Saturday, September 2, 2006

Mrs. Linklater Responds to Her Critic--Part One

Let me respond to the young person who left several comments in my journal about the recent entry I wrote, concerning the unionization of Starbucks' coffee.

NOTE: I have been putting an apostrophe before the "s" in Starbucks. This is wrong apparently. Even though Starbuck was the name of the character in Moby Dick and Starbuck's would be the correct way to spell the possessive of Starbuck, upper management probably decided not to get into the whole "where does the apostrophe go?" issue and dispensed with it altogether.

Do not be alarmed by the presentation of the numbers in reverse.  I simply copied all the comments as they were left, so this is kind of like a David Letterman countdown.

COMMENT:
12) "I think what we have is a bunch of whiny thirty something slacker wannabes who haven't got a clue what real work is like."

Slackers? Do you realize this job affords NO sitting time whatsoever? You're on your feet, back and forth, at the beck and call of the general public. Service with a smile.

Mrs. Linklater responds:
From the Wikipedia definition of slacker:

The term slacker was commonly used in the United States in World War I and World War II to describe men who were avoiding the military draft.  But in the 50's it specifically referred to a variety of tendencies in the young generation -- a use popularized by Richard Linklater's movie Slacker.  subsequently spawning the label "slacker generation."  A typical slacker is characterized by a static unenthusiastic air manifesting in an apparent lack of effort. This lack of motivation is usually represented as a status of unemployment or only minor employment in the service industry. [Underline and lovely shade of red Mrs. L's]

COMMENT:
I spent six and a half hours in anaphylactic shock in the hospital one night from an albuterol treatment, and guess what? I was at work 2 hours later at 4:45 in the morning so that Joe Schmo could come get his iced quad grande sugar free hazelnut nonfat light ice extra whip caramel macchiato. Am I a slacker? I don't think so.

Mrs. Linklater:
What is it about minor employment in the service industry that you don't understand?


COMMENT:
And last, but not least.

Do not, I repeat, do NOT insult my intelligence or doubt my competence without even knowing who I am. I am that 21 year old barista who has worked herself to the bone to get to where she is right now.

Mrs. Linklater:
What are you, some kind of control freak?  I'll do what I want.

COMMENT:
Could I make your drink with three customizations right? Yes. Could the particular barista at the Starbucks you frequented do it? I don't know.

Mrs. Linklater:
Apparently you didn't understand what I said. Let me repeat it ver-r-r-r-ry sl-o-o-owly for you. I said that I stopped ordering a 1) tall  2) decaf  3) mocha frap with a 4) shot of almond. That's four things, not three.  I don't order it anymore because the baristas couldn't handle an order with more than THREE things. They kept f**king up the order. Especially the "DE-CAF" part. So the fact that YOU can do three customizations makes you about average. Being able to do four is too tough for the average barista in my experience.  Reading comprehension is apparently too tough for baristas too.  


COMMENT:
Your problem is mostly generalization and stereotypes. Your little corner of the world does not equate to the rest of the company or the individuals in their employ.

Mrs. Linklater:
I have an opinion. I don't have a problem. You're the one who is having the problem.   

COMMENT:
I understand your stance on the unionization, but your point on that could have been made without generally bashing ALL those employed by the company.

Mrs. Linklater:
You're control freaking again.  I can do what I want.

COMMENT:
I'd really love to see you try and get through just two training shifts at Starbucks and see if you think it's still just "pouring coffee".

Mrs. Linklater
Luckily I never had to.

COMMENT:
Damn, I need a caramel apple cider...

Mrs. Linklater:
Odd place for levity.  But funny.
 

PS: As far as the Barista community on LJ goes...that is our place to bitch and whine about work. This is your place to bitch and whine about coffee. Any questions?

Mrs. Linklater:
I repeat, you have not comprehended what I wrote. This journal was my place to bitch about Starbucks' potential unionization. The terrible, burnt coffee, stale food and baristas were lucky strike extras.  

COMMENT:
 7) Part-time benefits

Twenty hours a week average gets you benefits. This is not a stretch, really. We're not so different from other retail and even desk jobs. I'm sorry...if you were working part-time somewhere and they offered you benefits. I do believe you'd take them if you were in my situation. No moron in their right mind would say, "No thanks, I'm good!"

Starbucks spent more on their employees' benefits and training last year than they did on coffee. Think about that.

Mrs. Linklater:
Once again your reading comprehension suffers. Starbucks is different from other retail establishments and companies that employ people part-time. Part-time equals no benefits. I'm quite impressed that Starbucks offers benefits to employees who work part-time. I can't believe the employees would risk losing them just to have a union.

COMMENT:
8) "Only making hot and cold liquids and pouring them into containers. Or sliding a cookie into a bag."

I'm not going to go into all that goes on in a normal shift at Starbucks, but it is evident, madam, that you have not paid ANY attention at all.

Mrs. Linklater:
Sorry, I forgot about making change.

COMMENT:
9) Union stuff.

Okay. I'm not for a Unionization Movement (tm). I'm really not. I think we're given enough great benefits, partner contacts, perks, etc. So I'm not going to argue with you. I think the whole "organize now" mentality is a little overdone and unneeded.

Mrs. Linklater:
I bet you cave just like everybody else is going to.

COMMENT:
I still don't agree, however, that it's "just pouring coffee".

Mrs. Linklater:
Okay, it's brain surgery.

COMMENT:
When you look at it, most of those behind this union movement are managers, assistant managers and shift supervisors. Your typical barista, true, is not in it for the long haul. They're college kids that need some money. And what's wrong with that? But more on that later.

Mrs. Linklater:
I never said there was anything wrong with people working part-time to make some money. I asked why would anyone want to work fulltime at Starbucks? It didn't seem like a smart career move to me.

COMMENT:
10) Safety

Any food service job has safety concerns. I've burned myself at least once a week since I started back in April. I don't complain. It's part of a job. I'm sure postal carriers get sunburn, and data entry clerks get carpal tunnel. That's part of the job. You deal.

Mrs. Linklater:
Once again this whole reading comprehension thing is raising its ugly head.  I was talking about the chances of becoming permanently disabled.


10 comments:

mawmellow said...

Regarding this comment: Starbucks spent more on their employees' benefits and training last year than they did on coffee.  
My response...no wonder they charge so much for the "terrible, burnt coffee, stale food" ! You're not paying for coffee.....you're paying for employee's benefits and training (or so-called training) !  

suzypwr said...

I look forward to Part Two, even if I don't drink coffee. I must say I am impressed by the level of job satisfaction these caffeine bartenders have.

xoxo

stardustxsiren said...

"COMMENT:
<i>I'd really love to see you try and get through just two training shifts at Starbucks and see if you think it's still just "pouring coffee".</i>

Mrs. Linklater
Luckily I never had to."

<b>Which explains why you don't understand what goes into the job, and therefore, shows that you have no position to be bashing baristas at all. "Walk a mile in their shoes..."</b>

"Mrs. Linklater:
I repeat, you have not comprehended what I wrote. This journal was my place to bitch about Starbucks' potential unionization. The terrible, burnt coffee, stale food and baristas were lucky strike extras."

<b>Just because they are "extra" to the unionization topic does not mean they don't hurt those they attack. Really, think before you write, would you?</b>

"Mrs. Linklater:
Once again your reading comprehension suffers. Starbucks is different from other retail establishments and companies that employ people part-time. Part-time equals no benefits. I'm quite impressed that Starbucks offers benefits to employees who work part-time. I can't believe the employees would risk losing them just to have a union."

<b>Oh really. Then how come part timers at the Bank of America building in Hartford get benefits at part time status of 20 hours? Hmm. I think you need to do some more research before you cry out what you think is the truth. Because you're wrong. Part-time does not necessarily mean no benefits.</b>

stardustxsiren said...

"Minor employment"
<b>I'm sorry, could you tell me what it is that YOU do for employment that's so much more important? A job is a job. I'm not standing in line collecting welfare checks. I work for a living. Is that not enough for you, or do you think we should all have a more "gainful" position in life? Some of us are just starting out, Mrs. L. That doesn't make us slackers.</b>

"Mrs. Linklater:
Apparently you didn't understand what I said. Let me repeat it ver-r-r-r-ry sl-o-o-owly for you. I said that I stopped ordering a 1) tall  2) decaf  3) mocha frap with a 4) shot of almond. That's four things, not three.  I don't order it anymore because the baristas couldn't handle an order with more than THREE things. They kept f**king up the order. Especially the "DE-CAF" part. So the fact that YOU can do three customizations makes you about average. Being able to do four is too tough for the average barista in my experience.  Reading comprehension is apparently too tough for baristas too."

<b>Actually, tall isn't a customization. It's a size. Therefore, there are three customizations to your drink. I'll ignore the fact that you're being excessively rude again. Moving on.</b>

"Mrs. Linklater:
I have an opinion. I don't have a problem. You're the one who is having the problem." and all the I'll do what I want comments.

<b>Are we five?</b>

stardustxsiren said...

"Mrs. Linklater:
Sorry, I forgot about making change."

<b>It's grossly apparent that you really do have no idea what goes into the job. But, as they say, ignorance is bliss. Lucky you.</b>

On unionization:
"Mrs. Linklater:
I bet you cave just like everybody else is going to."

<b>The honest truth is that I don't know much about it because I'm really not finding that we NEED it, since we ARE treated quite well in most cases. Here on the east coast anyway. I don't know what it's like across the nation as a whole.</b>

"Mrs. Linklater:
I never said there was anything wrong with people working part-time to make some money. I asked why would anyone want to work fulltime at Starbucks? It didn't seem like a smart career move to me."

<b>Most baristas are not full time. Even most shift supervisors aren't. Store managers and assistant managers - they're needed. They're paid salary. The managers in this company love what they do. They have a passion for the values of the company and want to make their store run within those guiding principals. Yes, it's haughty and snotty sounding, but we strive to be the best. I'm sorry whatever Starbucks you frequent is obviously not up to par, but if you're ever in Connecticut, I'll make you the best goddamn frappuccino you've ever had.</b>

"Mrs. Linklater:
Once again this whole reading comprehension thing is raising its ugly head.  I was talking about the chances of becoming permanently disabled."

Say what you mean and mean what you say? You could become permanently disabled slipping in your own damn shower, but we still clean ourselves. And please, enough with the "reading comprehension" and "control freak" comments. I understand you have a high and mighty complex, that's fine. But using the same material over and over again is just wasting your precious blogging time.

swibirun said...

My grandfather used to tell me, "Never argue with an idiot.  They bring you down to their level and then beat you with experience."

Another saying "Never wrestle with a pig...you will both get dirty and the pig likes it."

Now I have a new saying "Never get into a cat fight with a Lioness (Mrs. L) when you are a kitten."

Chris
http://inanethoughtsandinsaneramblings.blogspot.com/

dafyddhevans said...

Does a Barista make a sound when she spits in your caffè latte if you’re not there to hear it?  The bourgeoisie’s most significant accomplishment in this country, and perhaps now in the world with the fall of faux-communism, has been convincing the proletariat that, through their hard work and tenacity in the service of Capital, they could *achieviate* themselves out of the working classes and into the bourgeoisie.  Your friend, Mrs. L, is precisely the type of person I would want working for me.  Willing to ruin her own health just to make one of my customers a delicious, brilliantly-made coffee-based beverage.  And being so proud of it too.  That house in the Hamptons is right around the corner, kid!  But, of course, academic Marxism is so 1990s.

screaminremo303 said...

All we're missing is the inflatable pool and a case of Mazola.

sdoscher458 said...

I don't think she got the main point that it is YOUR journal and you can say whatever you want...state your views, make an opinion whatever.  You are right about control freak....Sandi

armandt said...

Hey... a pissing contest!  

I'm not sure that's Mazola in the pool, Remo.