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An Open Letter To Starbucks Customers

Dear customers, 


As an essential worker, I am needed for society in the terms of this pandemic. I am so indispensable that despite the recent exponential surge in cases, I am absolutely vital to the livelihood of our population. 


I simply work at one of America’s favorite coffee chains, Starbucks.


I began working at the chain in June of this past year, and I was excited for the new experience since I had never worked in food service. Additionally, I am a relatively easy-going person, so it is hard to upset me in a customer-worker relationship. 


However, that’s in normal circumstances — circumstances in which I do not have to fear for my well-being because someone else could not stay at home. Over these past six, unique months, I have gathered some peeves, some personal and others universal for any essential worker. 


First, things are not the same. Nothing may ever be exactly as it was, and that even goes for your daily coffee run. Starbucks’ COVID-19 safety guidelines require many more steps for baristas before we can pass you your essential drink. At my store, we have to wash our hands between each customer’s order, when on register, and when coming in contact with change or a personal item of a customer.

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We have to sanitize the card readers between each guest, and everything at the bar has to be constantly cleaned. Also, only a certain amount of people are allowed in line to follow social distancing guidelines. Because of these precautions, the wait will be inevitably longer than before. 


There is nothing we can do about it, and as a customer who loves Starbucks enough to keep returning everyday, the least you can do is be patient and understanding. I understand it’s an inconvenience, I understand you have to go, and I understand you’re a Starbucks Gold rewards member. I still cannot do anything besides try my best to work as quickly as possible to meet your needs.

Second, your mask goes above your nose. For some reason, some customers tend to think it is appropriate to remove their masks to place their orders. I am 19 years old, and at my prime I would say my hearing is good enough to hear you through your neck gaiter — which might I add does not protect you from a thing. [bf_image id="9z924jrmjqqgsmtsvhp5xrc"]

You would think they’d take a hint when I turn my head away completely from them as they’re talking. For those who leave their mask sitting below their nose, I would really like to kindly suggest an anatomy and physiology course. Both the mouth and nose are central areas of spread in terms of the virus. 


Although these acts of non-compliance are relatively small on their own, their implications and consequences ultimately beg the question of any concern for the health of others. 


Third and finally, enter any place with kindness. Times are frustrating right now and dragging on relentlessly. Not everyone is doing fine, and you can be helpful by simply expelling some sort of positivity. If you are relying on essential workers, you can at least smile before saying “I need this.”


You do not need anything, and frankly, you come off as severely entitled. It is okay to act grateful — no one will judge you for being kind to someone who is there to serve you. Think about how you would like to be talked to, and give that same treatment. The golden standard is applicable to all and even still applicable when you are in a bad mood.


This is not meant to bash anyone, but to be a very much needed expression of everything all essential workers have had to smile through. It is also an encouraging lesson of understanding and kindness. This is an unprecedented time for everyone, even though it has been almost nine months of this madness.

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You cannot expect everything when you cannot give that yourself. We are only human, and you truly do not know someone’s life. You may perceive discomfort when it comes to masks, but the urge to pull it down can mean so much more; you can put someone’s sick relative in danger even if you are not showing symptoms. 


There is just so much to consider. There is so much to not be selfish about. Please just try to show the minimum amount of care by being kind — by wearing your mask, for instance. It is not a political message to wear your mask, it is an act of human decency at this point. 


By not adhering to the guidelines set, you suggest you believe the pandemic and the virus are a myth. 

I beg you to take a look around. Take a look at all of those unemployed, at tired healthcare workers who are at their wits end, and at the empty seats at this year’s Christmas dinner in many American households. 


There is no justification for letting anyone die because you cannot stay home or put on a mask when you do go out. People are dying, and there is no way to dispute or justify that.




I am currently a Junior at Penn State studying Biobehavioral Health. Besides school and writing for Her Campus, I love all kinds of music and am currently learning to play the ukulele! In my free time, I love to play with my dogs as well as watch my favorite shows, New Girl and Glee.
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