The walk to work is one of the most relaxing parts of my day. I live about five blocks uphill from the Coffee Shop and I have the distance timed to the exact amount I need to be leisurely about it. My path cuts directly through the university campus, but I hardly notice the students anymore. Between the music flooding my head and the breathtaking canopy of Portland trees, I hardly remember where it is I’m going. So, when I get to work and have to stretch my face into that unfamiliar thing, a smile, it better be for someone good.
Today, it was not. Today, it was for the infamous wife-of-the-boss. And that woman knows how to put a damper on my day like nobody’s business.
The original version of this blog post was a result of two days of feeling undervalued and over chaperoned. After a good night’s sleep and a reasonably sized cup of coffee, I decided to take that post down. The real thing is, I’ve been working at this cafe for three years now. I work in the mornings, alongside the owner. And while there are always new things to learn and new ways to accomplish ordinary things, I have a better understanding of how to make a mocha, how to manage the lunch hour, and how to keep the syrup bottles clean, than a person who hasn’t been working this same job every day for years.
I don’t like being blamed for things that were done at the discretion of the owner. He is my boss. He is also the owner of the Coffee Shop. When he tells me to move, get rid of, or adjust something, I do it. End of story. So take it up with him and don’t put me between the two of you. That is not my place.
There is a Mandatory Staff Meeting on Sunday. And, espresso help me, if she tells me that I have to wear a uniform, I will quit. I will refuse and quit if the issue is pushed. Because this is why I don’t work at Starbucks anymore. I don’t want to be a step in the assembly line. Especially not after three years of service at this restaurant that has had an absurdly high employee turnover rate for the twenty plus years it has been in operation.
She tells me I’m like family. What she actually says is, “Laurel, you are like part of our family!” And you know how I’d like to respond?
“I like to be called L. My full name is Lauren. I’ve worked here for three goddamn years. Please. Don’t call me Laurel.”