PEACE OUT STARBUCKS!
The summer after my freshman year of college, I got a job at starbucks in my hometown of Cincinnati. Not only was I excited about being a barista, but I knew that when the fall came, I could transfer to a store in New York where I go to school. When I got to my new store my manager said that I’d bring “a lot of diversity to the store.” I wasn’t sure if he said this because I was white and from ohio or because I was starbuckian.
I figured that it was fitting for me - a barista with a lot of customers who are either google or apple employees - to start a blog so I could share a bit about the ridiculousness.
My little ole starbucks is an amazing one full of baristas who are awesome on the clock and off. We’re all hilarious and fun but a bit miserable working under certain conditions. I doubt that they’d ever read this because they’re too cool to ever take interest in starbucks outside of work. Anyway, for the most part they work hard and are still down to earth and cool as hell. If rather work with this crew than any other.
I’m going to miss all of my customers, but I’ll especially miss a few of them a bit more: the sound guys from highline, the guys from comix, iced venti vanilla soy at the bar iced coffee, iced grande extra mocha whole milk no ice chocolate milk, venti caramel macchiato, some of the mac store employees (venti hazelnut soy at the bar coffee aka “white mocha,” tall americano, tall coffee/chai tea who’s a wolf parade fan, triple grande/double tall skinny hazelnut latte who wears a scarf 365 days out of the year), iced grande nonfat no whip white mocha (the first drink I remembered!), the two grande two venti guys (although now I think they were separated at their work so they hardly come in), iced tall “no-room” iced coffee, quad with a splash, doppio espresso and sometimes chocolate chip cookie, tall lattle, grande coffee/venti coffee in the morning w/ the (according to coworkers) “sexy black man voice,” triple venti caramel macchiato, grande coffee wit the moroccan shop, caramel “mach-ee-aataaahh” who comes in with her kids, iced venti unsweetened red eye, chai fridays, short coffee with whip cream, half-caf iced venti soy latte, iced venti 4 pump classic refill, iced grande sugar free cinnamon dolce iced coffee, that dude from Cincinnati, iced grande starbucks double shot, some of the NYU acting school kids (like the olsen grande soy chai, but not all of them because a lot of them are overdramatic and obnoxious) and last but not least one of the only straight guy hottie who gets the refill with sugar free hazelnut coffee… I feel like I’m forgetting a bunch of regulars, and you know there are a bunch of customers who I see everyday, but we don’t really make any conversation or we’re just so busy when they come in. I still love them.
I will not miss that guy who gives me sass every god damn day and thinks that he owns the place and takes change from our tip jar. He said that I’m going to miss him. Well I WON’T.
Today, more than two years after I made my first beverage for a customer, I worked my last shift as a starbucks barista. My store manager realized it would probably be the last time she’d see me right before she walked out of the back room as I was doing the dishes. She said “I’m really sorry that your experience here wasn’t as good as it should have been.” Her tone was so honest, and I could tell that she wasn’t just saying it to say it - like just make me and herself feel a bit better. She went on “The whole thing with your promotion really wasn’t handled right (no shit. After I jumped through all of those hoops, I was told I would be promoted by the end of the summer. LAST SUMMER. I obviously wasn’t.) and I’m really sorry about that.” I’m mad awkward so I just said “well, its okay; not you’re fault.” We gave each other a big hug, and then as she picked up her bag she said that she was tearing up. Now I thought that was something she said just to say, but my coworkers said that they noticed she was crying when she came out of the back room and said good night to them.
I know that saying goodbye to me can be extremely traumatic, but we all thought it was kind of odd. Don’t get me wrong, I really care for my manager and I’m sure she cares for me but I knew her for like three months and it wasn’t like we were super close. My coworkers and I figured she’s crying because this is the beginning of the end of an era at our store. This happened back in April of last year, one shift left the company and our ASM and two shifts were transferred to other stores. Suddenly the partners who’d been at our store the longest making it what it was had left. It felt weird and it took a while for our store to function smoothly. And that might be happening now. Besides me shaking stuff up, the main bar morning rush partner put in her two weeks, another partner is looking into stores to transfer to, I’m not sure how long two other partners will last with the added stress that will come, and people are cutting back hours because of school starting back up. I mean everyone talks about how they want to leave and all but, if it actually happens its going to be a hot mess for a while.
You know, the majority of customers and my coworkers are awesome, but there’s no way I could come back to starbucks. It all seems more artificial than when I started. My co worker said that she thinks that starbucks (or at least our district) is now hiring people with no life, no personal ambition, which sadly fits what we see going on. Intelligent people who have gone to school and submit their resume with their application never seem to get called back for an interview. As much as we try to deny it, starbucks is becoming like fast food. How does one get passionate about fast food? Why would you want to make fast food your career? It seems that we only hire people who will not - or can’t afford to - leave starbucks for a career or passion. Like starbucks would rather take below average people then those outgoing and unique personalities that might leave the company sooner. My DM has often given people a hard time for going to school and told a coworker that she enjoys “building people.” I would elaborate more, but the more I think about it the more dramatic I make it sound. more like hitler’s third reich than a coffee company, and that’s a bit extreme. I thinking I’m coming off like a total snot. Whatever, starbucks is a huge huge huge brand and the stock is going up (right?) so I suppose they must be doing something right.
I once again rambled on… where was I?
Oh yeah. starbucks - our rocky love affaire is over. Thus I’m ending this blog. I wasn’t sure how I was going to end it. Instead of doing a recap like a did a few months ago, I just decided to ramble on for a bit like I always do. You know, when I started I wanted to share funny things that happened to me, but I was also sick of people treating me like dirt and dissing starbucks when they probably had really never experienced what goes on in our stores. Super rude. For those who don’t have a starbucks barista that knows you as a regular, I hope I made the company seem more genuine and human than the super big evil coffee company that its sometimes thought of.
I’d like to thank you guys. I’m totally flattered by all of your comments/emails, 1933 people following me on tumblr, and 267 rss subscribers. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to vent and insight from your side of the counter. Oh, and thanks for telling me how funny you think I am.
Oh and I also want to thank Marc and Tumblr for their kindness, putting me on the staff page and radar (or explore or popular stuff… whatever they’re calling it), and creating tumblr.
Here’s my facebook, here’s my music myspace, here’s my twitter that I don’t really… do, and here’s where I might blog a bit for my mom. If you happen to be a regular at my store, say hi.
p.s. the last drink order I made was 3 tall coffee frappuccinos.
p.s.s. Today in our lobby a women’s quartet was rehearsing chamber music. It was pretty heavenly.