I’ve worked at several Starbucks stores. The same people work at all of them.
The Perpetual Community College Student
The PCCS works the closing shift. He drives a Toyota pickup. He goes to school part-time and works full-time to pay for the classes. He has too much homework, but always seems to have time to hang out on the patio after closing. He hasn’t declared a major. He’ll transfer to a local state school in four years or drop out.
The Young Mom
This chick is probably younger than you. She is always willing to pick up a shift if you need coverage, but you feel a little guilty taking her up on the offer. Her mom watches her kid while she’s working the morning shift so she can get home by noon. She waits for her ride outside with a Frappuccino.
He’s always too broke to buy lunch, but has enough money to get stoned on Saturdays. He’s an artist, but you never see any of his art. He hitches rides from friends and coworkers. When he has money, he moves in with the Musician. When he’s broke, it’s back to mom’s house. More than likely he has a second retail job at the mall or Target.
The Unmarried Dad
He’s the only one wearing shorts at work. He always seems a little on edge. He probably had a real job before working here. He’s the only one besides the Manager driving a car built in the last five years. The Assistant Manager probably has a thing for him, but it’ll never come to anything.
The Bi-Curious Gym Rat
She has a fan club of men and women who come in just to flirt with her, but she won’t settle on any one. About half of the males and at least one of the females on staff has a crush on her. She’s a free spirit and listens to indie bands. She spends her days off getting tan at the beach or snowboarding in the mountains. She’s got a Jeep, but she’s thinking of trading it in for a motorcycle. You want to hate her because you’re jealous, but you can’t because she’s so damn cool.
The Super Happy Teen
She’s got crazy hair, either in style or color. Her smile is infectious. The old people that come in love her to pieces and she brings in tons of tips when she’s on register. She’s probably religious and has a steady boyfriend she went to high school with. She gets along with her parents, especially her dad, and they’re helping her get through college. For her 16th birthday they bought her a used, sensible car and she still drives it.
The LGBT Barista
This person gets away with wearing canvas Converse on the floor instead of the ugly restaurant shoes. A favorite with all the college girls that come in, and makes a tasty soy chai. Best conversationalist. Probably vegetarian. Has a dog and lives with the Bi-Curious Gym Rat.
This guy is pushing 30 but acts like he’s 18. He plays a regular gig at the dive bar downtown. One of his songs was on a local college station. When not working with you, he’s waiting tables or bartending—anywhere he can flirt for more tips. He makes comments about the hot regulars. He hangs out with the Stoner most weekends because of their mutual interests. He calls in “sick” but really he’s just hung over.
If you’re lucky you get a manager that understands that people have other stuff going on in their lives and that increasing retail sales is not one of their top priorities. She puts out a fair schedule, pays you the right amount, and never stiffs you on labor. If you’re unlucky, she’ll spend all day in the back room doing paperwork and not helping you out when there’s a rush. If you’re really unlucky, she’ll get promoted to district manager.
The Assistant Manager
Poor, poor assistant manager. Your crew and your manager have life in balance. Then corporate tells you you’re training an assistant manager. She comes in with big dreams of making changes to your store and messing up everything. You’re not a fan. She drives a minivan and has to be off by 3 to pick up the kids. She’s the Yoko to your Beatles. The evil stepmother to your Cinderella. But balance returns when she’s shipped off to manage her own store, thank god.
The Overworked Shift Supervisor
Takes his job too seriously. Probably going to school full-time, but took on the job as shift supervisor for the experience and the bump in pay. Fears getting fired, but wants to throw in the apron almost every day. You like him because he gets you out on time. You hate him because he’s bossy. He drives a Subaru and lives with other college friends, but can just barely afford it all. Secretly dating one of the baristas, but everyone totally knows.
Katie Peoples lives in San Diego and is an ESL teacher by day, writer by night.