Getting McFired 2: Starfucked
In last week's column Kyle got himself successfully sacked from McDonald's in under an hour, this week he went to Starbucks for employment. A lot of you got pissed off with him last time, claiming that in a climate of recession his actions were the equivalent of eating money in front of a tramp, let's see if your opinion has changed.
It was five minutes to midday when I was handed my tacky red Starbucks apron, stained from top to bottom with stale coffee and milk.
“This is the only apron we seem to have at the moment,” my new boss told me as she was rummaging through the rubble and stacks of boxes out the back of the store. “This is our wash day,” she continued. “But we’ll definitely have a clean one for your shift tomorrow.”
I didn’t have much trouble getting the job. This company is extremely keen to take on staff with previous Starbucks experience, and so after having enthusiastically lied to them about my frappe making, latte stirring Starbucks skills, they didn’t even ask me to fill out the regulation forms before taking me on.
“Right, well I’m just going to go introduce myself to all my new colleagues before my shift starts,” I told my manager as we were wrapping up the formalities. She was a bold woman in her thirties, small with dark hair and a look of concentrated discipline in the eyes.
“Ok, I’ve just got a few bits and pieces to do and I’ll be right out to find you,” she said, as I nodded and walked off to get behind the counter for the first time.
It was now twelve and the cafe was bustling, almost every seat in the place was occupied and every red Starbucks apron in the room was hard at work trying to keep up with the seemingly endless amount of orders. As I stepped behind the counter, all the members of staff glanced at me, but, before I could join the team effort I had something very important that I needed to explain.
“Guys can you all come over here for a group huddle quickly?” I shouted to my new colleagues over the din of orders. “It’ll only take a second. I have to let you know about something before I start.” They all looked confused, hesitating for a second, but I urged them towards me with an encouraging wave of my hands and slowly they all put down what they were doing and started to shuffle over.
“Hi everyone, I’m Kyle. This is my first day today,” I announced, making eye contact with each new colleague one by one. “I have to warn you, I have a condition called UnBlancophobia. It essentially doesn’t allow me to pick up or handle anything white. I have a vicious fear of the colour and start screaming and shaking uncontrollably when I touch it.”
“O…kay” one girl said, lost somewhere between impatience and laughter.
“It’s no big deal,” I informed them and walked off to find the manager. She was wiping crumbs from a table.
“Have you met everyone then?” she asked.
“Yeah I have,” I replied. “They seem like a hard working bunch.”
“You have to be just to keep up in this place.”
She walked me out back, and introduced me to the big industrial fridge where the spare milk was kept. She asked if I could take out two bottles and carry them to the smaller fridge situated behind the counter.
“Oh,“ I said, “I can’t touch them.”
“Er, Why not?”
“Listen, I’ve got UnBlancophobia. I can’t touch anything white.”
“You can’t touch anything white?”
“No, I can’t touch anything white,” I echoed. “I start screaming and panicking.” She looked at me, stunned.
“So you can’t make any drinks?’
“No I can make drinks just fine,” I assured her.
“But all the cups are white!” she cried. “Does that mean you can’t pick up any of the cups?”
“Yeah that’s right, I wouldn’t be able to touch any of the cups,” I confirmed. “It’s fine though, it wasn’t a problem when I was working for Starbucks abroad, the staff just have to help me out by handling everything white for me. They’ll get used to it in no time.”
“So could you at least touch the sticky paper we use to label the takeaway drinks?”
“Show them to me,” I suggested. “I’ll let you know.”
We wandered back behind the counter again where the queue was now at full capacity. Every seat was filled and people were still piling in through the door. She reached down below the till and pulled out a pad of tiny white stickers and held them up to me. I stepped back crying: “No way! I’m not touching them!”
There was a moment of bewildered silence as she came to grips with what I was saying. “I’ve never heard of UnBlancophobia,” she proclaimed at last.
“It’s not very common,” I replied. “I’ve only ever met two other people that have it. They are my best friends. We talk on the internet every day.”
“Why don’t you take this,” she proposed at last, handing me a wooden broom and a black dustpan. “Go sweep the floor in the customer area for a while and I’ll find you something to do.”
“Ok sure thing,” I answered. “That floor is going to be cleaner than you’ve ever seen it.”
I had decided to bring my harmonica into work with me for my first day. Live solo harmonica playing is exactly what I have felt this company was missing. I delved into my pocket and dished out my shiny silver instrument in the key of B.
As I retraced my steps past the queue to put the cinnamon back, I took a deep breath and blew incoherently into the mouthpiece. Everyone in the room stopped talking and gawped at me. I took another deep breath and blew again, for about ten seconds this time, making an even more ghastly noise than before.
Once I’d put the harmonica back in my pocket, people slowly started getting back to what they were doing before my performance.
“I made that,” I exclaimed to a lady in the queue as I passed, pointing at the muffin she was holding. She attempted an uncomfortable smile and looked away awkwardly. I was expecting the manager to come over and say something about how Starbucks do not condone loud, terrible harmonica playing during opening hours but nothing happened.
I had been dotting up and down Starbucks for about twenty minutes now, not having swept anything at all, when I decided to bring some new ideas of my own to the company. With such a wealth of customers pouring through the door, Starbucks has the chance to educate the nation, by introducing my brand new Starbucks Fact of the Day.
I wandered over to a couple of businesswomen, in suits, and interrupted their conversation.
“Ladies, sorry to disturb you,” I lied. “Would you like to hear the Starbucks Fact of the Day?”
“The Starbucks Fact of the Day?” one of the ladies echoed with intrigue.
“Yeah as a company, we are becoming quite concerned for the general intelligence levels of people in the United Kingdom, and so we’ve introduced our new Starbucks Fact of the Day in an attempt to re-educate the masses through caffeine, starting right here with the Starbucks Fact of the Day. Would you like to hear it?”
“Go on then,” the same woman sighed. “Enlighten us.”
“Ok, so . . . the Starbucks Fact of the Day today is . . . CAMELS DON’T DREAM!” “Camels don’t dream?” the woman repeated.
“Yes,” I confirmed. “Camels never dream.” Now, I don’t know if camels dream or not, I doubt anyone truly does, except maybe a camel, but try proving that they do.
“How on earth would you know that?”
“Well,” I began, “We employ a group of Starbucks scientists who work directly for us. They dedicate their lives to running endless experiments which eventually make up our Facts of the Day.”
“What? And they discovered that camels don’t dream?”
“Exactly,” I confirmed.
“I don’t see how they...“
“It’s amazing isn’t it,” I interrupted. “Well now you know, and you can go tell all your friends. They’ll be amazed at how knowledgeable you now are. Anyway, thanks for your time and I hope you have a nice afternoon. Spread the word.”
I carried on like this for about twenty minutes, passing on useless, untrue ‘facts’ to every single person in the cafe, blowing into my harmonica between each table. They were so busy in there that the manager still hadn’t have the time to come ask me how I was getting on, especially as they were a man short behind the counter due to my unfortunate case of UnBlancophobia.
“How can a potato live for up to 48 years?” one man barked angrily. “Surely they would go rotten in that time.”
“You’d think so wouldn’t you,” I replied.
“That’s nonsense,” one lady objected. “How can you tell me that bats understand spoken English, and consider it a fact?”
“Because it is a fact,” I defended.
“Ok whatever, just leave me alone,” she said, before I heard her mutter ‘piss off’ under her breath.
I pulled out my harmonica again and gave it a loud toot. I’d been wandering about Starbucks for nearly an hour now in my red apron, talking drivel to the customers without the manager ever noticing anything. I had to get her attention somehow.
I walked over to a group of Spanish girls who had just taken a freshly vacant table and asked if they wanted to do me a favour. I explained that I needed all of them to approach my manager and tell her that my Starbucks Fact of the Day had made a difference to their lives.
I stood back and watched them gather awkwardly near the front of the queue, trying to make eye contact with my manager. As soon as I saw them engage the manager, stopping her from keeping up with the piling orders, I freaked out and hid in the toilet. It was just too much for me.
When I came out of hiding a moment later she was out on the floor looking for me. I waved at her from across the room and as she caught a glimpse of my face, immediately came storming over in my direction.
“What have you been saying to those girls?” she demanded.
“I’ve just been telling them the Starbucks Fact of the Day,” I replied.
“What are you talking about?” she spluttered. “We don’t do Fact of the Day.”
“Yeah we do,” I corrected her. “We’ve been doing it all afternoon.”
“What have you been telling people?”
“You should know more about it than me,” I said. “You’re the manager after all, and this is just my first day.”
“Kyle, I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“The Starbucks Fact of the Day,” I persisted. “You know, to educate the nation through the medium of caffeine.”
“I’ve never heard of it,” she cried. “And look at the floor, it’s filthy. Have you been sweeping at all?”
“The floor was the least of my worries,” I explained patiently. “I needed to provide the harmonica based live entertainment and let people know about our Fact of the Day.”
“Listen Kyle I think that’s enough for today,” she began. “Why don’t you grab your things and go home for the day. We’ll give you a call tomorrow and let you know what’s happening.”
“What? You just want me to go now?” I said, stunned. “I’ve only been here for an hour though.”
“I know, just get your things, I’ll discuss your phobia of touching anything white and this Fact of the Day thing with my area manager and I’ll call you back and speak to you about it tomorrow.”
TOTAL TIME IN EMPLOYMENT: ONE HOUR : TWO MINUTES : 44 SECONDS
I went out into the back room, packed up my bag, and never heard from them again.
WORDS: KYLE G
IMAGES: RORY TAYLOR
Next week: ‘Getting Myself Kicked in the Pizza Nuts’, or whatever title we can think of before then that’s funnier than that (shouldn’t be too hard). Kyle wants to put these stories about him playing up in fast food restaurants and coffee shops into a book, so if you can help him do that, get in touch with us at email@example.com.