PDA

View Full Version : Rant of the month: Starbucks


Kevin Perry
12-29-2007, 12:08 AM
Im sure you've heard enough about Starbucks, but maybe not so much about what those who serve you Coffee must actually deal with a lot. So I need to rant. I really really really hate working in the food industry. The only reason I work for this company is because the hours are good for going to school full time while I fill the other hours training.

So I had a really bad day at work. It started off great and went very smoothly. It was dead and really no customers till 8:30 pm. I was not scheduled to leave until 9:30. So we got hit really hard by both the drive through and lobby.... One of out bars was shut down and since I was running Bar A I was left with only one operating bar to serve an estimated 20 customers in the lobby and an estimated 7 - 9 cars at drive through...

Now im a very organized person..very clean. Unfortunately with all the people the other barrista's started getting in my way and disorganizing my cups and milk cans and then one of them knocked over and spilled all the mocha...

Then I had a group of customers constantly looking into my bar and telling me how the drinks need to be made according to their precise taste...

So I figured I would just go one cup at a time and that the customers could wait long enough for their drink to be made right.. after all, this is not a fast-food place. Alas, one lady (customer A) comes in and demands she get her drink right away and in a firm and very commanding voice which I believe did not please her I told her she would get it when I got to it... Customer B at the bar says that was inappropriate of me and lectures me and demands I finish his drink... I tell customer B to shut up.. Customer C complains that her drink is 2% and she ordered skim... I was ready to lecture her about the differences between skim and 2% and how she's not making any difference in healthy eating anyways... and then Customer B snaps back and I tear him a new one... then I got sent home...

Anyways.. for those of you interested. Thats what a day in the life of Starbucks is usually like, without the snapping part but I had a breaking point. I really hate the food-industry especially Starbucks and the type of customers it creates...

Starbucks customers are some of the worst people I have come to know in my life... these people really need to get a life.

Sadly, I was more entertained by all of this than worried..and I should be worried because I have a 80% chance of being fired in the next 24 hours because Customers A and B demanded that I be fired immediately.

Jay Cohen
12-29-2007, 02:26 AM
Kev;
You should look for another job, plain and simple. I have two friends that have worked for SB for over 4 years. The SB mentality is: Customer is always right. If you think the customer is wrong/rude/whatever, see previous statement.
You might not agree, but when SB charges, 3-5 bucks per drink, and sells itself as not the coffee, but the experience, then you suck it up, or leave.
I've been in your shoes, and while it might be cool to flip out or speak your mind, I've always regretted the outburst at some point, as I feel that I "lost it", and the customer pushed my buttons. It would have been better(harder) to smile, take a few deep breaths, and keep working smoothly, like reed grass blowing in the wind, vs. the big stiff Oak tree that gets toppled by the wind.
Sorry for the Zen stuff, couldn't resist.

Mike ODonnell
12-29-2007, 05:39 AM
I agree with the zen stuff....you get that in any industry from customers...but it's your choice on how you let it affect you. Let them keep their own negative attitude and carry around all day long...just smile back and think how sad it must be to be that misrable all day. Customer is always right...and it's the customer that cares about being right, not you...so don't sweat it and laugh it off....as you can see it is still bothering you right now. If you want to help people like that...smile back and maybe at some point they will realize how misrable they have been all that time.

Kevin Perry
12-29-2007, 08:10 AM
Apparently customer is always right but the valuable employee is more important is what I was told today... so im not being fired. Manager oddly while did'nt agree with my outburst is not taking the customer side on this one.

Keep in mind that im a hard worker and im not used to dealing with customer service at all. Now my brother follows the zen stuff... I on the other hand take a different approach to dealing with situations, more or less on the direct action side. Now thats what I believe is right for me. But apparently now I have be nice to the rude customers instead of tearing them a new one.. something just doesn't fit the pattern on that one. $6 an hour doesn't cut it with that kind of stuff.

I guess you got to give them what they want, after all.. all the sugar and added calories and fattening pastries is just going to come back and bite them later on anyways.

Mike ODonnell
12-29-2007, 09:24 AM
Negative energy just passes from one person to the next....just let it bounce off you...as that course of action was probably passed along from someone honking their car at rush hour, pissed off someone who went to someone else's work and passed it along and then sent that stressed out person to you....they are probably nice people but just get caught up in a negative reactive state. Same can be said for all of us...there are times we are asses but that doesnt mean we are an ass. (I know I can snap off....but I am getting better at chosing to "act" rather than "react") If we are all trying to be "right" then it's a lose lose....as there is no true right answer, just how people think things should be...which can change at a moment's notice.

Zen rant over....that and I play hockey which allows me to hit someone if I am having a bad day...and still be able to drink beer with them after...

Garrett Smith
12-29-2007, 01:00 PM
One thing I've found helpful in the "Paleo"-kind of area...

When you get angry at someone/something, or something anxiety-producing happens, after it is over, give yourself a thorough "shake", like dogs or birds do if they got wet. I believe it helps re-set the nervous system after a stressful encounter and that's why animals do it.

Just a thought.

Scotty Hagnas
12-29-2007, 01:13 PM
I agree with the zen stuff....you get that in any industry from customers...but it's your choice on how you let it affect you. Let them keep their own negative attitude and carry around all day long...just smile back and think how sad it must be to be that misrable all day. Customer is always right...and it's the customer that cares about being right, not you...so don't sweat it and laugh it off....as you can see it is still bothering you right now. If you want to help people like that...smile back and maybe at some point they will realize how misrable they have been all that time.

I agree with this, however hard it may be to smile at the time. I used to work as a Postal clerk. Most of the customers were nice, but there always were a few ready to project their negative energy onto anyone close by. Almost impossible to make them happy. After a few years of letting it bother me, I changed my attitude to continue to smile, and to feel sorry for them. Their lives are miserable enough without me adding to it.

I haven't worked in the food industry, though. It would be hard serving people food that you know is sickening them.

Yael Grauer
12-29-2007, 03:14 PM
One thing I've found helpful in the "Paleo"-kind of area...

When you get angry at someone/something, or something anxiety-producing happens, after it is over, give yourself a thorough "shake", like dogs or birds do if they got wet. I believe it helps re-set the nervous system after a stressful encounter and that's why animals do it.

Just a thought.

There's a whole book on this... I think it's called Waking the Tiger: A Naturalist Approach to Trauma. I've heard good and bad things about it but never read it; might be worth checking out.

As for me, homeopathic pit viper venom usually does the trick. :eek:

We met two organic coffee farmers who have the only farm that is considered bird-friendly in CR and they sell their coffee to Starbucks. I was surprised... I remember standing in the rain in Chicago trying to get Starbucks to carry fair trade back in '02, did they ever do that?

Kevin Perry
12-29-2007, 09:31 PM
There's a whole book on this... I think it's called Waking the Tiger: A Naturalist Approach to Trauma. I've heard good and bad things about it but never read it; might be worth checking out.

As for me, homeopathic pit viper venom usually does the trick. :eek:

We met two organic coffee farmers who have the only farm that is considered bird-friendly in CR and they sell their coffee to Starbucks. I was surprised... I remember standing in the rain in Chicago trying to get Starbucks to carry fair trade back in '02, did they ever do that?


Thats interesting..I'll have to look into that book.

Normally Im not like that with customers..Im actually a shy person but I just went off.. I guess I should look into that zen stuff more.

Susie Rosenberg
12-30-2007, 05:25 AM
I worked in retail in high school, I waited tables in college, I know how bad it can be! Getting stiffed on tips, having customers throw merchandise anywhere they want...yuck, the whole gamut of unpleasant, rude, nasty, awful behavior.

The Buddhists call those people "patience teachers."

When you get an unpleasant interaction going, try and think of it as the Universe putting a learning experience before you. It's an opportunity to try a different response, grow a little, get a little stronger, more flexible.

The only way to do that is to cultivate a Watcher. Some part of you that stands apart from the emotions and watches, as if it were a movie playing on a screen. Once you can stand outside the emotions, they won't rule you. You have more choices about how to respond. Your Watcher should have an open, easy relationship to those pesky emotions. "Hello, righteous anger. I know you. I can see why you're aroused right now, but it's time to be at ease..."

I've had a ton of serious health issues to deal with in family members this year, and it's how I deal with my anxiety. I don't try to deny what I'm feeling, but by standing back from it, it doesn't overwhelm me.

Good luck with your job situation.

Susie

Jay Cohen
12-30-2007, 05:37 AM
Susie;
Great post. Now I need to work on my Watcher.
Thanks, and have a great Sunday.

Mike ODonnell
12-30-2007, 08:52 AM
I think anger stems from our expecting one reaction from someone....and getting someone we did not want from them....or a feeling of loss of control. Which is silly because we can't control how people act no matter what we want, and if we spend all our time worrying about how to control others to make it fit our expectation...then we will always have anger. The watcher metaphor is a good one, or just become aware of your actions, feelings and how they are influenced by others.

If I see someone walking along with the baggage of anger to pass off to me....I say "no thank you" in my head and smile back, they can keep their baggage. If everyone they met had no interest in their anger eventually they might even get tired and realize what they are carrying around, only then they will decide to drop it.

Kevin Perry
12-30-2007, 09:12 AM
I worked in retail in high school, I waited tables in college, I know how bad it can be! Getting stiffed on tips, having customers throw merchandise anywhere they want...yuck, the whole gamut of unpleasant, rude, nasty, awful behavior.

The Buddhists call those people "patience teachers."

When you get an unpleasant interaction going, try and think of it as the Universe putting a learning experience before you. It's an opportunity to try a different response, grow a little, get a little stronger, more flexible.

The only way to do that is to cultivate a Watcher. Some part of you that stands apart from the emotions and watches, as if it were a movie playing on a screen. Once you can stand outside the emotions, they won't rule you. You have more choices about how to respond. Your Watcher should have an open, easy relationship to those pesky emotions. "Hello, righteous anger. I know you. I can see why you're aroused right now, but it's time to be at ease..."

I've had a ton of serious health issues to deal with in family members this year, and it's how I deal with my anxiety. I don't try to deny what I'm feeling, but by standing back from it, it doesn't overwhelm me.

Good luck with your job situation.

Susie

Thats a good way of looking at it.

Mike ODonnell
01-06-2008, 10:06 AM
Susie;
Great post. Now I need to work on my Watcher.
Thanks, and have a great Sunday.

I am reading the book "The Power of Now" and it goes over the whole watcher philosophy, an excellent read for those that are interested in separating yourself from your ego (which is usually your worst enemy)

Jay Cohen
01-06-2008, 11:08 AM
I am reading the book "The Power of Now" and it goes over the whole watcher philosophy, an excellent read for those that are interested in separating yourself from your ego (which is usually your worst enemy)


Mike;
Thanks for the suggested read. I'll add it to my Amazon Wish List.

Allison Barns
01-06-2008, 01:30 PM
Kevin,

Unfortunately whereas you have great insight on how these folks would be healthier without the drink you are making, they are there for the drink, not advice. I agree with all the zen/let it go stuff posted above. I especially agree with what Mike and Scotty said about smiling at them despite their attitude.... it works! In my field (fisheries biologist for the government ... "I'm from the gov't, I'm here to help" :D ) I have had several occasions where an IRATE fisherman was screaming at me over things I had no control over and I had to just let them rant. The most notable situation was an early morning out on a cold dock when my job was counting salmon coming off each boat. Well, the commercial fishing season had closed way earlier than projected and these guys were pissed. One guy came up on the dock and yelled at me for a good 15 minutes, all the while I had to keep count of the fish coming off his boat. I nearly lost it when some of his verbal attacks got personal, but I kept smiling and saying things to the effect of "I understand you are upset" (and counting fish!). Suddenly he stopped and asked me my name. I hestitated but I told him my first name. He then went into a profuse apology and said he understood I was just doing my job but he was really upset. We then continued in a civil conversation. He needed to rant, I was the closest target and he let go on me. He also brought me some very welcomed hot coffee later that morning! :)

Sucks to be the target but sometimes it's best to let them get their piece out. Just do your best to NOT take it personally, and like Dr. G said, shake it off!

Jay Cohen
01-06-2008, 02:17 PM
Kevin,
Sucks to be the target but sometimes it's best to let them get their piece out. Just do your best to NOT take it personally, and like Dr. G said, shake it off!

I'm in agreement with you, up to the point of their piece coming out. If it's bigger then my piece, I'm high tailing.....

Nice post though.