Would somebody please stop the madness? The sound of Eggnog being steamed will haunt your dreams forever. It’s sort of like standing directly next to an amplified bus that is also a vacuum with a screaming toddler riding on top of it singing “Let it Go” in German.
The Perfect Beverage Promise
As a barista at Starbucks you must take an oath to make every beverage “perfect” for every customer or you must remake it on the spot. In theory, this is a great idea. So is Communism.
You should get what you ordered. It should taste good. Unfortunately, people are monsters. You’ll be remaking that extra-dry cappuccino for most of your shift.
Cleaning the Bathroom
As a Starbucks barista one of your many responsibilities will be to clean the public restrooms. Yes, the baristas go from serving food and whipping up handcrafted beverages (which go in your mouth) directly over to the public restroom with a bottle of bleach and a pair of dangerously thin plastic gloves, the same gloves they use to grab pastries out of the pastry case. Don’t forget these are coffee shop bathrooms. “Explosive” is a word that comes to mind. Sometimes there is blood on the ceiling. Yes. You read that correctly.
They’re gross. They’re sticky. They take thirteen hours to make. Generally, you’ll get at least fourteen of them coming your way at a time from whatever frantic adult has been charged with watching some nondescript youth group for the afternoon. The grotesque amounts of sugar should help the situation. Also, there’s this week every year where they do two hours of BOGO on Frappuccinos called “Frappy Hour.” You will lose your religion.
If, as a society, we could borrow half of the ravenous, desperate, excitement people have over Pumpkin Spice Lattes and channel it towards something that is actually, like, a thing… there would be everlasting peace on Earth.
Please just let me stand here in my apron and brood. I hate nothing more than the fact that you are happy (that we now have a high fructose corn syrup based sludge in stock).
The Person Who “Doesn’t Drink Coffee”
I’m sure you do Crossfit too. This is usually a customer who was sent over on a “coffee run” by their place of employ. They have no idea what anything is, how anything works, or how much they are ruining everything for everybody. You’ve successfully brought the flow of this establishment to a grinding halt. Enjoy your Passion Fruit Iced Tea. Unsweetened, of course.
That Awkward Moment…When You Don’t Have Coffee
You will run out of coffee due to someone’s incompetence. Possibly yours. (Probably yours.)
When this happens, you will have to look people in the face, at a Starbucks, and tell them that you are out of coffee. There’s nothing you can do about it. All you can do is watch it brew.
Congratulations! It’s now your fault and you’ve just become Saddam Hussein in the eyes of every customer in the store. And also an idiot. You are now an idiot Saddam Hussein in an apron. Have fun!
Customers Who Give You Made Up Names
I know your name isn’t Morpheus. I know that you think it will be HILARIOUS when I have to call out, “grande mocha, no whip, for Morpheus!” But, I’ve been up since 3 am and I can assure you that all you’ll be getting from me is an Oscar-worthy performance of me being unable to read the name on your cup and calling out, “grande mocha, no whip, for Mal- Ma- Malcolm????” Thank you, though, for trying to make me look like an idiot. I don’t already feel that way. I’m a grown man in bright green apron.
Nobody Wants to Be There
You, and all of your co-workers, are generally miserable. The hours are hard, the pay is terrible, and not a single person there dreamed of being a barista when they grew up.
This leads to a fairly hostile work environment in which everyone is desperately trying to leave, which means that nobody really cares, which means that everything sort of gets half-done, which makes you stressed about losing your job, which you don’t even want, which makes you question your existence.
Was any of it worth it? Why are we here? 42? Is 42 the answer?
Being Called a “Partner”
Look at us! We’re all a big happy family working together towards a common goal! Sure, maybe some of us are District Managers or Assistant Vice Presidents, and some of us don’t make a living wage, but that doesn’t matter because we are a TEAM. Also, most of us hate each other, DON’T WORRY ABOUT IT.
Seriously, stop patronizing me and call a spade a spade… but I suppose “Partner” sounds better than “Grossly Underpaid Indentured Servant.”
Realizing That You’re a Drug Dealer
You have to deal with a lot of customers in the morning who haven’t had a cup of coffee yet. If this isn’t enough to make you realize that caffeine is terrifyingly addictive, nothing will.
You will see human beings at their absolute worst. They need a fix. That’s where you come in (after they yell at you for not going fast enough). You’re the pusherman.
When you get an opening shift, you have to be at the store at 4, or 4:30 am. When you close, you’re there until about 1 am (if you work at a busy store).
Hope you don’t get a “clopen”, where you have a closing shift immediately followed by an opening shift
These are the customers that you have to deal with every single day. They know more about coffee than you do and they can’t wait to let you know which breakfast pastry they learned pairs best with an espresso roast while they were weekending in Cannes. Meanwhile, all you can think about is how short you’re going to be on rent this month and pray that you don’t have to take a sick day and possibly get fired/evicted.
“Have you been to Europe? If you EVER get the chance you simply must go. They do coffee right.”
Forced Friendships with Customers
A lot of customers will act like they are your friend and you will have to act like you are their friend. This is, again, nice in theory. We should all act friendly towards each other.
But just you wait until you forget what Bob’s “usual” is and you have what essentially amounts to a lover’s quarrel in the middle of your shift.
I’M SORRY, BOB! I HAVE 300 OTHER FAKE FRIENDS JUST LIKE YOU WHO I ALSO DON’T CARE ABOUT. DON’T YOU PRETEND YOU CARE ABOUT ME! THE ONLY REASON YOU KNOW MY NAME IS BECAUSE IT’S PRINTED ON THIS STUPID APRON, AND THE ONLY REASON I KNOW YOURS IS BECAUSE YOU GAVE ME YOUR REAL NAME INSTEAD OF “MORPHEUS”!!
YOU KNEW WHAT THIS WAS, BOB! YOU KNEW!
A fight between a homeless man and himself, a homeless man and another person, or a homeless man and nature WILL break out at some point during most of your shifts.
It’s always scary. It’s always sad. It always crushes your faith in humanity.
Also, it’s your job to “handle it.” That’s what your boss will tell you. “Handle it.” Good luck!
When Cups Fly
Sometimes people get upset. When this happens, sometimes they throw cups. And sometimes, those cups hit you in the face. This happens most often when you tell a customer they have to wait in line to get a refill or that the bathrooms are momentarily closed for cleaning.
If you retaliate you’ll probably be fired, or worse, you’ll commit manslaughter.
You will spend most of your days as a barista consumed by rage. DO NOT LET THE MONSTER OUT.
As a barista you will start at minimum wage and you’ll be lucky if you get thirty hours a week even if you’re working full-time. On top of that, everybody has one of those fancy golden Starbucks cards with money loaded onto it. Translation: nobody has cash on them to leave a tip.
You will walk away with maybe, MAYBE, $20 a week (A WEEK) in tips. I hope you like not having any expendable income or doing anything fun ever.