Let’s take a break from Michael news and take some time down memory lane. Fresh off an internship in Arizona, jobless in L.A., I broke down after a couple of months of compulsively sending out resumes for every available journalism-related job available within 50 miles of Santa Monica and got a job as a barista at Coffee Bean. It was my first retail job, and was surprisingly fun and fast-paced. However, the job had its drawbacks — being so close to the beach, our tip jar got swiped at least once by a homeless dude. Plus, being in an affluent area, there were at least a few self-important jerks who came through.
(This was not my Coffee Bean, however.)
I came upon one of these self-important jerks while manning the register one day. As we all know, when you get to the register at a Starbucks or a Coffee Bean, you order your drink, give your name and pay for it, yes? Well, I was weathering a particularly busy shift at the register pretty well, when one regular started screaming at me. She demanded her drink, saying she’d ordered several customers ago, and where was it?! I knew — I knew — she had not ordered from me because I remembered her as a regular to the shop and she had not ordered from me. She screamed that she had been on her phone, and she got to my register, written her order down on a piece of paper and left that and a filled out punch card (Coffee Bean’s frequent customer punch cards have been discontinued) to pay for it.
I think I stared at her, bereft of words. I mean, what do you say to that? My manager, a really cool guy named Constantine, just shook his head and asked whoever was at the espresso station to quickly make her order. I knew I was not wrong. But the customer is always right, right? In the end, I simply have a favorite story to share whenever I tell folks I used to be a Coffee Bean barista.
I’m sharing this memory courtesy of a post tweeted by a friend, about passive aggressive notes at retail registers. The tip? Git off yer cell phone when asking someone to do something for you, even if you’re paying for it.