Posts Tagged ‘ rants ’

Things your Barista is Not.

It has come to my attention that the general public is not quite sure what is in my job description as a barista. To help you, I have compiled this list of Things that Your Barista is Not.

Latte art

Your Barista is Not a Psychic.

You, the customer, must tell me, the barista, what you want. Staring at me as you hold your money out is insufficient. So is telling your friend what you want as you walk into my cafe. Throwing your money on the counter and mumbling “the usual” will not get you what you want if we have never seen each other before.  Expecting me to read your mind will simply result in an awkward conversation and annoyance arising between us.

I might joke about how I went to wizarding school to learn latte art, but reading your mind just wasn’t a part of the training. Sorry. (Not really.)

Your Barista is Not Your Therapist.

Honestly, you can talk to me. We can joke around and be friends, and maybe even have real proper conversations every once in a while. But the moment I start to feel like your therapist is the moment I tune you out, and if it’s ongoing I will probably complain about you later to my fellow coffee people (who are also not your therapist.) I understand if you’re unhappy because of a death in the family, a failing marriage, an argument, or whatever, but really, I don’t get paid enough to be your therapist. Let the coffee be your therapy.

Your Coffee Shop is Not a Dating Service.

Any barista who’s been playing the game for a while can sense the stench of desperation from across the cafe. Feeble attempts like five dollar bill hearts as a tip, “We should text sometime,” or using Harry Potter as a point of mutual interest– all true stories– These might be fine strategies in a normal context (not that I recommend giving five dollar bill hearts to anyone ever,) but in the cafe context they’re just pathetic and inappropriate.

When I’m at work, I’m not on the prowl. That’s all. My job might be more fun than yours, but I’m still getting paid minimum wage plus tips to even talk to you right now, and if you’re the kind of person who’s going to hit on your baristas, I’d never talk to you outside of when I’m getting paid. Please keep that in mind.

Myself, when/if I find you, a customer, an interesting enough person that I want to spend time with you in a normal, outside-of-work context, I will let you know.

Your Barista IS a Fellow Human Being.

As a fellow human being, your baristas deserve the simple courtesy of eye contact and a greeting. I don’t demand conversation, friendliness, joking, or whatever. But it is not that difficult for you to be moderately polite, and it improves my day immensely.

And if you tip, well, now we’re friends.


How to Get your Baristas to Like You: Abridged Edition

Step One: Be respectful.

Step Two: Be kind.

Step Three: Don’t be a douche.

Step Four: Tip.

Step Five: Don’t order a dry cappuccino.


There is a deep and somewhat personal indignation that fills my heart when a customer, having ordered espresso, takes that espresso and dumps sugar in it without tasting it first.

I seem to remember reading a silly online etiquette guide sometime that said it was the height of rudeness to salt food before tasting it when dining at a friend’s house. It’s considered an affront to the host/ess– an assumption that the food was improperly seasoned.

Well, I feel similarly insulted when customers assume that the exquisite espresso I serve them is not fit for human consumption before making the drink a matter of sucrose to coffee ratios rather than one of simple, pure, delightful coffee.

I understand that not everyone likes espresso, even when it’s good. It’s powerful stuff. But if you don’t like espresso, why didn’t you order a mocha? Mochas are like espresso with training wheels (in the form of chocolate syrup and milk.)

(Recently, I had a customer take a mocha and add a few tablespoons of sugar. To you, sir, I say this: Have fun with your impending diabetes– or just order a hot chocolate or something and stop trying to drown the coffee.)

It may be unfair to think that customers are assuming my espresso is bad. They might not be trying to insult my skills, but rather just be shocked and intimidated by the size, and correctly assume the potency while underestimating its deliciousness.

I haven’t decided whether or not the offence and sorrow I feel at the untasted sugaring of coffees I serve is rational or fair. If it isn’t, I’m pretty sure I don’t care. Even if it’s a wholly irrational sense of insult, I think it’s a noble emotion which I should embrace, because the coffees I serve are freaking delicious and don’t need sugar.

That is all.

(On another note, I’m finally back! Yay.)

Why Christians should Tip

As anyone in the service industry can assure you, Christians are very stingy.

Every barista dreads the days when women’s bible studies come into coffee shops, because even though they all (usually) order demanding drinks, all that you get in the tip jar is a whole lot of nothing (or maybe a gospel tract if your shirt is a little lower cut than someone thinks is okay.)

Okay, yeah, I sound a little bitter. But I feel like I have a right to be, because I’m a Jesus follower and no barista or waiter would ever guess it. Why? Because I tip really well.

Wait what.

Why is this the case? Why does this happen? Why, oh why, are women’s bible studies so annoying?

Jesus said to love others more than you love yourself. I understand being a good steward of your money and all, but a really good way to demonstrate love and appreciation to baristas and waitstaff is to tip well, especially if the service was good.

Having a condescending attitude and asking us if we know Jesus after looking pointedly down our shirts is not a good way to demonstrate love.

Let’s face it, Christians– ya’ll (we) have a pretty crappy reputation in this society, and honestly, if you (we) can’t even tip a barista when there’s a whole bunch of you ordering your drinks at once, I can’t exactly say you (we) don’t deserve it.

Repairing the crappy reputation will be a long difficult process because I’m inclined to believe it’s because our priorities are screwed up (image is more important than Jesus) but I’m not going to go into that today.

All I’m saying is that you can start a trend by tipping your baristas and waitstaff.

How about we start by letting people know that Christians are generous?

And I promise you, no one cares about how many sponsor children you have.

Start at home.

Christians, tip your baristas.

Church, Inc.

Picture this– you’re on a road trip, and around lunchtime you reach an unfamiliar city. On the main strip, you scope out potential spots for a delicious lunch. The familiar signs greet you; McDonalds on the right, KFC on the left, followed by Burger King, Jack in the Box, Carl’s Jr., Starbucks… Need I list anymore?

Looking for more tempting culinary offerings, you turn off onto a nearby side street. You seem to have found Church Row, and the familiar signs greet you; Nazarene on the right, Baptist on the left, followed by Presbyterian, Lutheran, Methodists, Foursquare, Pentecostal… Need I go on?

“But Bethany,” you may think, “Why are you comparing Christianity to corporate fast food chains?”

How, dear reader, are they so different?

People go to McDonald’s to satiate their physical hunger, and they go to church to satiate their spiritual hungers. However, the fare they receive at either location is just a temporary fix for their yearnings, and they find they’re hungry again far sooner than they ought to be. That’s because our formulaic churches and fast food joints are too McDonaldized to fulfill our true needs.

The religion of Consumption is tied inextricably to McDonaldization of anything.

For example, most protestant churches try hard to be “relevant to today’s culture,” featuring a pastor who doesn’t wear church clothes and cracks jokes from the pulpit. He (or she) will probably also make at least one pop culture reference per sermon, and the worship team will probably be mostly young adults with a 30-something male with spiked hair singing passionately into the microphone.

This is a wonderful example of the Predictability characteristic of McDonalization. (Predictability- Standardization and uniform services. “Predictability” means that no matter where a person goes, they will receive the same service and receive the same product every time when interacting with the McDonaldized organization. This also applies to the workers in those organizations. Their tasks are highly repetitive, highly routine, and predictable.)

I present to you this thought: “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” (Romans 12:2)

Since when is giving people exactly what they expect not conforming to the patterns of the world?

Most denominations are moving into the digital age. No worries about that– I don’t expect people to live like fossils. Most churches have email lists of prayer requests which they’ll send out to any members who asked to be on the list.

This eliminates the need to pray one-on-one with people, and perfectly represents another characteristic of McDonalization– Efficiency. ( the optimal method for accomplishing a task. The optimal method equates to the fastest method to get from point A to point B. Efficiency in McDonaldization means that every aspect of the organization is geared toward the minimization of time.)

1 Thessalonians 5:11 says “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up,” but how are we doing this by sending out emails that people probably don’t even read?

Digitization of church interaction also exemplifies the Control aspect of McDonalization – standardized, replacement of human by non-human technologies.

Whether or not you realize it, your immersion in the culture we live in has made you a Consumerist.

Whether or not you realize it, your religion is probably the religion of Consumption.

Whether or not you agree with me, the fact that you’re surrounded by Consumerism colors your view of spirituality, and the protestant church caters to that wholeheartedly, making promises about what they can do for you and how they can change your life– you, the customer, the consumer of their product; Jesus.

Jesus is not your product.

I am reminded of the cyclopian Bible salesman in the movie O Brother, Where Art Thou? He expounds on how there is a great deal of wealth to be made in the Good Lord’s Service, but exemplifies the very principles the Gospels are against.

Jesus preached love. What does our McChurch have to do with loving people? Nothing.


All church is in 21st century America  is a club for people to go and pat each other and themselves on the back for how good they are at being good.

Is there room in the church for real, broken sinners? Ladies and gentlemen, I was raised in church. For years I went to church and I have enjoyed it at times. I have been to several different denominations.

Never have I been in a church in which people are truly able to share their struggles without being ostracized. Gross people aren’t allowed unless they’re there to be fixed, and if they won’t be fixed, they’re gently excluded from the “inner circles” of good people until they finally get the message and go away.

This is probably why I have never been able to stay at any one church for more than a few years. Eventually I come up against a struggle that is too gross to share with the shiny church people who have it all together.

If I told church people the things I struggle with at home alone at night, they would need to fix me even more than they already do.

Yes, I am broken. No, you may not fix me.

When was the last time you saw the ugly side of McDonald’s?

Is one of these things not like the others?

Corporate ideology and our religion of consumption, whether or not we acknowledge it, is ruining Jesus Christ for us. I struggle with not becoming jaded with Christianity– how about them apples?

One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:28-30)

The only difference between church culture and corporate America is that the people I’ll meet in Wal-Mart won’t ostracize me from their group for publishing this blog.

My love life…. Not yours

I don’t know about you, but my life seems to be filled with people who seem to have a little problem. A little problem with me. A little problem with the fact that I’m 19, single, and love it. Some people seem to have a problem with the fact that I’m not going to be married for several years. They seem to think that getting married young is more righteous, or that I’m the marrying type so obviously I want to hear what they have to say about how to start and maintain a relationship!

Hello, people? If I wanted your input, I would ask you!

So behold, for the good of man and woman-kind, here is why you should never give people unsolicited relationship advice.

First, don’t give people relationship advice unless they’ve asked you specifically, or if you know them pretty well and they’ve made it clear that they want to change their relationship circumstances. Never butt into a conversation people are having about relationships and throw in your advice. It makes you look so tacky.

Specifically, don’t assume people want to get married, want kids, or are single. If you’re offering advice without being asked, I’m going to say you don’t know.

Secondly, has it crossed your mind that you might not be right? Or that your perspective might be totally wrong for the person you’re talking to? Lots of girls are on their own, single, and still remain chaste– and even if they don’t, unless they’ve made it your business, it isn’t. What is with the assumption that all girls living on their own are living the “swingin’ single” lifestyle?

Also, marriage for the sake of marriage is NOT the highest good. Leaping into a marriage just because you’re afraid of becoming an “old maid” in your circle is an awful idea. It sounds to be like a great way to end up with an uncivilized farm boy who thinks that women were put on the earth solely to pleasure and serve men.

It all boils down to one thing– Respect people’s ability to make decisions about their own lives.

I don’t need a male person to validate me, my femininity, or my worth. God loves me, and that’s all I need.

Who needs a man?

That is all.


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