Espresso Beans for the Angry Machines that Hate Us…

If you are not aware I work for a relatively well-known coffee shop and I have noticed how much my co-workers and I tend to complain about the treatment we receive from our customers.  Some are cool, and we love seeing them and getting a chance to talk with them about their day, however everyday their are many people who are rude, nasty, and just plain inconsiderate.  This post is for them.

I have argued for a long time that there is a great need for a Book of Etiquette  pertaining to the matter of customer service, and so I figure why not start one?  The following are examples of some of the biggest issues that people in the food/beverage service industry seem to have:

  1. Tip the People Serving You!- This fact is evident for restaurants and other such service environments, however most people either don’t know or don’t care that we (in coffee shops and small cafes) work on tips too!  While our system is different, we are paid just above minimum wage and work very hard to bring you the best service possible.  If you come everyday to get your two-and-a-quarter splenda Latte with half the bottle of caramel sauce, you have no excuse not to tip your baristas (I’m pretty sure Workers Comp doesn’t cover caramel related wrist injuries).
         P.S. It’s tacky when you pick the quarters out of the change you’re planning to tip with, and if you go to a sit down restaurant, it’s 20% of the check total, not five dollars regardless of what you get.
  2. Be Nice- It seems silly to say this, but a little kindness goes a long way.  We try to be in a good mood everyday, but sometimes it’s hard when you get yelled at by five people in a row because you don’t have the kind of coffee cake they want even though you’ve got nothing to do with it at all.
  3. Relax, Your Coffee Isn’t a Matter of Life and Death- I can understand and fully appreciate a sense of urgency, and sometimes we are running late, but it seems to me that many people need to realize that they are not the center of the universe!  The world doesn’t revolve around you, and I’m sure the four other customers ahead of you don’t appreciate you trying to make us skip them to make you happy.  So as the title says, relax, you’ll get the coffee when it’s ready, and we’re going as fast as we can.
  4. Please Turn Off Your Cell Phones- I don’t know if people realize just how rude it is when they come up to place their order, or they sit at the drive through box on their cell phones and tell us to hold on.  Here’s how it works, finish your call and then approach, or end the call and pick it up later.  Sometimes, yes, it is necessary, say it’s a very important call that comes in while you are in line and you have to take, if you just say “Excuse me, I have to take this…” it’s fine.  It’s polite and we understand, but don’t just be rude to us when we’re trying to help you.

I’ve realized that this is quickly turning into a post regarding the Coffee Shop industry so I’ll end it now.  But if you are working in a service-related job, post a comment with your additions.  I hope to actually compile a number of these kind of things into a panphlet or something of the sort.

One Love,


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