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8 Customer Behaviors That Make Baristas Roll Their Eyes

Never be these customers.

Coffee shops are wildly popular in America. Starbucks has over 15,000 locations in America alone.  Dutch Bros has 740 locations. Peet's Coffee, Caribou Coffee, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, and others add hundreds more. With all these spots for fancy coffee, it stands to reason that there are also many, many coffee shop workers and baristas around the country.

Long story short, Americans love grabbing a good cup of coffee. But do the people preparing and serving those coffees and other fancy beverages love their customers?

Not universally, as it happens—not when so many coffee shop customers engage in the behaviors we're covering today. If you do any of these things, it's a good bet your barista rolled his or her eyes or glanced askance at their fellow worker the moment your attention shifted back to your phone. Here are eight common customer behaviors that baristas dislike with a passion.

 8 Worst Customer Behaviors That Make Restaurant Servers Roll Their Eyes


Changing the order after it's made

person refusing coffee

Far and away one of the things that drive baristas the most bonkers is customers who try to change their drink order after it has been placed. In one Reddit thread, baristas shared comments like: "I hate that last minute s–t, especially when the drink is already made. Like bro?" "ESPECIALLY when they're the only one there and they watch you grab the HOT CUP and MAKE IT while literally staring. Then have the nerve to say it was supposed to be iced" and "Sorry I lied on my resume I actually can't read minds sorry man."

Simple rudeness

rude customer coffee shop

A lot of coffee shop customers evidently forget that the person taking their order and making their coffee is, in fact, a person. One former barista sharing on Quora lamented how often she would offer a friendly greeting only to be met with a laconic order, as in: "Good morning, how are you today?" met with "Venti coffee, no room."

Having no idea what to order


Many coffee shop customers know exactly what they want long before even setting foot in the door. Others… do not. One barista shared on Quora that many customers reach the counter (and then proceed to, hold up the line) having no idea what to order. His example read in part: "Me: Hello what can I get you? Cust: I don't know, I just want to drink something cold. Surprise me! Me: You got it! Cust: But without coffee. Me: Done Cust: Oh and no syrups please, too much sugar! Me: You got it! Cust: And if you can make it with as less ice as possible. Me: Deal Cust: And I don't like milk it makes me uncomfortable! Me: No probz! Cust: Can you not blend it?…"

"Is this mine?"

holding panera coffee
Panera Bread / Facebook

At busy coffee shops, the baristas ask for customers' names not because they want to make new friends, but because they want to label their drinks so that the right person gets the right order. Yet according to multiple baristas ranting on Reddit, it's wildly common for customers to approach the pickup area and ask which drink (or drinks) are theirs rather than just looking for their own names written on the cups.

Making a mess of the condiment stand

coffee shop condiment stand

A barista sharing on Quora lamented how often customers would make an absolute mess while customizing their coffees, saying how many "customers order a black coffee (or even sometimes a water) and then proceed to the condiment station to fill it with ungodly amounts of sugars, cream, and honey… only to leave their mess on the counter." If you must alter your drink, at least do it cleanly, please, or clean up the mess you make.

The impatient customer

Customer handing coffee cup to barista

Judging by posts on Reddit, Quora, I Hate Working Retail, and beyond, many coffeeshop customers have a bad habit of expecting service so fast it's literally impossible; and worse still, many demand faster service because they are late for work or appointment or another engagement, as one barista shared, ranting about "people who order their drinks and immediately act impatient, demanding their drinks right away. So many people order their drinks and immediately start saying 'I'm late for work' or 'I've to be somewhere.' This is a Starbucks, not a vending machine. Your drink will take as long as it takes to make your drink."

Asking the same inane questions, day after day

Coffee Shop Bar Counter

One former coffee shop worker who shared his thoughts on ETNT's Facebook page relayed how overall he loved the job, but that he could barely stand those regular customers who regularly asked the same inane questions visit after visit. In part, he wrote that there were "customers of mine who were regulars asking me the same questions every day. The answers never changed. For some reason, they ask them every time they came in the shop."

Literally shouting

yelling at barista

Screaming at and insulting baristas may not make their eyes roll, actually—it may make their eyes water or it may make them squint with rage. Either way, it's horrible to read how often coffee shop customers rant and rave at baristas, channeling anger clearly derived from other parts of their lives at these hapless workers who are doing their best. One barista sharing on Reddit said: "I've been screamed at, called every name in the book, and had things thrown at me." Long story short, they deserve the tips!

Steven John
Steven John is a freelancer writer for Eat This, Not That! based just outside New York City. Read more about Steven