12 Ways to Not Piss off Your Local Barista

Adulting is hard. Seriously.

There’s nothing like making yourself constantly do things that you don’t want to do, especially when everything is hard and you just want to crawl into bed and eat ice cream for the rest of your life.

But you have to get up, go to work, make people happy so you can earn those dolla dolla bills so you can go grocery shopping and buy cat food, and litter, and stupid toys that your kitten destroys within hours of you bringing them home. And people food of course.
If you’re really honest with yourself you’d so much rather let the dishes pile up the in sink for days with the laundry doing the same while you camp out in your bed, alternating between ice cream and Life cereal for meals and thinking about maybe pulling yourself up to go change the litter box because it stinks, dammit, and maybe on your way back to the bed you might grab another bowl of cereal and then eat it while you watch so many episodes of Scrubs that Netflix gets worried and starts pausing them halfway through and asks you if you’d like to continue watching?
Not that I know any of that from experience. Nope.

But rather than even begin to approach the 8,623 thoughts that are running marathon laps through my brain, I thought I’d instead focus on something else and compile a list. Because I love lists–they make me happy and bring order to chaos. During college I worked as a student facilitator for graduation ceremonies, and during that last month before the actual ceremony I often collected stories from situations with actual students that I used as a PSA for all future graduates. Things like: you really should pay that $5 library fine before you show up to graduation on Saturday morning and we literally have to pull you out of the line because you can’t walk across the stage and get your diploma without giving the school its money, or you really should know that graduation tickets don’t grow on trees and just because you have 25 1/2 family members coming to the ceremony doesn’t mean we can magically produce tickets for all of them when you were originally allotted 5.

So I’d like to do the same with some of my more favorite coffee shop moments.


12 ways to not piss off your local barista

  • If we have a big sticker lopped across the front of a drink on the menu board that says “Temporarily Out,” it probably means we’re out of it. Proceeding to rant about that other store across town that has the ingredients and can make it will also not change anything; if you’re so sure about them having the ingredients, you should probably go there. We won’t be heartbroken.
  • If you’ve been sitting in the drive-thru for more than 2 minutes, you probably should get your wallet, purse, messenger bag, or man purse out and grab some money instead of looking completely surprised that we’ve asked you to pay for your order when you get to the window and then reaching into the back to grab your card.
  • You should never lie and send your drink back because you think said you wanted that iced. There are at least 3 baristas with headsets on that can disprove that faster than you can say caramel cappuccino.
  • If someone dressed like an employee is sitting outside with a tupperware of food, a nice iced beverage, and a book you should not approach them and start a conversation with Oh, do you work here? and proceed to ask them questions that you could have walked 10 feet inside and asked of those other baristas who are actually wearing work aprons.
  • Just because your barista is a female and you are a male doesn’t mean you should call her baby, sweetie, sugar, honey, dear, or darling repeatedly while winking at her. She will not appreciate it and you might find that your beverage was lacking something in the caffeine department later in the day.
  • Pulling up to the drive-thru and asking What pastries do you have today? is a good way to make the barista answering the speaker want to stick his or her head in the coffee grinder. We have over 20 kinds of pastries on any given day; please don’t make us rattle them all off to you because you don’t even know what kind of flavor you are in the mood for.
  • Your local coffee shop may list their sizes differently than simply “small” “medium” and “large.” Don’t scream at your barista when they recite your drink back to you and accidentally use the coffee shop’s name for a small instead of the word “small.”
  • Do. Not. Use. Your. Cell. Phone. At. The. Counter. EVER.
  • Additionally, it’s pretty obvious that you aren’t listening to a word your nice barista says when they greet you with a What can I get started for you? and you reply with a distracted I’m great, how are you? Um.
  • When asked What can we get started for you? the best and most appreciated way to begin your request (it is a request, believe it or not) is with a please or may I have. Nothing sounds more rude than Make me a [blank blank blank]. What, were you raised in a barn?
  • Do you know what a cappuccino is? But seriously. Do you? Picking up your drink at the end of the bar and immediately commenting But it’s so light! There’s nothing in here! tells the barista who made it that you probably don’t.
  • And, finally. Paying for your $9.98 order with a $10 bill and telling us to keep the change is not as heroic to us as it might appear to you. There are 20 of us who will be splitting those 2 pennies, thank you.

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