You are currently reading from the Trials and Tribulations of a Crazy Asian Series
As much as it pains me to say it, I should actually thank Dan…Dan for taking his monumental impact on Earth as the almighty manager of Starbucks seriously enough that he pulled me into the back room to “reach out” to me…
“Lauren,” he sighed, “you’re one of the most talented baristas I have.”
Let me say this right now before we go any further – there is no such thing as a talented barista. Every drink has a recipe – this isn’t Iron Chef Masters or Bar Olympics. Let’s get real. And if you think there is a difference, it’s because you’re a pretentious douche and you relish in the fact that the only control you have in life is over the supposed peon making your coffee…and to you I say, “Up yours.”. Anyway…
“Thanks Dan.” I breathed, glancing at the clock.
“But,” he says, holding his hand up in the ‘Stop right there’ kind of way, “this past week I’ve been noticing an attitude that I’ve never seen before.”
“You’ve been really aggressive with customers – almost like you’re going at them.”
“Umm…I’m not sure what you mean?” I know exactly what he fucking means – I’m sorry but if one more person tells me they can tell the difference between 2% and non-fat, that person is getting a thermometer between the fucking eyes.
“Like the two girls with the frappucino…”
“Well, I explained to her that…”
“I was there Lauren – I saw the whole thing happen. You’ve been very aggressive and not in a like ‘Let’s sell this VIA!’ or ‘I’m going to sell these breakfast sandwiches!’ kind of way.”
“So…you want me to sell more breakfast sandwiches?” I asked perplexed.
“Lauren,” Dan sighed, “I want you to want to care about the breakfast sandwiches. I want you to want to be number one.”
It was at this point in time I realized I didn’t give a shit about my job.
“You know, Lauren,” he cried, taking a seat as if the intensity of the conversation was too much for him, “I thought we talked about this. I mean, after everything that happened with Rita, I thought you understood.”
Since I’m thanking people, I guess I have to thank Rita too. Rita is a slightly senior, extremely slim British woman who called the CEO of Starbucks on me because of a $2.28 cup of coffee.
“With Rita, Lauren, she went straight above me.” Dan then began to put his hand forward, enabling him to count, “That complaint went through Sean Luckman, Howard Schultz, Ian Serrano, Brad Palmisano to Ari to me. This is serious stuff.”
At this juncture I took a seat too for the energy I was exerting trying to understand how I was going to manage to care about everything he was saying was way too much for me to be standing.
A week prior to this conversation, Dan had sent me to a management training course in the city. My group consisted of an arty, blonde chick with baggy pants wearing Converses complete with an attitude that suggested she reads too much Jane Austen, a bangin’ hot ginger who orders soy chais to match the stature her Chanel eyewear affords her; an eighteen year old, homosexual black male who could “personally relate” to every single business scenario and an annoying Latino woman who desperately wanted to be the Godfather but sadly had to settle for being the leader of this shit show.
My facilitator went on about how she has started as a barista nine years ago and was now a district manager. She looked around the room and asked who among us had dreams of that magnitude. I felt like raising my hand was like raising the white flag of surrender – the forfeit of substantial hopes and dreams for myself. But the last thing I wanted to do was upset the herd. Judge if you will, I raised my fucking hand.
“Lauren,” Dan sighed, “I think you have potential. Great potential that can get you far in this company. But you need to take this time to reflect. You said you took something away from this Rita incident but maybe you didn’t take enough away. So, I’m going to have to document this.”
I watched as Dan pulled out an Employee Corrective Action Form (seriously, that’s what it’s called) and read off about how my lack of a bucket full of smiles regarding a frappucino misunderstanding was going to be the sole cause of a decrease in sales and how my “aggressive attitude” was going to single-handedly bring Starbucks to its knees.
As I walked out of that back room and clocked out, I wondered what my Life Corrective Action Form would say, “Failure to make one’s existence mean something. Inability to achieve respectable place in society.”. I couldn’t give a fuck about Sean Luckman, frappucinos of how many fucking breakfast sandwiches we sold.
“Then what do I care about?” I asked myself. I put the key in the ignition and looked at the arsenal of pens in my cup holder…it was time for a change.