Dear Customer: Nobody Likes a Bossy Britches

Call Center IQ is pleased to welcome Brooke Musterman as our newest editorial contributor. Brooke is the author of Reptiles on Caffeine which draws from her experience working as a Starbucks barista, and she joins CMIQ to share that unique, front-line perspective. For more details on Brooke’s work and insights, visit her "Reptilian Rantings" blog.

Everyone was bossy today. Everyone. No please, no thank you.

"Small coffee," thrusting money or a card in my direction. Often, no hello. Sometimes I like to stop their order just to say ‘hi,’ but that’s a little catty.

Manners are a tricky thing. I don’t imagine most of them intend to be so demanding. Southern culture can be misinterpreted as demanding. I also think that they try to do it because they think they’re being funny. That’s a tough one, because very few can pull that off, and certainly none of the people I encountered today.


After work, I come home to a fully lit apartment. For some reason, my boyfriend needed all the lights on and has left without turning off a single one. He calls me "bossy britches," when I mention it. I said please, though.

Sometimes we get so driven, so focused, that we often forget niceties; everyone does that at some point. Sometimes, we think, I shouldn’t have to thank them, that’s their job.

I’m telling you it goes a long way.

For instance, a German man I just met the other day came up to the register, yelling, "I need coffee!" [Probably half-joking, half serious]. I had my back turned, which made his statement and tone more alarming than perhaps otherwise. I think we all looked so surprised that he quickly softened his mood.

Thankless jobs abound in our society. I’m sure this has affected everyone at some point. I think this should be cause to make us more aware of how we treat people, if only because we know how it makes us feel.

At the same time, and I’m speaking to myself as well, a kind word and mild manner can change someone’s frenzied, toxic mood immensely. I’ve seen it happen more than once, even experienced it myself. It is not my first instinct.