The Panic in Plastic Cup Park
It sounds like I want to be served by a Groupie, doesn’t it? Not so.
That quote came from the lips of my wonderful wife, the lovely and tea sipping, Dawn, as I headed off to St. Arbucks this morning.
Her words came in response to my mild grumbling about having to deal with Baristas-in-training for the last few days.
Now, before you start to jump up and down on my allegedly elitist throat, let me explain the circumstances behind my curmudgeonosity.
I really do understand that On-The-Job-Training in almost any line of work is necessary and a good idea. Brain surgeons can’t learn to do their jobs by slicing up cauliflowers. They need to get in there and go Veg-o-Matic on the real thing. Even a schlub like me had to put away the Scrabble tiles and start to create my own words that were not made out of wood.
My grousing came about after two days of watching determined young people sweat like longshoremen in August as they faced a line of caffeine deprived people who needed a cup of coffee – NOW!
I can empathize with both sides in that scenario. I’m one of those twitching people in the line that never seems to move. As the Neo-Baristas struggled behind the counter I was starting to feel like I was stranded on the beach at Dunkirk waiting for a ride (Look it up).
Most of the green aproned staffers are college students who, while they are bright, have never had jobs that didn’t call for anything more complex than reading bedtime stories. But – being in the middle of a whirlwind of coffee starved “Trashies” (Not as bad as “Junkies.”) who need liquid fortification to face their own jobs, the Newbies haven’t got a clue about what to do to have everybody get out of there alive. I have seen some of these young people burst into tears and quit on the spot.
I can empathize with them. I know that if I was faced with a herd of twitching fools like me at 7:30 in the morning I would very likely start throwing things and yelling bad words like a hockey player who has been skipping his Xanex.
So, when Dawn expresses her hopes that I can get my coffee from an experienced Barista, I think that her sympathies are spread out across both sides of the countertop. She knows that I would never flail, either verbally or with my Authentic Lash LaRue Souvenir Plastic Bullwhip (Again- look it up.). Dawn feels for me in my legal substance needs.
By this time next week the trainees will either have grown a protective carapace and fangs, or they will be writing home asking for a loan. Those who make it through the first couple of weeks will have two new arrows in their quiver; They will never feel intimidated by anyone ever again no matter how unruly, and they will have a working knowledge of the Starbucks “Secret Menu” – no matter how much Seattle denies its existence.