Why Your Customers Hate You, Baristas

Last week, I interviewed three of my barista friends -- two of whom remained anonymous -- about behaviors that make them want to throttle the next person in line at their java joint. Of course, as many commenters pointed out, there are just as many obnoxious baristas as there are customers. Yin and yang, naturally.

Would customers be quite as awful to their baristas if more baristas were kinder to customers to begin with? That's a chicken or egg question, endlessly cyclical and difficult to answer.

Baristas, take note. These are only a few of the things you do that drive your customers crazy. If you want that tip, here's how to get it (at least...most of the time). Hint: The first step is actually acknowledging a customer's presence at the counter with a smile or at least eye contact before asking for their order.

Why Your Customers Hate You, Baristas

Being rude or argumentative.

"The barista telling you the drink is right when it is clearly wrong and then they get attitude that they have to remake it." - Elizabeth Stover

"When they correct my order using their special lingo in a tone that suggests I'm rude &/or dumb for not having done so." - Steff Childs

Rigidly enforcing mostly meaningless jargon and terminology.

"Correcting me on the sequence of words to order my drink is the only one that comes to mind. Venti Quad Caramel Macchiato or Quad Venti Caramel Macchiato? I will definitely never care enough to consistently get it right, but they are always sure to correct me when I don't." - Kyle Nielsen

"It is small, medium or large. For some reason, baristas think they are enlightening me if they translate my order. I don't use the words 'tall, grande or venti' in any part of my life, why do I need to use it when ordering a hot chocolate?" - Nada Daher

"The inane special terminology is simply stupid, and demanding that I use the terminology is a way to make sure I won't come back. Sorry, but I'm not changing my language to support your branding." - Albert Nurick

"I specifically order 'small, medium, or large'... Surprisingly, they manage to get it right w/o hearing 'tall, grande, or venti.' I have too many other *important* things to remember than translating my order into Starbuckese!" - Carole Stevenson

"The pompous attitudes they have about S,M,L. Look, the only time I am gonna say 'Grande' is if a Mexican pimp asks me what kind of titties I like." - Nick Salvatore


"It drives me crazy when they ask me if I want whipped cream on a non-fat latte. This is mainly because lattes aren't supposed to have whipped cream on them in the first place, but additionally because who orders a non-fat coffee and then throws 100 calories of topping on it?" - Emily Schwenke Ybarra

"Even worse than that is asking if someone wants whipped cream on a soy latte. Generally people who order soy milk as a replacement to real milk are doing so because they, uh, don't want dairy. Then again, this is the land of people who order Diet Coke with a Big Mac meal, so..." - Melissa Mikus

Being pedantic or overly engaging.

"Perky baristas are fucking hell. If I haven't had my coffee yet I do not want to be talked to like a 5-year-old." - Joel Luks

"They ask too many questions. I don't come to Starbucks for questions. I come looking for an answer." - John Lomax

Overcharging and underdelivering.

"What makes me stay away from those places is the price. It's that simple. If I am going to pay that much for something brewed, it ain't gonna be coffee, if you catch my drift." - Doak Proctor

"Support your local businesses. They won't correct your order and it's small medium or large. Plus it's probably half the price!" - Jennifer Lopez

Ignoring the customer completely.

"When they stand around chit-chatting instead of doing their job." - Leslie Ann

Or my personal favorite, the time I waited a good two minutes for a barista to finish a text conversation with a friend before even acknowledging that I was standing at the register, cash in hand. And then? Not even a "Hello" before demanding my order.

Readers, what drives you crazy over coffee?