The Starbucks Experiment

Monday, September 26, 2005

Incompetence hates you too

I hate incompetence. i have discovered that this is the organizing principle of my life at Starbucks. it's so simple, even obvious, and it explains a surprising amount.

for example, Yessi is one of our supervisors and he started around the same time i did, we were even in the same "Starbucks Experience" class, which is supposed to be the new employees first introduction to the world of sbux. i hated Yessi at first; not when i first met him, i didn't take an instant dislike to him, but when i first worked with him, because he was incompetent. he was new, he had no idea what he was doing, and i used to be really unpleasant to him because of it. but now i think he's a fine supervisor and we get along great.

Dana is the newest new kid on the block (omg, instant flashback to elementary school). i've worked with Dana a few times, i've even trained him on the bar, and i've found him to be . . . um, slow. but it was only yesterday that he struck me as being damn annoying. at sbux, as with any retail store, there is always "something to do" even if there are no customers. you can always take out the trash, do some dishes, restock supplies, or make frappuccino mix. Dana's new so he's not in the habit of doing any of these helpful things, but he has been through all of his training, so supposedly he knows how to do them. yesterday when i walked into the store at 1:30, the place was a wreck. tons of dishes in the sink, trash practically overflowing, stacks of cups and lids practically empty, etc. sbux often looks like this when i waltz in on sunday and it often pisses me off, because i have to close and i'll have enough to do in a few hours without cleaning up the morning's mess. but Dana was in a v. cheerful mood. he kept trying to exchange little "witticisms" with me and i kept grunting in response, while i literally mopped up messes he had probably made an hour before. finally i told him that i wasn't really in the mood to chat because there was tons of work to do. i asked him in a v. pleasant manner if he had ever closed before? no, well it was the hardest shift there was, and it was important to get as much as possible done early and out of the way. i told him sweetly that seeing the place like this made me think no one had done any work that morning, even though i knew that wasn't true. Dana sort of nods like he gets it, and what does he do? does he take out the trash, start doing the dishes? no! he goes to the bar and starts cleaning WHAT I HAVE JUST CLEANED! i literally almost yelled at him, get away from MY bar! about an hour later when i was trying to simultaneously make a latte and put dishes in the sanitizer (because the dishes still were not done), Dana sidled over to the bar and tried to pour MY steamed milk. at that point i actually grabbed the pitcher out of his hand and told him sternly and in a raised voice that i would do that because that was MY job. the funny thing is that i have never been proprietorial about the espresso bar before. i never mind if any of the other partners come over to make a drink when i'm the barista in residence. then again, no one else at sbux exudes incompetence like Dana. i had to stay until 8pm last night (45 minutes later than usual), in part because Dana gave me absolutely no assistance before he waltzed out at 5.

who knows, maybe he'll turn out to be another Yessi. in the mean time i reserve the right to hate him.


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