Every Barista’s 22 Worst Enemies
Baristas see us at our best and our worst. But usually at our worst, because it’s early and we haven’t had our coffee. But not all awful people are created equal. Some folks get under a barista’s skin quicker than espresso grounds under fingernails. These are a barista’s 22 worst enemies.
The “Coffice” Worker
Most folks have valid reasons to camp out at a coffee shop all day, but this guy brings Six Sigma-approved loitering to a whole new level. After forming an archipelago of tables to house his sputtering laptop and various folios, he spends the rest of the day pacing the room on conference calls, meeting “clients,” and asking you to reset the router. Expect an invitation to his pyramid scheme in lieu of an actual tip.
If their yelling into an oversized Droid phone in an indecipherable language isn’t a dead giveaway, their propensity for hijacking your only container of raw sugar and returning their cappuccino three times because it’s “not hot enough” surely is. Avoid walking anywhere within 20ft of their table -- they’ll snap their fingers at you like you’re some chambermaid rather than a proud graduate of an overpriced liberal arts college.
The Den Mother
She’s the stressed-out neighborhood mom who’s taken on the dubious task of shuttling a brood of youngsters to and from lacrosse practice or Frozen sing-alongs or whatever the hell it is kids do these days. Like a swarm of locusts with Kool-Aid mustaches, the kids are gone as quickly as they arrived, leaving a trail of croissant crumbs and spilled milk in their wake.
The Urbanized #Basic Chick
If you think getting a bunch of feather tattoos and switching from a Pumpkin Spice Latte to some iced latte with seven additional modifications is fooling anyone, just give up and go back to listening to Dave Matthews Band in your yellow Xterra while your dignity is still in tact.
The “Life Is Good” Guy
The middle-aged regular who’s coping with early retirement by wearing nothing but Keen sandals and “Life Is Good” T-shirts, he adheres to a tightly regimented daily routine: show up at your shop at 6:45am, bang on the door and act incredulous when you’re not open one minute before your iPhone reads 7am, then crack some joke on the way in about your perpetual hangover.
The Yo-Yo Orderer
He’s constantly mortified to tell you he's not yet ready to order when you greet him. He inches closer to the register as you walk away to get some side work done, then bolts in the other direction like one the ghosts from the castle levels in Super Mario World when you turn around.
The Dude With Resting Bitch Face
This guy always ends up in line behind a gregarious regular who loves to shoot the shit, and he’s always super pissed. It’s never clear why he’s in such a hurry, but the minute you make eye contact with him you start dropping things and being brusque because he’s infiltrated your psyche with his mind bullets of shittiness. This guy’s name is always Bryce. Always.
The Bewildered Geriatric
It’s hard enough for them to even walk into your establishment, and now you’re in their face with these questions about “for here or to go” and “what size?” What ever happened to a regular old cup of coffee? Never mind the fact that you sell black coffee -- do you have any quiche? You’re out of quiche? How do you run out of quiche? It’s like catnip for old people -- you have to have quiche! Eggs only cost a nickel! Greatest generation!
A trip to the local coffee shop is like a scene from The Road for this person. Instead of ordering something, they sneak in to rummage through the used newspapers, ask you to hold a week’s worth of spent espresso for their garden (which they’ll forget to pick up after one week), or dig through the lost & found bin for a flip-phone charger and an umbrella.
The Free-Spirit Mom
Your alternative milks are not nearly alternative enough, the soy in your vegan pastries has definitely been molested by Monsanto, and you’re dead wrong if you think she’s going to tell Willow to stop screaming because it’s agitating all the “normals.” Have you heard of Joanna Newsom? There’s no way she got famous with traditional parents who stifled her primal creativity when she was young -- even in public settings where people are trying to drink their coffee in peace and quiet.
Your Coworker’s “Guy”
It’s unclear what the basis of this guy’s relationship with your coworker is, but it can’t be anything good. If said coworker is not working when this guy comes in, he is very concerned whether or not said coworker is still employed... even though just yesterday he handed him six shots on ice and a bag full of “muffins” free of charge.
The Diligent-yet-Misguided Health Nut
You’re inclined to admire this girl’s commitment to fad diets until she caves and descends into a breve caramel latte-fueled shame spiral when she learns you’re not equipped to make her “Bulletproof Coffee” or a “matte misto steamer” or whatever else someone on the Deepak Chopra subreddit claimed was helping them harness their chakras that week.
The Overbearing Dog Parent
Your dog is tiny enough to carry inside, which means it’s all good, right? Not only is this wrong, but you’re also creating a scenario where your dog is even closer to food products in the instance that it abruptly shits all over the place. They may look the other way at Home Depot, but not here. You’re an idiot. Go home.
Perpetually Hungover Service-Industry Lifer
Cities with thriving restaurant scenes support a sizable middle class of service industry folks, which means you’ll inevitably end up dealing with haggard lifers who consider 1pm to be “morning.” Their barista is the first person they “talk" to every day, and by “talk” I mean they grunt and point and throw a pile of crumpled ones at them until they stop asking questions and hand them a black coffee. There’s a lesson to be learned here: take your English degree elsewhere and get out while you can.
The Bro Train
No Saturday is complete without a brigade of 20-somethings who are too busy recounting last night’s debauchery to give you the common courtesy of ordering their drinks and getting the hell out of the way. Don’t bother taking names for their orders. Just assume they’re all named Chad or Trent, and that they don’t care what you hand them as long as it’s hot, dark, and wet... “Just like the way I like my women, bro!”
This guy with the new Ray-Bans and Chrome bag obviously came of age in the suburbs, attended state college, and only recently got into pour-over coffee and The Smiths. Don’t humor him when he asks about your Pandora station -- it’s a rhetorical Trojan horse for him to tell you all about that one time he saw Vampire Weekend in Chicago when he was interning at his fraternity brother’s marketing startup.
The Shoeless Crustafarian Guy
Someone left this guy in your neighborhood on the way to Burning Man in the ‘90s, and now he can’t remember which way home is. He sometimes pays for stuff, but not often enough to reconcile his aversion to wearing shoes, leaving his banjo back at camp, or packing up his finger paintings and leaving when Slayer is blasting from the stereo. (Pro tip: if you hear Slayer at a coffee shop, it’s time to go home.)
The Overzealous Cyclist
This guy thinks you owe him something because he just cycled 100 miles before noon and chose your shop to park his expensive Italian carbon-fiber bicycle in, even though the bike rack is 10ft from the door. Most baristas would rather give away an iced coffee than accept crumpled bills brandished from a pocket far too close to this guy’s sweat crack, but that would mean this guy would be winning, and we can’t have that.
The Power Luncher
Like the "Coffice" Worker, this macho business-type insists on having high-octane powwows in public spaces so he can show off his snazzy new suit and matching belt clip for his iPhone. He’s convinced you have a fax machine back there, and he’s not leaving until you let him use it.
Your daily transactions have been translated into a very deep emotional connection, evidenced by a sudden onslaught of Facebook likes, overly long line-clogging conversations, and suspiciously frequent instances of “bumping into” your “favorite customer” out in the real world. They couldn’t help but notice you were on a date the other day, either. Who’s the skank?
While we certainly love cleaning up the huge lunch your mom appears to have packed for you, maybe you should order something except free water while you have your picnic at the best table.
The Amateur Linguist
“Look, I’ve been to Italy. I know what a macchiato is, and this, sir, is no macchiato. In fact, there’s no caramel at all!”
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