1. Don’t tip them. Gold star for customers who order a $32.00 brunch at a coffee shop for their entire family and leave the tip line blank. You just spent an absurd amount of dough on well, dough. You can absolutely afford to tip.
2. Make them do unnecessary math. On your receipt, don’t fill in the “tip” line and write some random total, making me do the math in the three seconds I have to pull tips between customers.
3. Order unintelligibly. Mumble your order, order while looking in another direction, or bark your order while simultaneously conversing on your cell phone.
4. Give your devil children free reign. Do nothing as their sticky hands stray to every glass surface and unwrapped pastry in grabbing distance.
5. Not understand what you order, and then blame the barista when you don’t get what you want. Don’t order a 16-ounce macchiato, because they don’t exist (DAMN YOU STARBUCKS). (Macchiato translates to “marked,” as in espresso marked/stained with a dollop of foam or milk.)
6. Make a filthy mess. Never bus your own table no matter how much of a state you’ve left it in, leave large bits of pastry on the ground, shred newspaper, clip your nails, etc.
7. Flirt relentlessly and disgustingly. Especially when there is a snaking line of very cranky caffeine addicts behind you. If you give a rat’s ass about me, help me not to bear the brunt of their addict fury because you made them wait an extra five minutes to receive their fix.
8. Be inconsiderate. Order an 8-ounce drip coffee and hog a large table for four hours. The shop is small; be courteous and make room.
9. Order a 16-ounce cappuccino. Baristas hate making those because it wastes copious amounts of milk, since all you’re saving is the top foam. If you order this beverage, your barista will see you as a spoiled child who is willing to pay $4 for a large cup of milk foam.
10. Treat your barista like they don’t know what they’re doing. They may very well have completed a higher level of education than you, and just because they enjoy making coffee doesn’t mean they are useless at everything else in life.
11. Come to a bakery if you are on a diet. Ask your barista which croissant pastry has the least calories. I usually direct people to videos of croissants being made on Youtube. Or stare at them blankly. Yes, the pastries are made with heavy cream. Yes, all of them.
12. Try to order diet coke. Or any other soda.
13. Delay closing. The best way to do this is to come in with a gaggle of friends within one minute of closing and insist on having your coffees in for-here mugs. Closing can be a long and arduous process and one which baristas prefer to start as soon as humanly possible.
14. Continue to sit in the shop way past closing. We don’t mind if you want to hang around for another 5-10 minutes while we start dishes, but when you’re still there 35 minutes later and we’re trying to mop around your feet, it’s time to get a clue and move on. We’ve had a long day, too.
15. Give unsolicited, ridiculous advice. “You know, I think it’s so inefficient the way you hand your pastries to the customers as they order them. You should always bring them to the register.” You’re right, sir; I’m sorry to have burdened you with the weight of two scones for the three steps you take to the cash register. I will immediately address this gross injustice and change the way the store runs. During the morning rush that’s got me losing my voice and breath.
16. Ask him or her absurd questions. “What is in your bacon-mushroom-red pepper quiche?”