Saturday, January 27, 2007

Please Don't Annoy the Barista, Part 2

Things to do while ordering in a coffee shop that will slowly drive the person behind the counter to insanity:

1. Mispronounce everything. I don't mean the overly-complicated Italian names--anyone can get those wrong. But the simple stuff? Latte is pronounced by most of us as LAH-tay, not lah-TAY. Man do I hate hearing "I'll have a tall vanilla lah-TAY, heavy on the vanilla." Lah-TAY sounds both pretentious and misguided. A lots of people precede their drink order by the word "caffe". It means "coffee", basically, but that doesn't mean they're pronounced the same way. It's a little confusing/annoying to hear "I want a 'coffee' latte." Because of course we also sell... coffee. What do you want exactly?

2. Over-ordering. Not too much stuff, just too many words. You don't need the 'caffe' part of caffe mocha-- 95% of customers seem to understand that just a simple "mocha" works fine. And "caffe mocha latte"? Redundancy slows us down. "Breve latte"? SO redundant.

3. Use the word "just" out of context. "Just" implies that you're going to order something very basic and simple. "Just a small cup of coffee for me tonight" is correct. "I'll just have a Venti caramel Frappuccino, make that Lite, with whipped cream and extra drizzle" There is nothing JUST about that statement. What are you trying to imply, that it's somehow less work if you vocally minimize it with a "just"? That you honestly don't realize that you're a complicated, high-maintenance orderer?

4. Me: (smiling) "Hi, how're you doing this eve--"
Her: (interrupting) "I need a whatever, large, extra this and that."
OK. I try to be friendly or at least cheerful with every customer. The damned least you can do is let me finish saying hello before you barge ahead, unsmiling, with your order.

5. Claim to "need" your drink. You don't NEED a white-chocolate mocha. You WANT a mocha. Perhaps you WOULD LIKE a mocha. It really rankles to hear people claim to "need" specialty $4.00 coffee drinks as though it's a roof over their head or a winter coat on their back. I read somewhere that the average American family has $9,000 in credit card debt and basically nothing in savings-- how much does confusing needs with desires contribute to that situation, I wonder? A polite order would sound like this: "Hi, I would like..."

6. Order caffeinated drinks for your kids. Just a hint: those mocha Frappuccinos have as much caffeine as a latte, even if they do taste like a coffee milkshake. Mochas and flavored lattes are caffeinated as well, unless you specify decaf. I guess if you let your kids drink Coke then giving them a cup of coffee doesn't make the biggest difference, but have you ever thought about limiting the quantities of drugs in their systems until they hit adolescence? And, it might contraindicate the Ritalin.

7. Demonstrate a complete lack of irony. One woman comes to the counter to buy a book and a drink. The book is Weight Loss Wisdom: 365 Successful Dieting Tips . The drink is a venti toffee-nut latte, made with whole milk and whipped cream. The drink has 580 calories. 25 grams of fat. I think that may be in the book somewhere, and no, I don't think the book was for a friend.

On the bright side, last night I went to bed, fell asleep, and stayed asleep for 6 hours! I never thought something so simple could make me so happy. If I could only have slept in, too, instead of getting up for work... But still. My head is clear for the first time in days. I'm not fantasizing about taking a nap.


Susan said...

And, it might contraindicate the Ritalin.

That made me laugh out loud. Because it's TRUE! Sadly.

Mara said...

OMG, Susan from Priday Flaydate came to my blog! Ack!