A Barista Bemoans

A Barista Bemoans

1. “I wanted that iced.”  Usually spoken at the hand-off counter by a customer who doesn’t know the difference between an iced drink and a hot one and didn’t order it iced so we assumed they wanted it hot.  Also usually after you’ve created the perfect hot beverage with perfectly timed shots and meringue-like foam.

 2.  “Can I get some water?”  Usually requested by an individual you’ve never seen before who has no intention of ordering or paying for anything.  Occasionally requested by non-regular customers who apparently have no running or potable water in their homes and must search out the local coffee emporium to order drinking water.  These individuals rarely have any concept of the appropriate use for words like “please” and “thank you.”

 3.  “I don’t want whipped cream.”  Usually this is mentioned after you’ve topped a drink that comes with whipped cream with the perfect dollop of whipped cream.

 4.  “Can I get that with skim milk?”  To which we might reply, “Yes, ma’am, we have non-fat milk.”  “Well, I’d prefer skim milk.”  Um, they’re the same thing.

5.  “This doesn’t taste right.”  Okay, we’re happy to remake it.  What doesn’t taste right about it?  “I don’t know.  It doesn’t taste right.”  Is it bitter?  Too sweet?  Too strong?  “It just doesn’t taste right.”

 6.  “One minute.”  This is usually followed by a finger in the air directed at whoever is trying to take orders and move the line along and is always offered by someone on a cell phone.  Get a clue, people.  If you’re on your cell phone having a conversation you are not ready to order coffee.  Step aside and conclude your phone call.  Then and only then should you get back in line.  The back of the line.

7.  “I don’t know what I want.”  Okay, then, step out of the line, study the menu board some more and narrow down your choices.  We don’t know what you want either, but here are some ideas before you step up to the register:  Do you want a hot drink?  A cold drink?  A drink with coffee?  A drink without coffee?  Something sweet?  Something not so sweet?  If you have questions, ask, but don’t stand there staring at the menu completely clueless when there are ten people standing behind you who know what they want.

8.  “Is this my vanilla latte?”  Usually asked right after you’ve set a vanilla latte on the hand-off counter and called it as a vanilla latte.  Almost always asked when there is only one customer waiting and the only thing ordered was a vanilla latte.

 Some more favorites: 

 The man who brings in his sandwich baggie full of coins and proceeds to count out three dollars or more in pennies, nickels and dimes to pay for his drink.

The people who hand you a ten or a twenty and wait until you’ve counted out their change, including the coins before they say, “Oh, I’ve got the change.”

The exercise freaks who stuff their money inside their sweaty clothes and then pull it out in a crumpled damp mess and hand it to you.

The woman who orders, and waits until you’ve rung up her order to place her gigantic purse on the counter and open it.  She then proceeds to search for her wallet, which is never in plain sight.  She must unzip/unsnap said wallet and root around for some dollar bills usually buried behind twenties and fifties.  Eventually, some ones will make it to the counter, where they will be counted slowly for the cashier’s benefit followed by, “I think I have the sixty-seven cents.”  The wallet will return to the giant handbag, there will be more rooting around for a coin purse and the same procedure will be followed until it is discovered that exact change is indeed not available as was earlier thought.  Coin purse is returned to the handbag, wallet makes another appearance.  Whereupon it is discovered that no more one dollar bills exist within the confines of said wallet and a twenty- or fifty-dollar bill is offered.  Meanwhile, ten minutes of everyone involved’s life has gone by and they will never get it back.

The man who orders a solo espresso, pours cold milk into it at the condiment counter then brings it back to you and asks if you have a microwave. 

Us:  No, we don’t. 

Him:  But my coffee’s cold.

Us:  Oh, did you pour cold milk into a one-ounce shot of espresso? 

Him:  Yes. 

Us:  That’s probably why it’s cold.


  1. Dani

    Here’s what I love, I check on a table at least 2-3 times while they’re eating, never hear one complaint, and then when they are paying their check they tell the cashier there was something wrong. You know, when it’s too late for me to fix it or do anything about it.

  2. Barb Meyers

    We always try to make things right if there’s a problem we know about. But it’s funny how often people won’t let us, or don’t want us to go to the “trouble.” Honey, you paid $4-5 for that drink. It should be exactly what you want!

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