The Starbucks Experiment

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

The early bird catches the cappuccino

When i first applied for a job at Starbucks, the manager asked if i could work mornings, and i eagerly said yes. then i realized, in that sickening wave that you realize horrible truths, that Starbucks was a coffee shop, designed above all to help people wake up . . . early, really really early. 5am early. yes, ladies and gentlemen, that's the time that i report for duty. we spend 30 minutes putting out all the pastries, making ice coffee and teas, getting the drips going (that's drip coffee, not IVs, although its the same difference to some people), stocking up the various syrups (chai, mocha, white mocha), and calibrating the espresso machines (it sounds v. technical but only requires an egg timer). then we open, and the regulars start pouring in.

That's the nice thing about my Starbucks. it's a friendly neighborhood place full of people who recognize me from the 5th grade Hawaiian show (i spend a lot of time going "oh Hi, well its good to see YOU again"). everyone orders the same thing every day, but since I'm relatively new i only have about half of them memorized. first comes Katherine (same name, different spelling), who orders a grande coffee, double cup. then Mr. Grande In A Venti Cup, who needs a caffeine fix so that he can go golfing early before work. later on, at the rush hours of 7:30 to 9:30, highlights include a very sexy man in scrubs who gets a venti coffee with four shots of espresso (and room for cream), Mr. Grande Drip and Washington Post, who always tries to make a joke about one of the headlines, and Mr. Venti Skim Caramel Macchiato, who always smiles at me even though I've forgotten to put in the vanilla syrup. we have female highlights too: Ms. Triple Venti Skim Latte with the spunky haircut, Mrs. Tall Soy Chai and Tall Soy Latte, which she occasionally orders "for here," and Miss Grande Green Tea, one bag, who for days kept ordering a tall tea in a grande cup, and then traipsing back to ask for more hot water. and then there are those regulars you dread, like the elderly gentleman who always orders two decaf tall skim lattes, or as he puts it "a tall decaffeinated skim latte, no two," which always comes to $6.99, and which he always tries to give me exact change for. I mean why just pay $7 when you could spend ten minutes counting out 99 cents, letting the line grow behind you until you realize you haven't got enough change. but the cream of the crop is the crazy bag lady who sometimes very sweetly asks for "a glass of ice, please" and sometimes screams for "a glass of ice dammit!"

The first day of my internship yesterday went v. well. my job is to find everything ever written on Andy Goldsworthy and photo-copy it, but i got to start yesterday by trying to organize the photo-copies my curator-boss already did have. i also got a tour of the library, and folks, we ain't in Kansas anymore. at the National Gallery when a curator is starting a new project, standard procedure is for one of the librarians to create a complete bibliography for you. does anyone else appreciate the unbelievable glory of starting a paper with the bibliography already done?! they have someone whose entire job is to go to and from the library of congress, and if the book you want isn't at the LC and you're not sure where it might be, you can just ask them to figure it out.

I'm up a 5am again tomorrow for my next performance as "Masta Barista," the Starbucks partner with attitude. after that its back to the Gallery.


At 4:22 PM, Blogger Karin said...

A venti coffee with four shots of espresso?? Oy. I don't care how sexy he is, I don't think I'd want that man near me with sharp instruments . . .

At 8:15 PM, Blogger AK said...

I have added you to my blog list as well! I hope work is good.

At 6:50 PM, Blogger AK said...

hey! you can send me postcards at:
32 Mercer Street, Princeton NJ 08540


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