Not A Think Piece: Starbucks

This is not a think piece about Starbucks. However, as a newly hired barista at this hallowed coffee establishment, I’ve learned more than just how to make a Caramel Macchiato, or how much people really do love anything Pumpkin Spice. Working at Starbucks has taught me a lot, mostly about patience, but also about how to treat people. Anyone who works in customer service can attest to the fact that 1) it can take years off your life, and 2) people can treat people working in customer service like they’re “less than”. At Starbucks, these two facts are still very alive and well, but the dynamics can be slightly altered when you’re in control of a person’s daily fix. It can be anxiety inducing when you have a multitude of drinks lined up, and you want to get every order right. Most people wait with patience, some with a mild annoyance, but I’ve yet to have a customer snap at me, or address me in any kind of super rude manner.

Yet, I have seen it happen to my coworkers, and it baffles me really, how someone can be so rude over a cup of watered down coffee. It reminds me of all of the times I’ve been the customer, and maybe rolled my eyes and sighed loudly because a server was taking too long, or asked after only three minutes why my drink or food wasn’t out yet. And I get it, it can be super annoying when it takes more than five minutes to get your morning cup of coffee, especially if you’re having a bad one already. But when there are at least eight people in front of you, and you personally come up to me to ask about your regular latte, that you ordered two minutes ago, are you really trying to make your morning any better? Or are you just trying to make mine worse? It could be either, or both, but ultimately when I think about it, the answer doesn’t matter. Because even if it wasn’t my job to be cordial to you no matter how rude you are to me, I would still take the time to answer you with respect. Because people are people, no matter if they’re serving you food, making you your morning cup of crack coffee or helping you buy a new outfit.

Being a Starbucks barista is fun. You get to create new drinks sometimes, learn that the cute blonde lady with the pixie cut always orders a nonfat misto, and get a nice discount on your own personal choice of crack coffee. But it can also show you the entitled side of people, and how some people will consider a cup of coffee more important than common human decency. So whenever you go to Starbucks in the Ville (or maybe you’re more of a Dunkin Donuts person like myself), just remember that the person behind the counter are more than just your cup of coffee. They’re students, parents, and people just like you.