Commenters were quick to side with one 24-year-old woman who detailed her recent coffee shop confrontation in a popular internet forum.
In a viral Reddit post published on r/AmITheA**hole, an anonymous Redditor explained how a barista messed up her order, and the aftermath of her decision to ask the barista why the error happened. Titled, “AITA for asking for the coffee I ordered?,” the post has received more than 15,00 votes and 1,000 comments.
Writing that she is a regular patron at a coffee shop near her workplace, the viral post’s author said that she orders a medium, light roast coffee every day on her lunch break, and that she normally leaves a 50 percent tip. However, during a recent visit to the shop, the Redditor said she received the wrong order from a barista she had never seen before.
“I notice her fill the up up halfway with the light roast and then fills the rest up with the dark roast. She puts the cup in front of me and I ask her why she filled the cup up with dark roast when I ordered light,” she wrote. “She said they ran out of light roast so she used the dark roast to top it off.”
After the Redditor responded that she doesn’t drink dark roast coffee, the barista said mixing roasts wouldn’t make a difference, and that she didn’t want to wait the six minutes it would have taken to brew a new pot of light roast. Objecting to that explanation, the original poster said she was persistent in requesting the coffee she ordered but was stunned when the barista retreated to the back of the shop and sent another employee to complete the order.
“I told her it’s not all the same, which is why it’s labeled differently, and I would’ve waited for the fresh pot,” she wrote. “[The barista] gave me a wtf look, said it’s industry standard to do that and walked to the back and didn’t come back out again. She sent out another worker I’m friendly with who apologized and got me the correct coffee.”
The next day, the Redditor said she returned to the coffee shop, where she was confronted by its owner.
“The owner was there and half-jokingly, half-seriously asked why I was causing problems with his employee,” she wrote. “I don’t feel comfortable going there anymore and I’m wondering if it really is a standard practice.”
While the National Coffee Association reported that coffee has been Americans’ favorite beverage for the last decade, with 58 percent of people choosing coffee over any other beverage, the pandemic and COVID-related restrictions have taken a toll on small and large coffee shops across the country.
Early in 2021, World Coffee Portal reported that the U.S. branded coffee shop market suffered an $11.5 billion decline during the first year of the pandemic. Despite optimism within the industry, innovations with food delivery apps and a growing preference for alternative purchasing methods has resulted in more than 66 percent of customers sticking with chain locations that offer drive thru services, and 45 percent of customers reporting that they would rather have coffee delivered, than stopping by a local shop.
Americans have also begun brewing much more coffee at home.
In 2017, 75 percent of coffee drinkers reported brewing at least one cup of coffee at home. In Jan. 2020, that figure rose to 77 percent, but since the onset of COVID-19 two months later in Mar. 2020, 85 percent of coffee drinkers have at least one cup at home every day, according to the National Coffee Association.
However, for patrons who elect to visit their local coffee shop on a regular basis, receiving incorrect orders (and dealing with the consequences of pointing out mistakes) remains a reality.
In an update to the viral Reddit post, the original poster revealed that, after explaining what happened after she asked the barista why she received the wrong order, the coffee shop’s owner made amends for the mistake and admitted that mixing roasts is not a standard practice.
Still, Redditors commenting on the viral post defended the original poster, and said she was not wrong for insisting that she receive the correct coffee order.
Redditor u/Superb_Tie157, whose comment has received more than 2,000 votes, sarcastically questioned the barista’s justification for mixing the light and dark roasts.
“Industry standard [is] to give a customer something they didn’t ask for in their order that they are paying for?,” they commented.
Echoing those sentiments, Redditor u/seriousrikk labeled the situation an instance of “poor customer service.”
“You ordered the coffee you wanted, and she delivered something different. You asked for the correct item and she refused…before she just walked off — then it’s just rude,” they wrote. “Industry standard is, when something can’t be delivered, ask the customer what they want.”
“Just ‘topping if off’ with different beans is not standard in any shop that cares about coffee,” they added.