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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