I Worked At Starbucks For 3 Years & Here Are 7 Things That Will Make Your Barista Hate You

Are you guilty of doing these things?

Toronto Staff Writer
Patrick the barista. Right: Outside of a Starbucks.

Patrick the barista. Right: Outside of a Starbucks.

The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Narcity Media.

I worked at Starbucks for the first three years of my twenties in Toronto's Financial District, so needless to say I've had to deal with my fair share of grumpy bankers.

From endless lines of Frappuccino orders to overly-specific drink requests, I saw it all during my time at one of the world's biggest coffee chains.

As such, I do feel it is my duty to prevent future Starbucks baristas from suffering from the same daily annoyances I faced. I wouldn't wish these pet peeves on anyone.

So, here are my top picks for brutal things that used to get on my (and my co-workers') every last nerve during my coffee-slinging days.

Ordering multiple Frappuccinos at once

There is no greater hell on earth for a barista in Ontario than when Frappuccino season rolls around. They are the most annoying and one of the messiest drinks to make.

The unicorn Frappuccino still gives me nightmares.

I once worked a shift at Starbucks on King West during TIFF. I was the only person working, and there was a line out the door. Everyone wanted a Frappuccino, and no one took pity on me.

I get it, you got a whole dang family, and your moody teenage daughter wants a coffee milkshake, but know your baristas are serving you with hatred in their hearts.

Asking if every drink that comes out of the bar area is yours

I don't know how many times I had to tell someone, whose name I just wrote down on a cup, that the drink the bar put out, with a completely different name on it, isn't theirs.

If you can't even pay the person serving you enough attention to know when your name is being called, you're forcing everybody else to explain how the world works to you.

If you want to banter with a barista who likes you in the morning, listen to them.

Having an overly-customized drink order

Swapping milk or adding a shot of espresso or syrup is fine. That's easy. But if you're someone whose Starbucks cup looks like a grade 10 math quiz by the time your barista finishes transcribing it, you may want to tone it down a bit.

There's a good chance the coffee slinger serving you has been up since 4:00 a.m., opening up the Starbucks you rely on to function in the morning, and you're making them write a term paper for you.

Giving a silly fake name because you're so funny

So, first of all, you're not being clever. Thousands of middle-aged men walk into Starbucks every day with a goofy name and the dad jokes in their pocket, ready to force a smile on some poor unsuspecting barista's face.

You may think it's a harmless and silly jest, and fair enough. But how would you feel if someone told you the same damn joke at 7:00 a.m. every morning? You'd hope to never see them again.

Use your real name, and if you can't help yourself, find a different knock-knock joke to tell on the daily.

Asking cashiers to break a $100 for a two dollar coffee

This one isn't exclusive to Starbucks, but a good chunk of its clientele thinks throwing you a $100 for grande Pike order is acceptable. It is not.

Here's why: Your barista puts every large bill you give them into a separate safe; There are only five, tens and maybe a few twenties in the cash register at all times.

If you do this and don't see it as a big deal, know that you are royally screwing over the person processing your order and probably the people behind you too, who now have to wait for a manager to unlock a safe.

Also, we're living in the digital age, and you more than likely have a debit or credit card, so why not use it instead of completely draining some poor barista's cash register?

Walking up and saying your order without a greeting

This one always got to me. Nothing is more dehumanizing than when someone treats you like a coffee robot. Your barista is a person. They are as complex as you.

If you aren't greeting your barista with a courtesy smile, "hello, how are you?" Instead, you're basically telling them to their face that you don't respect them.

Have some manners. It's a small ask. I believe in you.

Asking for a pour-over or french press.

If it's 2:00 p.m. and you're sauntering into a quiet Starbucks, go ahead. You can request this laborious method. It's annoying and snooty but not overly stressful.

But, if you're like the many customers I served, who request this during a morning or evening rush, even though only two people are working, you're not helping.

You're forcing one person to deal with a whole line of people while the other makes your coffee at a snail's pace. It's just not a good look. A little thoughtfulness goes a long way.

I hope this guide has opened a few closed eyes. Forgive yourself if you're guilty of any of them. Day-to-day life is a slog, just don't close your heart.

This article's right-hand cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.

Patrick John Gilson
Toronto Staff Writer
Patrick John Gilson is a Staff Writer for Narcity Canada’s Ontario Desk focused on Ontario gas prices and is based in Toronto, Ontario.
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