Thursday, August 20, 2009

It's like Cheers with Caramel Drizzle

When i first began working at Starbucks a little under a year ago i never thought that it would be so difficult to punch out for the last time. I just finished my last shift and i am genuinely sad. Not sad like last campfire sad. Not sad like the last summer drive through the back woods of Chenango county sad. Just sad. The goal of the Starbucks corporation is to create a third home environment. Our customers have home (1st home) work (2nd home) and of course our cafe (third home). Starbucks has been 2 of home homes for the majority of the last year. Working with different people and interacting with customers helped me to learn about myself and the kind of woman i am evolving to be. My knowledge of Starbucks when i first started working was very little. It was the place where I spent many hours avoiding my crazy housemate (not Sarah I enjoyed living with Sarah) when i lived in Seattle. I would scrounge together enough change to order an iced tea in the morning and sit there to read for hours and hours. Over the past year i have learned:
1) Don't take money from a customer if it is brown, greasy or smells. It's probably covered in poop.
2) There is always more that can be recycled. Thus making me a great homeless person.
3) Opening shifts are a great time to sip coffee and have heart to heart talks
4) Knock Knock jokes are funny at any age
5) Some people are just assholes plain and simple the benefit of the doubt will only be more frustrating.
6) The sanitizer is not a dishwasher. It does not use soap!!!
The most important thing that i learned however is that I matter. It is hard to be 28, well 29 now and be in college still. It is a challenge to be stuck in between midnight pizza runs and finding a career. Many of my friends are getting married and having children and i'm filling out FASFA forms. We get wrapped up in whats going on in our immediate lives and it's hard to connect or reconnect with the people in our periphery.I know that i sometimes go months without talking to the people that really matter to me, just because. Once it has been a while it can be challenging to find the courage to just call someone up, or email or for fucks sake facebook. Sometimes the people that needed me the most the last year never once asked me for anything, not even a splash stick. While I am making sure her triple grande non fat extra dry cappuccino is just right one of my closest friends was diagnosed with MS and i didn't even know it. While i made countless samples of gingerbread lattes my aunt died of cancer. Because of my job at Starbucks i have missed weddings, funerals, births and just some relaxing time with friends and family. When i think about all that i have missed over the last year I feel bitter. The sweetness comes in when i think about the people who rely on me to start their day each and every day. I am about to embark on a life changing journey across the world with the woman i like and love most. This summer I felt completely neglected because I wasn't able to steal as much of her attention as I had grown used to. What i failed to recognize until this moment however is that the girls at her camp and the other staff needed her. They relied on her each and every day. I get to spend the rest of my life relying on her. I can't tell you the amount of time I have spent feeling so lonely i could puke yet even the most obnoxious customers needed me or made me feel that way anyway. I mean what would cracky green tea latte do without her extra 5 scoops of Matcha, well she might have a regular heartbeat for one, but you know what i mean. Starbucks taught me that there is a delicate balance between knowing what you need from the people around ( and sometimes thousands of miles from you) you and what they need from you. The people who need you the most aren't always the ones jumping around in front of you singing "i need more chai, less foam, more soy, less ice..........." it might be the friend you've lost touch with. The relative who just lost a loved one. It could be me spending my first Christmas away from mom, dad and nick. The moral of my Starbucks experience is don't take things at face value. Look deeper, explore and find what it is that you really like and love about people, the world and of course your coffee.

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