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Barista! Glazed and Confused

Here we are, two weeks into the New Year, and my resolution to not hate everyone so goddamn much has already gotten a little shaky. Resolutions are only valid through January right? I'm hoping I can de-resolve in February and still feel like I've accomplished enough to carry me through the year.

But until then, I am a new person in 2007. You want a latte? Only if I can give you a big smile along with it! You haven't been enriched today? Then I'm not doing my job! There's a spill in the Kids' Corner? Let me get my bucket!

Okay, so I'm not entirely convincing myself either. But I'm working on it. I have enlisted the help of a stress ball, personalized with a Sharpie, "Try not to kill people." This seems to be a healthy reminder for my day-to-day.

Also, I have the following customers to thank for helping me keep a level head:

1. The pre-pubescent J. Lo-wannabe, in her pink velour outfit complete with a stylish pink Coach wallet. When this pre-teen walked in at first, I couldn't help but notice her impeccable accessorizing of necessary labels. I made her a drink and sent her on her skipping way . . . only I happened to notice on her way out that she had not actually skipped up to the store. Rather, she drove.

Yes, she left the store, hopped into a BMW convertible with her tweenie friend in the passenger seat, as though this was perfectly normal and lawful, and drove away, latte in hand. As if legal adult drivers aren't enough of a hazard, now I have the image of that caffeinated pink velour brat to take with me on the road.

2. My next favorite customer of '07 is the emotionally abusive mother who spent the better part of her recent transaction cutting down her overweight teenage daughter. The mom allowed the girl to pick out something for lunch, specifically noting, "And by lunch, I don't mean a glazed donut."

Having her pastry of choice shot down, instead of selecting something to eat, the girl got something to drink (and most likely an eating disorder, compliments of her mom): a medium blended coffee and caramel beverage, topped with whipped cream and caramel sauce.

It's time once again for nutritional info comparisons, people.

Glazed donut: 440 calories, 22 grams of fat, 3 grams of saturated fat (0 grams of trans fat), 33 grams of sugar.

Caramel coffee icy drink with whip: 430 calories, 16 grams of fat, 10 grams of saturated fat (0 grams of trans fat), 52 grams of sugar.

So basically, the calories aren't too far off from each other, but there's a huge difference between 3 and 10 grams of saturated fat, and 33 and 52 grams of sugar. I applaud this mother for stopping her daughter from making the mistake of getting a glazed donut rather than a frozen caramel drink.

3. And to round out the category of memorable youngsters, a girl of the 11 to 13 age range came into our store over the weekend about ten minutes to close. She was with a couple of her clonie friends, who were all wired on sugar even before they each ordered two cups of whipped cream. After standing around especially long and knocking over CDs and laughing hysterically at the thought of knocking over CDs, the girl threw her leftover coins into our tip jar. She laughed and showed her friends, saying, "Phew, now I feel better about myself!"

I couldn't help but picture this young girl using money to prove her self-worth over and over again throughout the rest of her life.

As you can see, 2007 has started with a bang. I had some time off in the beginning of the month to decompress from my infected holidays, and now I'm back and feeling rested and ready to deal with anyone. Even that guy who comes into our store during the weekend rushes, orders a cup of decaf espresso French-pressed (rather than our already-brewed coffee, that is), which means that we must, in the middle of the rush, go measure out and grind decaf espresso for the proper French press setting and allow his coffee to steep for five minutes, all the while helping the rest of the line who so kindly orders shit on the actual menu.

I would not be as bothered by this guy if I saw a purpose behind us doing this for him. I understand that he may enjoy the flavor of decaf espresso, but then I watch him add shitloads of cream and syrup to the cup, completely diluting the flavor of the beans. It finally all made sense when he ran into someone he knew in line and made sure to show them what a special drink he was getting. "That cool French press thing," he said. One of these days (probably in February when I'm over the resolution thing), I'm going to emphasize to him that he can buy those cool French press things, and decaf espresso, and do it his goddamn self.

Until then however, I am there to serve with a smile and make sure he and everyone else is completely enriched before leaving my store. It's just part of my job.

*

Maude Perkins is The Beachwood Reporter's pseudononymous service industry affairs editor currently serving time as a store supervisor for a large, publicly-held corporate coffee chain. Catch up with the rest of her heartwarming tales from the front here.



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Posted on January 18, 2007


MUSIC - The Weekend In Chicago Rock.
TV - Cricket vs. Brexit.
POLITICS - Charter Schools Complicit With Segregation.
SPORTS - USA Gymnastics Bans Illinois Coach.

BOOKS - The Randomness Of Harvard Admissions.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Public Lands Matter.


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