Sep 23, 2008

Caffeine Crazy

by Amanda Sullivan

When you walk onto a college campus prior to 11 a.m., even the untrained eye can spot three types of students. The first is the overly-hyper-I’ve-had-six-cups-of-coffee-I’m-and-working-on-my-seventh. The second category is the don’t-talk-to-me-I-didn’t-get-my-daily-dose-of-caffeine-today type of student. The third, and final, types of college students are the I-don’t-need-coffee-to-function- but-I’m-incapable-of-making-it-to-early-morning-class-on-time. This insurmountable evidence leads to the conclusion that the common person has difficulty functioning without caffeine.

See, I am allowed to stereotype these caffeine-addicted college students because I work for Starbucks. Therefore, I see every type of coffee addict. Latte or mocha, skim milk or whole, I have you pegged before you even get in line. I recognize the trophy wife with three kids who comes in to satisfy appearances. I recognize the businessman in a three-piece suit who is none too kind. I recognize the “tweens” who want to feel all grown up — as they destroy the store by playing cops and robbers. I also know the high school students who drink coffee to be as cool as the college students. I know you all.

Given the many different types of people that I encounter at Starbucks, it would be abnormal for me not to come in contact with a person who is less than, shall we say, pleasant. To be truthfully honest, people are not all that nice when it comes to coffee — a concept I will never understand. Why do people insist on being rude to the person who controls their coffee? Seriously, I have the power to decaf you!

For example, a loyal barista (fancy name for employee) comes into work as a favor because someone has inevitably called in sick. On her way to clocking in, a man storms through the door and slides his Iced-Venti- unsweetened-Iced-Coffee across the pastry case only to land in the hands of the off-the-clock barista and says, “My order is wrong, fix it!” In reality, all that I want to do is throw the drink right back at the customer. Rather, I grin and politely give my apologies and remake the gentleman’s drink — with decaffeinated coffee. This is an actual practice — consider yourself warned.

I always love when I am in the middle of the morning rush and I am given an order to the tune of, “I want a Decaf Triple Venti Sugar free vanilla, non-fat, no-foam latte.” What is the point? Save yourself the five bucks and get water — you’re bank account will love you for it.

So, if you’d like to make your barista happy the next time you swing by, try ordering something less along the lines of a 145-degree two pump half-caf breve mochachino and more along the lines of… coffee. We’ll both be better for it.


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