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What not to do at Starbucks…

Tuesday, June 10, 2014



Last week, I had the absolute fortune to be asked to run in to Frankfurt to pick up new dance shoes ON MY DAY OFF.  I don't get many days off, so the all caps are totally legit.  Anyway, I am still waiting for the dance shoes I bought 13 years ago (you can see how often I've used them) to wear out and didn't need to replace any of them, but what I did need was Starbucks.  

Yes, tout le monde, since moving to Germany, I realized that I am, in fact, addicted to Starbucks.  I didn't notice it so much in the states because I only ever popped in once a week or so and only ordered a small drink, but when I moved to Europe, to a tiny village where the nearest Starbucks is over an hour away (forget being on every corner), I discovered that I truly love the stuff.  So I got two drinks.  And so did the sisters I was with.  Now, this got me thinking… 

Luckily, we each ordered one drink, drank it and when we went back in to order a drink for the ride home, the staff had switched over, so we didn't look like caffeine crazed nut cases, but after having worked (well… I stocked the cups, got the pastries out of the pastry case, and rang people up) in a Starbucks café, I've come to realize that there are things that one should never, EVER, do in a Starbucks (though I still do some of them… more on that later)… and because I feel that one day, I may singlehandedly save the human race, I figured I'd share these things with you.  Happy #tipsytuesday, ya'll! 

What Not To Do At Starbucks
… because your barista may be your favourite person, but chances are, you are not your barista's favourite person… unless you keep these tips in mind… 

1) Speak quietly- You may not realize this, but the espresso machines, coffee grinders and the 16 blenders that are busy whipping up your venti Frapp are incredibly loud.  Like deafening.  Use your big girl or big boy voice while ordering so your barista doesn't have to either ask you to repeat yourself 20 times or assume they can figure out what you're saying and then make your drink wrong and then have to make it again, but you talk quietly once more, so they screw up the order and have to make it again… see where I'm going with this? 

2) Touch the cups- Yes, they are stacked up next to the register so high that in some locations (hello, every Sbux in Midtown NYC) Mount Everest is put to shame, but they are there so that the cashier can stand in one place, listen to your order, grab the cup, write down your order, ring up your order, process your transaction, and pass the cup to the bar so your drink can be made and in your hands in 60 seconds are less.  You putting your hands all up in the cup stack is going to impede the process, and therefore, delay your entire transaction (and the transactions of the around-the-corner line behind you). 

3) Talk on your phone- It doesn't matter if you are the Queen of Freaking Sheeba.  If you're on a call that important, you shouldn't be on a coffee break and if you absolutely can't just hang up the call, at least ask whomever is on the other end of the line to hold on and detach the phone from your head while ordering.  The same goes for tablets.  You can mess with it while you're in line, you can mess with it once you've ordered and are waiting at the bar for your drink, and you can mess with it while you're guzzling down your café Americano… but put the bloody thing away while you're interacting with the friendly human in the green apron who is the gateway to your caffeine fix.  They're hooking you up.  The least you can do is be polite. 

4) Freak out if the coffee of the day has run out- The lovely people who brew the coffee actually have no control over how much coffee is in the store.  Each location is sent a certain quantity per day/week/month whatever and if a gazillion of people come in and order it before stock is replenished (you know… by the corporate office) they will apologize and offer you the next closest thing.  Calm yourself.  Your java fix will still be satiated… and if you're not happy with the supply in the shop you're at, if you're just about anywhere in America (or any large European city), you just need to walk/drive a few blocks to the next one.  *Note: Sometimes when shops run out of something and don't have a shipment, they call the next closest location and borrow some product just so they don't have to upset you if you come in looking for something that's run out! 

5) Set up your home office- While yes, Starbucks is a wonderful place to get work done outside of the office or house, bringing your monitor, PC tower (yes, some people still have these/do this), and at least one briefcase that is just bursting at the seams, you are not only taking up valuable table space inside the cafe, you look like a dweeb.  

6) Take change out of the tip jar to cover the balance on your drink- Those tips actually go to the baristas.  You know, so they can do things like eat, pay bills, or put towards their tuition.  If you don't have the change to pay for your drink, you should re-assess your need for a $5 small latte.  

7) Wait in line and be clueless when you get to the register- If there was a line that you had to wait in, you should have been figuring out what you wanted to order.  Since you were probably busily gabbing your face off on your phone and now you're at the register totally clueless, you're creating more of a line behind you/

8) Leave trash on the tables- Starbucks is not a sit down restaurant.  You are not paying for someone to come to your table, take your order, deliver your order, and clean up after you.  You're paying to get your drink made quickly, accurately, and deliciously and you leaving all your trash on the table takes the baristas away from their actual aforementioned job.  Plus, it's just plain rude. 

9) Argue about how a drink "should" be made- If you haven't worked at a Starbucks, you don't realize that when every employee is trained, they are given hours to pour over a gigantic binder of drink recipes.  Seriously, the thing is huge and intimidating.  New baristas are quizzed and tested on how to make the drinks according to corporate standard until it becomes second nature.  If you'd like your drink made a special way, please ask for it when you order (i.e. "I'll have a mocha latte, but when you make it, can you please put the syrup on top?" (I don't know why you'd want to do this, but there ya go…)). 

10) Grab the first drink that comes up at the bar- It may not be yours.  Sure you ordered before the person who is now standing behind you at the bar, but sometimes multiple orders of the same drink will be placed simultaneously and it is easier for the barista to make them all at once.  Listen for your name, check the cup for your name, or if your Starbucks has one of those fancy label makers, READ IT before assuming that the drink is yours, taking it, and then coming back later to complain that the wrong drink was made for you.  Now another person is going to end up with your drink and do the same thing! 

11) Empty the milk on the condiment bar- Ok, so if it's running low, go ahead and empty it… but tell someone behind the counter (or a busser, if your location has one) that the milk is out so they can replace it for the next person.  

12) Order a cup of water- Nine times out of ten, there will be a pitcher of iced water and small cups on the condiment bar.  There are also bottles of water for sale in the beverage case.  Use your noodle!  

13) Belittle the barista- Just because they work in a coffee shop, it does not mean that they are stupid, uneducated, unmotivated, etc.  Starbucks offers its employees benefits, which are great if say, you're in college, are supporting a family, or are between jobs due to the economy.  Many baristas are highly educated, extremely creative, deep souls… and some just like the atmosphere.  It smells delicious, is full of interesting music, and is incredibly fast paced!  And just like your bar tender, your barista is helping you fill a need/enabling you.  Be nice. 

14) Heckle the barista- While it is almost certain that "your" barista knows your drink, the barista you are currently talking to has either never seen you or hasn't interacted with you enough to know what YOUR drink is.  Just order it nicely and it will be made nicely and heck, maybe one day this barista will take the place of YOUR barista. 


Addendum: The sorry truth is that Frappuccinos are rather time intensive to make and require a lot of cleanup per drink.  Baristas will make them for you (generally with a smile on their face), but inside, they seethe every time you order one.  The same goes for pumpkin spice lattes.  Heck, last year, they even got their own hashtag (#psl).  And yet, just about each and every Starbucks trip I've made for the majority of my Starbucks-inclusive life has been in quest of one of these two bevs.  Guess I'm a Sbux jerk, too! 







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42 comments on "What not to do at Starbucks… "
  1. I've never ever seen a pitcher of water with cups available at Starbucks, but I'll only ask for water in addition to my venti latte, so I feel like its ok :p

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    1. In your case, it's totally permissible! It's just when people go in and order nothing but water, especially if there is already water out!

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  2. I would freak out if Starbucks were over an hour away! I only go once a week, if that, but would definitely miss it if it were further. Glad you got to treat yourself! : )
    www.amemoryofus.blogspot.com

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    1. I got to treat myself again! We had to take a friend to the airport, which has a few Starbucks! That makes this twice in just over a week after a few months with NO Starbucks whatsoever!

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  3. Some of these tips really made me laugh! Becaus eyou see peole who do these annoying stuff not only at starbucks but most "fast food" places, like subway or mc donalds!

    Btw, I really like your outfit, and the pictures made me nostalgic, I miss frankfurt.

    love, Alina a la Mode Blog

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    1. Thank you! I'd only ever flown through Frankfurt, but have never spent any time in the city. It was nice to finally see it!

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  4. Great post sweetheart...Thx for sharing..:-)

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  5. Replies
    1. Thank you! It was such a fun present from my step-mum!

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  6. They must love me, I order either a grande or venti dark roast room for milk. My friend is the complicated one. Upside down iced caramel macchiato non fat milk. Thankfully the Sbux we go to knows her so they are nicer about the upside down part haha.

    Also, from working in retail I believe that ANYWHERE you go if someone is ringing you up even if they aren't pleasant don't talk on your phone. It's just downright rude and maybe if you say hi to the cashier and ask them how they are they will put a smile on their face.

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    1. Yeah... I'm guilty of a few of these... my baristas liked me and let me make up all sorts of crazy drinks... even frappiccinos! They must have REALLY loved me! I think a lot of these tips are common sense! I'm just being silly with them because it seems like so many people don't seem to have common sense!

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  7. Ha! This is great and I agree with pretty much all of it except #5. The Starbucks' I know actually encourage people to set up their offices in the store!
    xo
    styleontheside.com

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    1. Really? I worked in a bookstore with a Sbux café that was pretty small. People would bring their whole offices in, wander around the store and collect piles of books and move in the for day (leaving all the piles of books and a stack of dirty dishes behind them).

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  8. I never been to starbucks cause there is none in my country, but still I wouldn't do all those thing, my hubby used to be barista and I know how they feel ;) xo

    http://stylesensemoments.blogspot.com/

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    1. It's amazing how superior people who have never worked in the service industry seem to feel when they interact with people in service jobs. If you've worked in the field, you totally get it!

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  9. Haha Starbucks connoisseur over here! Love your antler accessories :)

    http://bohonouveau.blogspot.ca/

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    1. I'm jelly that you're still in the states and can have it whenever you want!

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  10. Replies
    1. Thank you! Isn't it fun? My step-mum sent it to me!

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  11. I love your spiel about Starbucks!! I'm obssessed too!!

    www.rdsobsessions.com

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  12. I love the way you tied your shirt. Such a clever update to a basic tee :)

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    1. Thank you! I thought it was something of a creative breakthrough, myself!

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  13. Absolutely love this post! My favorite Starbucks is right in our nbrhood and there a million in the 5 mile range and I seriously can't imagine being without one - doesn't that sound silly. I am happy to learn I am probably not a nightmare customer as I am not guilty of any of these; though I would love for them to put that pitcher of water out. (ours doesn't do that and I have to ask) Btw LOVE your rings and mixed color polish. XOXO, Elif

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    1. Lucky! I really didn't think I'd miss it until I didn't have it anymore!

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  14. Great post. Starbucks is just about one of my favourite places and in the winter my drink is chai tea latte and in the summer..... oops frapuccino!! Great outfit btw.
    xoxoxo

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  15. Haha WHAT, who brings a PC tower into a Starbucks?! That's so wonderfully 90's. Do they also have floppy disks? Jeeze.

    Also, you SO should come back from Europe to raid cupcake ATMs with me. I mean, if that's not a reason to cross the ocean then I dunno what is ;)

    xo marlen
    Messages on a Napkin

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    1. I've seen it! I've read about it! It happens! There should be a rule that if you're going to bring a PC tower (do they still make these?), you can only be allowed to save things to floppy disks!

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  16. Love everything...the skirt, the nails, the shoes...perfection my friend! Also love the Starbucks tips. In general, people need to treat restaurant people with respect. I waited tables for years and always said that every single human being should have to work in the food service industry for 6 months of their lives so that maybe they would treat the workers better. :)
    Debbie
    www.fashionfairydust.blogspot.com

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    1. Thank you! I agree! I've worked years and years of retail and definitely think that 1) Everyone should have to work at least 6 months of retail and 2) Managers should step down as manager at least once a month to do the work that regular employees do!

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  17. Great outfit!

    How about following each other? Let me know & I follow right back!

    Kiss,
    PERONALBLOG|G+|BLOGLOVIN’|FACEBOOK|INSTAGRAM

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    1. I'll head to your page and take a look now!

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  18. I'm not that much of a Starbucks person, I'm more of a Tim Hortons girl, which is the favorite coffee of all Canadians, our national pride really, along CN Tower, hockey, maple syrup, beaver and loonie geese. :))) In fact, Starbucks coffee is too strong for me, it literally gives me head aches, I can't have it unless I put lots of milk it it, and usually I prefer dark coffee.
    When I go to Niagara Falls (Canadian shore), there is a Starbucks shop where we stop for a coffee, because that particular coffee shop is the closest to to the place where we usually park our car once arrived in Niagara, but I always have to put lots of milk (about half of the cup) to avoid head aches. But in Toronto, my usual coffee is Tim Hortons. :)))

    Xoxo, Victoria

    http://fashionstylebeautyandmore.blogspot.ca/

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    1. I definitely understand your love of Tim Horton's. Though I do not share the love with you, I definitely get that it is a point of national pride. Ahhhh, the CN Tower! I haven't been there in years! I miss Toronto! I <3 Soma Chocolates!

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  19. What a cute look! You look relaxed but well-put together, and I love that ring!Your Starbucks comments are right on point...I guess I should be glad they are all common sense to me! Maybe it's because I worked in the service industry...I have nothing but respect for those people now. Haha!

    Best, Lana
    www.decadentdissonance.com

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    1. Thank you! I think anyone who has worked in the service industry can see that these are all common sense, but there are soooooo many people who have never worked in the industry and just don't get it!

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