Miss Woodhouse's Musings

…about life, the universe, and everything. Don't panic!

It Isn’t Any Trouble Just To S-M-I-L-E

on 31 January 2010

This week at Starbucks restored my faith in humanity, and my enjoyment of the job. I won’t lie- it’s been rough at work lately. Labor must be kept under sale volume, which means that we are understaffed most of the day, every day. Then the holidays hit, and we were dealing with extra merchandise in the back room, extra drinks to throw in the mix, and customers with about as much patience as a stick of lit dynamite. Once the holidays were over, we obsessed about our white-glove cleaning inspection, where so much as one coffee bean out of place would earn an “excessive dirt build-up” rating (and yes, I am serious about just one solitary bean out of place).

This week, things calmed down. We still had our crazy “line to the door” times, but in between those moments were moments of pure peace. We could actually focus on issues, we could tidy up the café, we could restock merchandise.

You know what? It made us nicer people. At one point, mid afternoon, our café was completely empty for 20 minutes. Hmmm, what to do? How about we put on the Jazz Crooners, crank up the music, and belt out The Look of Love while sweeping up crumbs and wiping up spills? Oh yes, that will work!

Customers noticed the difference. Soon after our little singing session, we had a customer come in and order a Venti Breve Latte. I was on bar, and unconsciously called the drink back to the register partner in iambic senarius (try it yourself, daDA daDA daDA). The customer cracked up, and stayed for another ten minutes telling us funny stories about how snooty baristas usually are at other stores, and how nice it was to see baristas having fun with their job. That’s when it hit me- we were having fun again!

So the next time you go into a Starbucks and the partners are less than stellar (ha! See what I did there?), just keep in mind that they might be stressed out of their minds. It’s not an excuse, but it is a reason. I’m hoping, though, that our less-stressful atmosphere will continue for a while- I like having fun at work!


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