Monday, March 31, 2008

Some people are just miserable.

Friday afternoon I went to the nearby Starbucks to grab a coffee before heading off to a meeting. There was actually a bit of a line, and so I got to experience / listen in on the ordering process of the woman in front of me. She wanted two drinks, each with several specifications (whip, no whip, whatever). She told these all to the guy who takes the orders, and she just had this tone in her voice the entire time. A tone as if to say, "I just know you are going to screw up my order." When she finished her order, she moved down to the area where you wait for your drink, and that was when she got worse. Much worse. To the point where I felt total pity for the poor barista (or is it baristO if it's a guy?).

Anyway, she proceeded to double check every specification, and more-or-less told the guy how to make her drink.

"You put the shots in the cup, right?"
"Remember, no whip on that one."
"Did you put extra whip on that one?"
And there were others that I missed. And they all had that same tone.

And what grated on my very last nerve was when she dropped the wrapper from her straw. She saw it fall - she was trying to put it in the garbage can, it bounced off the top of the can and hit the floor. Rather than pick it up and throw it out, she just left it there - even went so far as to give it a dismissive little kick, although it didn't go far. Again, all with attitude. And through all of this, it wasn't just verbal attitude and tone of voice - there was also the physical body language of a bitchy and miserable person.

I wanted SO BADLY to say something, but I never know what to say in situations like that. Another woman was behind me in the waiting area, and I wanted to make a snide comment to her about this first woman, but I didn't. Again, I never have the words when I'm in the moment. I know, I know - the comments would have fallen on deaf ears, and it could have turned into some kind of altercation, so yes, I know that I am better off for having not said anything. But seriously - it is people with attitudes like hers that make life miserable for the rest of us. You could say, "Well maybe she was having a bad day, " or "Maybe she was trying to save herself from another incorrect drink." But that wasn't the way she was coming across - she was coming across as nothing but a beyotch.

So what did I do? As soon as the woman walked away with her two drinks, I stepped forward, picked up the straw wrapper and threw it away. And then, to compensate for her nastiness, I made sure that I was extra polite to the barista/o.

I just don't understand how people can be as miserable as this woman was. No matter how bad my day, no matter how sleepy/angry/sad/upset/beyotchy I might feel inside, I do my best to have a pleasant disposition when I'm dealing with someone in retail. I've been there, done that, and it isn't an easy job to deal with the public. She sucked the life right out of the place, and that makes it so much harder to be the person working in a retail / customer-focused job.

My hat's off to you, Mr. Starbucks Baristo-boy - you were a much better person than I would have been. If I had been in your shoes, I think the urge to do something to her drink would have been mighty hard to fight.

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