So now it is lunchtime and your co worker is on break (which they will most likely only take half of because they feel guilty). A line starts forming and everyone wants multiple drinks and food items. You are very stressed and trying to multitask steaming milk, cooking food, and ringing people up. Instead of applying your own developed rhythm in order to quickly serve each person, you must direct your focus on up-selling,writing names on the very cup that will not leave your hand until you place it in theirs, logging soup temperatures, ringing books etc etc. If a manager finds themselves bored and takes a stroll though the cafe, discovers a soup timer off or a cup unmarked, it will be their main concern and you will get spoken to. All the while you can not help but notice booksellers chit-chatting and sipping lattes behind the registers at the cash wrap while they leisurely scan books and then bag them... big woop. We literally do what they do plus like 1,000 other things at least (but we all bring home the same paycheck OBVIOUSLY).
All of this hard work may make you thirsty, but a new rule has arisen which bans all water consumption in any area that customers could potentially catch the act! This is because many people have complained about us employees drinking water in their presence...NOT. This is just some random unjustified act of discipline.
Your customers can see you are working very hard at providing a pleasant experience as well as moving quickly, so they would like to reward you with a tip while they gather their belongings on the counter. They have a perplexed look on their face because they cannot find the tip jar. This is obvious when they ask "Where is your tip jar"? We are supposed to reply with a smile and say "Oh we just use the counter" (like that makes any sense at all....). But I tell the truth and say that we must keep it hidden under the counter. At least 5 customers per shift will comment on the fact that all other "Starbucks" have their jars on display. Many think this is unfair, going so far to flip over the upside down venti cup that we keep on the counter (we are required to use this as a prop to up-sell) and put their tip in there. I recognize that we are not technically a Starbucks Co. barista so we are not entitled to show a jar. This is because we are owned by Barnes and (Not)noble, meaning that we have more responsibilities and fewer benefits than Starbucks employees.
If you are lucky enough to be the closer that night you spend a lot of time in that cramped back room area. You must wash endless dishes all night in the sink. Bowls and plates with used napkins stuck to the glass and half chewed sandwich ends that you must pick off before washing (because people don't even think to throw away their own trash)...you must chip away at hardened soup and plastic-like cheese remnants stuck to dishes. The plumbing is poorly maintained so there is an awful smell constantly emitted from the drain. It smells like feces and dead animals.
Two people can not walk by each other with out brushing against each other and/or the many things stacked on the walls. Things fall down and your shirts will rip when caught on sharp stuff. This tight space makes being efficient a joke. It also makes one feel like a rat in a cage...going back and forth...imprisoned by authority ay after day after miserable day.
BUT! You must forget your pain, return to the counter and attend to each prospective customer (and by attend I mean to attempt to con every penny possible out of all unsuspecting visitors). For example, my boss demands we ask each person if they would like to add extra flavors, extra shots of espresso, extra whatever that will make the drink sound better. 90% of the time we will be shut down...usually accompanied by a sarcastic compliment of our "sales skills". Every once in awhile the naive first timer will agree. "Why not?" they say, thinking the we're just giving them a nice suggestion to try something new. Then we must ring them up and charge anywhere from an extra $.70... to $2.00... to infinity. We must also ask if they would like something to eat...but we are forbidden to say those exact words. We must offer something specific! "Would you like a slice of red velvet cheesecake or a ham sandwich with that?" If you're wondering where we get these specific items, look no further than "the expiring list" that we make daily on a post it note and stick it to the register. Barnes and Noble would rather serve a gummy, crusty, old slice of cheesecake than put it on the waste log. So, when the customer gets back in line to complain about their stale dessert, guess who looks bad? US! So naturally we only conform to these senseless practices when the boss is present. SOOOO when she is not around we provide exceptional service, going above and beyond to make sure the customer is not pressured and receives only what they truly want. Criminal aint it?
Every move you make is commented on. If it isn't "up to standard" you get a lecture. Even if it is you also get a lecture on how to be even better or they'll just walk away without a single word of praise. The focus is NEVER on the customer, it is always on the money. Your best is never enough and satisfied customers that will return don't mean a thing if you didn't meet your dollars per transaction goal.
These are just some of the daily annoyances my 5 cafe co-workers deal with. I could not possibly state them all. Which reminds me of another...book-side people NEVER have EVER assisted me with any opening or closing procedures such as wiping tables or stacking chairs or taking out trash or anything. But,they do order drinks before we even open and proceed to buy things/make us fill a venti cup with ice and water for them on their 3269361 breaks AND during their shifts...because they can walk around and do whatever they want. My point is Barnes and Noble does not appreciate their employees (particularly in the cafe) and I would loveeee to hear about others experiences working in the cafe.