So, Forrest Black and I just went for coffee. Well, it was Starbucks, so he went for coffee and I went for ice water and conversation. I was just reading a thing about how Warren Buffet built his business and wanted to talk about some of the interesting ways he approached things. So we are talking about how insurance companies invest with your premiums and that is where most of their profits come from, and how Warren Buffet’s primary holding company Berkshire Hathaway actually failed at its primary business and no longer actually produces anything to do with what the original brand was about, and various other factoids which are intriguing, if you find business structures interesting.
At a certain point, I noticed some security guards hovering kind of close to me out of the corner of my eye and wondered if Starbucks had any special rules against people with purple and green hair discussing high finance. I couldn’t think of anything particularly awful I was doing, so I went back to my conversation, but there was still this sense of bad energy. The security guards went away, but people started shouting. As some of the people shouting were Starbucks employees, I assume security fled so they would not be witnesses to the people who worked at the shopping center braining someone with a coffee pot, if that was about to ensue. These security guys know where their paychecks come from and it is not making coffee-drinkers happy.
So apparently there was a customer there who wanted foam on his coffee or crema on his espresso or something like that. The chick who took the order didn’t really understand his question, so she answered kind of noncommittally on whether or not he could get what he wanted. When he got his order, it was not what he wanted. The barista said their machine could not do that. (This sort of thing is why I get my coffee at Intelligentsia and not Starbucks.) Instead of just apologizing to the guy and giving him his money back with a coupon, as Starbucks used to do when they were a better stock to own, the chick who took the order started screaming at the guy that he should have listened to her when he placed his order. So this dude who was behind the counter but seemed too young and clueless to be a manager came over to try to help, but, by this time, the customer was yelling about his “shitty” service and making a huge scene, while the line got really backed up with people waiting to order. The Starbucks dude, who was hopefully not a manager, took a stab at trying to calm things down, but he had this kinda rude grin on his face the whole time and seemed like he was laughing at the customer. He may have just been nervous, but it really did not help. The Starbucks at Western and Hollywood used to have a really awesome cool manager who we liked enough to give free gifts when we ran into him at a convention Blue Blood was exhibiting at, but Starbucks moved him to Vermont and Hollywood. I don’t even know if the Western and Hollywood Starbucks has a manager any more.
I know Forrest Black was pretty close to handing the customer five bucks himself and just asking the yelling guy to please leave. Instead, once the customer told the cashier, “you can kiss my ass” and she shrieked back, “you can kiss your own ass”, we decided to just leave that classy establishment. This is one of those moments where someone doesn’t realize how much accuracy is in what they were saying. When the Starbucks customer told the cashier to kiss his ass, on some level, what he really wanted was for her to treat him like a customer, rather than belittling him. I would have been opposed to another customer paying the angry customer to leave because I feel like that would just be paying off a terrorist and reinforcing that guy’s behavior where his yelling and expression of rage got in the way of everyone else’s coffee drinking ambiance and even coffee ordering. I thought the Starbucks employees could have handled things much more smoothly to stop the unpleasantness, but I also don’t think people should be rewarding for publicly crying like spoiled children in the cereal aisle and ruining other people’s experience.
People pay five bucks for a coffee because they want to relax. The thing I actually found kind of surprising was that the people behind the counter really did not seem to take any pride in their work or care if they did it well. I mean, Forrest Black didn’t have any problem with his order and I had not problem with mine, so it is not like they messed everything up or anything, but the folks who used to work there always seemed to want to excel.
Now I’ve worked at some pretty terrible jobs. Heck, there are days I come to work and just wish I still worked retail. Even when I have to work on something I do not enjoy, I do try to do it well though. I take pride in a job well done and try to do my best. Sometimes my best is nowhere near good enough, but I strive for excellence and take pride in putting in a good effort. Do you take pride in doing what you do well or at least putting forth a good effort to achieve the tasks at hand?