« OPEN THREAD conversation-starter: Can anyone shed light on Friday's cup-discount key glitch? | Main | Howard Schultz is returning Starbucks to its roots with aggressive mass-marketing tactics »

April 20, 2008

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Mary

At the Starbucks on the Ave (the one by Bulldog News) there's usually a little poster featuring a Barista of the Week, with little fun facts about him or her, and their drink recommendation.

The Ave? Bulldog News? How about a city?

Or the barista can just be cute every time you come in. I prefer this to reading a chalkboard. To my favorite barista, you are too cute :-)

This idea would be a major eye-opener to the customers at one Starbuck's I used to frequent. It's my own fault - I got too close to a couple of the baristas. It's like life....everyone has issues about something. But in general it's a cute idea.

Kittery Maine Rocks

I think the chalkboard as a way to get customers to know a little bit about the partners is a great idea. I know that at the store in Kittery, Maine one of the employees during the christmas holiday season would say and I know I may not get this right but im gonna try...he is a German-Cuban non-practicing Jew. I think thats right...Gotta love it!Or is it Cuban-German? hmmm Either way he is a hoot!

They mean Seattle, WA. I frequent that location, and didn't notice the "Barista of the Week" poster was exclusive to that store, but now that you mention it, I don't think I've seen it anywhere else...

VaSbux

Any of you read the 'name tags' threads on SBI? A lot of pro and con there about stalkers and WalMart/McD, etc. :-) I would just like an easy way to know people's names in the 15 seconds I'm in front of them, since my drink is already made by the time I get to the counter, and the line in back of me gets upset if I start a real conversation.

This sort of nameboard would serve, also, but the negative reactions to nametags/sewn aprons really shocked me.

I have noticed some Starbucks that have the baristas name embroidered on the coffee master apron. I thought that was a nice idea, and it is nice to know their name.

LicenseSBUXemploid

That's one thing you get at grocery stores, mandatory nametags, at my store the customers like it, we actually get a lot of business for where we are, we're one of the top 5 earning SBUX's. Part of that is the loyalty, people will ask "is timmy on today?" and we'll be like "he's on from 3-7" and wouldnt' you know it there back on their drive home getting a decaf latte.

Nametags aren't bad, but it makes you seem like more of a less-homely place. Faces are better IMO

seventysix [76]

What a fun idea. However, I don't need a chalkboard for my customers to know that I'm caring and effervescent! :)

seventysix [76]
Legendary service, represent.

MusicGal

Wish my store could do something similar to this! I don't mean name tags (no way!), but we barely even do Baristas of the Month... Hm.

LizElindel

The idea of having a poster with fun facts about the baristas working would, imho, really help customers get to know their baristas. This makes them feel more at home, and in turn, helps them to come back more often.
Case in point: I stop more often at starbucks if I know by name the people who work there.

L

I'm torn about having name tags being mandatory. The embroidered apron and hats are fun and a nice personalization that are special to each partner. Also it helps so no one takes the wrong apron and hat home. I also like the chalkboard idea. It'd be a nice way to get to know more people in your workplace that have similar interests. A lot easier than asking every customer, "Hey are you a BSG fan? How 'bout you? You? No?"

On the other hand, there is the potential for abuse of the name tags. There is something to be said for the anonymity of the black hat and green apron. I have worked with a partner who had to switch stores because of a stalker. And in every store I've worked at (seven total) we've had customers who have been way too interested in certain baristas.

Too many times I've had to swap positions and send people on break in order to get them out of awkward and bordering on harassing interactions with customers. I had a customer grab beans (when they were on display in the journey-of-a-bean type decoration) and try to toss them in partners' cleavage. Would I want this type of customer to know my or any other partners' name? Hell, no. As I'm a manager now, I don't really have a choice, but I like to give my partners the benefit of choice.

Thankfully, the majority of customers are well meaning and sane. But that 1% that are crazy sociopaths seem to seek out places like Starbucks. It's a big target and partners are seen as fair game. So until we can have a crazy detector at the door, I'd have to vote no on name tags.

Also, as a side note, I don't like reading people's chests to get their name. It's awkward, even when trying to get a guy's name. If I want to get someone's name, I usually ask. Yeah, it makes me look like an illiterate bimbo when it's right there on their shirt, but I just feel it's a courtesy due everyone.

Mike

I know every song from Grease Two, I'm A Professional Break-Dancer....The sign should read: After reading about your Baristas, can you tell which Barista is NOT A Little Lite In The Loafers!

I heart my baristas

I love it! I hope my fave location does something fun like that. (did'ja hear that Denver/Cherry Creek/on Filmore?) It may sound corny to some but I'd really like to know who my barista are b/c some of them are so cool and i feel bad that they know my name but I don't know who they are. And I feel we're too far along in our relationship to ask that it's starting to feel like a Seinfeld episode. Hello! My name is Mulva.

I'm told by my sm that we can not right what ever we want on those signs. We must write what ever is on the daily offerings board inside and nothing else. What gives?

B-Rista!

Do customers really care about the person in the green apron? Most of them just want to get their drink and get on with their lives.
The ones who claim to care, I'm slightly suspicious of..does it make the latte taste any better if you know my name? Does the coffee taste bitter if you aren't aware of what kind of music I like?

Cute?..sure there are plenty of nice people who aren't there to harrass the baristas, but you can't tell who is or isn't a bit off-center. Be cute by wearing a hat or something, not by giving out personal information to the public.
And honestly why would anyone need that information from the person serving their drink? (Unless they lack friends of their own)

MoreManThanUWillEverBe, MoreWomanThanUWillEverGet

To Mike: Your comment sounds like a slight toward gay people. Guess what! There are many gay and lesbian partners who work for starbucks...some you may be aware of and some you may not be aware of. Dont be judgmental. I know in my store there are two of us that are openly gay/lesbian. If you ever made a comment to my face about my orientation in a negative way...I'd so want to punch your freakin lights out...And then who would be a little lite in the loafers? :-)

I think he was making a joke.
Alot of partners at my store are gay, as well as alot of my closest friends, and I still giggled at it. Don't be so uptight, its not like he was making seriously homophobic commentary.

MOREman...

Regardless of whether or not it was or wasnt a joke...my point is that gay and lesbian people endure being put down and the butt of jokes because of our orientation. So feel free to call me uptight, I have a right to be. Wouldnt it be great if the roles were reversed and straight people were the minority. Id love to see your asses teased, taunted, and i do mean literally and figuratively :-) There, I loosened up from being uptight LOL

The Minority Who Doesn't Pretend to be a Martyr

Cute, but a bit to sexual of a joke. Which, to me, makes it tasteless as opposed to funny.

Wow, talk about being sensistive. It was a joke, you really shouldn't take things so personally. Plus I doubt very highly that you are more woman than I'll ever be. Maybe you should start by losing that name, it's too gross for words.

MyGiveADamnsBusted

More Man, A bit crude but I must say i have to agree with you. What you wrote was very funny and I commend you for sticking up for gay people. I dont think the poster you were directing your thing to meant to be offensive. But maybe people will start to think about not making jokes about any group of people. And your handle...isnt that a line from the movie CarWash? "I am more man than you will ever be, and more woman than you will ever get." So to the person who stated that person should lose that name because its too gross for words...Maybe you need to have a sense of humour...Its very funny and a funny movie too.

Wouldn't people stalk you regardless of knowing your name?

maggiemunkee

it is a great idea! people who are interested in reading about the baristas (and what they choose to share on the board) can do so, and anyone who doesn't care doesn't have to read it. or they can read it and forget it.

for some customers, we are all buddies. it's nice to know your buddies names. no one is close friends, but there is a comraderie (sorry, can't spell today) that forms with daily interaction. this is something nice to keep it going.

alex

moreman- As someone who is "a little light in the loafers" and works at Starbucks, I appreciate you sticking up for us, but don't worry... I'm pretty sure he didn't mean it offensively. Any person, gay or not, who can't laugh at themselves needs to chill out. =)

I heart my baristas

"Do customers really care about the person in the green apron? Most of them just want to get their drink and get on with their lives.
The ones who claim to care, I'm slightly suspicious of..does it make the latte taste any better if you know my name? Does the coffee taste bitter if you aren't aware of what kind of music I like?"

Wow B-Rista, why in the hell do you work for SBUX? It's employees like you that give customer service a bad name. Putting something funny like "professional breakdancer" isn't exactly classified information. So sue me for wanting to put a name to the people I say hi to every morning, who ask me if I'd like my usual and get it started for me right away and leave just the right amount of room for half/half in my americano. Sheesh! I see these posting BITCHING about customers and how people treat them like dirt sometimes and there's no pleasing them. The next time some customer gives you a hard time, remember you get back what you put out in the world. It's called Karma.

alex

IHMB- That guy doesn't speak for me. I love the fact that there are people out there like you! It's why I still do this job. So please, please keep it up. I may bitch on this website about our less pleasant customers, but I'm extremely grateful for the good ones.

I heart my baristas

Hey Alex,
It's because of partners like yourself that still makes SBUX a great experience. I truly do heart my baristas. And no I don't work for SBUX. I already decided if I was fired from my corporate job I'd ditch the ratrace and go work for SBUX or Whole Foods - another place where I go and all the employees are so helpful, take pride in their company and seem generally happy. And you are totally spot on about "Any person, gay or not, who can't laugh at themselves needs to chill out." this overly PC environment is killing us softly. Or not so softly. And BTW, by all means vent away on ridiculous customers. That's what this site is for and I'm sure everyone has stories that would make us customers think "Boy, I don't want to be THAT jerk." I was just taken aback by some of the responses to something that I thought was a fun idea.

StLouieDrip

I've also got a "MY FAVORITE BARISTA" (and wouldn't that be an interesting title for a thread?) I've got one who makes me laugh like crazy, another one with the sexiest voice, and another one with a smile that makes me weak in the knees (and then I have to remind myself that that smile is about "legendary service," and not about me [sigh]). But I always wonder, should I tell them? do they want to know?

And can't baristas use fake names if they want to? I know a guy who did that, changed his name every other week. It got to be an interesting game where we customers would eagerly check his nametag to see who he was being that week.

And moreman/morewoman, I do agree that's a funny name... and it got even funnier when I imagined it on a sbux chalkboard [giggles] ;)

B-rista

IHMB-

You're entitled to good service, because you're paying for it. You seem to care about that- you want what you want when you want it, and that's fine!

How am I giving "bad customer service" if I don't want you to know anything personal about me? I don't get a bad time from customers because I'm polite to them and serve them efficiently.

Before you make accusations about my professional behaviour, take a look at your own attitude. You think you're a favorite customer at your local sbux? I'd be curious to know if the partners there "heart" you...remember, they get paid to ACT like they do.

StLouieDrip

B-rista:
"Do customers really care about the person in the green apron? Most of them just want to get their drink and get on with their lives.
The ones who claim to care, I'm slightly suspicious of.."

It seems you've found a way to not like either type of customer, both uncaring and caring.

"I'd be curious to know if the partners there "heart" you...remember, they get paid to ACT like they do."

Right. You're being paid to act nice to your customers, but nobody's paying your customers to be nice to you. And by your own logic doesn't it seem your customers really have more reason to be suspicious of your nice behavior, than you have reasons to be suspicious of theirs?

missingmyjob...

When I worked at a starbucks in the bay area, we had this mini flip chart that had a blank page for each barista to put in a picture (I drew one...I'm terribly unphotogenic, sp?) and there were some blank lines for us to write something about ourselves. It was placed on the hand-off bar so whenever someone went on bar then they would flip the chart to their page. It was way cute and we were able to change it as often as we wanted. I have to admit: I'm very anti name tags...I've had too many weirdos harass me, it would've been worse if they knew my name! At least with the flip chart, I could make up a name or put in a nickname.

B-Rista

StLouis-

I realize that my post made it sound as though I'd put the customer in a no-win situation..first I should say that I don't hate (or even dislike) the customers or the job. If I did, I wouldn't be there!

By saying I was "suspicious" of customers who did "care"...well, in all honesty, "care" was a bad choice of words. Any customer who says "Hello", "Nice day", "Hey, didja catch the game last night?" is being *friendly*, and I like to be friendly as well. In that sense, I *am* a friendly person.

When I used the word "care", I meant in terms of "getting personal information", and *that* opens another can of worms! How "personal" do I mean? In my mind, I don't have a problem with a customer knowing my name (that's part of my job), or even other minor/inconsequential information.. but where I work, unfortunately, there are a few customers who have attempted to get "too personal" with some partners to the point of making the partners uncomfortable.. unwelcome/unwanted attention.
Without making this post longer than it already is, let me just say that I don't entirely disagree with your comments, but I do have some reasons behind what I say. Some bad experiences have made me prone to my knee-jerk reactions to giving out personal information. (I'm not saying it's a good thing, btw.)
And finally, YES, anyone who is paid to serve *can* be looked at with suspicion; we have means and motive. I'm not saying that's right, eiher, but it is a fact.

StLouieDrip

Hey B-rista, that's very understandable about some customers getting too personal, so yeah, I do get your point too. I definitely can see how some overly-friendly customers could take all the fun out of sharing personal info like that. And it helps to know what's behind the words you write, thanks. :-)

B-rista

Thanks, StLouis-

Believe me, I know I'm not the best at putting a complete thought out in writing!

Just wanted to add that I do appreciate your politeness *and* open-mindedness; there's a lot of people here who are quick to start a flame-war (especially when they smell new blood in the room!).

Taking the time to write out a comment that diplomatically disagrees with someone isn't always easy, but you do have a knack for it. And taking the time to read and consider a response..!
I have to say you are a very postive force here!

Cassie

It's crazy how much it can vary store to store!!! The other day my starbucks had a little dish of "cleanpiks" on the front counter. They're these super tooth pick floss things from dentist.net. Anyways, I asked about them and apparently one of the baristas had a bunch of samples from a dentist office or something and thought it would be helpful in ridding customers of coffee stains. They actually worked really well haha but needless to say the bowl was removed pretty promptly (and sadly for me!). I guess he was trying to be innovative haha.

Courtney

I am working on a research paper on Starbucks for my Human Relations class. I was curious, to all those who currently work for Starbucks: would you be interested in an employee exchange program? One where if an employee is interested in relocating to certain areas (even internationally), they can indicate so and sign up for this program. The moving expenses would be paid and you would potentially receive a higher wage based upon your relocation experience? You would have to work for Starbucks for a certain amount of time with certain marked evaluative job performance to qualify.

Would this type of program make you more interested in staying with the company? If you were offered another job with a competing company (offering a higher wage) would this prompt you to stay with Starbucks?

absolutely! i have been with sb for a year and i would love the chance to work abroad!!! it depends on the company, the wage, and the place....on whether i would be willing to switch. i guess i've drank the starbucks kool aid because i'm pretty happy with my job! :)

StLouieDrip

Aww B-rista, very big grin here, geez...
and I think I'm blushing too! ack!

Thank you so much! :-)

And best wishes!

seth

I just went to a starbucks in the North County San Diego area (I won't name names), I ordered an XXX dry capp. I told the guy "barista" just a small amount of milk, I watched him try to pour, yes pour, an extra dry capp from the stainless foaming apparatus. He asked how it was. I told him it was too heavy, he gave me crap about redoing it. I know this popped up a few times about redoing drinks and pouring a dry capp, but seriously can anyone make a decent capp with good foam? I'd rather wait for the foam to be actually good than the crap I drank this morning.

Jean

I like the chalkboards. I learned something new at this site, too. I surfed in at the negative post from the barista and I learned that baristas aren't paid well and I should tip them. Who knew? I'd always thought you tip people who serve you at your table, but I never understood why you'd tip someone who just rang you up behind a counter. Now I know. Fortunately for the baristas, I seldom drink coffee. What brought me to this site was a search on "coffee group," because I'm writing a paper on coffee groups and their culture/traditions for an American folklore class I'm taking at George Masson University. The main focus is on the types of groups that usually consist of older gents and ladies and play games to decide who'll pay for the coffee and have their own lingo, stories, jokes, pranks...and pretty much their own little support group. Do groups of this type meet at Starbucks? I'd thought not, but maybe I'm wrong. I've posted questions about these coffee groups on my blog at http://www.whimsicaljeannie.blogspot.com. If anyone here meets *anywhere* and seems to fit this description, please reply to the questions on my blog. I'm interested even in groups of younger coffee drinkers that similarly play games...

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Working...
Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.

Working...

Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Search Site

Ads (2)