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They Literally Could Not Make It Simpler

, , , , , | Right | December 7, 2023

I am a shift supervisor at the world’s largest coffeehouse chain. This employer grants employees stock that turns into shares after an allotted period of employment.

One day, the barista at the cash register asks me to come over to help a customer reload their account balance so that they can earn membership benefits on their transaction. 

Me: “Hey there! How can I assist you today? I heard that you’re trying to reload money onto your account?”

Customer: “Yes! I have been trying to get your cashier to understand that I can’t get into the app since I don’t remember my password. Can’t you just put my phone number or email into your register to pull up my account?!”

Me: “I totally understand the frustration there. Unfortunately, there isn’t currently a way for us to pull up your account information on our registers. Do you happen to know if your account is tied to a physical [Coffee Shop] card? If you have that physical card today, we can reload money and use it now.”

Customer: “I don’t know where that thing is!”

Me: “That makes sense! When the majority of retailers allow you to make an account on an app, it sure does feel like physical cards go obsolete. Have you tried clicking the ‘forgot password’ link on the app?”

The customer then shoves their phone toward me.

Customer: “Can’t you do it? I shouldn’t have to do all of this just to give you business.” 

Wary of holding the irritated customer’s phone, and wanting to free up the register so the cafe line can start moving again, I gesture for my coworker to come back over. I comp the customer’s drink that’s already on the screen.

Me: “What do you think about taking a step over from the register with me so I can walk you through it? I see that we already had your order queued up, so I went ahead and pushed it through so it will be made for you while we are chatting.”

The customer huffs and reluctantly agrees. I walk into the cafe to guide them through the password recovery process. My coworker hand-delivers the customer’s drink as the next part occurs.

Me: “Now you need to open the email account associated with your [Coffee Shop] account to see if the password recovery link has been delivered. The only thing that you’ll need to do is click the recovery link and reset your password so that you can get into the app!”

Customer: “Wait, what?! I don’t know my email password! It’s on a sticky note at my house!”

The customer’s voice is getting louder by the sentence. Other customers have been watching, but now my coworkers are all starting to stare. I try to think of the best way to defuse the situation, but I’m out of options.

Me: “Aw, man. Well, if we can’t access the recovery link right now, I’m afraid I won’t be able to help reset your password. The good news is that you have a free drink in hand, and I can get the customer service center’s phone number written down for you so you can get this resolved before your next visit!”

Customer: “I cannot believe the steps I have had to take to order a coffee as a loyal customer. I am a shareholder of this company. Is this how you treat the people who fund your future?”

Me: “Trust me, as a shareholder myself, I wish this were easier and that we had the power to resolve your issue here. Would you still like that customer service center number?”

The customer appeared speechless and, after a few seconds of processing time, stormed out.

When The Coffee Order Borders On Chaotic Evil

, , , , | Right | December 5, 2023

There was this married couple who came in every Sunday, and they had the most convoluted, long, and chaotic order. Even though I had the order memorized and would recite it for them, they’d still insist on saying it all themselves.

Customer: “One large coffee filled to the brim — make sure it’s to the brim — in a to-go cup. No room. Two XL cups of extra-hot water, double-cupped. One cappuccino — and make sure the foam is good — in a for-here cup. Two raisin bran muffins, lukewarm — microwave them for fifteen seconds, exactly.”

They’d make sure to choose the exact muffins in the pastry case they wanted, and then they’d check to feel how warm the muffins were and complain if they didn’t feel warm enough (even though we microwaved them at the same temp every time), and then the wife would run her finger through the cappuccino and ruin the foam art just to check if the consistency of the bubbles were up to her standards.

Anyone who’s ever made a perfect rosetta knows just how terrible that last part is.

Not All Anti-Heroes Wear Capes

, , , , , , , | Right | December 1, 2023

CONTENT WARNING: Abusive Language

I work in a well-known coffee shop. We have one regular who always manages to give everyone a very hard time. One day after receiving her order, she storms back in to belittle me personally on how it wasn’t made correctly. She is particularly over the line today. I’m a very timid person and don’t handle confrontation well.

Customer: “Excuse me?! This is not what I ordered! I swear, every time I come in here! Who’s the idiot who hired you thinking you know anything about coffee!?”

There’s a young man behind her. He’s been on his phone minding his business. All the other customers look away, pretending that they’re distracted to not get involved. As soon as she starts, the young man looks up from his phone and begins staring at her. I can’t read his face, but he’s watching her intently without blinking.

Me: “I’m so sorry. I’ll be more than happy to make you a fresh one free of charge.”

Customer: “Don’t bother. I’m already late, thanks to how slow you were before. I’m not gonna wait for you to mess up again. I don’t understand why young people like you are so stupid! I asked for extra whipped cream! It’s like you didn’t put any at all!”

I can already feel tears forming in my eyes. The young man is still staring at her with a poker face. It’s like he’s studying her.

Me: “I’m sorry… I…”

Customer: “Your sorry its not going to fix my already ruined morning! Do me a favor and find another job. I’ll be complaining about you. Just get me a refund!”

While I’m now crying, I scramble to give her a refund. She turns around and catches the eye of the young man.

Customer: “Sorry these stupid employees are holding you up.”

He lets a few awkward seconds go by. Still staring without blinking, he finally speaks.

Young Man: “You do realize how pathetic you are, right?”

Customer: “Um… Excuse me?”

Young Man: “I’ll repeat myself. You. Are. Pathetic.”

The whole shop becomes so quiet as they are now watching this situation. The customer looks back at the man like she’s in shock.

Customer: “I…”

Young Man: “I mean, of all the things that matter in this world, you’re whining like a little b**** over a coffee. Is your existence so miserable that you have to come in here and treat others horribly because your disgusting fat a** didn’t get your fill of whipped cream?”

The customer can’t even speak. She’s making a sound like she chokes on trying to get words out. My coworker and I are watching dumbfounded between what he’s saying and the fact that his face is still completely emotionless.

Young Man: “How old are you? Did your parents just not bother raising you to be a decent human being? Clearly, they never gave a s*** about you. Because all I see before me is a middle-aged pig who is behaving like a five-year-old. Do you not have anything to live for besides being a cancerous parasite? I don’t think anybody likes you or cares about you. I know for a fact you don’t have any friends because there’s no way in h*** anybody can tolerate you even in the slightest. You’re nothing but a useless waste of space on this planet.”

He then slowly starts taking steps toward her with his next words, stopping when he’s just inches from her face.

Young Man: “The whole point of your existence at this point is to waste everyone’s oxygen with your every… pathetic… breath. Now, why don’t you stop antagonizing these poor workers and get your miserable filthy a** the f*** out of my sight?”

The customer is shaking while staring at him. She grips her chest like she’s about to have a heart attack and starts slumping over to a nearby seat. The young man then looks back at his phone while he walks up to the counter to me.

Young Man: *Looking up with a blank stare* “Hi. Can I get a Danish, please?”

I ring him up quickly. He thanks me and ends up leaving a very generous tip. He leaves without even acknowledging the woman, who is now beginning to cry with the most depressed sounds I’ve ever heard in my life while rocking herself back and forth. My coworker and I, and even a few customers, sit beside her and begin to try and cheer her up, bringing her some free food and drinks. She just keeps repeating the same words while crying her heart out.

Customer: “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.”

We never did see the young man again. Some time passed before we saw the customer return. Since then, she has been nothing but cordial and polite to everyone, even very patient when mistakes were made.

I no longer work there, and it’s been many years. But I still wrestle with this situation to this day. Was that young man supposed to be a hero here? Or was he a necessary evil?

No Milk, No Questions, No Clue

, , , | Right | November 26, 2023

A professional woman in her early-forties comes into our coffee and donuts place.

Customer: “Cappuccino with no milk.”

Me: *Confused* “Would you like soy milk?”

Customer: *While looking at her phone* “No, I said no milk.”

Me: “Are you looking for an espresso?”

Now she looks up, incredibly frustrated.

Customer:No! I want a cappuccino with no milk.”

Me: “Ma’am, a cappuccino only has two ingredients: milk and espresso. If there isn’t any milk, it’s just an espresso.”

Customer: “How stupid do you have to be to not be able to fulfill a simple request?! Just make me a f****** cappuccino with no milk, and stop asking questions!”

I make an americano and hand it to her. She looks at the coffee and then at me.

Customer: “What the f***?”

She walked out and threw the americano in the garbage.

The New Hire’s Frappe Flap

, , , , , , | Working | November 22, 2023

This story happened years ago when I got a job at a local location of a popular coffee shop chain near the university I was attending.

At this particular coffee chain, new employees were supposed to read the manual to get the recipes for drinks, but they were also assigned a “learning coach” to show them the ropes on their first few shifts, teach them how to steam milk, etc. There was also a specific order in which new employees were taught, starting with the “hot bar” (lattes and other espresso drinks) and then the “cold bar” (iced teas, blended drinks, and the like).

Unfortunately for me, my first day on the job happened to be the day a brand-new lower-calorie blended drink was released, and anyone could walk into the store and get a small-sized one for free. As I’m sure you can imagine, the store was a zoo. So, rather than being trained on the “hot bar”, I was shown how to make the “Frappuccino Light” and did that for the entirety of my shift.

This probably wouldn’t have been a problem, except that since I had been making drinks on the “cold bar” on my first day, I was never actually taught how to make any “hot bar” drinks (or any other “cold bar” drinks, for that matter). I muddled through, asked a lot of questions, and probably looked like an idiot, but I managed to figure out how everything worked before eventually putting in my notice six months later.

During my exit interview:

Manager: “Who was your learning coach? I don’t remember.”

Me: “What’s a learning coach?”

She nearly fell off her chair.

I did end up returning to work for that company for several years after graduating from college, and I eventually became a learning coach myself. I made sure not to abandon any new employees that were assigned to me like I had been.