Thursday, August 28, 2008

B2S... or... Starbucks Daycare?!

I don't know about what's going on in your part of the world, but here in Texas this is Back-To-School week... and that was apparent in Starbucks. I helped open the store Monday at 5 AM (actually, we open at 5:30), and by 6:30 or 7:00, in came the teachers wanting large doses of caffeine, frappuccinos and pastries for comfort food on the first day of students back in the classroom. And, along came the many police officers headed out to the school zones (hooray for them!) Soon, the high school girls came in (don't know where the boys were), all dressed in their new school clothes, needing one last treat (usually including chocolate) before the first day. It was interesting to watch them stealing glances at one another, gauging clothes, new hairstyles, and who-knows-what may have changed over the summer. The last group to come through were the parents with older elementary kids... parents needing caffeine, younger ones all dressed up, nervous, and needing a do-nut. It was really fun! (I was also glad I wasn't going back!)

However, about 9:00 we had another group of B2S visitors -- 5 moms with pre-schoolers, all under the age of 4... seven kids, at least. I surmise that they'd dropped off the older ones at school and were enjoying the first day of their school-year freedom. Soon the tables and chairs began to resemble either an uncontrolled daycare center, or a war zone... take your pick. There were a couple of "screamers" in the pre-school set, and my co-worker Dena nearly went crazy. I'm sure none of these moms were fans of Dare to Discipline, as the chaos seemed to increase during the 45 minutes to an hour they were there. As soon as I could after they left, I took broom, dustpan, and cleaning rag to the 'war zone.' There were at least 2 donuts crumbled and smashed on the floor, amid the goldfish crumbs and Cheerios. Tables, chairs, and highchairs were all covered and in disarray... and, some little tyke had up-chucked part of his breakfast on the floor, and no one had bothered to tell us! Sometimes Starbucks isn't the peaceful, coffee shop retreat that we'd like it to be.

So, if you're ever visiting your local Starbucks, and the atmosphere isn't all you'd wish, please don't blame it on the establishment. Just let someone know if there's something mysterious that needs to be cleaned up, and give us another chance! ;-)

PS - a couple of police officers came back through several hours later and reported that there were no 'incidents' on the first day -- hooray for them and all they do to keep our school zones safe!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

C is for Caramel...

Yes, C is for caramel, but so is CR, depending on the drink, and C is also for cappucinno, and M is for mocha, but is it also for mint?!?!?! And, if I mark the wrong one on the cup (or, use the right one, but put it in the wrong place!), the barista makes the wrong drink, which goes down the drain, and he starts all over! AAAGGGHHH!

Well, as you can see, the confusion still reigns. I'm not nearly as exhausted, but as sure as I think I know something, I find out there are 3 more things I don't know (or, don't remember... or, mis-remember!) But, I realized that when one only works part-time, it takes twice as long (or longer) to learn one's job, because if I don't go to work for 2 or 3 days, I'm not getting as much practice, and I have longer to forget! So, that makes me feel better. Also, all my partners (as employees of Starbucks are called) tell me I'm doing fine, and it will come. Except Ed, who teases and tells me I'm hopeless, and I'll never get it... and I'm sure he's only kidding! ;-) I work with great people, most of them 'kids'. Devon just got engaged last night, and we don't work together until next week, so I'll just have to wait to hear all about it; I met Daniel's 4-month-old baby this past week, a real cutey, and it makes me miss Justin! Bess frequently starts the day with me at 5 AM, and she's a sweetheart; Dylan does the sound at his church, and also usually begins the day at 5. Except this past Monday, he came in and found out that he was scheduled for 5 PM, and he was not a happy camper! ;-)

So, I'm beginning to become assimilated into Starbucks life... and, it's fun! I love talking with all the customers when I ring up their coffee and pastries as they start their day. I've seen some old friends, and am making some new ones. All the teachers started back to school this week, some of them ready, and some of them really dragging! Boy, can I remember! Many came in for a jolt of caffeine to get through all that in-service. Claudine, a retiree from someplace cold up north, comes in every day and wants a hug. Greg comes in before daylight to get his coffee and read his paper. Laura comes in with the smallest thermal mug I've ever seen, and fills it up each morning... We really are a neighborhood coffeeshop. :-)

I'm also still working part-time at my Aflac, so I'm keeping quite busy -- but they say we can keep Alzheimer's at bay if we keep our minds active. I'm hoping it works!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Grandma's tired... and still bewildered

Okay, Kids and any other interested readers, here goes my first attempt at blogging (a new verb since I taught English!)

I trained at Starbucks for just over 2 weeks, and this has been my first week to work sort-of on my own... I still need lots of support. My first shift was yesterday from 5:00 AM til 11:30 AM. Although only 6 hours, it felt like 12! It's been awhile since I got up at 3:30 to go to work, and I didn't sleep very well, constantly trying to remember how many pumps and shots and scoops went into 20 million different drinks. Fortunately, they were wise enough not to put me on the espresso bar making drinks! I helped grind coffee, make coffee, put out pastries, and then stood at the cash register for about 5 hours. I had no idea how many people came into Starbucks to get caffeine before daylight! Somehow I survived, the customers eventually got served, and I dragged myself home for a good nap. I felt like I'd been run over by a train... actually, it felt a bit like jet-lag -- that exhausted, headachey, weird feeling. But I slept like a log last night and today am back to normal (a day off.)

Tomorrow I go in again at 5:00 AM, and the next day at 6:45 AM. Should I have ever mentioned that I'm a "morning person"?!? When will I ever learn not to talk so much?!

But, I'm planning on actually knowing what I'm doing someday! My good friend Adam, a 4-year-plus veteran barista in Boston, tells me that I will be confused for about 2 to 3 months. Let's see... about Thanksgiving I should be feeling comfortable at this. I think I can last that long... with some encouragement from my friends!

Oh, by the way, the Asst. Manager who trained me is a "boy" I taught in Middle School... and, I've known his mom since before he was born! He's a GREAT manager, trainer, and barista! He can do about 6 things at once, be friendly at the same time, and get it all right! I don't ever aspire to be as good at barista-ing as he is; I can't move that fast. But, it's great to have an "old" friend there to help me learn! Thanks, Derrell!! And, all the people I work with are great -- very patient with this Grandma and very helpful! That makes me look forward to more days at Starbucks!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

A New Adventure

This blog is to document the latest adventure in Jill's never-dull life - working at Starbucks! For those of us who love her dearly, we're so excited about this new adventure, and we want to hear everything about it - from the frustrations of trying to memorize the hundreds of different ways a simple cup of coffee can be made to the quirky, interesting characters who wander in and quickly become lifelong friends (as only Jill can orchestrate). So, Jill, start writing - we anxiously await the next chapter of your life! And, we also anxiously await our starbucks coffee gifts! ;)