Mumbles from a Former Starbucks Barista

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As I sit in my community Starbucks – I consider the unspoken rules of partners past and present. From the moment you enter a store that is not your own, there is a code of ethics that come into effect. Thou shall not, thou shall refrain, thou shall – the list really goes on. I mean, we are – were – the employees of a company that prides itself on customization and particularities.

Therefore I have put together a list of Starbucks faux pas from a former 1-9 partner.

  1. Ordering a specialty item that is against Starbucks regulations.

    Your store may be “that” store.

    The one in which every store in the universe twitches about when a customer mentions it. The store that will blend the cookies, or the Naked Blend juice, or froth someone’s milk from home.

    THAT store.

    Ie, the bane of every baristas existence.

    The “but at my store, I get it all the time”.

    The constant contradiction, that allows for rules to be undermined.

    So when we get one of you rule breakers, with your shiny new Partner Card, a seasoned partner may take a moment to correct the errors of your ways. I mean, we have all been in that place – I enjoyed my Vanilla Bean Powder frothed into my milk before I was told otherwise.

    Treat it as partner development and continue on your way.

    NOTE: if your SM really could care less about the rules, then keep it in your store. Maybe mention it to your guests as well, when they casual converse with you about the crazy Starbucks down the way that refused to blend their homemade hemp milk into their baby’s vanilla bean “frap”.

  2. Frappuccinos.

    Let us imagine that you have worked at a store for over three months so you are now past your probation period: congratulations!

    You have also past the time in which you can order one of those blended beverages you possibly joined the company for. No barista, with any empathy for other partners, could order one of those iced beverages. Which is truly unfortunate because honestly, they are tasty.

    There are still days when I, an individual who has not worked for the company in years, craves those blended crème monsters. Whip cream and all.

    Have I ordered one?

    Only once, in another country – and in a store that is completely empty.

    But still, I felt the bitter resentment of baristas past and present.

  3. Standing at the bar, staring down the barista.

    I get it, we have all received incorrectly made drinks – whether it be at Starbucks or not. It happens when Starbucks standard – although apparently the same – does differ from store to store. For example: some store put more emphasis on repeatable routine and less on the product. Some put more energy into the speed at hand off – which means you’ll undoubtedly be missing a step or two. There is only so much you can do before human error and personal preference steps in.

    Staring at the barista on bar however, does not change what is going to happen to your beverage. If anything, you are now creating a sure fire recipe for mistakes. Nerves may be at play. So let’s try and be empathetic?

    Also consider the golden truth: nothing is going to taste as good as something you have crafted yourself.

  4. Ex-partners, coming to a store with the expectation of getting free beverages.

    You know who they are.

    The previous partner that was on alright terms with some of the staff, quits but never truly leaves. Like years later, they still roll up at a store and are like: “Oh hey, I was just—“ and the bar staff already have their drink out just because they know it’s only a matter of time.

    This individual has all the time in the world as well. They will try and get into your backroom, eat some mark outs (wink, wink, we throw out our mark outs, wink, wink), and are just waiting for the words: “So what do you want to drink”?

    Don’t be this person. No one likes this person.

  5. Just order a coffee.

    Save yourself the trouble and do the individual on the other side of the till a courtesy. Plus if you’re an old enough partner all you really want is a roast or some sort of tea. You’ve been pumped with enough sugar already. Or you’re Starbucks’d out. You are probably not even at a Starbucks, you found ‘local roasters’ and manual machines.

    I applaud you.

    You are free.

    The siren has released your soul.

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