Potentially the glue that holds this campus together and certainly the noblest among us, student baristas are the gatekeepers to the the nectar of the gods: caffeine. These stewards of liquid happiness balance a job, homework, social lives… and your annoying orders; they’re just trying to have it all! Hear from a few of these angels below and, like, don’t be a jerk to service workers because you don’t think they’re Penn students, we clear on that? If for nothing else, remember how much your 9 a.m. would suck without them.


Analise Bump C’18

Starbucks on 34th and Walnut

Hardest part of the job?

The hardest part, probably just dealing with people. You’re the only thing standing in between these people and getting their morning coffee and it’s awful, people are ruthless… I’ve been called stupid to my face.

Annoying things Penn students do?

I mean, I think the only thing is that when people go in they don’t realize I’m a Penn student so they kind of treat me like a piece of crap… They don’t realize I’m a Penn student like you, I have so many other things I have to be doing rather than sitting here making your latte.

Typical order?

Everybody orders caramel macchiatos, everybody, they’re so annoying, I hate making them. And now that it’s holiday [season], everybody and their stupid peppermint mochas. I can’t.

Weirdest part of the job?

It’s really awkward when, say I’m at the register and, so at Starbucks it’s always like, 'What’s your name, and then [we] put your name on the cup,' but when somebody walks in that I clearly know and I can’t ask them for their name even though I don’t remember their name, I always leave their cup blank and it’s really uncomfortable.


Simona Shao W'19

Williams Cafe

Photo credit: Simona Shao

Hardest part of the job?

Working slow shifts in between classes.

Annoying thing Penn students do?

When customers order while simultaneously texting, on the phone or FaceTiming—my favorite.

Typical student's order?

Skinny vanilla latte (skim milk and sugar–free vanilla). #Basic.

Weirdest part of the job?

When you see your returning customers at parties.

What do people not know?

When you order a half & half latte, mocha, etc., that means that 75% of your drink is steamed half & half, and that is not okay.

Worst thing that's ever happened?

The day we ran out of coffee.


Michaela Reitano C'19

Capogiro 

Hardest part of the job? 

Having to deal with difficult customers. Customers who are having a bad day often don't realize that they tend to take out any pent–up aggression on people serving them, as though standing behind a counter actually objectifies a person.

Annoying thing Penn students do?

As a 15–year–old working on Penn's campus, I never imagined that I would one day attend Penn because I was absolutely baffled by how rude the students were towards baristas. Penn students recognize hard work. Yet, for such a knowledgable student base, there seems to be a disconnect with their awareness of how the service industry operates.

Typical student's order?

A drip coffee or latte. 

Weirdest part of the job?

Recognizing customers in your classes...It's also strange when people learn that I'm the daughter of two entrepreneurs (Ed. note: Michaela's parents founded Capogiro in 2002). They assume that I'm granted some sort of special treatment and that I can give them free food, when I actually have to pay for my own lunches there.

What do people not know?

People don't have the faintest clue of how much labor goes into making a small business operate. As someone who's been very personally involved with the service industry for 6 years, I'm privy to every step required for smooth enterprise. It took hundreds of people to get you your cup of coffee.

Worst thing that's ever happened?

A few years ago, secret service shut down a location that I was working at so that Michelle Obama and her children could get some gelato. At first I thought this was the best thing that would happen to me, but then they wouldn't let us take a picture with them. Still was really awesome. 


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