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Barista! Annoyances Large and Grande

Customers say - and do - the darndest things.

"Grande Large"
A woman orders her coffee this way every single time she comes in. And then she gets mad when you don't know what the hell to do. Lady, you just ordered two sizes and no actual drink there. Every time she comes in, I correct her and tell her how to order her medium coffee in a large cup, but she would just assume go through this frustrating routine each and every time she comes in and says it to somebody new.

"Blueberry"
Blueberry what!? There are rarely less than four blueberry somethings in the pastry case at any given time. Pointing your finger while you say, "Blueberry," also doesn't help. We speak a common language for a reason. And again, we take the time to put those little labels on the pastry trays for a reason too. Put the two together and let's keep this line a-moving. Likewise, "Coffee cake," is not sufficient information. There are three of those. And guess what? One of them has blueberries!

The Regulars
Our store, like any, has its share of regulars. Certain people visit the store so reliably that I often run shifts and administer breaks not by the actual time, but on the basis of customer sightings. When 2% Latte Guy comes in, I can predict that my next barista will be arriving to work within the half-hour. If it's Friday afternoon, and the customer we call "Wolverine" just got his pre-train coffee, I know the kids are about to swarm - weekend adrenaline and sugar coursing wickedly through their awkward pubescent bodies.

Anyway, two of our regulars seem to show up separately at the same time every day. One is Jack, a retired truck driver, tea drinker, and overall lover of oatmeal-based cookies. The other, Norm, gets a decaf blended coffee drink, with caffeinated espresso shots added. Weird, he knows.

The other day Jack arrived first, to a warm welcome of "Jack!" cheers from all the baristas. After settling in his usual corner table, Norm walked in to a similar greeting. As an onlooker noted, it was like Cheers in our store, complete with an actual Norm!

"Hey!" someone observed, "We also have a postal worker that stops in!"

"But he only comes in to shit in the bathroom," added Velma.

""Yeah," I continued, "So it's not like we call him Cliff or anything."

No Small Talk Allowed
I'm not a huge fan of small talk. I'd rather make drinks in silence than generically discuss how cold it is outside, in winter no less, for the 238th time of the day.

And so, a recent over-the-bar conversation I had with a woman I had never seen before ended with me saying, "And so the moral of the story is, if your coffee tastes like metal, someone is trying to kill you."

I won't bore you with the story's contextual details, but let it be known that there will be no obvious cold weather discussions had over my bar!

Banditry
I mentioned before that our beloved Refill Bandit arrives very early in the morning, making it even more comically apparent that he is not, in fact, getting a refill. Lately, we have made an unofficial deal with him. He brings in our newspapers and arranges them on the rack, we gratefully give him his $.50 refill for free. He digs this new role. He doesn't have to be an ashamed scammer; we don't have to bring in the papers. Everybody wins.

What I find especially funny about this new agreement, though, is that he still asks for a double-cup in order to be ready to fiddle for a refill later . . . on coffee he doesn't even pay for in the first place. So he's getting a free cup of coffee and then only being charged $.50 for the next one too. Some might say that he is making out like a - oh, it's just too easy.

*

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 February 28, 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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