristacee

That is a very very angry barista. :(

I try really, really hard to like my job and to do it well--but yeah, I have thought every last thing on this list at some point in my time with the Bux. Most of them, more than once. But anger leads to the Dark Side!

pnwgal

Wow...quite an angry barista, but I laughed my ass off anyway when I read it.

Take it from this customer-I don't expect you to be my best friend, my confidante, or my shrink. And I won't ever give you any indication that I want these services from you. What I will do is be pleasant and friendly, and say "please" and "thank you", like my mother taught me. I will also always tip you, because I think y'all work hard and get treated like crap from both customers and Corporate. And...if I'm feeling brave and sufficiently caffinated, I will call out the asshole in front of me who is committing any or all of the sins listed in that post.

Jenn

I only worked for Starbucks for 3 months, but I worked for one of its competitors for over 3 years and I can say that those quotes don't apply across the board. I'm a genuinely happy/outgoing individual and loved forming connections and bonds with most of the customers who frequented my store. I found that when I took the time to connect with a customer that the relationship did become more of a friendship and both parties thoroughly enjoyed the dialy exchange of repartee. Of course, there are those customers that cross the line and make inappropriate statements that verge on creepy. I would fake nice with these individuals because it was my job...but I also recognized that they wanted attention and as I long as I could direct the conversation in a position direction there were very little issues.

Dave

I am longtime starbucks employee and I love my job.. As a manager who worked up from barista i wonder.. do you all really feel like that about your jobs? I am genuine with all people...for the most part anyways... if you're friendly to me than I am also..the difference at starbucks is that we strive to initiate that connection..but if the customer does not want that than we deliver fast and courteous service. Over the years i have gained many connections and forged lasting relationships.I hope others have as valuable an experience as mine.

Organic Dopio

just this morning i gave a "welcoming" green apron award to a partner, from one barista to another, for being "legendary" to our customers. he always makes me desire to be an all around better barista. his attitude makes me happy to work and create a third place at *$. way too many partners are burnt and bitter and its difficult for me "to provide an uplifting experience that enriches other peoples daily lives."

i am trying to believe:
1.the core purpose
2.six guiding principles
3.mission statement
4.star skills
5.and the green apron book.

if partners (yes I mean baristas, management, and corporate) don't want to follow these guidelines then they may want to find another job and realize that starbucks just might not be right for them.

i know its a tough and sometimes a humbling position. i also identify with some of the rantings, but complaining about customers only mirror the poor decisions some of our customers make. make a decision to be above all of that and be LEGENDARY! i like to subscribe to the notion that helping our community starts with us and the example we present.

Barista Boy

Unfortunately, that is true. Some partners are incredibly fake, and it really does show.

I worked at Starbucks for a few months in Manhattan in 2006-2007. The customers were generally moving at a Manhattan pace, though we had several extra-rude ones daily. That said, I still tried as hard as I could to be genuinely friendly. And it was rarely forced. Most of my co-workers were apathetic in their attempts to be friendly, and some were downright rude on a consistent basis. This is wrong, and I was always ashamed to work with them. The customers deserve for us partners to be genuine, kind, and helpful.

Ol' 55

Putting up with a person who is this negative just makes a bad day worse. Yeah, I laughed at some of the points--they're too true--but an attitude like that is poison, and no matter how hard you try, once you develop it it won't be limited to customers. You'll find yourself taking it home with you. I don't really go in for all of the Starbucks happy-happy joy-joy talk, but anybody who lets a job get to them this much needs to go find something else to do.

James the Barista

Wow...It goes to show you just because you work in a Starbucks Corporate Store doesn't really mean your a partner. If you hate your job, do two thing...look for things to change it or quit. What a concept, You are killing the rest of us with your stupid comments. I almost feel bad for that sad soul.

20secondshotguy

Ol'55 is right. When you're that negative, it's time to go. No one has to work at Starbucks. We're not the only game in town.

Organic Doppio - Say it!

Barista Boy - Sounds like you were the good hire in that store. Come back, we need more people like you.

When my wife was pregnant with our first child, I got more advice from the Mom's at my store than anywhere else. They'd check with me, "so what did you say yesterday that you shouldn't have? Did you fix it?" They kept me honest and on the straight and narrow. Genuine folks who we cared about and who cared about us.
Yeah, I had a customer throw a cup of coffee at me. Several have gone off on me in a full cafe. I had a homeless man chase me down the street outside my store too. But those incidents are outweighed by experiences like being invited to the funeral of a regular customer because his family knew how much he liked everyone in the store. Or stories about customers coming back to my store to tell me about an old store partner they ran into in another store or who was working in a different business. Then there are the many stories of partners who leave and come back to visit the rest of the team. Because they miss them and they miss the store. Or the stories of customers returning from vacation with gifts for the partners, like they would family and friends.
Those are the experiences many of us have. They come from our desire to uplift folks and because our lives have been enriched as well.

BOSTON STARBUCKS REBEL

I think the question on why people are altruistic is a very important one. For example, are we seeking for a way to gain some tips from somebody else. I am genuinely nice to some customers who I think are great people. While to other customers I show them the standard courtsey but nothing more. I will say hi, no smile and I will make sure I perform the job functions as stimulated in the job descriptions. However, with customers that I acutally do like, I will be legendary with them. Simple as that.

BOSTON STARBUCKS REBEL
PRIMUS INTER PARES
STARBUCKS REBEL ALLIANCE
AIM SN: BOSTONSTARREBEL

Bostonbarista

Being genuine is linked to authenticity. It can be difficult to be authentic to every moment, but those moments that you can be, are truly rewarding. We all get tired, cranky, and have our bad days- baristas and customers alike. Even though it can sometimes feel demeaning to be behind the counter, it helps me to push aside all assumed roles and realize that in actuality, there is not that much that sets me and my customers apart. Not only realizing this, but feeling this, makes me feel more content with myself and creates a desire to engage with others. If the customer doesn't engage, then oh well, maybe they're having a bad day- but doesn't it say something about you if you are caring toward a customer who is grouchy? If you're happy with yourself in the moment, the grouchiness won't rub off on you.

BNBARISTA

One customer brought my store a box of chocolates for the holidays. He's an older man, probably 70 or so, and it pretty much made my week.

My old manager used to buy us chocolate covered espresso beans from a local candy shop any time she went someplace.

I've gone away for school, come back to work and had customers actually remember my major and ask how my courses are.

It's really too bad when people let the bad overpower the good.

ny grump

I suspect this person his similar issues with all people. Maybe he's just too sensitive and empathic to work with the public, people are. Maybe he's just taken too much caffeine.

I will never order in fake Italian. we speak English in the USA. Not corporo-newspeak. I don't eat at McDonalds, so I don't mcanything. Coffee is small medium and large. And I don't know how many times I politely request for a black coffee, repeat it and then say NO ROOM and still get a coffee 3/4 full. For $2 I want a full cup!

I'm always amazed at how pleasant the servers are in Manhattan.

And then there was the server who handed me a black coffee that was 2/3rd full with milk. What message was that about? The guy is dead now anyway so I don't hold a grudge.

BNBARISTA

Oh, and as far as number 12 goes on that list, I for one (and I'm sure I'm not alone) truly DO appreciate exact change; it does help; and a lot of the time it keeps me from running out of pennies. And I can definitely relate to the whole change-in-purse thing. This person really needs to take a breather. If you don't like complicated drink orders, go work at dunkin' donuts.

portland jay

this was depressing to read. maybe im just lucky that my store is 99% people who really enjoy their job and (usually) dont have to force positive interactions with our customers. if someone hates their job that much, the blame is on them for not finding new employment. they arent doing themselves, their partners, the company, or the customers any service by staying someplace they are unhappy and/or unfit to work.

just my thoughts

-jay from portland

Random

A good friend used to work at a Starbucks. They used to call out "Pronto" on the end of orders for people that were jerks. It just meant to put caffeinated in a decaf, or regular milk in a nonfat. You've been warned!

Tall Drip

I always thought that the change was not such a cardinal sin. That's how people used to pay for their daily cup of coffee. Go up, plunk down some quarters, get coffee, leave. Frankly, if I don't have any change or small bills and am forced to break a twenty on that $1.66 tall drip, I kinda feel bad for making them give me a handful of singles, fives and coinage. Would you all prefer it that way? I certainly don't want to be a pain-in-the-ass customer.

Plus, doesn't exact change help your lines move faster, as long as I'm not standing there counting out a bunch of nickels and dimes?

Justin

When I was being interviewed after applying at Starbucks, I told the ASM that my best skill is being genuinely kind, even to rude customers- for the simple fact that YOU DON'T KNOW THIS PERSON [the customer]. Maybe that person is in a bad mood because they had some kind of accident, or got fired from their job, or slipped and twisted their ankle- you have no clue. There's no excuse for habitual customers to come in and be rude every day, but if someone comes in and is not in the best of moods, the least I can do is smile, and help them get a drink, and more often than not, i can MAKE someone smile; maybe they'll have a better day after having me be their barista. You never know, but smiles are contagious!

And I heard a shift say last night that you should make grumpy regulars your "project," and i agree! An example of that is a customer who comes in and orders a grande, 1pump vanilla,nonfat caramel macchiatto with 2" of whole milk, with caramel on top. When I was training, this woman and her drink scared me to pieces, and always came through the drive-thru. She actually came into the store, and I know her name and her drink now- perhaps next time I'll get a smile and hello. ;] we'll see.

Sbuxnewbie

I'm sorry, but whoever wrote that diatribe doesn't speak for me.

I was a customer long before I became a partner. The partners at the Starbucks I patronized always made me feel like family. Now, I am part of that family.

Sure, there are a few crotchety customers, but we can still make a connection with them, most days. Some people are in a rush, and we can't help it, but it isn't the customer's fault when the ALS only schedules 2 people for a drive-through store... or schedules 3, but one can't be bothered to show up.

I've worked in the "Real World". I have great memories, but no real friends since I left that job. Here, at Sbux, former partners come by just to say hi, give us hugs, talk about life in genereal... Many of the customers will do the same. We have conversations at both the counters and the DT, and - other than occasionally questioning the sanity of someone who orders a Frappuccino blended whatever when it is -3 Fahrenheit - get along fine with our customers.

Even that guy who hits on all of the female baristas at 7 AM.

And, for the record, I have no problem making Frappuccins for any customer, as long as they understand that sometimes (like when they are the fifth order in a row, and no one else is available to make any of the drinks) it will take a couple of minutes to get to it.

Arizona barista

That's just sad, really. I don't hate my customers. Sure, I get annoyed with some of them and like anyone else I hate being treated rudely, but for the most part I really do like them. I love my regulars and I chat with them because I enjoy it, not because I want tips.

And when people are rude, I've found that the best way to treat them is with obnoxious cheerfulness. It either makes them realize what a jerk they are or suddenly they start being nice right back. It's not that hard, and it's a nice defense mechanism that keeps me from strangling the few truly awful people who come in, like the douche up there bitching about baristas asking if he wants room. It's rote, we ask everyone, take a deep breath and let it go. You might want to switch to decaf.

Also? I like exact change. Does that make me weird?

GEM

WOW!! TOTALLY HILARIOUS AND THE DAMN TRUTH.. I couldn't have said it better myself.

Store Manager

I just hope that all customers who read this don't think all baristas think that way. I certainly don't. That jaded, sad, bitter employee doesn't speak for me or my partners.

The only kernal of truth in that insane diatribe was the change part. It really does annoy me when women purse-dive for exact change, only because it holds up the line. I'm certainly not going to roll my eyes or hit you in the face though.

Susan D

I've worked for Starbucks for more than a year now, and I'm friendly with everyone out of genuine friendliness. If someone's a jerk- and many are jerks- I don't let it eat me up inside. I just shrug and move on. Maybe it's because I have more things to worry about in my life than Starbucks' customers. This girl is a sad case.

Barista Bess

Good Grief! Just a little bit angry there. Rude & stupid customers drive me nuts, but in general I really like my customers.

Most of my customers are nice people. I like to hear what my customers are doing, where they've been lately, funny things their kids have done. We talk music, arts, politics, local events, and of yes... coffee! They help me stay connected to the world. Of COURSE there are a few that are cranky or just plain irritating. Sometimes I'm pretty cranky myself.

Yes, being on your cell phone is rude to both your barista and the person that you're talking to. Yes, please make your modifiers at the cashier. Yes, I like to think I know how to do my job without customer supervision And yes, please tip.

But really now, if you don't like being with the public, why would you even apply for a job with a company where connecting with people is so important? A smile and a good morning can go a long way you know.

BaristaGirl

For me, if I get kindness and respect from a customer - they get genuine kindness and respect back. Regulars who consistently show this and welcome it get bumped up to true friendly conversations above the small talk.

If you're just there to get coffee and not rude, I won't feel either way about you. You'll get service with a smile, and if you initiate a conversation, I'll return it. Just like how if you pass a stranger on the street and they say hello, you say it back. It's just respectful.

If you're a rude a$$, I'll smile, be nice, and make your drink just fine. But I will also inwardly hate you and may make a comment about you to a fellow partner. When you leave, I'll be glad.

That said, I've done CS for over 8 years in three companies (mostly at the same time).. and SBUX has the best ratio of customers by far. It may pay less, but I'd much rather deal with the public here.

As for change.. it doesn't matter to me one way or the other. It takes about as long time-wise for me to break down your $20, as it does for you to take out the right amount. You can pay all in change (at least with me) since it's usually under $5, but please avoid the pennies. And do not try to use a $50 or $100 bill here unless your order ready is that large. We don't keep our $20's and usually don't have that many $1's.

And PNWGAL - you rock!

Chris

THe world is full of jerks, and you're probably not going to change them - all you can do is not let them change YOU

CARAMELTUNNEL

Ok, I admit it, im a fake at times, but here is why:

1. The situation where there is that awkward silence b/t you and the customer, so you have to think of things to say to break the awkwardness/silence.

ex:
B: How are you doing?
C: Fine. You?
B: Good
C: (Silent)
B: So, uhm ya see that game last night?
C: No
B: (Ok)Nice weather we are having.
C: Yeah it is nice
B: They say its supposed to rain later.
C: Oh yeah I did hear that, gotta remember my umbrella then
B: Yep cant forget that.

and then they get their drink and they are on their merry way.

2. The situation where someone is trying to recruit you for a job or sell you something you don't need or want. We have people all the time trying to sell or recruit us for Mary Kay, people trying to sell use coupon books, people trying to get us to join their church and so on. You cant help it. Sometimes you really dont want to talk to them.

3. The situation where you are trying to go to the bathroom/take lunch/take a 10/or go home. All of a sudden people want to get talkative with you. Any other time I would love to chat, but at those moments, no.

I'll talk to you all day if ya want. It just that in any of these situations ( and a few others), im more than likely to fake it to hurry it up. Sorry thats just how it is. Everyone has done it, talk to someone you really didn't want to talk to, fake your interest in the conversation to hurry it up. So before you get mad, think: Have you really been interested in every single conversation you have had with another person?

SAF

Stuff like that just makes me that much more scared that I am angering the barista's at my local starbucks by ordering a grande CDL, mocha, or an americano. I guess they are probably spitting in it, or messing it up to see if I get angry, which I wouldn't. Sometimes I try to joke with them, I once said to the barista "May I please have a white chocolate pepppermint mocha?" and the person said "Of course" and I said "Not like you could really say "No, you may not, you must have a gingerbread latte."" the barista laughed, that must have seriously pissed them off as I really was the only person in line at that time.

I don't make special requests, I try to leave a tip all the time (sometimes I leave more than other times, it depends on how much cash I have on hand) I guess I am just a bad customer because I am not as great as the all mighty barista behind the counter.

Bariesta

Here's a idea maybe it would be easier to be nice geniune if the customers were as well, of course i'm not talking about all of them just in general. I always loved the tag line from Clerks: "Just because we serve you doesn't mean we like you". To say there's something wrong with the person who wrote the topic of discussion has something wrong with them is kinda pre judgement don't you think? You don't know where he works or the customers or employees he has to deal with. Just because you have good customers and staff doesn't mean everyone does. It happens and Starbucks is no exception to that.
As for the customers, maybe they could learn something from reading this: we're humans and we deserve to be treated as so. I don't care if you want to talk or not all i ask is you give me your attention, know what you want, say please and thank you and move on. When that happens i'll return the courtsey.

Barista Bess

LoL SAF..... Wouldn't have pissed me off!
I would have laughed smiled and made you your peppermint white mocha, thanked you and insisted you have a great day. If I was really "on" that day, I probably would have said "Gingerbread Latte" when I handed you your drink.


We love people like you at my store, come on over any time. :D

If you're a customer and you're wondering if you "piss off the baristas," just the simple fact that you wonder means that you probably don't. The customers who baristas vent about on this forum, plain and simply put, DON'T CARE if they are assholes to ANYONE, especially the people who serve them their coffee. I promise you, SAF, Tall Drip, any of the other bewildered customers on this forum after reading that rant, you are most likely in the 99% of nice customers who frequent Starbucks.

Kat

"I just hope that all customers who read this don't think all baristas think that way. I certainly don't"

As a customer, I certainly don't. I found some aspects of the piece amusing, because I remember having days like that when I worked retail. Sometimes after a bad day or week a person just needs to flat out vent and get it out of their system.

As long as a simple venting was going on, that's fine. We all have bad days. But if someone is feeling like that on a daily basis, then it's time to find another job. Not everyone is cut out for this kind of job, and there is nothing wrong with admitting it. Dealing with the public can be stressful. How well you personally handle that kind of stress makes or breaks a job for you, and it bleeds over into your outside life.

Personally, as long as the folks at Starbucks are courteous and get my order right, I'm happy. They don't have to engage me in conversation or particularly care about me personally, just be polite, and I in turn am the same. Depending on how busy the store is and the 'feel' of the employee I might chat a bit, I leave it pretty much in their hands if they wish to. Those employees that seem frazzled or having a bad day, I make an extra effort to be nice to them because sometimes all it takes is one nice person to change your day around. Customer or employee, that person on the other side of the counter does have feelings (even if sometimes they may seem like they don't).

Amy the Barista

Uhh...why is someone like this working in the service industry anyway? Starbucks supposedly has the best customer service; sounds like whoever hired this person needs some training on judgement of character. I did laugh out loud, however...I love love love my job as a barista, and I wouldn't give it up for the world. I suppose it takes a special person to serve others. (Is that surprising?)

coffeeguy

um am I the only one who loves to see my customers?

I've had a lot of fun great talks with some of the professors and students that frequent my store. :)

11864BaristaSS

I love my job and I do actually quite like my customers! This is either fake, or a barista that needs a new job...I desk job or something without people.

416shift

today I went to visit my old store, left a month ago to go to a new opening store by my house. I saw one of the regulars there and she told me that she called my old DM to request that he transfer me back to my old store because she said that she missed me after seeing me almost daily for 2 years.

How can you not love that?? The partner who wrote that doesn't represent the majority of us partners who enjoy our job and the people.

Tim

Everything but 1, 2 and 15 made me laugh. Too bad this makes us *all* look like a bunch of uncaring espresso-wankers. =(

Tim

And on further reflection, 8 and 14 are also rather embarrassing.

atownsbuxrules

Man, whoever wrote this sucks.
Yeah, stuff happens. Just today an irate customer having a bad day threw a piece of reduced-fat blueberry coffee cake at my pregnant belly through the drive-through window (because it didn't have powdered sugar and cookie crumbles!) and demanded a REFUND! NOW!!!
I could have, in theory, removed my apron and lunged headfirst into her car, fists flying, for touching my unborn child. But, instead, realized that she wasn't worth the effort and instead focused on the next several customers who were incovenienced by her temper tantrum.
In doing so, I made sympathy tips, cheered myself up, and got in a few laughs with my regulars about some of their customer peers.

You gotta learn to shrug it off.

I love my regulars, man. I love new customers too, and they quickly become regulars when they get to know us. Yeah, get off your cell phones and stop trying to swindle us, but otherwise, we appreciate your business. That barista needs to find a new job, and doesn't speak for all of us. :P

njbaristachick

Three words...

Foamy. The. Squirrel.

I don't like the use of "we". I for one, love my job, and even the customers. Sure, we get some unpleasant ones from time to time, but hey, gives us something to laugh about.

I'd have to say that I do agree to some things listed up there, but not to such exagerration. Anyone that completely agrees with what's written up there needs to find themselves a new job.

Many people will probably disagree with me, but I don't really feel that we need to receive tips. It's only hard to do your job when you don't actually enjoy it. I mean, we all know how ridiculously expensive everything is, I don't feel customers need to be tipping on top of that. Tips shouldn't be something that's expected. It's the ones that shouldn't even be here that just take this added bonus for granted.

I think this is another negative aspect of Starbucks' rapid growth and expansion. The quality of the selection of Baristas drops simply because there's so many stores and not enough legendary people to work those jobs.

NOLA-rista

Wow. I'm glad I don't know who this is. I'd feel compelled to smack them or something becasue even on my worst days I feel nothing like that. And if I did I would 1) not let you (or anyone else) know that. 2) turn in my apron after the shift.

Quote:
Keep asking me, “Is it decaf? Did you get that? I ordered decaf. Are you sure it’s decaf?”...

Maybe someone should switch to decaf him/her self before the stress causes ones heart to literally explode ;-)
Yes, that requisite 15 times to confirm that the drink is decaf can be a trial, but in general, the customer feels it necessary to ask that many times for a reason. Maybe it's because the idiot earlier in the comments who "warned" folks that they would get caffinated if they irked them has done this to those folks before. Maybe those folks really, really, really don't like it (or would die) if they got a shot of regular espresso.

Of course, I never suggest to anyone who might have such an adverse reaction to any food product let anyone but themselves prepare it, but then, it's their wellbeing, not mine. So if they want to get a decaf latte from me and will only be a satisfied customer if they verify the decaf twelve times, then so be it.

That ranter, and yes, the rest of you who agree with the rant, need to give some serious consideration to what you want to do tomorrow. Sorry, but that's the way I see it.

Sheik

The brutal honesty of whoever wrote that is VERY refreshing. I am so sick of coming on here and reading, "Why don't you just quit your job, blah blah blah." The truth is that EVERYONE bitches about their jobs! The things this person wrote were clearly vulgar as hell but very TRUTHFUL and honest about the way *some* customers act. Especially about the cell phone and exact change issues.

And furthermore, the post was rather funny!

ethicalBob

This is amusing and pathetic all at the same time - I loved #14;

(in whining voice): "I'm smarter than you, I'm an artist, I'm so misunderstood! - And because I can't make a living as a professional artist (but not because I have no talent), I choose to work at a coffeehouse because that's a cool environment for a starving artist to work in - and it would be really cool to work here with all the other starving artists, if it just weren't for the damn customers!"

jack haas

No true artist would work at Starbucks. But in defense of the diatribist, sounds like s/he works at an awful, awful store. There are some unfortunate stores out there that are just vortexes for assholes -- on both sides of the counter.

JasonWabbit

When it comes to being fake to customers, and hating a majority of them, that statement does not hold true to me. But unfortunately, I agree with a majority of the points made in the rant. Even though she is totally bashing customers like crazy, these really are things that bug us. Try not to do them....it just makes our job a lot less stressful.

I serve decaf to rude customers all the time! I've been a barista for 2.5 years now.

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