Friday, March 18, 2011

Five Things I'd Like To Tell My Coffee Server

I'm a coffee lover. Maybe even a coffee-holic. I admit it unabashedly, knowing that depending upon what study you choose to believe, drinking coffee is either good for you, provided you don't overdo it (I do), marginally bad for you, as long as you drink it in moderation (I don't), or worse for you than smoking crack while juggling steak knives in the middle of an LSD trip.

In any event, I'm not about to stop drinking coffee, which is why this web piece, titled "13 Things Baristas Won't Tell You," caught my eye. Now I have to be honest, where I get my coffee, the folks behind the counter probably don't know what baristas are, which is okay because neither do most of the people in front of the counter, including me. I drink old-fashioned black coffee, so what the hell do I need with a barista?

Anyway, the source for the information contained in the above piece is listed as "Baristas from Starbucks and independent cafes and coffee carts..." I have no problem with Starbucks, theoretically speaking, aside from the fact that most of the people who frequent the chain strike me as coffee snobs, looking down their noses at those of us who go to Dunkin' Donuts.

I'm not quite sure why that is, although I suppose when you pay the prices they charge at Starbucks, you should at least buy the right to feel superior to someone. Personally, I would rather pour used motor oil down my throat than drink the overpriced, bitter, overcooked stuff they serve there, but everyone's taste is different, and in any event, my purpose in writing this post is not to rag on any other coffee lovers. I prefer to be inclusive.

Reading the 13 Things My Barista Won't Tell Me convinced me that a rebuttal was in order, although I do agree with some of the points they made. Here, then, is my list of 5 Things I'd Like To Tell My Coffee Server:

1) I understand you have seven more hours in your shift before you can sprint to the parking lot and hurry away, but I actually have to get to work.

Putting the attention to my order somewhere below examining your fingernails and adjusting your underwear on your priority list isn't just annoying, it's downright rude. Also, shuffling around like you're walking the green mile to the electric chair isn't helping me make it to work on time, either.

2) I realize the person in front of me in line was a rude asshole, but I don't know him/her, I'm not in line with him/her, and treating me like a rude asshole as a result of his/her actions doesn't help anything.

Lots of people are rude. It's a fact of life. They are self-absorbed and seem to feel you are unworthy of their respect because you don't work a job they feel is important enough. None of that is my fault, and it chaps my ass when I'm polite and respectful and you treat me like I'm the gum stuck to the bottom of your shoe.

3) I am more impressed by your ability to get my order right than your perceived ability to understand the entire order without writing it down.

I drink black coffee. It's hard to conceive of any order simpler than, "I'd like a large black coffee, please." Yet I can't tell you how many times I've walked into work with my coffee and opened it up, only to discover I will be drinking a large REGULAR coffee. Please, for the love of God, pay attention, and if that's asking too much, just WRITE DOWN MY ORDER!

4) Before you shuffle off like you're walking the green mile to the electric chair to begin filling my order, it would be nice if I was finished ordering.

I love enthusiastic service, but when you turn around and walk away after I say, "I'd like a large black coffee, please," assuming that I would ONLY like a black coffee, it is not just annoying and rude but slows down the entire process for the people in line behind me.

5) Rolling your eyes like I've just told you that you're grounded for the next month when I say I'd like something else after you shuffled away like you're walking the green mile to the electric chair when I ask for a large black coffee, please, does not constitute any kind of customer service.

That would seem to be self-evident, but apparently needs to be said.

There you have it; my response to the "13 Things Baristas Won't Tell You." I'm not saying that every time I get coffee it borders on an international incident, but every one of the things listed above has happened either to me or someone in line around me at one time or another.

Coffee deserves better. It's a an exciting, invigorating brew made from running hot water over ground beans, for crying out loud! Please, let's all come together and give coffee, as well as coffee lovers, the respect and attention they deserve.

Thank you.


Erin O'Riordan said...

To be perfectly honest, some of these things are the reason why I like to go to 7-Eleven and pour my own coffee.

Michelle V said...

Hilarious! Ok, I'm sorry, but I do buy my coffee at Starbucks, but I drink black coffee. So, am I still ok? I really just buy their bags of coffee beans and take home, and if I ran out, I will buy a cup. You should see the looks I get when I order black coffee at Starbucks. They don't know quite what to do with that.

Al Leverone said...

Good choice, Erin. The only problem with that option is I'm always concerned someone's going to drive through the front plate-glass window while I'm in there and run me over. Have you ever noticed when that happens it always seems to happen at a 7-Eleven?

Al Leverone said...

Michelle, I didn't mean to imply EVERYone who frequents Starbucks is a coffee snob. That would be like saying everyone who reads my work is brilliant, when we all know, of course, that's...wait, bad example.

As a black coffee drinker, you can be our spy on the inside, keeping an eye on how the upper crust lives. Besides, if you can drink that stuff black, you're waaay tougher than me and I definitely don't want to piss you off...

Dani said...

Funny, I DON'T drink coffee and I read that same article. :)

If Dunkin Donuts could make me a Chai tea, I probably wouldn't ever visit Starbucks again. But I do like almost everything at Dunkin, the brewed iced tea is great and I have never had better fast food hashbrowns. yum!