A Barista's Top 5 Customer Pet Peeves

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Let me start this off by saying, I love my job. It’s social, it’s fun, and I absolutely adore my coworkers. But being honest, customers can be frustrating—really frustrating. Working as a barista in the University Union Starbucks for the past year has definitely tested my already evident impatience. Thus, I’ve compiled a list of my top 5 customer pet peeves, so next time you order you know what to avoid doing.

1. Expecting a free drink
I didn’t think I knew that many people on campus, but working at Starbucks made me aware of the plethora of people I have some kind of association with… and how they manipulate our “connection” to score a free drink. As an employee, I pay for all my drinks (besides coffee and tea) myself, so why would I give you something for free that I have to pay for? Regardless if we met at that one girl’s house last year or if you’re my best friend, you’ll be paying for your drink.


2. Not knowing what to order at the counter

The UU Starbucks is notorious for its ridiculously long wait time to grab your drink. I can’t tell you how much time people waste when they get to the cash register and say, “Ummmm, well, I think I want a, ugh you guys have so many options! Uhhhh, vanilla, no wait chai, um actually can I get that new pumpkin latte something?” Save yourself some time and embarrassment by deciding what you want when you step in line all the way at the Craft Center.


3. Not knowing if you want your drink “hot” or “cold”
It’s Starbucks standard to assume if you order an espresso drink, like a latte, you want it served hot unless stated otherwise. It’s really frustrating when you order a “triple grande, decaf, extra hot, nonfat, 2-pump vanilla, extra caramel, upside down caramel macchiato” and after I’m done writing it on the cup you say you actually want it iced. Don’t waste your breath; just say “hot” or “iced” before ordering so I don’t have to toss a perfectly usable cup.


4. Showing up at 11:55 p.m.

If you weren’t aware, both Starbucks locations on campus are open every day until midnight. But once we pull down those doors, we begin the tedious process of closing the store, which is a long checklist that includes cleaning the counters, dumping out expired coffee/tea, and most importantly washing every piece of equipment we use during the day. To cut down on the time spent at the store post midnight, we start pre-cleaning when it starts to slow down, around 10-11 p.m. When you come in five minutes before we close and ask to for a frap (or five…) when we just cleaned the blender, it’s frustrating to waste so much water to run the dishwasher again for just one item. Take the opportunity to come in earlier to make our closing shift a bit more pleasant.


5. Expecting the barista to know your made-up drink

This one makes the top of my list because it happens far more often than you’d expect. Last quarter, while working the cash register, a guy came up to me and asked for a “Tall London Fog.” When I asked what that was, he scoffed and said, “Aren’t you supposed to know? It’s on the secret menu.” Surprisingly, baristas are only trained to make the drinks on the actual menu. Your made up, fancy name for an earl grey tea latte doesn’t make you sound hip; it makes you look pretentious.


So next time you reach the Starbucks counter, consider these tips to ensure your barista doesn’t consider taking shots (of espresso) to deal with your complicated order.




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About The Author

A not-so-typical sorority girl who loves baking, anything with bows, and living in the beautiful city of San Luis Obispo.