That Barista Thinks You’re Cute

February 11, 2013 27 Comments

baederThe classic American diners are disappearing, and the lingo is long gone. Adam and Eve On a Raft (two poached eggs on toast), All the Way (a hot dog with the works), Run It Through the Garden (add lettuce and tomato) and Eve With a Lid (apple pie) are all a quaint memory. 

So I was utterly charmed yesterday when I read Ben Schott’s Java Jive, a guide to the vocabulary of baristas at independent coffee shops across the country. 

My favorites by far were the terms used by baristas to alert one another to the appearance of an attractive customer. It seems corny and earnest and cute. It’s a pleasure to see something about attraction that isn’t hardened and cynical. 

Marmot!

An alert to coworkers of a pretty customer, evoking a perking up similar to prairie dogs’.

 Check the honey

“Can you check the honey?” 

Indicates an attractive customer in the line.

Fresh Pot

“We’ve got a fresh pot…”

A customer who flirts with the baristas.

Need cups?

A spurious question baristas ask one another to indicate a cute customer.

It’s nice weather for ducks

That customer is hot!

Nice shoes

That customer is hot!

I really want a chocolate croissant

Said when a barista’s “crushtomer” is nearby.

 

And because baristas have to watch geezer dudes hitting on those women in line:

Cuddly

An older man creeping out a young woman.

 

Next time you approach the counter at your favorite coffee place and the barista shouts some non-sequitur, take it as a compliment. Make his day and flirt a little. :)

 

Filed in: Tidbits • Tags: , ,

About the Author:

  • http://www.thesanctuary-spacetraveller.blogspot.ch/ JT

    Susan,
    I thought ‘barista’ was gangsta speak for ‘barrister’ and was expecting an article about lawyers admiring their clientelle…
    :-)

  • Caroline

    I’m a barista, and although most of our cafe’s shifts are run by just one person, both my coworkers and I and my other friends and I enjoy observing those on the other side of the counter.

    A good guy friend of mine last night suggested that I may have developed a pattern of asking out cute customers, so maybe I don’t really need a code.

    Either way, I love this.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Caroline

      Do you have any code words to alert your fellow female coworkers when a hottie comes in?

      I can imagine that getting asked out by a female barista would make someone’s day if they weren’t used to women approaching. Good work!

  • some guy

    This is creepy, disgusting and offensive. Employees who engage in this kind of behavior should be fired.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      This is creepy, disgusting and offensive. Employees who engage in this kind of behavior should be fired.

      Are you joking? Where’s the harm in saying “Need cups?”

      No woman ever objected to being found attractive. We just object to inappropriate behavior, and I don’t think any of these meet that standard.

  • some guy

    You just said that “Need cups?” is codespeak for indicating “a cute customer.” And now you’re suddenly pretending like “Need cups?” is to be taken literally and has no hidden meaning? Fascinating.

    Baristas should not be checking out customers and making rude remarks about them, they should be doing their jobs. Are Americans really so degenerate that they can’t even work as baristas without this kind of nonsense? No wonder there’s a demand for illegals.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      And now you’re suddenly pretending like “Need cups?” is to be taken literally and has no hidden meaning? Fascinating.

      No, I’m saying there’s nothing wrong with saying “cute customer!” in a way that doesn’t offend the customer. And need cups passes the test.

      Baristas should not be checking out customers and making rude remarks about them, they should be doing their jobs.

      I disagree! I have always wanted to be a barista, and people watching would be the best part of the job. Also, joking around with coworkers is fun and need not affect productivity. All the baristas I’ve seen do all of the above while working rapidly to produce all sorts of customized drinks.

      I love going to places where the baristas are cheerful and friendly. It makes me happy to think they’re having a good time.

      You might consider chillaxing.

  • http://www.thesanctuary-spacetraveller.blogspot.ch/ JT

    I see what Some Guy did there…

    And his little role reversal thing suddenly makes me think of how feminists need a little ‘chillaxing’.

  • http://7thseriesgongshow.blogspot.com Mr. Nervous Toes

    Yeah someone is channelling Jezebel.

  • some guy

    If you think it’s ok for employees to make covert remarks in public about the customers’ attractiveness, you presumably have never left the house and don’t understand how to behave in society, or you have some kind of mental disorder.

    The fact that a secret language is even needed should have already told you that they are not appropriate things to say. Otherwise there would be no need for secrecy.

    If I ever catch anyone making such comments about me, I will confront them and will not hesitate to use force if I deem it necessary.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      If I ever catch anyone making such comments about me, I will confront them and will not hesitate to use force if I deem it necessary.

      If anyone finds you attractive, I suggest you punch their lights out. And please get video if you can.

  • http://www.christianfreethought.com/ IrishFarmer

    @Some guy Excellent trolling, sir.

    This is definitely objectification, but it’s pretty apparent that objectification can be fun and has it’s harmless uses.

  • http://www.christianfreethought.com/ IrishFarmer

    @Mr. Nervous Toes

    “Yeah someone is channelling Jezebel.”

    I disagree. If Some guy was channeling Jezebel then his comment would be, “Look at this! Can you, like, believe this! It’s just so spluh, that I can’t even handle it. Seriously, dudes, like whatever. Okay? So stop it.”

    Also, if you’ve never read Jezebel, but you’ve read this comment, then you know now what literally every single post on Jezebel ever says.

  • Jesse

    If I walked into a coffee shop on a nice day and someone behind the counter started saying nice weather for ducks… I’d know something is up. ;-)

  • Josie88

    I think that there is difference between being friendly and making sexual innuendos….obviously, if a man finds a woman attractive, the best is to compliment her by telling her that she is beautiful.

    It always creeps me out when old men in their 70s’ and up make sexual remarks instead of complimenting me.

    It outrages me even more when there are so many beautiful mature women, who needs to be complimented for their beauty yet get dismissed for being “old”.

    Like at the nursing home, where these old men compliments me on my youthful looks yet the beautiful old women there never gets complimented.

    Next time when I see old women, I will compliment them on how beautiful they are because they are beautiful.

    Susan, you are a beautiful woman!!!!

  • Josie88

    It is one thing to compliment the customer, but most barrister should know about sexual harassment in the work place.

    Just be cautious, lest one of the employee misinterpret another employee’s compliment and thus files a sexual harassment lawsuit.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Josie

      Yeah, the whole idea behind the “code” vocabulary is to avoid making the customer uncomfortable while simultaneously appreciating their beauty. It can’t be sexual harassment if the customer doesn’t know what “fine weather for ducks” means.

  • Californio

    oh darn, I’m being objectified ….again. Adults get to notice each other – I like it. I’ll even tolerate teenage girls playfully overreacting to me (to each other) after I walked by on my way to a hearing. Daughter (15 yo) put it best today: I told her “I have to chop-chop, must appear at a hearing at 2pm” – she asked ” Is it a difficult motion?” “No, I just have to appear before the judge and look pretty.” With an arched eyebrow, she replied “Yes, that is what we are known for…”
    Conversely, I will also compliment women at work on their professional dress – in a tasteful manner, of course – when their appearance warrants praise. IMO They are not my employees, and only female professionals I know.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Californio

      oh darn, I’m being objectified ….again. Adults get to notice each other – I like it.

      Me too. I find the objections to objectification (awkward phrasing, sorry) to be surprising. Women today objectify themselves more than ever before, and men have never minded being sexually objectified.

      There’s something wrong with a society where a woman can dress like a hooker and then complain about being objectified. It reminds me of those Slut Walks.

      Anyway, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with observing what is beautiful in the world. None of these terms is sexual or designed to put the customer on the spot.

  • http://www.4stargazer.wordpress.com Anacaona

    Mmm I smell a Plain Jane here ;)

  • Remo

    Some guy… lighten up! Geez we are talking about coffee talk not secret codes passed to Russian spies circa 1960.

  • some guy

    IrishFarmer: “Excellent trolling, sir.”

    As if you would even know what that word means.

    Californio, I don’t go around making remarks about other people’s appearance and giggling about it with my friends, and I expect others to return the courtesy. Especially if I’m a paying customer. I am not there to amuse them, they are there to serve me.

    Anacaona, If that’s supposed to refer to me, I have bad news for you: I’m not female.

    Remo, Try reading the original post.

  • some guy

    If there’s nothing wrong with it then what’s with all the secrecy? Why won’t the baristas just loudly call out to their colleagues that an attractive customer is present?

  • Erik L

    A lot of the people who object to objectifying are those who are never objectified. Some guy, whether you are trolling or not, that is some comic genius. Seriously, that could be worked into a great comedy sketch.

    I like how the guys have a code for an older guy creeping out the younger women. I wonder how often the “old guy” is just 10-15 years older and wearing a suit (or equivalent stigmata of a better job than barista). That’s the rough part about working a job like that as a guy. You are surrounded by and always talking to female coworkers who are a few steps above you in market value.

  • Caroline

    @Susan

    We don’t really use code words to identify attractive customers. We try to be discreet, but mostly we use eye contact/side-eye/raised eyebrows. (This may be a result of our cafe’s set-up. It would be very obvious if we were discussing a customer who happened to be 2-3 feet away from us, regardless of any code words.)

    Maybe we don’t have quite enough distance from our customers to allow, let alone require, code words. But I think in certain scenarios, it should be possible to use code words without disrespecting the subject of such alerts. Rudeness and disrespect are never professional.

  • Passer_By

    “Cuddly

    An older man creeping out a young woman.”

    So THAT’s what that means.

  • Snow Flake

    “I really want a chocolate croissant”

    I’m a barista too and this has double meaning.