Coffee-House Hell

At my job you run into all kinds of people. People who are great and personable. And people who are jerks. Real jerks. Let’s start at the basics.

I do not work at Starbucks. I believe in small, medium, large. I know that a macchiatto is espresso with a plop of foam, not a latte. I also don’t work for that -other- book store, and their discount cards, coupons, and gift cards do not work here. No. They do not. Your coupon is expired. Yes, it expired last November. No, we can not honor it because the expiration date was sent to you in an email noting the change over of our program. No we do not sell soup. We haven’t for at least three years. No, you did not buy any last year because there wasn’t any here. You probably got it at Panara.

Three of my favorite interactions to date:
1. A grouchy elderly woman and her daughter come to buy a drink during a never-ending rush. I’ve about had it at the register. They have not been looking at the board at all for the time they have been standing in line. They’ve been talking about things that don’t matter. How do I know? I’ve been standing here listening to them. The younger woman has no idea what she wants, but quickly defaults to a brewed coffee and some sort of food. The elderly mother does not know what she wants, but is too proud to admit it. She is quite rude when I offer to help her find something and complains that the menu boards have changed. Yes, they have. Every promotion. Just like always. She asks for a cappuccino with no foam. I explain that a cappuccino is just foam and espresso, so she probably wants a latte. She snaps at me, saying that’s what she meant, as if I’m to read her mind, and then spits out an order for some sort of food, which I can’t hear because there is milk steaming, a blended drink whirling through our blender, and she seems to be trying to tell her purse rather than myself. She spits at me, more venomously, that she wants a wheat bagel. I inform her that we have no wheat bagel, only cinnamon raisin and plain. She asks me what kind of  bagel every bagel on display is, as if by some fluke in shipment we would receive a single wheat bagel and it would be sitting there just waiting for her. The conversation goes like this:
“*sucking teeth/sigh* You don’t have wheat bagels?! Well why not?”
“We have cinnamon raisin and plain, and you can get cream cheese or butter with it if you like. *concentrated smile*”
“Well what’s that one?”
-.- “cinnamon raisin”
“no no, that one there”
“that’s a plai–”
“-no, I meant the one in front of it.”
-.- “cinnamon raisin.”
“and that one?”
“mam, we –only–carry– two types of bagels. We will only have cinnamon raisin and plain. All of these bagels are one of those.”
“Well what’s that one?”
“>.< It’s cinnamon raisin.”
“Okay, I’ll have that.”
Following this conversation, grumpy woman decides to pay for the order, even though two customers have left due to her holding up the line, her daughter has her credit card in hand, and my co-barista has already made the drinks for not only this order, but the next three.  She then proceeds to dig through her purse for about a minute. She finds the wrong book store’s discount card, coupon, and gift certificate. I point out that these cards are to the wrong book store and she says she didn’t even know where she was. YOU DIDN’T KNOW WHERE YOU WERE?!? HOW STUPID ARE YOU?! DO THE COLORS OF THE STORES ALONE NOT GIVE IT AWAY? THE LAYOUT!!! No, no I’m sorry, you don’t deserve this food. Get out of my line. Now. Well, she found a card after another minute and a half digging through her purse, and guess what. She didn’t tip. >.<

2. Woman walks up to counter and asks for a grande caramel macchiatto. >.< I ask if she would like a caramel latte. “Yeah, that’s what I said”. Actually. It’s not. “What size would you like?” “Grande” “A large?” “GRANDE” “Is that a large? *cocks head innocently*” “No, it’s a _medium_” “So you’d like a medium caramel latte?” “Yes.” I offer her all of our promotional sale suggestions and discount programs, extra bubbly like and being sure to explain everything in excruciating detail. She is not amused. I don’t care.

3. My favorite, my absolute favorite came from a man whose face was lucky not to meet either the granite counter, or my fist. Either or. His name was Josh. He came to the counter twice. First time it was rather slow and he ordered a double espresso. Ick. Espresso doesn’t even pretend to taste good, that’s why we add things like milk and sugar and flavor. But there are those espresso-drinkers who come in so I get him his double and he goes and sits in the cafe for a while in the back in one of the comfy chairs. Now, it’s important here to understand Josh’s physical appearance. Josh had a familiar face. Josh looked like Simon Baker, but wasn’t nearly as smooth. Josh was pretty, and he knew it. He was an arrogant prick that clearly lived by the assumption that because he was pretty he could get anything and anyone he wanted. How do I know this? I’ll tell you.
Josh came back to order another double espresso. He paid by throwing cash on the counter while I held out my hand to receive it. People, don’t EVER do this. A less restrained cashier may reach across the counter and punch you. I picked up his coins and asked for his name, as it was busier than the first time he came to buy a drink. He leaned entirely too far across the counter and said in a low voice “well, a name -you- can call is Josh.” I just threw up a little in my mouth. Did you? This was -clearly- intended to be sexual. I managed a fake smile through my red face and passed the ticket to Caitlin. But we weren’t done yet. He continued.
“This may sound a bit esoteric, but is there any way I could get online here from a computer to get the number of the apple store in the mall?”
“Yeah, we have free wifi.” *points to the “free wifi” sign on the counter in plain view*
“Ohh man, I left my iPod-Touch at home” *over dramatic sad/lost expression*
*concern for lack of emotional stability* “Well you can text google from your phone, you know.”
*excited* “REALLY?! :-D”
“uhh…*further concerned*…yeah. I’ve got my number in my phone in the back, I can look it u-”
*huge sexual predator smile* “That would be -so-sweet- of you.”
*regretting my helpful nature* “Uhh, yeah…”
Caitlin: “JOOOOOOSH? YOUR ESPRESSO IS READY!! You know we have a phone book at information where you can look up that number. Just go and ask the guy at the information desk for it.”
Josh: *in a spitting manner* “Thanks >.<”
Josh did not tip. I went into the back room and screamed. Then I washed my mouth out with water. Three times. I literally puked in my mouth a lil. How gross. I wanted nothing more than to go home, take a shower, and cuddle up into my husband’s warm loving arms. Well, that’s not entirely true. I REALLY wanted to punch Josh’s face in. A lot. But he left shortly after that encounter. I never saw him again. Definitely healthy for him.

And there you have it. Some of my best coffee-house stories. I am no longer employed with Seattle’s Best Coffee, under Border’s dictatorship, and am free to tell you so. ^.^ Though at retirement, I hope to start a bakery/cafe of my own.  Complete with realistic management and better pay for better staff.


2 thoughts on “Coffee-House Hell

    • Yes she was…uhh…entertaining. One of the few customers who actually caused me to actively repress violent urges towards them.

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