This was an especially frustrating weekend. Due to my working 14 hours of it, and six of those hours being on a Sunday. Let me
Our Sunday customers are notoriously rude. Many of them aren't regulars, so we don't know their drinks. This can create longer lines since the barista can't start steaming a lot of nonfat or whole milk, pulling shots, or getting syrups into cups. Once you've worked there for a few months, you can recognize drink orders by car or the face in the window. White Saturn station wagon? Medium drip coffee with room. Black BMW SUV? Small sugarfree vanilla latte. Hot, tall guy in scrubs with short blonde hair? Large skinny cappuccino. It also seems to irritate a lot of the new people because they don't understand why it's taking so long for their drink. Despite the fact that they just ordered four drinks with extra shots and each one has a different kind of milk, and they're not at Starbucks with automatic espresso machines and milk steamers. We kind of have to do it all ourselves, but I like to believe that lends to better taste and quality.
Some of these Sunday customers rarely go out for coffee so they like to play little games — “Let's See If We Can Annoy the Barista.” One way to play this is to set down your child (diaper showing; preferably smelly) on the bar where I pass over drinks. Another is to encourage the child to ask me “What's that? What's that? What's that?” so I can say “This is water. This is a spoon. This is milk.” Ultimately you turn the barista into a performer, there more to entertain your child than to make your drink correctly.
Last night I had a woman shout at me to “Wait. Wait. Wait!” I froze for a full 10 second as she hauled her daughter over to the bar. I'm standing there, milk pitcher in-hand, obviously confused. She heaves the kid onto the counter and says “Okay, go ahead. She wants to watch you make it.”
This is fine. But please don't make it sound like an emergency.
Or they want to play “let's annoy the kid at the register by making up stupid names for the sizes of the drinks.” As if it's that poor kid's fault that Starbucks has a trademark on their 20-ounce and we had to come up with something else. As if we don't know the difference between “small,” “medium,” or “large.” Why do you have to be all fucking cute about it?
Then there's the Church Crowd – they gave earlier so they don't tip, even their leftover six cents. They also were forgiven earlier today for all the awful shit they did during the week, so they get to start over with us, on a clean slate.
I was thanking the powers-that-be that we were completely dead for two straight hours, thinking everyone was out doing Mother's Day crap and we'd be able to close in peace. Boy, was I wrong.
It was like they were lying in wait, watching the clock, and then, picking the moment when my co-worker had shut down the espresso machine and I was pondering whether or not I should just dump out all our coffee, they started filing in.
30 minutes prior to closing we sold about two dozen drinks. I watched, in awe and increasing frustration, as couple after couple and person after person came in, ordered themselves a sugarfree, nonfat, 20-ounce half-caf lattes with no foam, or extra foam, or not too hot, or extra hot. Then they proceeded to sit down. Not only were the chairs on the tables (passive aggressive hint on my part) as I had just mopped (since we were completely dead for two hours), but the radio was turned off at 10 till and I even switched off some lights. It blew me away when two women asked, irritated, why there were chairs on the tables. When we explained that would be closing in fifteen minutes, they sneered “Can you take down two chairs for fifteen minutes?”
That got my temperature rising.
The pleasant aspect of this afternoon, though, was when a customer told me that I had the most beautiful eyes she'd ever seen. This made my face turn bright red, something which rarely happens as it's relatively difficult to embarrass me. I probably haven't had someone compliment the color of my eyes in years. When retailers began selling colored contact lenses, most people would alternately tell me how pretty my eyes were, immediately followed by “Are they real?” One of those sort-of-a-compliment compliments.
So, as you know, I requested the weekend off: Friday's the dentist; Saturday is my folks' celebration; Sunday is for the art fair.
This doesn't mean I won't be asked to work, though. Aside from the two people who've flaked out on us in the past few weeks, we have a returning college student who may not be able to work since he's decided to “stop speaking” so that he can “learn.” I'm not saying this is an utterly ridiculous idea, except when you stop to consider the fact this kid chose not to speak at all, right before he's supposed to come back to work.
And yet another full-time employee is waiting to find out if he'll be going to jail for possession with intent to sell. This would be our second employee in a similar boat, so I'm waiting for the third shoe to drop, so to speak.
I'm in at 6am tomorrow, so it's time to start shutting down. Literally.