Today is a weird day. It was my last day at Starbucks before I start a new job on Monday. Todays forecast is excited nerves for the future clouded by memories of great people that I won’t work with any longer. I was not going to sit down and actually put a blog to this until, following my shift, I was sitting in my car having a conversation with someone through my window.

starbucks baristaSo there I was – in my beat up Buick Century, which had been graffitied by fellow Starbucks baristas. The window paint read of weird jokes that got us through the tough days and other sections that read “WE MISS YOU!!” in all caps. My window was half rolled down as I sat reflecting on the much needed transition that I’m in the midst of. I’m leaving the not-so-favored rush of the “fast food” world for an office job in which I won’t see the hundreds of customers that I would see while standing behind the register, green apron adorned.

While sitting there, this older couple got out of the car next to me and started to read the writing on my windows.

“Well, its apparent they’ll miss ya!” the guys says as he leans on his cane and snickers.

“Yeah, it’s my last day over at Starbucks. No longer making coffee,” I reply.

“Oh! You’re moving on up, are ya? Well good luck to ya!” he responded, with eyebrows raised.

Though I appreciated him wishing me luck, there it was. Unless you’ve spent hours, days, or months yoked by the green apron than you probably did not even catch it. I got one final taste of why it is that so many folks working at Starbucks just don’t really enjoy their job — according to the people who get waited on day after day, there is just no where to go but up.

I cannot recall the number of times folks treated me as a vending machine, happily cackling on their phone while they tossed change onto the counter to pay for their drink. I stopped asking people how they were doing because their reply was always straight to what they “needed” for us to make for them. There are also the many occurrences of people unloading their frustrations from family or from work onto our 15-20 second transaction (by the way, I am pretty sure I still hold the record at our store for handling 111 transactions at register in a single hour). Who knew that the duties assigned to a barista include counseling hardships and translating their needs?

My point in taking the time to put these thoughts and experiences together? And yes, I could go on with examples and stories. But my point is simple and one that you can apply no matter who is serving you, whether a barista, a waiter, or whomever. Do not treat anybody as though they are at the bottom. The folks who show up at 5:00 am to open the store do so to earn a living, not just to put extra, extra, extra mocha in your cup. And I know that if there is anything that I need, I could ask that group of people for help — there are even folks who would pray for me, right on the spot at a moments notice. We are all in this together (and life is entirely too short to think otherwise)
so lets treat each other as such.

Love you guys and miss ya much. Looking forward to us getting together soon as not just fellow Starbucks baristas, but as friends.