Calling all my fellow talented barista's!
As someone who has worked as a barista for 4 years now I can safely say this list has been formed from my 100% honest experiences. It also includes selections from those who I have had the pleasure of working alongside.
Sometimes as a barista we encounter what is best described as 'difficult' customers.
Definition: Someone who enjoys disrupting the simplicity of a customer service workers job by asking ridiculous questions, making loud outbursts or being inappropriate (in all its different forms)
So, whether you're a barista yourself or just someone curious about the daily trials and tribulations of barista, sit back and enjoy the following list of 20 undeniably frustrating things barista's are sick of enduring.
1. Anyone who thinks being on their phone while ordering is a-ok
You don't look 'busy' or ;cool' you just look like a pretentious a-hole who clearly doesn't know how to tell someone to 'hold on' for a moment while they order their coffee. It's just so inappropriate and rude.
Not to mention I have like six other questions I have to ask you before you can pay, so saying 'latte' and shoving a $5 note in my face while you try to keep the gossip going on your phone is quite easily the most frustrating thing you can do while ordering.
2. Not immediately saying what size of coffee you would like
I'm actually required to ask you what size coffee you would like, I mean I genuinely have to ask if you want a larger size just in case I can squeeze the additional 50c charge out of you. Therefore you coming to the counter and just mumbling 'latte' makes both our lives more frustrating.
I'd just prefer if people came prepared with their full orders ie 'a latte with skim milk, regular size, have here' boom done!
It's a god-damn cappuccino in a mug.
I think this one is just a personal pet-hate of mine but I just can't stand when people use it. I mean why is it truly used? To simplify your order? Because it still doesn't include what freaking size you want so how useful is it really?
I've also had customers come in with request such as 'a mugachino of flat white' and at that point you just begin to lose elements of your sanity.
4. 'A flat white with a bit of froth'
So... a latte?
5. 'A cappuccino without froth'
So... a flat white?
6. Complaints about prices
This one really grinds my gears.
Yes, I do in fact know how much it is, I work here.
No, I cannot change the price or do a 'special' just for you.
Those are the prices, they don't change. You're choosing to go out into the world to buy a coffee that you could quite simply make at home and therefore you're not just paying for your coffee. You're paying for my time spent making it and also for the little cups it comes in.
That's life. Deal with it. But don't blame me for things I cannot change.
7. Wanting take-away but expecting me to just 'know that'
The amount of times I've found myself just rolling with the information the customer gives me because I can't be bothered asking all the little questions anymore is just insane.
Yet when I allow myself to relax a bit and lay off all the questions I often find myself in a pickle handing out orders that aren't exactly to the specifications in the customers head. This includes putting chocolate powder on cappuccino's that customers have decided they didn't actually want, not using skim milk, serving it as a 'have here' when they actually wanted it take-away. The list just goes on and on.
It would all be so much simpler if customers came with an order prepared, but alas. I think I'll just have to learn how to mind-read instead.
8. 'The usual'
Ah yes, the arrogant wanker who thinks it's likely I remembered his stupid order from four weeks ago. My absolute favourite.
I'm really sorry that I don't remember you like a skim mug of flat white with two equals and a dash of vanilla, apologies for not committing that information to heart.
Plus, the look on your face when you realise you're going to have to tell me what you'd like just brightens my day up so incredibly much.
SIDE-NOTE: I only remember the orders of people I actually like, and of those people (quick hint!) not one has ever come to the counter and started the conversation with 'the usual'.
9. 'Make sure its skim'
Oh right yes, I'm so sorry you see I'm actually not very intelligent. What I'd really like is if you could just repeat over and over again that you want a 'skim latte.' Maybe six of seven times will do the trick. After that though I'm really going to need to you to remind me whilst I'm making said coffee to use skim milk, something I have clearly never heard before from you before.
10. 'Is it ready yet?'
Apologies, between you paying and me walking over to get the coffee started I haven't magically pulled the coffee from thin air.
I honestly wish I could, it would truly make my job much, much simpler. Alas, I don't have the power, so no, your coffee is not ready yet. It will be in just a moment should you care to wait.
11. People who order super slowly like I'm incapable of understanding
Yes, I've just taken three peoples orders before yours and I have in fact written them down but I really really don't need you to spell out 'latte' like I'm truly incapable of understanding what's coming out of your mouth.
Furthermore, when you open your eyes really wide and add 'do you want me to repeat that?' at the end I truly, truly want to tell you to get your stupid coffee from some other establishment.
But I won't, because I need to be paid and keeping my cool is a large part of my job. Please just move to the side and wait quietly like everyone else.
12. People who order their complicated order exceptionally fast just to test my hearing ability
You can always see these a-holes coming. They have that smug look on their face as they strut up to the register, one hand on their hip, staring you down.
Not even a second later they're blurting out their order for a 'dirty chai latte, decaf, with extra froth on a cross of soy and almond milk, with just a dash of cocaine.'
I won't lie, some part of me wants to just give them a regular latte and claim that it's exactly what they ordered but instead I smile lightly and request they repeat the order just a little bit slower so I have time to write it down.
The smug look that follows is the number one reason I dislike my job on a daily basis. Don't be like those people.
13. Placing the money anywhere but my outstretched hand
I might look pleasant or kind or understanding while I stand at my register taking your order but inside I am a pot of boiling anger due to the sheer disrespect of people putting their money anywhere but my clearly outstretched hand.
It's not hanging out there for fun. I don't enjoy just holding my arm up flat, as if I'm waiting for raindrops.
It's there for your money. That's all.
You order, then you put the cash in my outstretched hand and the transaction is complete.
When you place the coins underneath my hand on the counter and slowly count out $3.50 with a $2, $1, and 50c coins I honestly question whether evolution truly occurred.
14. 'Is this your full-time job?'
As opposed to what? A part-time job?
Does it matter?
Actually, let me answer that one for you. No. It doesn't matter and your values become abundantly clear when you ask this question. I could be a god-damn brain surgeon on the side, it still shouldn't affect the quality of the coffee or my service abilities.
15. 'Is the coffee any good here?'
At what point would anyone ever say 'no' to this question? This is a business where I am trying to sell you a product and you're asking me if I think the product is any good?? Of course it's good coffee.
I just seriously don't understand this question? Is it a test, are you planning to use my testimony if the coffee doesn't live up to your expectations?
It's coffee. I like it. I haven't received a complaint of anyone not liking it. You tell me if you like it.
16. Anyone who doesn't say 'Hi' first
This is self-explanatory. I'm not a robot who just takes your order and makes coffee appear out of thin air. I am a person and I am also awake at 7am, just like you.
It's common courtesy to start a conversation with anyone by saying 'hi', it's not like it's complicated. It's just a simple show of respect before beginning your transaction.
17. 'You're too pretty to be a barista'
...thanks? Was that supposed to be a compliment? Because as far as I can see you've just told me I must be an idiot to do this job because I'm clearly not realising my potential to be a model.
Newsflash, I like my job. It pays me well and it get's me through the week. If you want to compliment my appearances just do it, you don't have to drag my job title through the dirt in order to get your point across.
18. 'Just a coffee thanks'
Ah yes, the infamous 'coffee'. What could it be? A latte? A flat-white? My god it could even be an espresso. I just loooove the thrill of guessing what 'coffee' you're after. Especially if heaven-forbid I make you a latte when you actually wanted a cappuccino.
Simple solution. Just tell me, straight-up, precisely what coffee you would like. It makes both yours and my life 100000 x simpler.
19. Trying to change your order after you've paid
Shockingly, soy milk doesn't cost the same as regular milk. Hence why when you pay and then request it be soy with your 'ah shit I forgot' attitude I'm going to ignore you and charge you the additional amount like I do with all soy drinks. You don't get out of additional costs that easy.
20. Ordering an extra hot coffee
There's a reason all coffees are made at approximately 65-70°. Ordering a coffee above these temperatures ruins the taste of the coffee. I really don't want to serve you crappy, almost burnt coffee and it hurts my heart when you order it.
It hurts even more when you enjoy it.