The other day, my boyfriend Nick and I were in the middle of ordering our drinks at Starbucks when two or three different coffee timers started going off at at the same time behind the register. Our frazzled barista gasped, “Oh my gosh, just a second,” then sprinted back and forth between brewing machines, frantically trying to locate and reset the offending timers. Nick and I smiled sympathetically; we knew her plight all too well. “We both used to work at Starbucks,” I said, “so don’t worry, we understand!” When she had finally silenced the cacophony of urgent, high-pitched beeping, she leaned over the cash register and whispered, “When you worked here, did you ever hear that beeping … like … in your head?”
“YES,” we both answered immediately.
“It was like a ringing in my ears that never stopped,” said Nick.
“I had recurring nightmares about a coffee timer that had no reset button,” I said. “It just kept beeping for all eternity. I used to wake up in a cold sweat!”
You see, working at Starbucks, it changes you. Whether you love it or you hate it, you’re never quite the same after you don that famous green apron. The experience is equal parts educational, inspirational, and traumatizing, but one thing’s for sure: all Starbucks employees, past and present, share a very special bond. Here are a few surefire signs that you are one of us:
1. No matter where you work now, you still call all your coworkers “partners.”
2. Whenever you hear any kind of beeping (cell phone alarms, oven timers, etc), you freak out and try to rebrew coffee.
3. You have at least one burn scar on your body that, when people ask you how you got it, you just say, “Eggnog.”
4. You order all your Starbucks drinks the “right way.” And cringe when other people don’t.
5. You find yourself facing items and rearranging things so they look nice in the cold case while waiting in line.
6. You can’t help but judge people you meet based on their favorite Starbucks drink.
7. You tip really well. At all coffeeshops, but especially Sbux.
8. Your Starbucks order is still an obscure, super complicated drink you made up when you worked there.
9. …unless the store you go to is super busy, which means you order something basic, like a “tall coffee,” just to cut the barista on bar a break.
10. You can’t wear khaki pants or polo shirts without feeling like you’re going to work.
11. You always buy a pound of beans when Starbucks is doing a sales push. Not because you need or want them, but because you feel bad for the barista trying to reach their sales quota for the day.
12. You feel closer to the people you worked morning rush shifts with than you do with your own family.
13. Every time you go to the doctor, you half-expect to get the news that your lungs are coated in a thick layer of matcha powder and you only have 3 weeks to live.
14. No matter how long it’s been since you worked there, you still feel a little rebellious every time you paint your nails or dye your hair an “unnatural” color.
15. Howard Schultz is one of your father figures.
16. You’re secretly appalled when any of your subsequent jobs don’t offer full healthcare benefits and stock options.
17. You’ve still got a stained green apron crammed in the corner of your closet, because, for some reason, you just couldn’t bear to get rid of it.