Short Lived Summer Barista

One summer back in college, in need of some extra money, I took a second job working at a coffee shop. It had recently opened and boasted a mix of flavored coffees, blended drinks, teas and food. I figured it wouldn’t be a tough gig and would help fund my summer.

Let me tell you. I hated that job.

For starters, the boss played favorites. The crew he started out with before I was hired was given the prime morning hours where all the tips were to be made. I was never given a morning shift, no matter how many times I made it clear I was available. Because of that, I was stuck working evenings — and not only that, but Friday evenings — when the coffee shop would turn into a hang out for local teens without drivers licenses. Which basically means the place would fill up with 15-year olds who bought nothing more than a can of soda and would sit around for HOURS until their parents picked them up. All that would equal my job being mostly babysitting in an apron and making no tips.

I was also never properly trained on the equipment or the recipes. It was pretty much a teach yourself situation, which wouldn’t be such a bad thing, had people not been really particular about their coffee. In order to find the recipe for a particular drink, one would have to go in the back, look through a book and read up. This doesn’t make for a very efficient work environment.

Oh wait, I was wrong about the morning shift. I did work one once, but because mornings were all regulars in a rush, most of them got annoyed at me as I struggled to look up how to make a “misto”, which wasn’t in the book because it’s a term coined by a big chain. It basically means half coffee, half steamed milk and some foam. Why they couldn’t just tell me that, I have no idea.

The whole thing came to a head while working one evening. In a rush, I accidentally touched the steamer bar to my arm causing a very quick and very painful burn. The manager had already left for the evening so I had to call her at home, and she was not happy about it. When I told her I think I needed to go have my arm looked at, she tried to guilt me that she had plans to go out and I was ruining them by making her come back to cover my shift. When I didn’t back down she hung up on me, but returned to the store. At which time she told me that if I did go to the hospital, not to tell them I injured myself at work.

Right.

Needless to say, I quit the next day.

The shop is still open, though I believe now under new management (big surprise there), so I sometimes will meet a friend there for a chai. But I’ll tell you, the chai never tastes as good. I think it’s tainted by memories!

By Molly

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Categories: Lifestyle

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