Things to Never Do In Starbucks (or anywhere else)

starbucks cup

I have to say that in my almost two years of working at Starbucks, I’ve come across some customer practices that never cease to amaze.  I know that I have probably done a number of these when I was on the opposite side of the counter in the past… but I will NEVER do them again.  Here are some examples of things to NOT do while you are in Starbucks, or any place:

1.  When you are at the counter ordering, please, please, PLEASE get off your phone.  This has become my biggest pet peeve.  I am a person, and I deserve your attention.  I know that you are the customer, but it’s not fair that you keep me (and the line) waiting because whatever you are doing is too “important” to pay attention.  If you have to make or finish a call… please do it BEFORE you get in line.


2. Please don’t argue with me about what constitutes a drink.  Starbucks put a lot of attention into training me and the thousands of baristas all over the world.  I’m pretty sure I know the difference between a latte and a cappuccino.  A Latte is espresso with steamed milk topped with a little bit of foam… a cappuccino is espresso with foam and a little bit of milk.  I had a lady come into the store a couple of months ago and order “A cappuccino, but instead of foam, make it with all milk.”  When I tried to explain to this person that she was, in fact, ordering a latte, she just about lost her mind.

3. If you don’t know the difference between an Americano and Espresso… please ask.  As baristas, we love to talk about coffee and will be more than happy to explain what all of the different drinks are.  For example, a gentleman came into the store and ordered an iced venti americano, but hold the water.  Now the difference between an espresso and an americano IS water.  I politely treid to explain this, and he started yelling at me about how he knows what his coffee drinks are, and how dare I question him, etc… Sir… obviously you have NO IDEA what the drinks are.

4. Please don’t stick gum under the tables… enough said.

5. Don’t put your feet on the tables.  This actually happens more than I care to mention.

6.Seriously, your dogs are not allowed in the store.  Aside from the fact customers or staff may be allergic, it is against health codes, and we could get shut down.  This is not my decision, so please don’t yell at me when I ask you take him/her outside.  Believe me… I love dogs, but there are laws.  Obviously, service dogs are the exception.  But no, I don’t believe that the Jack Russell Terrier in your handbag is helping you to navigate.


7. Don’t assume that because we are working in a coffee shop that we are not smart or have no ambition.  I have a college degree, spent over 15 years in various marketing and public relations careers, and am an accomplished musician.  I, like many others, have fallen on hard times and am doing what I need to do to survive.

8. If you don’t want to leave a tip in the tip jar, that’s perfectly fine.  It won’t affect the quality of your service.  But please don’t advocate that we should get rid of them.  I count on that extra income.

9. Please don’t blame me if we run out of coffee.  It happens.  There is a finite amount of coffee in the brewer.  We constantly have to make more.

10.  Don’t  let your children run around the store.  It bothers other customers and is dangerous for the child.  You decided to have a child,  He/She is YOUR responsibility.

11. We can’t help it if the line is long.  There a lot of other people besides you that would like a drink.  We can only make them as fast as the machines pull shots and steam milk.


12. When you order 13 drinks, please don’t tell me after I have rung them up that the 4th one needs to be paid for separately.  This actually happened to me yesterday.

13. We can’t help it if the power goes out.  This happened a couple of weeks ago in my store.  A transformer blew up the street plunging the entire area into darkness.  No… the coffee brewers don’t work without electricity.  And yes… we have to ask you to leave the store.

14. Don’t take the wrong drink off the bar and then come back to tell us we made you the wrong drink.

15. I’m sorry that you have to pay for WiFi in our stores.  I had nothing to do with this decision.  It’s the way it is.  If you don’t want to pay for it, the library up the street has free service.

16.  Don’t snap your fingers at me.  I am not your slave.

17. We really do our best to keep the lobby clean and try to keep the garbage cans from overflowing.  We are busy, and unfortunately, short-staffed.

18. When you place your order, please speak in a loud enough voice so that I can hear you.  With blenders, espresso machines, and coffee grinders all going at the same time, not to mention the music playing and people talking, I am dealing with a lot of extraneous sound.  If I ask you to repeat your order, it’s only because I want to make sure that it’s right.

19.  We close at 9:30… so if you come at 9:45, the doors will be locked.  I can’t tell you how many people show up, pull on the locked door, look at the sign in the window that shows our hours, look at me, then back at the sign, and pull on the door again.  And please don’t plead with me that you only want a cup of coffee… We’ve already dumped it, cleaned the brewers, and shut down the registers.

20. It never hurts to say hello and smile at your baristas.  A little acknowledgement can go a long way.

I realize that you are the customer and that the customer is always right.  I bring up these points because it’s just good etiquette. We would like and deserve to be treated with a some respect.  We work hard… we’re are on our feet for 6 to 8 hours in a row… and really do want to keep you, our customers, happy.


11 comments on “Things to Never Do In Starbucks (or anywhere else)

  1. I respect all of these rules.

    Here’s one for you and all Starbucks baristas out there. When I order an espresso “for here”, I want it for here, in the proper vessel, a demitasse. When you have obviously heard me say “for here”, and even put my cookie/danish etc. on a plate, and then proceeded to hand me my double shot in a g-d d-mn paper cup, it’s infuriating. This has happened at multiple stores. If you don’t have actual porcelein in store, let me know, i’ll order something else. Don’t ignore my request, and then hope I’m stupid enough not to notice It makes a difference. Other espresso lovers will back me up on this

    • You are absolutely right! If you want your drink in a demitasse and ask for it, then you should get it. The only time that it should not happen is if they are out of them. We were down to having only a few cups left in my store because they kept getting broken. But now we have more than enough to accommodate. If they give you a paper cup, and DON’T explain the situation… please hand it back and tell them you want fresh shots in a “for here” cup, just like you ordered. Customer service is still the key foundation.

  2. this post eric is so classic sbux. i just am so thankful i dont work in the downtown store anymore with all the selfish ivy league students. i have never met so many inconsiderate, plastic using, non english speaking people in my life that have no manners, no tact, and no respect for the rest of their surroundings. its so sad that these are the next senators, and other huge officials that will be running the country someday. very sad.

  3. Let me extemporaneous respond to this as per my character. I am not so smart and have, at best, wavering ambition. I WILL be your slave, but only at a price. I am a professional submissive, but I don’t lick shoe soles nor will I be saddled. I don’t care if I bring you to climax, but I will always bring you completion… and perhaps, least of all, I loathe the moniker “barista”. However, if you call me by name, I’ll probably be uncomfortable with that too. It’s usually not that I don’t care enough to remember your name, but it may be. If you say the word “demitasse”, there’s a small chance I may misconstrue it as quip at my expense, and not realize you’re referring to a cup. I am as human as you’d like me to be, and as dehumanized as I must be. I am one of the nicest guys you may meet in an apron, and conversely, your most ruthless moral assassin. Hear me whimper and fear me noir.

  4. So I have one. I understand and I don’t mind at all the one about dogs. I would not like a bunch of dogs roaming around the store either. But I know my best friends mom is handy capped. Well she has a service dog which helps her walk and get up steps and can assist her when she needs something. That dog wears special gear and has a lisence to be in any public area with the owner. As a side note the dog is a poodle. Why is it that Starbucks still gives her a hard time? And did you know you could get sued for that. I don’t think she would ever do that but I still wouldn’t want that to happen because I love Starbucks.

  5. Kay-Dee… As I mentioned, service dogs ARE the exception. They are, and should be, allowed in any establishment. While I wouldn’t suggest suing, it could be a case of where the baristas giving her a hard time are just not familiar with the laws regarding this. Your friend’s mom should ask to speak with the manager and explain the situation.

  6. As a fellow barista, I think it should also be said that a bathroom has a toilet for a reason. Please don’t poop on our floors.

    Keep your dogs at home unless they are service dogs. I don’t want to pick up baby poop and your dog poop.

    Please DO NOT scream at me on drive thru. Hang up your damn phone and then talk to me.

    Don’t spill your drink on yourself after YOU picked it up and blame it on me.

    These things just are irritating!

  7. I think small dogs in purses should be allowed. Hello, it’s in a purse. It won’t poop or pee on your floors, and most purse dogs are very quiet. What you forget is that a lot of times, people are just running in to grab a cup of coffee in between errands. If they have somewhere to go with their dog, it’s stupid to drop their pet off at home, if they are perfectly contained inside of a purse. Suggesting to leave your pet in a car or tied outside, is asking for someone to potentially steal your pet. For many of us small pet owners, they are like our children. If pets aren’t allowed, neither should annoying little children who whine, scream, cry and yell. Also, people who bathe in perfumes and colognes should be banned…because I’m allergic to those fragrances, as well as smokers, should be banned, since in addition to causing allergic reactions in others, it is cancer causing. Etc, etc, etc.

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