• Cierra Nervo

Starbucks Barista vs College Campus

Coffee grinds in every apron pocket, probably forty iced coffees per day, and too many complaints about our paper straws. College professors staying awake on americanos, psychology majors asking if they can get refills on oat milk chai lattes, and the occasional high schooler ordering a frappuccino. I consider the Starbucks I work at to be relatively normal for a college campus hotspot. Although annoying, continuous crowds of students can have their perks. The unusual conversations I pick up on make my seven-hour workday that much more interesting. Sometimes I’ll wipe down a table extra slowly, hoping to catch an interesting conversation over the phone. This proved slightly successful yesterday when I caught a man on a business call of sorts passing a judgemental comment about a jogger who ran by.

Usually, I only get small conversations about finals or loud gossiping sessions, trivial arguments or actual fights. A few days ago, I overheard what seemed to be a girlfriend whisper-yelling at her boyfriend on the outside patio. I assume his name was Danny, because the only words coming out of the girlfriend’s mouth were, “Danny, hell no,” “DANNY,” “danny,” “seriously stop” “DANNY I SWEAR,” and “ok start being more clear with your words, Danny.” In conclusion, Danny needs better listening skills.

Sometimes I relate to what I hear, such as a few days ago when I overheard a group of girls with what looked to be the remnants of glitter makeup under their eyes talking about the last episode of Euphoria. They spoiled it for me, but it was funny to know that we both thought Cassie was the worst character of the show.

Considering that I work at a Starbucks, it’s obvious that I meet a lot of loud groups of girls who, as my co-worker says, all look like “copy and pastes” of each other. Some are genuinely nice, but the bane of my existence are the ones who constantly giggle when trying to order because it’s just “so embarrassing” to talk to the barista who has been ordering the same item for them every week. They make no effort to stop talking over each other, so I don’t understand the point in apologizing to me for being irritating. The worst thing they can do is when they won’t tell me how they want to split the bill, but they know for a fact that everyone has to chip in some way or another. “What are we paying for again,” “I wanted to save my Starbucks gift card,” “we didn’t even get anything yet,” and “what was I gonna say” are all snippets of an order I took from seven girls all wearing white hoodies and slip-on shoes. One even threw in a random comment about tuberculosis, but I have no idea what the context was so I just moved past that. !!

Behind this group of girls was a suspicious bunch of high school students clearly trying, but failing, to blend into the crowd. I get this type of group at least once a week, but these kids particularly stood out because instead of having boisterous conversations about whatever was happening in their lives, they were just silently taking notes.

When a group of girls sat down at the corner table closest to our pick-up window, two of the high schoolers followed closely behind them, furiously note-taking. The discussion between the seated college students became heated when two of the girls got up to go to Habit, and the remaining started complaining about the payment. When I say they were going off at the two who were currently absent, I mean they were going OFF: “no no, you don’t understand, she only gave me $0.50 cents,” was something one of them said.

“No, but it was absolutely crazy because, like, you know?? Like the hot Cheetos and everything COMPLETELY slammed my account,” the girl with pink sweatpants stated. We don’t sell Cheetos, obviously, so apparently this argument was about another establishment of food. One of the girls came back at that exact moment and retaliated with “no it didn’t,” and the pink-sweatpants girl replied sharply with, “well I think I would KNOW.”

I like to tell my friends, who mostly work as interns or baristas at other coffee shops, that I don’t get paid enough to deal with the customers at my job. I’m not sure why I say this though- possibly because I like being dramatic- but I would genuinely pay to receive this type of entertainment on a sitcom show. It takes everything in me not to giggle or make a funny remark at one of the hundreds of college students who make the wrong decision of saying something utterly stupid in front of an underpaid Starbucks employee. As if I’m not going to go gossip about it in the backroom with the other employees.