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Barista! Our Ennobling Mission

My java re-training continued today with a five-hour workshop at corporate headquarters. This class was specially designed for new employees, and focused on memorizing the various prongs of the company's mission statement. I was the only veteran barista in a class with ten doe-eyed coffee virgins; all painfully more willing and excited than the next to be cooped in that room for five straight foodless hours. I could smell their fresh naive blood across the room - it smelled earthy and nutty, with a full rich body and a dull acidity. Pairs well with . . . brainwashing.

Or at least that's what the workshop tried to achieve in those riveting five hours that I'm never getting back (ten if you count the first time I sat through it a few years ago). Between the guidance of those useful coffee pornos and the leadership of Shane, an enthusiastic store manager with the day off, we were taught the essence of why we were all together in that room: To make a profit.

Oh crap, Shane specifically told me that was not our mission. Shane wasn't amused with my literal interpretations of the company's goals. I can't blame Shane for disliking my realism. After all, Shane genuinely believes in his heart that our company's goal is to (hopefully!!) enrich everyone's day.

Now I don't know what utopian coffee village employs Shane, but my observation to the class was that not everyone wants to have their day enriched by a chipper barista; especially not the pre-caffeinated majority that is our customer base. Shane spent a lot of time nervously laughing whenever I imparted such wisdoms upon the impressionable new employees. Then he would recover from my astute offerings by focusing the group back onto the mission statement. Enrichment . . . got it.

Fortunately for Shane, my words of caution were no match for the Company and its unstoppable quest to make the world happy. I am but a vanilla bean speck in a vast, worldwide sea of vanilla powder. I would guess that at least eight of the virgins left the workshop completely brainwashed - the main indicator aside from all the glossy eyes being the eerie elevator conversation after the class. Can you believe how good our company is? Our company is so good. I mean, how good we are to work at this really, really good company, you know? Gosh, what a good mission statement the company has.

All I could think about on the elevator ride was how hungry I was, having not eaten since early morning. One would think that if a workshop was scheduled blanketing the breakfast and lunch hours, the really good company we work for would have thrown us a couple scones or something. When I raised this matter with Shane, he confidently stood behind the company policy that we technically don't get a lunch break for a five-hour shift. And I technically don't have to commute to the city for a mind control meeting and pay eleven bucks for parking to go to work either. And where, by the way, are my tips for this five-hour shift? Shove your technicality straight up your ass, Shane. That's something that would enrich my day.

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. Read more Barista! here.



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Posted on October 16, 2006


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