Grumpy Baristas Are Sending Me Straight to Dutch Bros.

I don’t mind the less-than-a-minute psychotically happy interaction that comes with rolling through the Dutch Brothers drive-thru to get a morning coffee.

Did I just say that?

I cannot believe I said that. I’m no killjoy by nature, but that kind of service, which features a zesty team of millennials practically climbing in the car to ask, “So, what’s the plan for the day?” could be construed as invasive by even the most gregarious types.

Those Adderall-eyed kids, decked out in their neon bangles, pump out coffee drinks as fast as pounding beats blasting in the background. They’ve turned that tiny coffee shack into a cruise-through rave and somehow, what should be the most annoying way to get caffeinated is now not only tolerable, it’s almost enjoyable.

Who am I? I feel like I don’t even know myself. Grumpy baristas, this is all your fault.

I go out for coffee a lot. I have always loved hanging out in coffee shops, watching people, shooting the shit, and pretending to get work done. When the coffee is extra good, it’s such a bonus. One of my besties and I frequent Phoenix coffee shops together for serious gab sessions two to three times a week. Over the last few months, we’ve noticed a trend in some of the baristas at a few of our favorite indie shops — that being that they’ve become real fucking grouchy.

It’s beyond a nonchalant ‘tude to set a mellow vibe. It’s more like a deep, collective annoyance that there are customers: customers with needs. These baristas' misery about serving customers is palpable, but it seems they’ve found a way to get a little satisfaction — by need-shaming.

At one spot, our mere presence seemed to irritate not one, not two, but three frowny-faced staff members. We stood at the counter, we on our side, them on theirs, in some unusual stand-off that was so quiet, bizarre, and foreign, my friend and I could only look at each other and laugh.

We just, you know, wanted some coffee. Finally, one of them sort of turned her head our way and mumbled that someone would help us “in a minute.” We cracked up again, looking at the empty dining room, the line of just us, and the ample amount of staring wait staff who weren’t doing anything. The transaction itself – two iced coffees with soy milk – caused eyerolls all around. We watched from one to the next as each pair of eyes rolled up into its respective head. It was like watching a bunch of eyes do the wave.

At a different place, quiche was our downfall. Ordering it proved to be us exercising a request that must have been invented by demons.

“Can we get two pieces of that quiche?” was met with a look of disgust so large you would have thought we asked the guy if he’d lay the eggs himself. He plopped two pieces on plates and then sent them toward us with a fast, aggressive push. My friend and I looked at each other with that half-laugh, we-can’t-believe-this-bullshit look we have been exercising on the regular.

Wanna see an already-annoyed hipster lose his ever-loving shit? Ask if you can get your quiche warmed up. I don’t know about you, but a cold egg pie doesn’t exactly make me salivate. The request hit him like a punch in the junk. He fiercely sucked in his irritation, let out a giant sigh, didn’t let us down with the expected eyeroll, and said, “Sure.” His man bun shook with rage.

And by the way, I used to think those man buns were carefree twists of one’s free spirit up into a coif that exuded a casual confidence and a courtesy for the workplace to remain hair-free. Now, I think those lengthy locks are twisted ropes of anger, holding in the server’s rage. It’s like in Mean Girls, when Damian proclaims that Gretchen Wieners’ hair is so big because it’s “full of secrets.” These grumpy grinders are wandering about with locks of vitriol and wrath atop their domes.

Surly servers, save your grump for the jerks who might actually deserve it, 'cause as it stands now, you’re making me want to wheel up to that windmill’d hut for a triple shot of that proprietary blend of hippy-dippy-servers-on-steroids style of happiness.

I don't even know myself anymore.

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Amy Young is an arts and culture writer who also spends time curating arts-related exhibits and events, and playing drums in local bands French Girls and Sturdy Ladies.
Contact: Amy Young