“The Customer isn’t always right. Sometimes the customer is an asshole. That’s the first rule of retail” – Kelly Link

I’m 22 years old. I work at Starbucks. I have a bachelors of science degree in biology. And I’m starting medical school in just under 3 months. Believe it or not, not everyone who works in retail is lazy.

I have learned a lot while working as a barista for the last 8 months. One of the most important things I’ve learned, and something that gets reinforced everyday, is that your random interactions that mean absolutely nothing to you, can completely ruin someone else’s day.

I’m sorry if you forgot to say you wanted your drink iced when you ordered it, but I can’t read your mind and you have no right to be angry with me. I’m sorry if your coffee is more expensive than you want it to be, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to tip. I’m sorry you waited in the drive thru line for 20 minutes and your drink wasn’t ready the second you got to the window. I didn’t make you wait, and I’ve only known what your order was for about 2 minutes.

I’m sorry if you’re grumpy because you had to get up at 5 in order to be on time to work. But I had to get up at 3:30 so you could get your morning coffee. This stop might only take you 5 minutes, but I have to be here for 8 hours and deal with hundreds of customers just like you.

Retail workers are people. And we probably don’t make as much money as you do. Yes, we’re paid to be considerate to you, but we’re not paid to stand there and listen to you verbally abuse us.

And we live on tips. Think about it. If you go to a restaurant, you’re probably not going to tip less than 15%. That 50 cents you put in the tip jar from your drink is maybe 10%. If you only ordered one drink.

We stand for our entire shifts. We figure out what kind of coffee you want when you have no idea. We learn your names, ask about your family and jobs, and know your coffee order. We memorize new drink recipes every few weeks so you can try something different. We’re paid barely more than minimum wage and have families and bills of our own.

We have dreams. We have goals. And we’re working hard to achieve them, just like you. Be considerate to us if for no other reason than that we’re all people.


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