As someone who works in the food and drink industry, specifically at a coffee shop on campus, it is very easy to become irritated by the customers you are responsible for serving. There are just certain actions that customers do that make working go from tolerable to unbearable.
Being a rude and impatient customer is the worst offense. Why are you being rude to someone who is making your drink and toasting your bagel? I don’t care how terrible your day was, there is no need to get an attitude while ordering a drink. As a barista I should be completely impartial to your miserable day and therefore none of it should be taken out on me. Did your parents not teach you manners? There is no reason to become hostile over a medium iced caramel swirl coffee, I can promise you the world has so much meaning and life is full of so much potential that yelling at a barista is completely unnecessary.
Also, if you’re a jerk, everyone who works here is going to laugh at you later.
One reason so many customers get angry at the register is because the cashier often asks questions. If I repeat your order or ask you a question about something in the order, it’s because I’m checking for accuracy, not because I’m incompetent and completely incapable. Please do not speak to me like I am an infant. Speak clearly, as there are a lot of background noises that make hearing a little difficult, but don’t order like I am not equipped to comprehend your words.
A lot of lost time and confusion at the register comes from the customer being distracted. The next pet peeve for people working in the service industry: Do not talk on the phone while ordering. I never thought this needed to be addressed, but seriously,you can’t be in that much of a rush, and if you are maybe you should reconsider wasting time on getting a muffin. Clearly if the call is so important you need to continue it while ordering, then you might want to actually pay attention to it.
Not only is talking on the phone while ordering rude, it affects your order as well. Â If I ask if you want cream and sugar and you just glare at me while continuing your phone conversation, there’s a 50/50 chance I won’t be able to read your mind and you will not be satisfied with your drink.
If your order does get messed up, there is no need to scold the people behind the counter. Also unless you specifically saw me making your drink, do not yell at me if it’s wrong. During busy shifts, behind-the-counter works like an assembly line. Just because I handed you the drink doesn’t mean I’m the one who didn’t put enough sugar in it. There’s no need to raise your voice, just politely ask for a packet of sugar or if necessary ask for the drink to be remade if the mistake is that serious. We’re here to accommodate the customer, but that doesn’t warrant yelling.
Many times the line and how fast your drink gets made corresponds to the time of day you come in. If it’s 8:50 a.m., and class just let out, expect a long line, but for your order to be made quickly because of the amount of people working. If you come in during the afternoon or night the line will be significantly diminished, however with less people working expect a complicated order to take a little more time. I personally work mostly closing shifts, during which less people come in but there are more closing and cleaning responsibilities. So if you see me emptying a trash can while saying, “I’ll be right with you”, please cut me some slack.
During the closing shift, there is only one thing that frustrates workers more than customers who won’t leave, including people begging for the nights leftovers. Yes, everything gets thrown away. No, you cannot have anything for free. Yes, I know it’s wasteful. No, you still cannot have anything for free. Yes, I will get fired for giving away free stuff. No matter how much you yell at me and harass me to give you stuff, I’m not going to because A) there are cameras and B) I’d like to keep my job.
While not all customers who come in are terrible, the ones that are really are. Manners will get you far in life, so be a decent person to the people serving you, chances are they’re not having that fantastic of a day either.