What I Learned Working At A Cafe

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

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Recently Bethany shared a post on her blog about 5 Infallible Ways To Ruin Coffee, debunking the myths of working at a coffee shop and basically sharing the laughs and perks of working there. I thought it would be a lot of fun to do the same over here, because even though I'm a blogger, I'm a cafe worker too and I think we all could use a laugh at my mistakes. ;) Whether you work in the food business or any other sort of minimum-wage retail, you can probably relate to at least one of these - but let me know your best work stories below! And Happy Working to ya. :)

1. I AM DEAF
This is probably the most common struggle: a member recites his/her number for the order to be charged to his/her standing account, and I swear in that moment I am Mr. Howard. "What was that? Fifteen forty three you say? OH you said eighteen ninety-one..."

2. TIPPING IS A HOT-OR-COLD RELATIONSHIP
With the exception of the standard $1 tip, which pretty much comes only from the regulars, a tip can vary anywhere from 25 cents to 5 dollars. But what I've noticed is that there are the generous tippers ("You got me a water bottle? $3 for you!") or the stingy tippers ("I know you worked for 20 minutes on my extremely complicated order with multiple meals all with various adjustments to the actual menu but I'm going to pay with credit card because I've spent enough money on this food already.") And there is hardly ever an in between.

And speaking of the menu...

2. THE MENU IS JUST A SUGGESTION
Everyone - and I mean everyone - will want to change this, that and the other thing and you are just going to have to accept it. "Yes ma'am, we can make that salad without the cheese, dressing, chicken and tomatoes, no problem. Extra spinach? Of course..."

3. WHEN IN DOUBT, CLEAN
There will be slow mornings and even slower nights, there will be low tips and even no tips but there will never not be something to clean in the cafe. If you think you're done cleaning, think again. (Now heaven forbid we should run out of Clorox wipes...)

4. THERE IS NOTHING WORSE THAN THE WAITER
"The Waiter" is the person who places his order, one that usually takes about 5 minutes to make, and then hangs over the counter and just waits. He might pull out his phone, answer texts, fiddle with the straw jar or - worst of all - watch you. Five minutes is actually an eternity, believe it or not. If you're one of these people, please, for the love of work well done and a less awkward atmosphere, do not watch me while I make your food. Because I will mess up something I could normally do in my sleep.

5. YOU WILL RUN OUT OF WAYS TO SAY "HI, HOW ARE YOU DOING?"
And just like everything else on this list, you're just going to have to live with it.

What are your best/funniest/most memorable work stories? Do you relate to any of these?

12 comments

  1. I don't work with people outside of my two little girls, so I don't have many of those stories...but I love hearing them from other people! There is nothing so amusing as a good people-story.

    www.lipstickandgelato.com

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    1. People are funny things, but as I'm sure you'd agree, they're the most fascinating. <3

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  2. I had a great laugh!! So true. :)

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    1. I'm glad at least I'm not the only one. ;)

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  3. This is hilarious! I've never worked as a waiter before.

    Just wanted to let you know I’ve nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award! :)

    Here’s my post: http://thesixthdisneyprincess.blogspot.com/2015/10/the-versatile-blogger-award.html

    Jasmine | The Sixth Disney Princess

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    1. I've got a lot of good stories, so there is a good side to it! ;)

      Thanks for the nomination! I appreciate it!

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  4. I work in an Indian restaurant, so add a language barrier to these things ;P Golly, there's always something to clean!
    Once I waitressed a table that ate $78 worth of food and left me a 89¢ tip. We have a regular who ALWAYS tips $10.
    I've also been hit on by customers which is terrifying.

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    1. Oh don't get me started on the people who hit on you! XP I work at a cafe in a gym, which means I get to deal with all the "I-am-ripped-so-you-should-be-swooning" sort as well. Why are guys so awkward?!

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    2. It kinda makes me want to throw their food at them and run.
      Oh no, I bet gym guys are even worse 0.0 I feel your pain! ;P

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  5. I work in retail, so there's a lot of overlap in funny stories! #1, #3, and #5 especially. In a way, it's nice to have your stock phrases memorized, but on the other hand, it gets trite and boring. :P

    And then along with the Waiters, we have the Indecisive Customers who take forever to decide anything, and of course require your help the whole time. XD

    @Riley Pleasants: Oh goodness, yes, the language barrier is difficult! I get some customers like that, and it takes me five tries to understand what they're saying sometimes.

    @Carmel again: o.O I do not envy you serving that sort of clientele.

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    1. Tracey, I've resorted to having people spell out what they want sometimes, and one guy even drew me a picture x]

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  6. This is hilarious! I've worked in fast food and, yes, I had such a hard time hearing people. I always hated it when they didn't give you enough information about their order, but when you ask them questions so you can completely it they get angry as if you're supposed to read their mind?

    The people who stare you down are quite intimidating. I do not understand.

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