I’m a Starbucks Mom. I’ve been the crying towel, listening to my son, daughter and their respective crews in Virginia and Colorado for months. Now I’m here to address the issue of the legion of Karens, Sharons, Beckys, and Chads (KSBC) who make the lives of employees miserable.
Rather than try and reason with or scold the KSBC (a fool’s errand) I’m reaching out to all the fantastic patrons who tip, leave good reviews on Yelp and believe in random acts of kindness.
When the tip jar was stolen, you’re the patrons who saw the post on Facebook and made time in your day to go refill it. On Christmas Day when the baristas went two shifts without any tips you dropped a $100 bill into the jar. I’m talking to you.
All I want you to do is enlist more patrons to do what you do, especially when you’re in a location watching a Karen-Sharon-Becky-Chad is unleashing their inner rage monkey and having a First World problem meltdown because a barista somehow failed them in their hour of upside-down-skinny-unicorn-17-pump-snark-a-chino need.
Also, I’m sorry to have to report that there are people who don’t just take out their frustrations on baristas with a single rant. Sometimes they target an employee because they're bullies who recognize when someone can’t fight back. These people will come back to the same location repeatedly to get their daily fix, not of coffee, but of petty power.
Their drink will never be right, no matter who makes it. There will always be too much ice and the barista will be “too deaf or stupid” to make it right. The fictional barista who made it last time was competent but whatever server they have in front of them is an idiot deserving of public shaming.
All this is important because those who serve others and manage to keep smiling through the abuse, exhaustion and low pay are a special breed. He doesn’t know it, but I sneak into Starbucks and watch my son serve others, just to see him live up to his potential. (I wish I could see my daughter too, but she's in Denver. I know she's there being effervescent and bright as a new penny.)
With a line going out the door at peak hours I hear my son putting people at ease, absorbing a massive amount of data input for each crazy order and graciously bending down to hear what little children have to say.
He’s up and out at 4 a.m. to bike five miles to work in all kinds of weather because he can’t afford the parking fees. Often, I will wake at 3:30 a.m. and drive him to spare him the cold or rain.
My son will graduate from university this Spring, a triple major – Business, Japanese and Chinese. And here comes Karen-Sharon-Becky-Chad to tell him he’s “too stupid to take a simple order.”
FYI, it's never a "simple" order. Every order has a mashup of shots, pumps, froths and drizzles.
You will know Karen-Sharon-Becky-Chad because they will be loud, huffing and eye-rolling for the crowd in order to build the anxiety level in the server until they actually force the failure.
At that moment, realize that the person being driven to quit or possibly be fired is there because they need health insurance and a chance at a scholarship. My kids chose to work there for those benefits.
You may ask, “Have I ever gotten a drink or food order that was wrong?” Sure. Did it annoy me? Yup.
However, it’s NEVER worth making someone lose their job and health insurance over a food or beverage order.
Here are some Starbucks Mom Pro Tips for helping out:
Step 1. Smile. Try it. It's your superpower.
Step 2. When it’s your turn, radiate that smile at the person being blasted and say something like, “You’re doing just fine. I appreciate you.”
Step 3. DO NOT MAKE EYE CONTACT or speak to the KSBC. This is vital. They are conflict vampires who feed on being acknowledged as the source of all pain. That's their superpower.
Step 4. When it’s your turn ask the employee’s name and say, “I want to make sure I give you a good review because I appreciate you.”
Pro Tip: If you have friends with you or there are other patrons who look sympathetic you can quietly encourage them to follow your lead.
That's it. Simple. Someone is sucking all the positivity out of the room and we're just putting it back.
Thank you in advance on behalf of Starbucks' families everywhere. Have a Trenta-sized Happychino kinda day on me.