We know that being a barista isn't the easiest job in the world. There's an art to making espresso, just as there's an art to dealing with caffeine-starved rude masses.
We feel for you. Really. That's why we heed your pet peeves, which are perfectly reasonable. We also tip well, when the jar's available.
Sadly, espresso's sliding into the fast food category, where people demand their products cheap, fast, and as convenient as possible. With Starbucks and even Kaldi's popping up in box stores next to Pizza Hut Express, the rules for behavior are getting blurry for both patron and barista.
Is it fair for a single barista to be working the Kaldi's counter at a high-traffic Schnucks on a busy Saturday afternoon? Not really. Is it fair for that barista to not only make coffee, but also ring up store employees making non-coffee purchases for their breaks? Nope.
But that was the situation we encountered recently.
It sucks. We know. We know. Lots of us have been exactly where you are. Management needs to know that overextended employees tend to get surly, which leads to surly customers.
However, we have a few suggestions to any barista who find herself in such a situation that might make life easier.
Bad moods happen. No one can be happy at work all the time. And while each individual is responsible for her behavior, the folks in charge need to take a good, hard look at what they're expecting.
Managers, it's really, terribly rude to leave your employees understaffed, overburdened, and perhaps in a position that doesn't suit their personalities. Yelling at such employees doesn't do a damn bit of good.
How about providing work conditions that benefit your employees, which in turn benefits your customers and ultimately, your bottom line? It's the polite thing to do.