Tag Archive | Starbucks

Barista Appreciation and Soul-Friends

Who likes days off? Not me! When I have time off of work, I’m not quite sure what to do with myself. I don’t have homework, and it’s not like I can truly bring work home with me. The best way to bring Starbucks home with you? Buy a coffee maker, maybe a French Press (I may or may not have one), and have some Starbucks coffee while you sit and do whatever. That’s all fine and well, but it’s the sitting that bothers me. I’m a get up an go kind of girl, so of course I took to a Starbucks cafe’ and wrote letters. I talked about my Starbucks giftcard collection, which I pulled out of my Starbucks bag, and plopped on the leather couch in the corner with my Earl Grey Tea Latte. I have an awful case of the “I love everything about my job” syndrome. I made fun of my Barista Trainer, Melissa, for coming into work on her days off. Now I’m a Barista Trainer, and I go into work on my days off.

To my credit, though, I did laundry, signed up to be a volunteer paramedic for the Rock n Roll Saint Louis Marathon, roped my dad into taking a trip down here to be a volunteer paramedic with me (he was a paramedic for 13 years, as was my mother. We’re a family full of medical geeks. My brother got out with a business and psychology duel degree, but still audits anatomy classes for fun), mailed a package, and called around to different apartments to make sure that I would have a place to live when my lease is up. Laundry day is the one day a week that I don’t reek of coffee, so of course I go to Starbucks and hang out in the cafe’ long enough to where I feel at home again. If I could make a Starbucks air freshener, I would. Who wouldn’t want to have their kitchen always smell like freshly pulled espresso shots, steamed milk, and warmed up cookies?

I digress. Rob, the man that keeps my heart, went out of town this weekend to shoot a video for his band’s new single, and I stayed home because of work. While I surely will miss him, it gives me a wonderful amount of free time to become enthralled in my letter writing. While I was sitting in Starbucks, I penned a love note to the baristas, and secretly tossed it behind the counter while no one was looking. That particular store needs a lot of love, and I like to visit as much as I can to see how they’re doing. It’s been very unstable since it opened, and there has been a lot of negativity surrounding the recent and sudden quitting of their store manager. Besides that, baristas are often the brunt of every bad mood brought in by a caffeine-driven smile. They often times don’t receive thanks for what they do since people are in a hurry, “haven’t had my coffee yet,” or have just generally come to expect that baristas are emotionally comparable to the espresso machines themselves. Yes, many of us do live and breathe our jobs, but a kind word (or a mean word) can make or break the feeling of the day. More Love Letters has a ‘Barista Appreciation’ sort of event, where Hannah has penned letters specifically to baristas thanking them for all of the times that people are rude, inconsiderate, and lacking appreciation. When I read that on the website the first time I had visited, it really warmed my heart because it’s something that is particularly relevant in my life. Thank you, Hannah and More Love Letters for warming the hearts of the New York baristas. Warm coffee, warm hearts.

So one of the letters I wrote today was to a girl named Hannah who is struggling with something almost every young woman has struggled with: making and keeping friends in high school. Sure, men also face the same struggle, but scientists and relationship analysts have proven that the ‘mean girl’ mentality can be a much more intense form of bullying than many people realize. Junior Year of high school is THE year where young women everywhere suddenly grow up and grow out. For whatever reason, lifetime friends can become sudden enemies this year, which is what happened to me when I was in high school, and is what Hannah is currently going through. Having an older brother, no one really warned me about this weird phenomenon, and I felt extremely alone for quite some time. My friends that I had made were no longer my friends, and I didn’t even know why. Well, I did know why, it was just very complex, and there were no particular details. Just teenage mean girl complexity. Hannah’s friend group “was ravaged by drama, and Hannah was so heartbroken. She feels like she’s starting high school all over again, not knowing who to sit with at lunch or in class,” her sister said in her email. “Hannah is such a great girl, and I just want her to know that she’s better than all of this. A lot of people forget how hard high school can be once it’s over.” I think a lot of people really try to block out the bad memories and substitute them with stories that become more embellished and elaborate as we go on, refusing to acknowledge tougher times like they didn’t exist. I made sure to include my story in my letter, hopefully showing Hannah that she isn’t alone, but not minimizing the way that she feels. It’s tough growing up, and that moment that you feel alone can really impact how you feel about yourself as you get older.

If there is one thing that I’ve learned to embrace, it’s change. Embrace the weird things about you, the things that make you really stand out, and people will gravitate towards your confidence. Open your heart to new possibilities of friendship. My “second” group of friends from high school are such wonderful people. When we’re not busy conquering the world in our own ways, we still do the best we can to stay in touch. When that sudden change hits, you need to adapt. Accept it for what it is, and realize that change happened because it wasn’t the path that you were supposed to end up on. It was a time in your life that you were meant to learn from and move on. Your friends should make you feel good about yourself and your relationships with others. If there is drama or negativity creating a monster out of your friends, then they aren’t your Cinderella fit. There are people out there that were meant to love you for who you are and who you’re becoming; they are your soul-friends. Maybe a drastic change will bring them into your life, or maybe they’ll slide in without you ever realizing that you didn’t have them to begin with. Soul-friends have your heart on radar. When you feel lonely and are in need of a friend- when you feel that no one will ever love you again- that radar goes off like a siren in a fire station. Whether it happens right away or not, your soul-friends will enter your life, and you will find yourself happier than ever. So, Junior Year Hannah, things will get better. Your soul-friends are on their way.

With love and love letters,

J

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Particularly Advantageous

There’s just something about today that screams “opportunity!” Maybe it’s the nice weather, or the fact that I’m working in a different store today because I was pegged as someone “that could inspire and uplift” the team there. Maybe it’s because I had all of my pressing issues completed this morning, or that I got some lovely emails from my new MoreLoveLetters team. I don’t know if I told you, but this summer has been filled with trials. I made the decision to take a year off of school when I realized that my health was finally impacting my ability to perform well in class. It was a very difficult decision that spurred a lot of sudden changes in my life. I had to move off of campus, quit my job as a Resident Advisor for the university, find a new apartment, and secure a job to stay afloat; all in the matter of about a week. At the same time, I had to battle with myself to stay above the lurking thoughts “Maybe I’m just not good enough” and “Maybe I should just quit. This is it.” About two months later, I’m happy with my decisions, and I feel that the universe has been sending positive energy in my direction. For once, I feel okay.

The World Needs More Love Letters came about in that transition for me. I always offer to write letters to friends, no matter how far they are, how busy, or how little I know them. “If you send me your address, you will receive letters.” I always hold myself to that promise. A friend and fellow Resident Advisor sent me the link to moreloveletters.com and told me to check it out. As soon as I read the mission, I knew that I had to be a part of it. I then applied for a position as a Letter Writer, which puts me on a team of lovely people that are charged with the mission of writing letters fit to specific requests each month, plus other things. I was fortunate enough to be accepted into the team, and it seems that perhaps another door with the organization is now opening for me. I couldn’t be happier. By chance that a friend noticed my love for writing and inspiring, I found an organization that I love, and want to wholeheartedly dedicate myself to. It came at a time where I really needed to feel like I was enough, that I wasn’t giving up on myself or others. It’s perfect. “A Cinderella fit” as Hannah, the creator of MLL, often says. It’s a Cinderella fit for me.

Since I’ll be in a store that sees more irregular traffic, I’ll be bringing my pens and papers to work to pen some love letters to drop around the town. It’s around a lot of student alcoves, and it just happens to be Midterms for many students in the area, so hopefully some people will find some much needed encouragement. I’m excited to meet the other baristas and see what I can do to make their experience with each other and the company much more pleasant.

I’m so ready for today.

J

Home Base

So I went to work this morning around 6am, to serve all of the Morning Warriors their wakeup call in a cup. I decided to write a letter and drop it in the lobby, hoping that it would make someone’s day on their way to work after they stopped in. I realize that I need to start taking pictures, but it’s always too late (next time, maybe?). This note was written on a lovely stationary piece from the “Enchanted” bundle I got yesterday, so I was very excited about it. Turns out that the letter circulated through several hands, brought strangers together in congratulations of getting through the first hour of their wakefulness before caffeine, and landed in the hands of my manager.

I was a little bit nervous about him telling me not to leave these kinds of things around the cafe’, but I honestly don’t think he knew it was from me. Luckily, cups can only be marked in print, and I only write letters in cursive. This is a trick I pulled when I was in the note-passing prime of my school years. I would spend my time writing in either print or cursive for homework and in-class assignments, and would write notes to classmates or professor evaluations in the other form. That way, if a note was found or a review was disliked, it couldn’t be traced back to me. It was purely coincidental this time around, but I’m alright with it. My manager passed it to a few of my coworkers and kept it in hour labor binder, where baristas often check their schedule and shift placement for the day. So it was an unintended, unexpected outcome that happened for potentially the better. Who knows, maybe I’ll tell them soon, but I’ll give them some time to meditate on the warm fuzzies of a found love note from a stranger.

I hope your day is filled with love, and you make it through the afternoon drawl with the determination of my Morning Warriors that I see on my morning shifts.

J

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