This week’s life lesson: Baristas are people too.
Yes, when I’m not busy bumming around calling myself a 'student,' this is what I do for a living. I don’t like to use the word ‘barista’ on account of how wanky it sounds. I prefer to call myself a coffee shop employee. A food handler. A person who is frequently abused regarding the temperature of milk.
Customer service probably wasn’t the best choice for me. I’ve been accused by co-workers of hating people. I don’t hate people, some of my best friends are people. It’s just that a large percentage of the rest of the population happen to be wankers. Like the elderly ladies who told me it was ‘misleading’ that our regular size coffee wasn’t the smallest size. You know what we call our small size? Small. Suck on that, old ladies.
And how hard is it to give someone your name to go with your order? We’re not using it to steal your identity, you won’t arrive home to find countless messages on your answering machine from your credit card company asking if you’ve recently purchased a small island, an army tank, and several monkeys. ‘What’s that? You told the kid at the coffee shop your name was Dave? Bloody hell, you’re a grown man, you should know better than that.’
It doesn’t even have to be your real name. One customer decided that instead of telling me, he’d go straight to spelling it. ‘G-O-D’ I began to laugh hysterically, thinking he was a legend, right up until he gave me an odd look and continued spelling. ‘W-I-N.’ Disappointing.
Another man thought about it for a minute, before answering ‘hmm, I feel like a Toby today.’ What you do on your own time is none of my business, sir. Now, your name, please?
Next up are the people who ask you what you have that’s gluten free. After you’ve talked them through it all, they turn up their nose and say “oh no, I don’t want any of that” and look at you as though you’ve just shot a puppy. Either take what we’ve got, or stop being allergic to wheat. It’s your call.
Last but not least, there's the creepy old men. The most memorable was an old Irish bloke who used the exact words “if you were Irish, and I were younger…” before letting out a disturbing groan and handing me some paraphernalia about Jesus. He made me promise him I’d read it. I didn’t. I don’t think Jesus would approve of such a racist and ageist comment.
In conclusion, it’s a thankless job. Except for when people thank you. But hey, I’m young, I need the money.
And what are the perks? Well, getting paid is pretty good.