Thursday, August 30, 2007

And Then the Nice People

Today was an eight-hour shift of grace, in which I got a glimpse of our many very truly wonderful customers, who treat us well. I thought I should share this with you, just to balance things out a little.

Yesterday I messed up someone's drink. I mean, I actually did. It wasn't just her saying I did. But she didn't even say I did until this morning, when she subtly and politely asked Hannah to make sure that the barista made her drink with white mocha instead of regular mocha. I overheard her, though, and so I went over and apologised, and arranged for a little discount. I mean, she really hadn't gotten what she wanted yesterday, and she should have, and then she was nice about it. She was so grateful for the discount (even though she deserved it), that she thanked us a million times and left us a big tip.

Later, just after noon, I did the trash run. (It took five trips. In spite of how eco-earnest most of us Starbucks employees are, we do generate a dismaying amount of rubbish.) As I was bringing the bin in for the second-to-last time, a young woman exiting the store with her husband and daughter grabbed the door and held it for me as I approached. Her husband must have said something about this to her, because she smiled at me and said, "Well, I want to, because she's always nice to me." Whatever the cockles of the heart are, mine were warmed. This young woman is more or less a regular, and we've chatted. For one thing, she has a spectacular butterfly tattooed on her left arm. I don't like tattoos as a general rule, but this one is quite gorgeous. But I couldn't think of ever having been extra-specially nice to her. Not so that she would notice, I mean.

And then there was the guy who phoned to talk to his wife. "What does she look like?" I asked.

"She'll be sitting there with her laptop," he began.

"Oh--is it Betsy?" I said. It was Betsy.

And that, my friends, is what I love about my job. I love to see people being gracious even when a situation wasn't their fault. And I love having a rapport with people I see every day, so that we smile genuine smiles at each other when they walk through the door. (Um, I guess I probably kind of like when they tell other people I'm nice, too.) And I love when I know someone's name.


jasdye said...

see? the balance of the universe is restored.

it's ying and yang. the dark side and the light side.

He drinks a whisky drink
He drinks a vodka drink
He drinks a lager drink
He drinks a cider drink
He sings the songs that remind him
Of the good times
He sings the songs that remind him
Of the better times:
I get knocked down
But I get up again
You're never going to keep me down

Stacey said...

I'm so glad you had a counterbalancing day!! I would just love a Jenn made latte and I bet your smile brightens many, many days.

Christianne said...

I loved reading this counterpoint to the other bad day. Made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside for you. It's weird. I keep wanting to visit Starbucks after I read your posts . . . except I keep wishing it was YOU who would be my barista instead of the people who actually are. I think this is because, as I read your stories about work, I picture you doing these things inside the Starbucks I frequent, which has lodged a picture in my head that you would actually be there when I show up! :)

Hokum Rock said...

That's what happens, working with the public, some good experiences (many,in, fact) and some stinkers.

My daughter works as a cashier in Stop & Shop. On a 6-hour shift, she gets one 15-min. break. No drink is allowed at the register, not even a bottle of water. I could go on, but I imagine your working conditions are better than that.

Keep smiling.

Jenn said...

Jasdye--;). That song reminds me of watching the World Cup in London with my international friends ('cause the TV stations kept playing it like a theme song).

Stacey--come on out. I'll make you a latte . . . at home.

Christianne--you too!

HR--welcome! And: I'm pretty sure one 15 minute break in a 6 hour shift is illegal. But maybe it depends on which state you're working in.

jasdye said...


was it London's theme song? 'cuz that would make total sense.

Jenn said...

Jasdye--yep. ;) And yes, yes it would.