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As a former barista, I can say that I have learned a lot about people in general. There’s a lot of people-watching, unpleasant interactions, and every now and then, surprising friendships. I’ve learned to take the good with the bad and have lots of ridiculous stories, but here are just a few problems I’ve encountered being a coffee wizard:
- Not tipping. Look, I get it. We’ve all done it and been confused on tipping etiquette (unless you’re European and straight up don’t tip because it isn’t expected of you, but come on). The same goes if you’re dining out (and you know what, even if you’re taking it to go)! Someone prepared the food. Someone delivered it. Someone did a service for you. Just do the right thing. Even if it was as simple as pouring coffee out of an urn. Does it really make a difference if they cleaned up after you or not? After all, it won’t make or break you. Especially if you just spent $7 on a drink…
- Assuming the barista doesn’t know the drink you want. By doing this, you’ve already kind of gotten off on the wrong foot here. Just because it’s not on our menu (or maybe it is and you didn’t bother to read it), doesn’t mean we don’t know our drinks. We’ve all been to other coffee shops. Chances are that’s why we decided to work in coffee. If it is a crazy Starbucks order that we can’t recreate, just go there instead and you’ll save us both the trouble.
- Talking down to your barista. They are people. Doesn’t matter what you do for a living, where you live, how lavish your lifestyle is. You don’t know their story. They are clearly an expert in something you know nothing about. Trust them to get your drink right if you are cooperative.
- Not listening and responding. It’s very nice when you are up front about your order. There are a lot of questions they could ask you. What size? Hot or iced? What flavor? Extra shot? If you’re not 100 percent sure, just have an idea of what you want and they will be able to better assist you with what you’re after. Some people are just told a Starbucks order and when presented with a follow-up question, they have to get on the phone with someone or step out of line. It’s an inconvenience and not to mention, annoying.
- Taking out your frustrations on the barista. While tips are much appreciated, it almost always doesn’t make up for your shit attitude. I’m sorry you’re having a rough morning, but just know that I am not out to sabotage your drink. Yes, I know your “usual” despite YOU ordering it wrong the one time and haven’t let me forget it since. God forbid the barista clarifies with the customer.
- Holding your barista conversationally hostage. They have a job to do and you holding up the line is not something they particularly want to deal with. Polite conversation is, of course, welcomed, but know when to move along.
~Perks of the job~
- Free drinks. On the clock, technically speaking, but still. Always a good thing. Less money spent on coffee for you. Go you.
- Work friends. They’ll keep you in check and remind you that you are not alone in this crazy work environment.
- Friends and connections made by interacting with customers. You never know who you’ll run into and who will leave a lasting impression. It’s amazing how many people you come into contact with who just want to give you a job or are also interested in the thing you’ve been looking to get into. Hey, free networking!
- Hooking up your friends and family with discounted dranks. You’ll be everyone’s hero and honestly, who wouldn’t want that?
Annnd I guess that’s it? Only four good things. *insert upside down smiley face here*
For specific coffee horror stories, check back in later...