My Day at Work

The worst part of my job at the cafe is something I never expected. It’s not the crazy hobos or steaming my face when I open the dishwasher. No, it’s having to learn the Starbucks menu.

< Point > I do not work for Starbucks. I work for Borders, and occasionally they schedule me to work in the Seattle’s Best cafe in our store.

Now that summer is here and school is out, it is to be expected that more and more young people will be visiting the store seeking refreshing beverages. But even though they have nothing better to do than wander down to the bookstore with 20-30 of their very best friends, they still can’t spare the time to read our menu which is conveniently posted on a board larger than a Volkswagen van.

Here’s how it usually plays out:

Scantily-clad 16-year-old girl saunters up with boyfriend in tow (literally): “Um, yeah… can I have a Venti Frappucino?”

Patient, disappointed look from me. “We don’t have Frappucino’s, but we have a blended coffee drink called a Javakula.”

Girl looks confused. “Is that like a Frappucino?”

“I think so.”

< Point > I don’t work for Starbucks.

I muster up some Customer Service. “What size would you like?”


“So, is that a large?”

“Um, yeah.”

At this point the girl is convinced I’m a moron, and she has just lost 30 precious seconds she could have spent parading her boyfriend around, so now she’s mad at me.

What’s really irritating is when they order Starbucks drinks that are incorrectly named, and what they actually want is totally different. For example:

Macchiato – a shot of espresso with a dollop of steamed milk on top, served in a tiny cup.

Starbucks’ Caramel Macchiato – a vanilla latte served in a full sized cup with caramel sauce drizzled on top.

What?? How am I supposed to know that when they order a “Caramel Macchiato” what they actually want is a vanilla latte?

< Point > I don’t work for Starbucks! I shouldn’t be expected to know these things!

And finally, the Cappuccinos. People, don’t order these if you actually want a latte. A Cappuccino is 96% foam, 2% milk and 2% espresso – that’s what makes it a Cappuccino and not a latte, (which is 96% milk, 2% foam and 2% espresso. (All percentages are estimates made by me.)) How many times have I served a Cappuccino to a customer who is then surprised/irritated by how much air is in it?! Just get a latte and stop trying to impress your friends with how pretentious you are!

I’m sure Starbucks is to blame for the Cappuccino thing somehow, but, since I’m not a Starbucks employee, I can’t be sure.



  1. Wouldn’t it be fun to make a Borders-approved translation guide, with pictures?!? *hee hee*

  2. Yeah, except it would turn into a lesson too quickly…

    Beans101: Arabica vs. Robusta – Why our coffee tastes better than Starbucks’.

    Hot Drinks 102: Cappuccino vs. Latte – Why you don’t like your drink.

  3. mollybeaver · · Reply

    Ouch man. If I were you and I had a bunch of idiotic peroxide blonds coming up and asking for a frappachino I’d be constantly tempted to say “Well I’d love to get you one but the cloest starbucks is around the block so you’d better try there.” The temptation would be too much and eventually I would get fired for confusing teenagers. You’re a stronger lady than I Kim!

  4. This could totally be a ‘best of craigslist’ post.

  5. Megan · · Reply

    Ha! Menu readers of the world triumph again (because you aren’t tempted to bash our heads in with a glass syrup bottle)!

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