The Starbucks Experiment

Monday, March 20, 2006

Soy Juice

First, let me say that i have been trying to update this for a while, to get rid of the rather saccharin last post. i have also been meaning to put this blog back on the track of entertaining stories about Starbucks, rather than doleful tales of my personal life. my personal life is more doleful than ever, but I want to talk about it even less than you want to read about it.

So instead I will tell the tale of Janice, the hands-down worst customer we have ever had at sbux. my very first encounter with her tipped me off that she was not v. pleasant. i was on bar, she ordered a soy no-foam latte. i started steaming a pitcher of soy milk. now, as a barista, it often behoves you to steam more milk than you immediately need, because then it will be ready for the next customer. so even though this woman did not want any foam on her latte, i steamed some foam because you never know, in five seconds i might receive an order for a grande soy extra-foam latte. so this woman sees me making foam and yells out, "oh no, i asked for no foam, you can just take all that foam off" okay, or i could do my job and pour the soy into your cup so that no foam will get in there in the first place, which is what we always do, you anal bitchy cow.

so it turns out this woman's name is Janice. i've served her many times since then and she never redeemed herself by being nice. one recent day, while i'm supervising, she announces to Yirga, who was on register, than our soy milk is too sweet (it has vanilla flavoring), and she can't drink it. so she whips out a box of unsweetened soy milk that she wants us to keep in our refrigerator to use for her soy (no foam!) lattes. right. because we are her personal servants and this sbux location is her personal kitchen. fine. unfortunately Yirga, who loves to please even the craggiest customers, says its no problem and promptly puts the soy in our fridge. i sort of roll my eyes but don't want to fight with Janice about it before checking with Tom to make sure that we are in fact unable to do this.

so a few days later i've checked with Tom and, surprise surprise, we're not allowed to store personal ingredients for customers (if she wanted to bring this soy milk every time she came in that would be one thing, still obnoxious, but feasible). apparently, Janice did not take to this news kindly. one day when i wasn't around she waltzed in and told Yirga that she was "the only one who gave a damn about her." Dan, another supervisor, tried to explain the policy to her and she said "no, i don't want to talk to that asshole, i want to talk to the manager." okay. Tom was in (of course) so he explains the policy to her, at which point Janice goes off on how obesity is a serious problem in this country and sbux is just making it worse by adding sugar to everything and you know "sugar is the second ingredient listed on that soy milk, the very next ingredient!" right, which says nothing about what percentage of the recipe it takes up. in fact, it turns out that our super sweet soy milk has only 1% more sugar than the regular milk.

what a pain in the ass! it's incidents like this that make me unable to imagine myself working at sbux may. one year is enough. on the other hand, events like this do bring out the satirical talents of the staff to wonderful effect. sometime before all this started actually, Dan decided that we should no longer call the soy milk soy milk, because of course, it's not milk at all. it's really just the juice pressed out of the soy bean so we should call it, you guessed it, soy juice. i swear to god, now every time i drink soy drinks (i got v. in to the soy cinnamon dolce latte, delicious) i feel like they taste juicy. oh juicy juicy soy juice. how we love you (and hate Janice).

if you want to hear more on the horror of Janice check out dan's side of the story


At 6:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Janice is THE worst customer, check my blog about the perils of soy juice. Rather similar, although I think were Janice to read mine, she might cry

At 10:05 AM, Blogger AK said...

Your forbearance is remarkable -- the woman sounds like an absolute fiend.

At 1:06 PM, Blogger Nils said...

Sweet! What a wonderful thing our "new" "service economy" has become! Not only do we get help from Jason in Mumbai, we get customers who think that the South won the war.

Back ten thousand years ago there were only 8 million of us. Wanna bet Janice was alive back then too?



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