Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The Story Of The Uppity Barista: Otherwise Known As A Texan Gittin' Above His Raisin'

Somewhere between Dallas and Houston, in a town where the nicest place to eat was a Chili's, we happened across a Starbucks. We just sat down with our lattes when Ed said to me, "Taste this."

I'm thinking yum! Caramel Macchiato! but when I tasted it, I gagged. And with a face that probably looked like I swallowed vinegar, I said "Eeechh. That's horrible."

He gave me the I know look and then the Well, what are you going to do about it? look.

I swiped his cup out of his hand, "Gimme that," and walked up to the Barista.

I handed back the drink and said, "This is horrible. Can you make another one?"

She said, "Horrible?"

"Yeah, horrible. It tastes burnt. It doesn't taste how it usually does."

At that moment, a big guy who looks like the big fat hairy guy on Lost, comes up and says "Well, most people don't know how to make it right. You're really supposed to have a strong coffee flavor in it."

I said, "Oh really? Well I've had it before and this tastes like the coffee is burnt."

He says, "Most Starbucks' don't know how to make it right."

I said, "Okaay....well then, can you make it the wrong way?? So it doesn't taste like burnt coffee??"

He reluctantly said, "Sure. But you know, there's a word for that."

"Oh?" I said, in a voice that clearly indicates that I am not the least bit interested; I really just want him to re-make my latte.

"Yeah" he continues in a snotty-I-am-a-Barista-and-you're-not sort of tone, "It's called 'upside down'."

I wanted to say, "Really? And there's a word for good customer service too. It's called 'make it again, asshole'."

But since Ed was standing there and I think we were drawing a crowd, I just said "Really? I'll have to remember that," as I watched the girl squirt more caramel syrup in Ed's drink, stir it and hand it back to him.

I wanted to tell Fat Lost Boy how many Starbucks' I've actually been to, just to let him know I thought his excuse for trying to get out of re-making the latte was a bit pathetic.

Eddie will be the first to tell you if a state or country has a Starbucks, I've been there; from Miami to Alaska, Mexico to Canada. I have never in all the times I've ordered this drink, had someone tell me that I should order it "upside down."

But I'm sure the barista in Huntsville, Texas knows better than those in all them thar big city coffee places. Because in Huntsville, we make it the right way. All those other Starbucks places don't know what they're doing.

Of course they don't. You just keep telling yourself that as you drive home to your double-wide tonight. Tomorrow is another day.


Anonymous said...

so did he give you a new latte?and was the taste improved with more caramel in Eddie's drink?..MAE

Anonymous said...

I have gotten the "snotty-I-am-a-Barista-and-you're-not" attitude at every Starbuck's I have ever been to - that is why I will attempt to find anywhere else to go for coffee if I am out of town. I am so thankful for the local coffee shop I found where they coffee is excellent and the people working there are, too! :)