Coffee break- first come, first served (in theory)


Coffee_man_2I’m working in the coffee shop this morning after an early stop for fasting blood work.  I waited in line for my turn to order at the register and something happened that is occurring more frequently recently than it used to.  The barista, wanting to keep things flowing (pun intended) prepares the drinks for the group in line behind me while I am ordering at the register.  These folks then get their drinks while I’m still waiting for him to prepare mine even though I was there first.  This flies in the face of the first come, first served business philosophy and was even more aggravating since there were three in the group behind me while I was ordering for one.  What’s up with that?



has nothing to do with tipping. Poorly trained and obviously not very bright employees. Happens frequently at Starbucks. On the bright side sometimes you benefit from it.


Do you frequent this one often? Are you a poor tipper? If so, maybe it’s the barista’s revenge?



James, I think the following applies to you:


– You answer the door before people knock.
– Juan Valdez named his donkey after you.
– You ski uphill.
– You grind your coffee beans in your mouth.
– You haven’t blinked since the last lunar eclipse.
– You lick your coffeepot clean.
– You’re the employee of the month at the local coffeehouse and you don’t even work there.
– Your eyes stay open when you sneeze.
– You chew on other people’s fingernails.
– Your T-shirt says, “Decaffeinated coffee is the devil’s blend.”
– You can type sixty words per minute … with your feet.
– You can jump-start your car without cables.
– Cocaine is a downer.
– You don’t need a hammer to pound nails.
– Your only source of nutrition comes from “Sweet & Low.”
– You don’t sweat, you percolate.
– You buy 1/2 & 1/2 by the barrel.
– You’ve worn out the handle on your favorite mug.
– You go to AA meetings just for the free coffee.
– You walk twenty miles on your treadmill before you realize it’s not plugged in.
– You forget to unwrap candy bars before eating them.
– Charles Manson thinks you need to calm down.
– You’ve built a miniature city out of little plastic stirrers.
– People get dizzy just watching you.
– You’ve worn the finish off your coffee table.
– The Taster’s Choice couple wants to adopt you.
– Starbucks owns the mortgage on your house.
– Your taste buds are so numb you could drink your lava lamp.
– Instant coffee takes too long.
– When someone says. “How are you?”, you say, “Good to the last drop.”
– You want to be cremated just so you can spend the rest of eternity in a coffee can.
– Your birthday is a national holiday in Brazil.
– You’re offended when people use the word “brew” to mean beer.
– You have a picture of your coffee mug on your coffee mug.
– You can thread a sewing machine, while it’s running.
– You can outlast the Energizer bunny.
– You short out motion detectors.
– You don’t even wait for the water to boil anymore.
– Your nervous twitch registers on the Richter scale.
– You think being called a “drip” is a compliment.
– You don’t tan, you roast.
– You can’t even remember your second cup.
– You help your dog chase its tail.


the issue you encountered, most likely, is the irregular engagement of the “take orders from the middle of the line” standard process. you were most likely at the FRONT of the line, with someone in front of you. When, the barista started taking orders from the MIDDLE of the line to get the production half of the process moving, while the ORDER and PAY half (the faster bits) of the process was in a bottleneck. If this TOFTMOTL process was in effect upon your arrival, YOUR order would have been taken. But, most likely, you were NEXT at the time of arrival and therefore that process was NOT in effect. Since the Take orders and Pay part of the process is the shortest transaction time, they were able to do this bit just as fast as you – and get their drinks BEFORE you.

It is human nature to feel slighted by going from NEXT (one of the greatest of all human emotions) to feeling NEXT TO NEXT or worse BACK OF THE LINE, but I would think a learned reflection of these types of processes would yield this insight and help to calm the standard human emotion.

Cody B

I work in a company that has a private Caribou Coffee in our building. We get a sweet deal (not sure if they do this everywhere and I just don’t know about it) where if you bring in your own coffee cup you pay the price of a small coffee no matter how big the cup is. It’s really popular and convenient. I get my coffee while I’m waiting in line. They just grab your mug while you’re in line and get you your coffee before you get to the pay counter. It makes the, at times, 60 foot line more bearable. I bring it up because I get my coffee way before anyone that orders a latte or cappuccino.

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