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Open Letter to Starbucks Baristas

A Message For My Coffee Shop Barista on a Busy Morning

Dear coffee shop barista,

It's a busy weekday morning, and you've just been rudely, publicly scolded by a customer for forgetting the whipped cream on their venti nonfat white mocha. Let's ignore the confusing nature of that order for a moment, because I have something to say to you.

Thank you.

Thank you for the mornings when you clock in at 4 a.m. in order to serve early commuters their caffeine fix before they hit the road.

Thank you for enduring so many painful steam burns that you probably don't even have fingerprints anymore. The bright side is that if barista-ing ever stops doing it for ya, you've got a promising career as a bank robber.

Thank you for working holidays, missing precious time with your loved ones so that Christmas travellers and hungover New Year's revellers can sip hot coffee as they enjoy their own days off.

Thank you for being such a vital part of your customers' lives, witnessing everything from first dates to breakups all within the confines of your coffee shop location.

Thank you for loving your job, even if you're paid minimum wage. Your energy and enthusiasm make every bit of difference for me and the other people in line for our drinks. Unfortunately, there are times when you're the only friendly face that a customer will see all day, and your smile can make everything feel OK for them.

Thank you for caring so much about your regulars that you eventually learn their names, their orders, and details about their lives. When you ask how their kids are doing, or whether they enjoyed their recent vacation, it helps people feel valued.

Thank you for enduring undeserved political and religious vitriol every time somebody calls for a Starbucks boycott. Most of us know that you're just doing your job, not trying to make sweeping implications about the state of mankind based on the colour of a cup.

Thank you for smiling and responding gracefully when an ungrateful customer lays into you about the temperature of a drink, their favourite flavor being discontinued, or price hikes that you have no control over. It's not easy to show poise when enduring complaints, and please know that the majority of your customers understand your position.

Thank you for not (openly) judging us for our drink orders. Without so much as an eye-roll, you make 100 pumpkin spice lattes every morning for people who want to Instagram them, and we appreciate your understanding, nonjudgmental nature.

Thank you for explaining concepts, new drinks, and ingredients to anybody who asks. It's not easy to stop what you're doing during the morning rush to explain macchiatos to an elderly customer who is overwhelmed by the menu, but I see it and appreciate your patience.

Thank you for helping so many people start their days off on the right foot, even when you're not having a great day yourself.

Thank you for helping students get through finals, parents get through sleepless nights, business people get through important meetings, teachers get through class, and public servants get through long days of overtime. Your job isn't easy, but you make it look effortless while helping others get through the day.

And most importantly: thank you, thank you, thank you for this steaming cup of coffee. You've made my morning.

A grateful customer

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Mark Popvich
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