Posted on by Barista Life Guest Writer

This post was written by Juan Ayala, a Starbucks Partner and also a guest writer for Barista Life.  In the past, Juan has experience writing screenplays, manuscripts, and several short stories. His writing is rather professional, with a shot (pun intended) of sarcasm and humor.
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This is Part 4 of 7 in the series.  If you missed the first parts click below:

The Life of a Morning Barista - Part IV of VII

The Life of a Morning Barista Part 4

Part 4...Based On True Events (95% Caffeinated).

In The Time Of Vince…

“Why are there thirty-six 2%?”

“Why is there no closer…for the next two days?”

“I am scheduled from 6:30am- close…”

“Vince?” Bradley asked, as his black apron flowed back and forth from looking in the fridge and schedule on the wall in a rush.

Vince sat at the back desk with the store laptop ajar, although the screen was black.

He was supposed to be doing the morning order, but by the lack of organization it was clear it was auto shipping.

“Yes, Bradley?” Vince replied in a rather stoic way.

“Did you not hear those three questions?” He asked perturbed. 

“What questions?” Vince answered, and yawned. “Ah, it’s been a long day hasn’t it?”

“Vince, you just got here an hour ago…peak is just about to begin.” Bradley stated sternly. 

Vince stood up in his wrinkled attire and stretched, “Well good thing you’re a shift then! I’m not feeling too well either. I’m going to go to the bathroom. You got this.” He patted Bradley on this shoulders and exited the back room through its rear door.

“Son of a bitch.” Bradley said under his breath, and walked out to await the onslaught of yet another understaffed rush.

In my previous entry I mentioned we didn’t have a manager for 4-5 months. That was a small white lie, and I will explain why I betrayed you as it was for good reason. If you were to ask anyone on our staff, they wouldn’t have ever called Vince anything close to management material. That conversation is about 99% verbatim from the account of Bradley himself. 

To give Vince his proper amount of due credit, part 4 of this series will detail the worst scenario he left myself and other partners in. You have all heard barista horror stories, so if you would be so kind as to let me add one more to your repertoire. 

As an opening shift and barista I have noticed that the close beforehand is everything that can either make or break your open. That, and of course the partner you’re opening with. 

What we walked into was something that almost made most of us put in our two weeks on the spot. 

It was around 9am when my phone lit up with about 6 different photo notifications. I had just gotten out of my morning classes as I opened up the first text.

It was a group text from Bradley sent out to a few barista’s, shifts, and myself.

“Just opened the store, take a peek…”

First, it was 9am. We had opened four hours late and that was the first problem. Every photo that followed showed our store almost littered with a plethora of boxes.

Did I mention that the York order had just been delivered, and with that being said the entire Christmas set?

Needless to say morning operations fell short, leaving everyone on staff exasperated. This scenario lasted from 9am to around 5pm, to the best of my knowledge anyways. 

This started when I picked up my phone, which is always on silent so it was almost by chance. 

“Yes Bradley?” I asked sitting on my couch.

“So Juan…how does coming in the store for a few hours sound? Vince is here but he’s not helping us put the order away at all. Donte (another shift) is already on his way in.”

6pm.

I arrived at the store to see the emergency exit wide open. If you’re a barista you know this isn’t supposed to ever be open, but at least six boxes lay stacked on top of each other leaving the door wide open. When I opened the doors my eyes met with not one, but two district managers (DM’s) I had met prior. 

“Ah, Juan. Are you here to help with the Fair Bottoms conundrum?” Kaylee asked. Our DM was fantastic, as she was walking around trying to organize some of the boxes. 

“Kaylee, thanks for doing this but where is…you know…our manager?” I asked her.

“You know that, that a great question. He said he would be out in a second.” She said as she motioned me to follow her into our back room. Bradley was working the register as Donte did bar.

It was his day off.

“Bradley has been calling me for the last few days, and has been sending quite a number of emails about our friend Vince, as has Donte.” 

She opened the door to the back where Vince lay fast asleep on the back desk. 

I wish I could’ve taken a photo of her face when she saw one of her managers sleeping on his shift.

7pm.

I mean this as a literal question: ever been in quicksand? That’s what our backroom felt like. The orders receipt showed the auto-shipped Christmas set (cups galore), AND $1,500.00 worth of store materials. Myself, Bradley, Donte, Kaylee, and another DM whom she called in for assistance were sorting through boxes. 

At this point I know what you’re thinking, and yes this morning issue has indeed turned into the trials of a night barista, but more on that later.

To put some of our situations into perspective: I opened the next morning, Donte was supposed to be studying for finals, Bradley had reigned all us in their together, and the closing partner had to basically solo through a good amount of customers while Kaylee and the other DM dealt with corporate issues and customers complaints. It took a lot of hard work, several box-cutters, and seven trash runs in thirty-degree weather. A few of our regulars even offered to help us because the turmoil of the store had become more well known than any of us would have liked to admit. 

The only upside of this was Bradley ordering three pizzas on a negative bank account. I mean this quite literally. 

8pm.

We said goodbye to the angels that were our helpful DM’s, and closed the store down early due what was left of the entire order, and the continued state of disorganization Vince left it in. Before leaving, he scolded the night partner, which resulted with him being put on indefinite suspension. This was because he actually left her in tears in front of the district managers. This was the closest thing to a final straw, and the only reason any of us stayed is the same reason a good amount of Barista Life’s readers enjoy the content; your store almost becomes a second home. 

None of us were clocked in for these hours, we did it purely out of the well-being of the store. 

Vince worked at our store for around 1 month before being put on leave. Every partner in the store opened up files on him through partner resources, and the staff went down to half its size.

For your sake, I hope you do not have to enjoy the pleasures of having a manager such as Vince…

But, before I leave off…the cherry on top of the cake of this story is that Vince must have actually not felt too well, as he left vomit outside of the emergency door and a trail through the parking lot.

4/7: to be continued...

This is Part 4 of a 7 part series written by Juan Ayala.  In case you missed the previous parts;

Click to read The Life of a Morning Barista - Part 1

Click to read The Life of a Morning Barista - Part 2

Click to read The Life of a Morning Barista - Part 3

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