Starbucks Baristas Are Mad As Hell (at Starbucks) and They're Not Going To Take It Anymore

Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.


They smile in your face.

Later, they go back into the storage room and kick over a few boxes to make themselves feel better.


Some even bang their heads against the fridge, in the hope that it leaves a permanent dent, a lasting symbol of their pain.

If they have time.

That's at least how I imagine some Starbucks baristas react to the manner in which they're being ignored -- so they claim -- by their bosses.

The greatest agony comes from there not being enough baristas to go around at any given time.

I confess that when I go to my local Starbucks it seems quite obvious that the whole place would sink into the soft soil beneath it, if it wasn't for four or five utter stalwarts who hold the place together.

Other baristas seem to come with the wind and leave after a mere expectoration of time, during which they don't know a chocolate croissant from bacon gouda sandwich.

Yet I've heard it said that even these good people can't get the number of hours they used to.

There's even an online petition that begs Starbucks to address its labor issues. More than 18,000 people have already signed it.

"Morale is at the lowest I've seen it in my nearly 9 years of service with Starbucks," says the petition's sponsor, Jaime Prater. "Customers feel this the most, of anyone."

Oh, I don't know. Customers can be unpleasant, self-centered sorts who stare into their phones, ignore the world around them and reach out for their cup when they hear their name called.

"Labor has been cut so much in corporate stores, that one call-off (an employee calling in sick) impacts the entire day, as managers are directed to cut shifts to save on labor costs," Prater says.

Prater says that staff are limited to 25 hours a week, which allows them to qualify for benefits but doesn't give them a realistic income to live off.

And then there's the pain technology has wrought. Starbucks has itself confessed that its stores have been too crowded because of the success of its mobile app.

For the baristas, though, there's another aspect.

"Before the implementation of a Starbucks Reward program (MSR), tips were higher. Now, with a growing percentage and majority of customers using the app, and their registered cards, tips are in major decline," says Prater.

Naturally, I contacted Starbucks to ask how it feels about this apparent dissatisfaction among its staff. I will update, should a comment arrive with my name on it.

Staffing isn't the only gripe, Prater says.

There's the Unicorn Frappuccino problem. No, not having to look at one of these things. Instead, it's having to learn to make more and more of these Instagram-friendly monstrosities.

Some baristas told Business Insider that they don't even have time to talk to customers anymore.

"I once had an assistant manager ask me: 'Hey, how can we get you to not connect with customers so much?'" a barista told Business Insider. "I stared at him blankly. He continued: 'You know, we really have to work on your transaction times, our numbers are down.'"

I'd love to chat more about this, but I have to bring my transaction times down.

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Lashon Smith
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LaShon is M.A.G. senior editor, radio personality hostess, sales consultant, voice actress, and entrepreneur. LaShon has professional experience to include hotel management, social media strategist, narrating and business owner. In her spare time, LaShon likes to craft, and ride motorcycles.