Little-known tidbit about me: I was a Starbucks barista for a couple of months one summer in university. It was super fun. I actually really loved the experience, and the job, and the people I met.
But that doesn't mean it wasn't without its struggles. Although working as a barista at Starbucks is probably one of the best jobs you could get, and I was very lucky to have worked where I did - even if it was for a brief amount of time - there were still some hilarious situations I think my fellow baristas can all relate to.
1. When the customer tries to get their custom order for free because "they did it for me at the other Starbucks."
Guys, don't even. Every Starbucks is meant to follow similar practises. If the barista who you're BFFs with at the other Starbucks always makes your Salted Caramel Latte with extra caramel drizzle in the cup for free, that's cool. Just don't expect other baristas to do it. We ain't about that life.
2. Forever losing your Sharpies and being left with nothing but a shrug and a hope.
Biggest lesson I learned at Starbucks: never leave your Sharpie unattended. They roll away, fall, get misplaced, misused, or sometimes stolen. This is actually a huge catastrophe if the line is super long, but if not, you can just shout the order at whoever's working the bar and y'all is good.
3. Working the cold bar. Whenever.
There was nothing that filled my soul with more dread than being put on cold bar. Because wherever there's a cold bar, there's about 15 impatient people waiting for their Caramel Frappuccinos, half sweet, extra whip, extra drizzle.
4. When the Frappuccino gets stuck to the blender and you're left to contemplate your life decisions.
Sometimes the ingredients don't flow from the blender into the cup. Sometimes they remain cemented to the side of the blender like oatmeal sticking to honey, which is cool except you need. That. Frap. Out. NOW.
5. When the whip cream canister backfires and you're left to contemplate your life decisions.
There is nothing more humiliating than trying to load up a brand new canister of whip cream, only to have everything backfire and half-whipped, half-liquid cream explode onto your entire self and surroundings. If you've never smelled like cream after a day of work, prepare to.
6. When you've got to clean the toilets and you're left to contemplate your life decisions.
*Opens door to bathroom while juggling 15 cleaning products* *Sees inexplicable mess* *"Hello darkness my old friend" plays in head on loop*.
7. Waking up in a cold sweat after dreaming that you were working bar and messed up someone's order.
Or... was this just me?
8. Ending your shift at 11PM, and starting the next day at 6AM.
To my knowledge, this kind of shift fuckery has ended. But back in my day, we called these "clopenings" and we prayed to the sirens that they never happened to us.
9. The deceit that is the Starbucks secret menu.
The Starbucks secret menu doesn't exist! It's all a lie! Baristas can make you drinks from the secret menu, but you have to give it to them in recipe form. Don't just give us a knowing smirk and ask for a "Mint Explosion Cookies N' Cream Choco Frappuccino" ;) because we won't know WTF that is.
10. Using every last ounce of your physical strength to break up the ice in the ice machine.
Just go ahead and take out all of your frustrations on this block of ice that legit will not break up into cubes.
11. Getting to know how every customer likes their drinks.
Which is definitely not a struggle. In fact, one of the highlights of working as a barista is getting to know your customers... The only time this becomes a problem is when you see your regular walk in, start on their drink, and they end up inexplicably switching their order.
12. Two words: drive through.
Not all Starbucks stores have a drive through, but when they do... *shakes fist angrily at the notion of multi-tasking while holding a conversation over a headset*
13. Not making the dry cappuccino dry enough.
No matter how long you aerate the milk for, there's never enough foam. :(
14. Attempting to toss out espresso grounds and ending up dropping them on the floor instead.
When you're in the coffee making zone, ain't nobody got time for an espresso machine that doesn't work because it's too full of grounds. In our passion, one or two of us might have accidentally spilled the grounds everywhere... except for the garbage. Where they belong.
15. Deciphering your coworker's horrendous handwriting and making a Pumpkin Spice Latte instead of a Peppermint White Chocolate Mocha.
"Is that a... P? Or... a... D? What even???????"
16. Watching your espresso shots die in front of your eyes.
They're only good for a couple of minutes before you have to re-make them, and if the line is long and you didn't pace yourself correctly? Prepare to mourn your hard work.