Behind the bustling counters of coffee shops, baristas often face encounters with snobby and vexing customers. From demanding customized orders to condescending remarks, these coffee artists navigate a challenging landscape with grace and humor. This article delves into the world of baristas, showcasing their experiences in dealing with the complexities of customer interactions.
Why Are You Bothered?
“I worked at a mom and pops coffee shop in Colorado. I used the income to support me while I was finishing school. One day we were in the middle of a rush and ended up running out of almond milk. The owner went to grab more from the grocery store. In the meantime, we had to work with what we had and apologize to customers for the inconvenience.
At some point, a woman in a business suit walked in. When it was finally her turn, she came up to the counter and asked for a specialty drink that required almond milk. I apologized and explained the situation before offering the woman coconut milk or soy milk instead. The woman was clearly annoyed, but opted for coconut milk. She paid for the drink, left no tip, and stood off to the side to wait. The rush kept getting worse, so I was tagged in to switch places with a newer barista who wasn’t that fast on the bar yet. I made the business woman’s drink and called her name before quickly moving on to the next drink. She stood at the bar, took one sip and made a horrible face before slamming the cup down.
‘This tastes way too sweet!’ she hollered.
Now obviously, coconut milk is naturally sweet. I didn’t think to inform her that the recipe for the drink would be a little off because of the change, but I could understand her frustration. What I couldn’t understand was the way the woman berated me.
I quietly apologized to the woman and asked if she wanted it made with soy milk to cut down on the sweetness. The woman scowled and said, ‘Fine. Just hurry the hell up.’
I ignored her, made the drink, and set it down in front of her before moving on. Again, the woman stood there, took a sip then snapped.
‘I can’t believe you people expect fifteen dollars an hour to make drinks wrong.’
Her insensitive comment sent me, but I kept my cool.
‘I can make it again for you,’ I offered.
‘No! Just give me my damn money back,’ the woman snapped.
Now the problem was that only the owner could issue refunds at the time. He still hadn’t gotten back yet from the store. Refunds weren’t often, even rare. So, we were completely unprepared for the irate woman to ask for one.
After I explained this, the woman went on a full on rampage. She threw her drink down on the floor, its contents splashing all over the other guests. She then kept demanding her money back and calling me all sorts of horrible things. I was nearly on the verge of tears by the time I picked up the store phone to call the cops. Meanwhile, the woman continued causing a scene.
‘I make 4 times as much as all of you! All I ask for is a freaking coffee so I can go to my REAL job,’ she snarled.
At that point I lost it. I said, ‘If you make so much money, why are you so pressed about five bucks?!’
That made a few people giggle. The woman, however, was not amused. She started yelling again, but by then, the cops finally showed up. So did the owner. The woman was escorted out, but not before my boss ‘paid’ her five bucks to get the hell out and never come back.”
Can You Hear Me Now?
“One afternoon I was on cash register duty. There were quite a few people but nothing too crazy. As I was ringing up customers, a younger woman approached me. She was typing like crazy on her phone. This was several years ago, so she had one of those Blackberry phone that had the keyboard built into it.
The woman didn’t look up as she placed her order, a no-foam latte for ‘Claudia.’ Once she finished paying, I saw her walk over to the side and sit down at a nearby table. It took about three minutes for my coworker to finish the drink. At our shop, the barista hands me the drink, and the person ringing up orders calls out the drink after verifying it’s correct. I called for Claudia to come get her drink before placing the cup on the counter. I then started helping the next customer.
Now Claudia never stirred from the chair she was sitting in. In fact, she was still absorbed in her phone just texting away. Out of courtesy, I called for Claudia a second time. Still, Claudia made no effort to get up, so I left it alone. A few minutes passed before Claudia finally looked up from her phone. Her face said it all. There was a single cup on the bar, but because she hadn’t heard her name, she had no idea of knowing that it was hers. Instead of getting up to ask me for help, Claudia shrugged and went back to texting on her phone. So, I continued helping other customers.
About ten minutes passed before Claudia looked up from her phone again. This time, she got up approached the counter and waited there with her arms folded. She walked people picking up their cups as I called them. When Claudia finally decided to check the cup that no one touched, she finally realized it was her no-foam latte. There was only one problem: It was cold.
‘Um, excuse me?’ Claudia said, a new found purpose in her voice.
‘Yes?’ I asked.
‘Why didn’t you tell me my drink was ready?’
‘I did,’ I said calmly. ‘More than once.’
‘Okay but I didn’t hear you obviously,’ Claudia said, clearly annoyed.
‘Well, I had other customers,’ I said.
‘You make me another one!’ Claudia suddenly snapped. ‘I can’t have cold coffee!’
I shrugged and asked the barista next to me to make another latte. When the barista started on the drink, Claudia then said, ‘And next time make sure I hear it.’ She then stomped away.
So, when the barista finished a fresh latte, I grabbed it. I then marched up to the counter and yelled at the top of my lungs.
‘CLAUDIA! YOUR NO-FOAM LATTE IS READY!!!’
The entire cafe was dead silent. Claudia, red in the face, snatched the cup off the counter and stormed out of the building.
And if you’re wondering, no I didn’t get in trouble. I’m the manager lol.”
Too Much Chocolate!
“I work for one of those pop up coffee shops that’s just a drive thru. Early one morning, a woman pulled up to the window holding a cup from our shop. I didn’t recognize her, but she claimed that she came through our line a few minutes ago and wasn’t satisfied with her drink.
‘Well, what’s wrong with it?’ I asked.
‘There’s too much chocolate in it!’ the woman shouted.
I asked her what she ordered and the woman seemed shocked that I didn’t know. After her order, she insisted she had asked for a Mocha, almost oblivious to the fact that the drink was named precisely because of the rich chocolate we use to craft it.
However, not wanting to keep the rest of the line waiting, I remade the drink and used a few pumps less than what the recipe called for. I handed the new drink to the woman, who then took a big sip.
‘Ugh!’ the woman spat out the drink. ‘This still has too much chocolate!’
I was at a total loss. ‘Ma’am,’ I began. ‘It’s called a Mocha because it’s made with chocolate. Do you just want a different type of drink today?’
‘Look at how brown and disgusting this is!’ the woman hollered again. She had opened the lid and looked inside at the drink. ‘The last time I got this drink it was tan, not this doo-doo brown. I can’t even taste the coffee.’
That’s when it hit me.
‘You want a White Mocha.’ I said, suddenly drained from the conversation.
‘I don’t know. Just give me a coffee I can drink please!’ the woman shouted.
So, I ended up making a White Mocha and handed it to the woman. I watched as she took another sip, only this time she smiled.
‘Oh,’ she exclaimed. ‘This is sooo much better!’
‘Have a good day!’ I said through gritted teeth.
Once the woman drove off, I couldn’t help but chuckle:
Because I gave her decaf expresso.”