There are some things you should never do in a coffee shop. You may think your behavior is totally normal, but you might be royally pissing off your barista. Who cares, you say? Well, not only will your baristas secretly dread seeing you, you may actually be slowing down the pace of the cafe for other patrons. So many people (most of them good people) are guilty of such bad etiquette that I thought I’d list some items here for all to see.
This one should be obvious, right? But in today’s world, NO ONE pays attention to anything but their phone! You stare at your phone while waiting online. You talk on it while placing your order, which is kind of rude, by the way! Hell, ,you even pay for your coffee with your phone, but yet you never have your app ready at the register! Worse yet, you don’t even have your order ready after waiting on line! To top it all off, you complain about how long the line is and how we’re making you late for work… it could never be poor planning on your part, right?
However, lines can get pretty long during the morning and we try so hard to get you guys in and out quickly. But sometimes, our customers don’t make it easy. I’m not saying it’s your fault, but it’s everyone’s fault. You don’t know what you want, so you stare at the menu board, trying to figure it out, even though, we both know you’re going to get a caramel macchiato, though you want to “try something new”. You know what happened before you got to the register? The person in front of you also couldn’t decide what they wanted. And the person after you? You guessed it, also decided to play on their phone instead of figuring out what they were ordering. In short, use your time on line wisely.
When you’re at work, do you like it if someone is behind you, lurking over your shoulder while you type at your desk? No? Funny, us baristas hate lurkers too! Staring at us over the espresso machine does not bring your drink out faster! In fact, it totally creeps us out. It also makes us nervous, thinking we’re not moving fast enough when in fact, you JUST placed your order and there are 10 drinks in front of yours. And FYI, if you happened to have ordered food, hot tea or regular coffee, it is not the barista at the espresso bar’s responsibility to make those items, so don’t look at them wondering whether or not they’re making it.
Not to be rude, but we don’t need to hear reasons behind why you order a certain drink or why you don’t want to reload your gift card or how you spilled your drink. We will gladly try our best to solve your problem and give you great service, no questions asked. Yes, we love small talk. Yes, we love building relationships with our customers, but just let us clean up your spilled drink instead of continuing to describe how it happened. When placing your order, we don’t need to know why you want nonfat milk, but keep the whip cream. We’ll make it anyway you want – no explanation needed!
Anything behind the counter or bar area is off limits to customers. Just because you have long-ass arms that can reach a cup, straw or our water spout does not mean it is free to take! In fact, if you touch a cup or lid, we are technically required by our quality assurance inspectors to toss those items out. Just politely ask for something and we will be happy to get it for you!
This one should go without saying, but nothing bugs me more than when people speak to me like my brain can’t comprehend much or they talk slow as sludge to me. “I would like a… grande… mocha… extra shot… decaf… iced.” And then they look at me as if waiting for me to ask them to repeat their order. It actually makes it harder for me to take your order the more you slow it down. As baristas, we were taught to call out beverages in a certain order. We don’t expect customers to figure out our code, but telling us your order in a normal, audible speaking voice is best. By the way, while we’re at it – if you specify the size and whether it is iced or hot first, that is a huge help to your barista. We can’t mark anything on a cup until we know those 2 things. Lastly, you repeating “decaf” five times is unnecessary.
As a writer and awesomely intuitive name speller, this actually offends me. If I ask your name, tell me what it is. Don’t immediately start spelling. Now you’ve thrown me off. If someone asks my name, I don’t say, “Es. Ay…” I fully expect someone to think my name is “Essay” before I can finish spelling.
Also, if I ask you to repeat your name, it doesn’t mean I don’t know how to spell it. It simply means it is too damn loud between the blenders, the grinder and espresso machine to hear you. Just repeat your name for us. If I ask if your name is Sarah with an “H” or Zack with a “K”, don’t tell me it doesn’t matter. I take my names very seriously and nothing pisses me off more than people spelling my name “Sandi” (as so many of my co-workers do).
Okay, wait. Scratch this whole paragraph… maybe most baristas don’t care about spelling your name right at all. Maybe some of them are snarky jerks. But if you happen to come to my register, let me spell your damn name! 😉 Apparently, I am just a weirdo with a name spelling fetish.
The Traveling Barista is meant to be in good fun. Baristas genuinely love their customers, but we deal with the general public on a constant basis and therefore need to vent heavily.