OLIVER: The lessons you learn from coffee

I worked at Starbucks the last three years of my life – Sunday was my last day. Although I am on to bigger and better things, I will miss it and the lessons I learned while working in the food service industry.

For example, it taught me how to wake up at 4 a.m. and talk to other people. Every so often one of my customers would come up and ask my favorite question, “When did you have to wake up today?”

I would always respond with “four,” only to be met with the astonished jaw dropped face of the customer. No matter how many times I was asked that question, seeing the reactions to hearing someone got up that early to make coffee was always hilarious.

Second, it taught me the value of a tip. When you work at Starbucks you earn an hourly wage plus tips. Although the tips are a bit of a bonus for baristas, for waiters and waitresses tips make up a majority of their paycheck. So what I’m saying is whether you are just getting a coffee or finishing up a steak dinner, tip the people who serve you.

Finally, the most important thing I learned from working at Starbucks is to just appreciate your time and the people who come to get coffee every morning.

The Marquette Starbucks is the second busiest store in the state of Wisconsin, so I met a lot of types of people. The morning people who do not actually need coffee to wake up and were usually more awake than me. Then there are those people struggling to accept the reality that they were no longer in bed. Of course there are the regulars, the dedicated troupe of people who come in daily to get their triple grande soy extra hot lattes.

As I continued working at Starbucks, I started to realize that every day is nearly the same. The majority of customers will get a grande sized drink. When it gets chilly skinny vanilla lattes and caramel macchiatos become popular. If the pumpkin spice latte or peppermint mocha is on the menu, that will make up a majority of the orders. Every so often a chai tea latte or shaken iced tea is thrown in the mix.

It becomes routine, almost second nature. You take it for granted.

The past three years of my life have been almost in a state of constant change, but Starbucks and coffee were some of the most consistent parts of it.

I mean, every year was a new adventure. I would take harder classes, make new friends, lose old ones, take up running marathons, consider competing in a triathlon, get in a few relationships and move into my first apartment. In these years that were constantly surrounded with change, I knew when my first alarm went off at 3:45 a.m. that I would be on my way to the one place that never changed.

Starbucks is a wonderful place to work. Its culture became a part of me. I almost looked forward to waking up absurdly early just to go to make and sell coffee beverages. But most importantly, at the end of the day, Starbucks made me a better person.

  • http://www.coffeeloversmag.com/theMagazine Coffee Lovers

    Yes, it’s true that everything changes except coffee. Those coffee lovers are consistent of their coffee time. That’s why coffee makes people assemble since coffee time is fellowship. Nobody invite you to be together in a coffee shop but a cup of coffee brings you to be together at the same time.