This post will hopefully serve a dual purpose. First, as with most of my posts, I hope that it will bring a smile to your face and maybe some laughter to your life. Secondly, I‘d like to think of it as a public service announcement of sorts, helping you the reader (all three of you) be better customers at your respective Starbucks. So with no further adieu, I present to you the Top Ten Most Annoying Starbucks Customers.
10. The Correct Change Fumbler – I have no problem with correct change. Really. It makes everyone’s life easier and helps us all move along more quickly. However, I do have a problem when someone hands you the bills and then you stand there like a moron waiting for them to fumble around in their purse/pocket/coin holder/ashtray/backseat looking for correct change. Typically this ends when they do not secure enough and then give you either a credit card or a larger bill, thereby ensuring that you stood there for no good reason.
9. The Oblivion – This can take many different forms, but here are some of the most common. The first is the person standing at the handoff bar waiting on their drink but not paying attention. You hand out the drink, saying clearly, “Grande Mocha”. They then look at the drink, look at you, and with a blank expression that tells you what is coming next, say, “Is this a Grande Mocha?” I also like those people that just never make it over there and stand idly by or sit down and begin what must be the world’s most engrossing conversation, so much so that they do not hear their drink being called repeatedly.
8. The Drink-Corrector – This is a favorite of mine. Say someone orders a drink with no whip cream. Because their world revolves around them they have no concept that there might be other people in the world that might also order drinks at this particular location, so they just assume that the drink you are working on is theirs. It’s not. So, as you put whip cream on it, they begin yelling at you, typically from their car in the drive-thru (Sidenote: Never, ever yell at someone inside a store from outside. You look like a moron. And everyone can hear you inside. Just stop embarrassing yourself). They yell that their drink was not supposed to have any whip cream on it, at which point you as the barista can take your most condescending tone and tell them that indeed, you did know that and when you get to making their drink, you’ll ensure there is no whip cream on it. But this person wanted it so you’ll oblige them.
7. The Mind-Changer – This one can also take a few forms. The least annoying is when someone forgets to say “Iced” before their drink and only you writing the drink on a hot cup jogs their sluggish mind. You’ve wasted time and a cup, but at least a drink was not made. More severe forms take place after the drink has been made and an attempt is made to hand it out. They swear up and down that they ordered it iced (They didn’t) and refuse the hot one. So it gets made again. I realize mistakes get made, but be nice about it people. Being mean only gets you a decaf drink…
6. The Unlistener – This person pays no attention to anything you say. You ask them to wait a minute and they order. You ask them what size drink they want and they repeat the non-sized order. You tell them the price and they have no idea what to pay you. They either have cotton in their ears or the most severe form of short-term memory loss ever. Either way it is pretty annoying.
5. The Halfer – This is probably the one that is currently annoying me the most. They want halves of things, like a half a pack of Splenda. Or pumps of syrup. Or shots of espresso. All things that are not easily divided into nice halves. When you decide that one Splenda is too sweet but you must have one-half a Splenda to get some sweetness, you are officially high-maintenance. Sorry to break it to you, but it is the truth.
4. The Double-Checker – This person always orders either a decaf, a non-fat, or a multiple pumps of syrup drink. And they ask you, not to check it yourself, but to ask the person that made it if they made it exactly as marked. As if you could have missed it since they told you seven times while ordering that they wanted it decaf, but hey, I’ll ask the guy that made your drink since we have nothing better to do than to triple check our work. Look, I know we screw up sometimes, but take the good with the bad. It is how life works and asking me multiple times is really only going to ensure that you do NOT get what you wanted. Except you’ll never know…
3. The Coin Payer – I’ve almost gotten fired like three times with this one, not because of what I do, but what I want to do. Typically someone orders a drink in the four to five dollar range and then hands you a sweaty fistful of nickels and says “Uhh, I think that there is enough there.” But see, here is the thing. My manager actually cares that I take in and give out the right amount of money, so I have to count it. All of it. While you wait. And everyone else does. And I’m always tempted to just throw the coins back at the person and exclaim, “Nope, you were short! Better start all over!” If you pay with coins, roll them please. Keep me from getting fired for throwing them at you.
2. The Expert – Look, I don’t come to your job and tell you how to do it. So leave me alone when I’m doing mine. This person stands over the counter and watches you like a hawk, ensuring that every little drop of espresso and milk are exactly as they ought to be. And ice. This person loves to tell you that you put too much or too little ice in their drink. Just let me do my job. I’m not working the bar because I’m an incompetent moron that cannot make drinks. I actually know what I’m doing so let me do it and relax a little. It’s a cup of coffee and you’ll live, I promise.
1. The Phone Talker – I think this extends beyond Starbucks, but this drives everyone nuts. The fastest way to lose barista friends and alienate partners is to talk on your phone while ordering, either in the store or in the drive-thru. Look, you are not the President averting nuclear war and I doubt you are a world-renowned surgeon giving step-by-step instructions for a life-saving operation. So hang up the phone or wait until you are finished to come to get your coffee fix. But the worst is the person the pulls up in the drive-thru and after I give my greeting tells me to “Hold On” because they are on the phone. Not only can I see you, but I can hear you too. And I could care less that Momma and Daddy had a fight over which room the bearskin rug ought to go. And you came to me! Do you go to a sporting event and tell the athletes to wait? Or a concert? No. So get off your phone. You are not that important.
By and large the majority of my customers are great and wonderful people that I enjoy serving. But there are those few that just drive me nuts, and given conversations with my fellow partners, them too. So do us all a favor and avoid these few behaviors and we’ll all feel better. And you’ll probably get better drinks and better service too.