A Little Confrontation with My Coffee

Eyes half closed, I stumble from my car.   Having successfully navigated from my home to the local Starbucks without the benefit of a stimulate, I prepare for the hardest part of my day.   I slowly make my way through the double doors.   All at once the smell hits me.  I breathe it in.   The line inches towards the cashier at a painfully slow pace,  yet I arrive to soon. 

“What can I get for you to day?”  She says with a smile.  Sluggishly I turn my head and look at the menu on the wall. “Ummmmmm” , I try to clear the fog from my brain.  I blink a few times.  How can I choose what I want to drink, before I have had my coffee.  That requires brain cells that are not yet firing.  Then I look back at the people behind me.  They all look irritated.  I smile nervously, take a deep breath and order, “Uh four, no, six shots of espresso – over ice.”  The people behind me look at me like I just ordered vodka on the rocks.  Okay – I have a slight problem when it comes to coffee.

I move over to the waiting area, exchange smiles with the other addicts and wait for my fix.  The barista behind the counter makes small talk with me.  I am a regular,  so I ask about her classes this semester  and anxiously await that glorious black elixir called espresso.   At last it arrives and I move with speed to the creme counter, my urgency building as I hold it in my hand. 

A voice breaks through my rapture.  Beside me a women is mumbling to herself.  Besieged with horror, I notice that she is pouring the top of her Soy Chai Tea Latte into the garbage as she gripes about the amount of foam in her drink.  To spill caffeine into the garbage, the wanton waste is almost to much for me to bare.  I reach out to her, “Ma’am, are you okay” .  She gives me a friendly smile and a small sigh, “You think they could get a simple drink right.  Its not rocket science”. 

Always wanting to be helpful I suggest that she bring it back to them and ask that it be fixed.  Surprise on her face she says, “You think they would?”  I reply confidently, “The girls are great, I am sure they would be happy to help you, just ask.”

Satisfied that I had helped out, I turn and add a splash of half and half to my espresso.  I take a sip and am pleased to see that they had remembered my sugar free vanilla, which in my caffeine-less state, I had forgotten.  As my senses clear I hear the foamy soy chai tea lady snap out “HEY, Do you think I can get some actual chai tea with this cup of foam”?  Startled I turn and see chai tea lady angrily tapping her fingers and rolling her eyes.  The girl behind the counter looks embarrassed as she rushes to take  the cup and remake the drink.

I stand there, unsure of what to do.  Chai Tea had been nothing but polite.  She smiled and was pleasant with me.  What gave her the right to treat the girl behind the counter this way.  Moving to her side, I clear my throat.  She looks over and smiles at me, then rolls her eyes as if to say, “you cant get good help these days”.  The barista was rushing to fix the drink, cheeks tinged pink with embarrassment.  Taking a breath I ask Chai Tea if she has a moment.  “Sure” ,She replies, “A couple, considering how slow she is moving”. 

Fixing my best look of concern on my brow I say, “When I suggested that you ask for a new drink, I didn’t think you would ask like this.”  Surprise washes her face and I rush on before she could reply.  “Next time, try -Excuse me, but this drink has to much foam, do you think you can fix it please- I find that works much better.”

Astonishment moves across her face as she tries to brush my comments off  “I just meant that…”

I interrupt as I become more upset, “you meant that you were better then her.  That some how the fact that she works in a coffee shop gives you the right to be rude?”   “No, no” She stammers.  

 My righteous indignation at full tilt I finish with, “Somewhere there is a person who is sure they are better than you, maybe they make more money than you.  It does not give them the right to belittle you.  The same goes for the people who provide you with a service.  You can tell a heck of alot about a person by the way the treat the people behind the counters. ”  Her mouth hung open for a second and then my barista smiles and hands the women her drink.  Then the foamless chai tea latte turned and exited the store as fast as possible.   The barista says thanks.  I reply – thanks for remembering my vanilla and wink.  Exit – stage left.

It amazes me every day the way people will treat each other.  If your the CEO of the company or the receptionist answering the phones, you deserve respect.  I truly believe you can judge a persons character by the way they treat a waitress or assistant.   I will not tolerate people with a self inflated sense of importance.  So if you see a curvy brunette with a glazed look on her face, in line behind you at starbucks, treat the baristas nice.  If I havent had my coffee yet, I just might give you a piece of my mind.


11 thoughts on “A Little Confrontation with My Coffee

  1. you are an awesome writer davida! really, in that short passage you were descriptive enough but not overly so (which many writers often are.) especially the first part seemed very much like a part of a book. you should definitely start writing, whether it be books or short stories or whatever. i personally like books that have a common character or two. it’s nice to pick up a book and already know the character that you’re reading about. even if the character isn’t always the “main” one. that’s my suggestion for anything you may write, but just a personal preference.

  2. those last two paragraphs are golden. and how true that how one treats others resonates not only in a starbuck’s line, but in a corporate setting or anywhere in this world. humans, all of us, sometimes fall prey to that perceived hierarchy at times. it takes a lot of spiritual growth and love to transcend it.

    great job in writing this detailed scene out. i loved reading it!

  3. Right on. Right on. Right on.

    Cheers to you, Davida! Clare Cosi gives you a caffeniated thumbs-up, and a *vritual* espresso con pana on the house! Will link to you later this week from my site.

    Cleo Coyle
    author of The Coffeehouse Mysteries

    Where coffee and crime are always brewing…

  4. That was a wonderful thing to do. I still try to treat everyone that performs a service for me, even though sometimes they are rude, as I want to be treated. I try to realize that they may be having a rough day or a multitude of other problems too. It really gripes me when people think so highly of themselves.

  5. Hi. I realize this might be a really old topic but I fould it on Cleo Coyle’s website and I just wanted to say that it’s people like you who make the world a better place. 🙂 I’m a 20-year-old barista and we often get the kind of highly emphasized superiority complexes that you spoke with. Sometimes they are really hurtful but we found that if we slaughtered them with kindness, their behavior tends to improve. Keep up the positive attitude and great confidence in your beliefs and the world will ultimately see that respect is key in business.

  6. Thank you for explaining to SOY CHAI TEA LADY the importance of common courtesy which is often lacking in our society! Kudos! Betsy

  7. Friend of R Maitland’s. Saw your posts and link to this. Read your article and plan on reading many more! What a gifted writer and one with the moral of the story connected to it! Look forward to visiting your site more. Thanks for blogging.

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