“What Customers Mean to Me.” (Guest post by a 4-year partner).
A few days, I put out an inquiry on my blog’s Facebook page asking for people what they wanted to read on this StarbucksMelody blog. I did receive a number of interesting replies. One person wanted me to talk about the difference between the Teavana and the Tazo teas. Another person emailed me with a really great idea about talking about “Starbucks families” where children of Starbucks partners go work at Starbucks.
I received this email from a partner, entitled “What Customers Mean to Me.” The author of the email stated that I could edit it as necessarily, as she modestly stated “I’m not a writer.” I’m not going to edit, except to remove the partner’s date of hire. I was touched by her words. I hope you are too:
Since my date of hire of xxxx xx, 2010 I have crossed paths with many different types of customers within the five stores I have worked and covered shifts at. I have chatted with a few and formed bonds and friendships with most but there is one out of all the past, present and future customers I will encounter that I will never forget. She came in at night every few weeks with her husband and they would sit and talk for a couple hours. They were always courteous and polite and we would often make small talk about how each other’s days went. I never truly got to spend more than the few minutes chatting with her. Over the course of the next couple months I watched her frame thin, her hair loss became more prominent than the week before and she began to don a ball cap and shirts or jewelry with pink ribbons. But every time she came in she always had a smile and would ask how I was feeling while I was pregnant and how my daughter was. Until one night I noticed she was having a hard time forcing a smile and her husband was very quiet. We didn’t make small talk that night but I knew something was up. I asked my shift to go on a ten and fetched a necklace from my car. To any other person this necklace was just a trinket and a small symbol of my love for God, but to me this necklace was the strength that pulled me through some of my weakest moments. This trinket was a life line that I had to share with a woman who needed a little extra love from a part time barista and the comfort and knowledge of God’s strength and love for his child. I sat and told the story of how it came to me when I needed it most and that it was my turn to pass it on to someone else. She and her husband thanked me through their tears and I headed off to get back to work. They hugged me once more before they left and a few short months later I was informed of Louise’s passing. I grieved as if it was the loss of a family member. It wasn’t until after Louise passed that I realized how much impact one person could have on you. How this person who started off as a customer that you hadn’t a clue about their life became a friend you looked forward to seeing and talking to for all of five minutes.
I love being a barista, not for the pay or the measly hours I get scheduled each week but for the relationships that develop from a few simple conversations. The family that grows bit by bit without all the drama and holiday dinners. 🙂
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