Monthly Archives: June 2011

Rock And Roll Nerd

A friend of mine sent me a link to this video of Tim Minchin performing a song about prejudice. And since I can’t easily link that clip, here’s another version (with extended lyrics but no backing band):

I didn’t know who Tim was, but liked the song a lot. It led me to check out all the songs on this page here*. Which led me to this:

And that is all I have today.

* I highly recommend the Pope song. Unless you might be offended.


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Filed under *The Coffee Shop Days*, Humor, Music and Entertainment

Just Wow

I would like to begin by stating for the record that I am not exaggerating when I say this may be the strangest encounter I’ve ever had with a customer. I only hope I can do it justice here.

Working nights is a lot different from working the morning shift. For one thing, it’s a lot slower at night. And the freaks come out at night, apparently.

About a half hour before closing, my supervisor and coworker saw this chick pull up and get out of her car. Apparently they’d interacted with her before, as they suddenly got pretty weirded out. I looked up just in time to see her do an odd little side-to-side move in front of the door, as if she were dodging several people. Except she was the only one there. She finally made it into the store and stopped in her tracks about halfway between the door and the register. Something she was carrying was making a lot of noise–it might have been her phone with a truly awful ringtone, or it might have been one of these:

Transistor Radio

It's like an iPOD, but someone else chooses the songs. And there are commercials. And it sounds like crap.

After she silenced the thing, she stood there, swaying slightly with her eyes closed, as if she were meditating on her next move. Or maybe she was still hearing the song that was playing on her radio/phone/whatever.  A minute or so later, she scampered down the hall to the restrooms. Yes. Scampered. My coworkers looked at me like “Did you just see that?” and all I could think of was “Well, maybe she had to go really bad, and that was like the pee-pee dance in motion?”

Several minutes passed before she came back out. She approached the register. The first thing I noticed was the loose tank top she was wearing, slung off to the side to expose an ill-fitting bustier that appeared at least a couple of sizes too big for her breasts. Which resulted not in pushed up boobs and cleavage, rather boobs that sort of floated behind the rigid cups of the bustier. In short, not really sexy. Not that sexy is what I’m after in a customer, but if you’re gonna wear a bustier under your tank top, at least make sure it fits. Note: I was going to provide images to illustrate, but got distracted when I googled “bustier.” I’m sure you can understand.

Wardrobe issues aside, the other thing I noticed was that she looked wasted. And not in the slightly sexy way you’re likely to find if you google “stoned chicks.” No, she was out of it in a way that suggested she was not at her best in life. I should point out here that I have no problem with recreational drug use. What you do in the privacy of your home is your business. But if you come into my store high as fuck, I can’t be held responsible for finding sadness and/or humor in your situation.

Me: “So, hey. What would you like tonight?”

Trainwreck (swaying slightly again, eyes closed): “Ummmmmm…. Okay… Okay. Yeah… So, I’ll…. have… an… a… one of your blended icy thingies…”

Me: “Okay, what size.”

Trainwreck: “Okay… and a ummm… oh. Um… a small one… yeah. Small. Yeah… And I want a, um… iced white… white mocha whatever… iced, yeah…”

Me (trying desperately not to laugh as both my coworkers escaped into the safety of the back room): “Got it, anything else?”

At this point she looked pretty distressed, like she’d messed up the order or forgotten something, or both. And to make matters worse, another customer had arrived.

Trainwreck: “Uhhhhmmm, I think… no, wait. What? No…wait, okay hold on… Okay, can you put me on hold while I figure it out? Help those guys…” And then she ambled away, possibly to receive instructions from the Mothership.

After I helped the other customers, she came back and we went through the first part again, to make sure we had it right. Then she ordered a hot drink, her own, which went pretty smoothly. The last drink, which ended up being another “iced white mocha whatever” was a little more difficult.

Trainwreck: “Okay, so… yeah, okay, so umm… a white moch… mocha thing, but… agh! does he want whipped cream? I don’t know… umm… ugh!” I was a little concerned that she was putting too much pressure on herself, so I suggested “maybe a little?” but she wasn’t really hearing me. She continued fretting about it: “I just want to make him happy, you know?  Argh! I don’t… I don’t know…” She spread her arms, palms up and tilted her face up to the ceiling, eyes closed. “God? What do you think?”

Yes. Really. I am not making this up. Or this: After a few seconds of waiting, and apparently not getting an answer, she cupped her hand behind her ears. “Come on… come on… Okay, good. Thank you… Yes, put whipped cream on it.”

At this point I thought I’d seen and heard everything I could that would surprise me. Naturally, I was wrong:

“I need to get a bank account.” (waves a wad of $20 bills around) “It’s not safe to have this much cash, you know.”

No, it’s not.

“I used to be a dancer. I would walk into the club with $700. $1000. Nobody ever bothered me. I’m kind of intimidating. Do I seem intimidating to you?”

No, you really don’t.

“Agh! I’m so tired. I have sleep apnea, you know. People think I’m on drugs, but I’m not. I have never done drugs. Except one time when I was 13 I smoked pot and I was all like (makes a face with her tongue hanging out) on the couch.”

Oh. Huh.

“I’m wasting your time, aren’t I?”

No, are you kidding? You’re writing tonight’s blog post.

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Filed under *The Coffee Shop Days*, Just Wow, Oh The Humanity!

Welcome To The Magnited States Of America, Please Turn Off Your Phone

I. Love. This.

Read the story here.

I’m going to write a post about customers with entitlement issues, but I don’t want to take away from the stand-alone beauty of this, so I will save it for another time.

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Filed under *The Coffee Shop Days*, Humor, Oh The Humanity!

Boston, You’re Missing A Bitch

Apparently this is a WTFIWWP? week. Today’s contestant hails all the way from Boston, home of beans, tea parties, dirty water…

…and at least one incredibly annoying young woman.

Her cup came to me on the bar and it was a simple drink: Americano with no room. Seriously, aside from ice water, an Americano is the easiest drink to make and the hardest to fuck up. I mean, really: espresso and hot water. Leave room for cream or don’t.

So, she orders her drink with no room, which makes me think she’s drinking it black. As soon as I hand it off to her she turns on her Boston charm:

Miss Boston (in a tone that implies not only that I’m just the help but also that I just ruined her day): “Can I get some soy for this?”

Me: “Well, sure you can. You wanna slide that back over here and I’ll add some for you?”

Miss Boston (offended now): “No. Just give it to me. I don’t want you to do it.”

Me (handing her the soy carton, probably a huge Health Department violation): “We really don’t mind doing it, you know.”

Miss Boston: “I know. I don’t like you to.” She then went over to the condiment bar and committed one of the Cardinal Sins of Coffee Shops: she poured about two inches of her drink into the trash can. Seriously, why do you people do this? Have you no idea how nasty a leaky trash bag is, especially when dozens of people are dumping liquids into it? Ugh.

She then poured her soy and brought the carton back.

Me: “You know, you can ask us to leave some room so you don’t have to dump it out into the trash, making it easy to add your soy.”

Miss Boston (looking at me as though she’s Stephen Hawking and I’m trying to explain physics to her): “Yeah, no. Then you just leave like two inches of room in it.” At this point I’m starting to wish I’d kept my mouth shut, but we’ve come this far so…

Me: “You can always just tell us ‘light room’ and we’ll leave just as much as you want…” Even though you just dumped out two fucking inches you stupid skank.

Miss Boston: “Look. I’ve been doing this for years. You never get it right.” And then, thankfully, she stormed off.

The most satisfying part of all this, other than her departure, were the looks on the faces of my regular customers during and after this exchange.

There are some things in life you just can’t buy.

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Filed under *The Coffee Shop Days*, Just Wow, Retail Rant


Sometimes I meet a person who makes me think “What the fuck is wrong with people?” and, as you might expect, this happens a lot in my line of work. This is just one of many examples.

This week the store has been particularly busy in the morning hours, which means long lines that don’t seem to end and customers of varying degrees of patience. On the one hand, time seems to fly by. On the other, customers can become self-centered jerks fast.

Around midweek we had an encounter with a customer who didn’t feel that she should have to pay for what she was actually ordering. That is, somewhere along the line, someone on my side of the counter told her she should “order such-and-such because it’s basically the same thing but it’s cheaper for you.” While this might be true, it’s wrong on many levels.

A) It’s not in our best interest as a business to encourage people to spend less in our store. No, it does not mean they will keep coming back and we’ll make it up in more sales. It just means they’ll keep paying less and expect every store to charge the lower price. It also means that we have to work harder to make sales goals, which can result in fewer hours for us to work, thus smaller paychecks, and raises… well, forget raises if we don’t meet goals.

2) We’re encouraging them to take advantage of us. This is dumb. I suppose this is simply a plain statement of A) above, but I’m all about ranting right now.

iii) It’s part of what’s wrong with the world today. People don’t understand the value of a thing (“I want that, but it should be free!”) so nothing has value at all. Sure, some things seem overpriced, and maybe they are. But they are priced so because either they are expensive to create/market/sell, or they have a perceived value that allows you, the buyer, to justify the expense. In any event, devaluing these things is not in anyone’s best interest. Unless what you want is junk.

Anyhow, that’s a different rant for another time. Today’s rant is about Miss Bitchypants and Her Special Drink.

She first appeared on my day off, but since she showed up the following two days I got to witness her assholishness. On that first visit, my manager noticed the transaction in progress and afterward asked the clerk how it had been rung up.

Clerk: “Well, she told me that she is charged for a Small Tea with Soy Milk Creamer, but it really seemed like a Large Tea Latte to me…”

Manager: “Yeah, no. She doesn’t get to tell us what to charge, especially when there is a drink on the menu that is exactly what she’s ordering.”

And that’s the thing. She’s ordering a drink that’s on the menu, though she’s getting a single tea bag in a large cup, in which case we would indeed charge her for a smaller drink. And because she’s getting half of that cup filled with steamed soy milk, it’s a tea latte, not just a tea with creamer added. Again, this is a case of some idiot clerk thinking they were being nice be showing the customer how to cheat the system. (For the record, yes, she has nice tits. That’s still not a good reason.)

So she came back the next day and I saw her do this with the clerk at the register.

Miss Bitchypants: “Okay, so, like, my drink is really weird… it’s one tea bag in a large cup with steamed soy milk. So you just charge me for a small tea and add steamed soy creamer.”

Clerk: “So wait… this is a tea latte. Yeah. Half the cup with tea and then steamed milk… that’s a tea latte.”

Miss Bitchypants: “NO. I pay for a tea with soy creamer.” This is a dead giveaway that she’s been coached: she knows our language.

At this point the barista/supervisor, who was also on duty the previous day, looks over and says “Yeah, tea latte. For sure.” and goes back to making drinks.

Miss Bitchypants: “I have been going to the same store for ten years and they’ve always charged me this way.”

Clerk (noting the long line behind her, gives in): “Huh. Okay. Seems not right but okay.”

So let me get this straight. If I paid $1.39 a gallon for gas ten years ago, I should still be paying $1.39 a gallon? Or maybe my rent should still be $735.00 a month? While it sounds nice, it probably means my wage would… hey, wait a minute. I’ll take my wage from ten years ago!

So then there was a discussion with the manager, who confirmed that we could–and should–be charging her for the tea latte. In fact, this is what he instructed us to do. I love my manager. Sometimes we just have to hold customers accountable, and not all managers are willing to lose a tiny bit of potential business and instead let shitty customers take advantage.

The following day, yesterday, she came back. I was making drinks when I saw her at the register. At first I didn’t recognize her, but then I heard her say “Okay, so, like, my drink is really weird… it’s one tea bag in a large cup with steamed soy milk. So you just charge me for a small tea and add soy creamer.” Funnily enough, all the employees on shift had dealt with her in the past few days and were all aware of the situation.

I look over and she’s got her phone up to her ear as she gives her order. The clerk recognizes it and begins to explain that we have to charge her for what she’s actually ordering. She isn’t paying attention, until the clerk gives her the price.

Miss Bitchypants: “No. That’s wrong. I just pay for a tea with soy creamer.”

Clerk: “Right, I know. But my manager has told us to charge you for the tea latte, since that’s what you’re getting.”

Miss Bitchypants (getting visibly angry): “What? That’s not right. That’s not what I’m getting at all. This is ridiculous. Where’s your manager?”

Supervisor (same one as yesterday): “The manager isn’t on today, but I’m the supervisor. I spoke to him about this myself. What you’re ordering is, in fact, the tea latte. And he’s told us to charge you accordingly.”

Miss Bitchypants: “Are you serious? You’re just now telling me?” She gestures to the very long line behind her (the one with the customers obviously both amused and annoyed by her display). “So I just stood in this line and now you’re telling me I can’t get my drink?”

Supervisor: “Well, I’m telling you what we already told you earlier this week, and what my manager has told us to do. The drink you’re ordering costs this much, not the lower price you’ve paid in the past.”

Miss Bitchypants: “So, you can’t do it just this once?”

Errm… you mean for the third time in as many days, right?

Supervisor (noting the line and wanting desperately to get rid of her and help the nice customers): “Alright, I’ll do it this time. But not again. This is it.”

Miss Bitchypants: “Fine. I just won’t come back here again.”

Protip: When you’re a shitty customer who continually takes advantage of us and throws attitude around, threatening to take your business elsewhere is not only not hurting us, it’s exactly what we want you to do.

Observation: At no time during the entire exchange did she lower the cellphone from her ear. I feel really sorry for the person on the other end.

While it would have been more satisfying to stand ground and make her pay up, it was in everyone’s best interest to calmly tell her our store’s policy in this regard and to avoid an even bigger scene. With luck, she won’t be back.

Maybe she’ll go to the competition.


Filed under *The Coffee Shop Days*, Oh The Humanity!, Retail Rant