August 10, 2009

A Bucket of Lard, and a Sneaky Bastard

Growing up, my oldest sister had a serious eating disorder. The knowledge of this made me feel like a pregnant hippopotamus because she was always so much thinner then I was, and nothing boosted my self esteem more then a petite, beautiful blond standing 5'9, with a perfect rack telling me she was utterly repulsive.
One Christmas she was home from college, and over a few to many margaritas she began confessing to me terrible things she had done to her friends, just to make her feel better about herself. She told me about how she would dump out her roommate's diet soda, and refill it with regular soda. She would crack the seal of her skinny friend's Splenda, replace it with regular sugar, and glue the edges back together. She would offer to cook, and use pure lard. She even made "health-shake" for her model friends using whole sticks of butter.
At the time, I had a few laughs about it. I found myself justifying her actions, I even thought of all the ways her little scheme could have benefited me in the past. Just like LiLo with the energy bars in Mean Girls, I though about all the hot girls whose bodies I could have have watched bloat up with Lard and butter, as I laughed and kept on feeding them. How their misery, and self-hatred would somehow make me feel better and help with my own validation. And then I sobered up.

I haven't thought much about my sister's shenanigans since then, I have even gained an appreciation, and have learned to be happy with myself the way that I am.

But then the other day I was at Starbucks. My Barista was a heavy set teenage boy, who stood cowering and meek, almost as if he was uncomfortable in his own skin. When I asked for a small sugar-free nonfat iced mocha, he rolled his eyes and muttered under his breath,

"Nonfat, sure...make fun of me...just like everyone else.."

I chose not to respond. There was nothing I could have done or said that would have made feel any better about himself, nor was my nonfat drink in anyway a representation of what I thought, or felt about him. So I remained silent, but I watched him closely as he made my drink. I watched as he pumped 5 squirts of REGULAR Mocha syrup into my drink, and as he
sneakily added a squirt and a half of Classic Syrup (liquid sugar).

Barista: "Nonfat Mocha..."

GH: "Thanks..."
Taking one sip so he could see me, I scrunched my face and said,
"Are you sure this is sugar free?"

Barista: "Yes, It is..."

GH: "Uh, OK. Thanks."

Upon leaving the building I dropped the drink into the nearest trash can. Luckily I had payed with a gift card that much to my surprise still had $20 dollars remaining.

I was really annoyed by the whole ordeal, yet having to dump the drink was the least of my concerns. I was pissed that he was dishonest, that he would purposely sabotage a stranger who unintentionally offended him. I understand low self-esteem. I struggled with it all through junior high and high school. But does he honestly think that just because he is miserable, everyone else should be too? That since he is fat and unhappy, everyone else should join him in self-loathing.

We make our own happiness. We may not like our weight, our hair, or our clothes, but we shouldn't treat everyone else like shit because we are unsatisfied. We should change our attitudes, and treat people with love and respect, only then will we learn to love the person trapped underneath the extra weight, a bad hair-cut, or shabby clothes.


Mrs. Lazaro said...

There is a saying, that I am probably misquoting, that is something along the lines of, "We will never find true happiness at the expense of others."

I agree that we make our own happiness. The story about your sister made me feel sad. Whatever relief or pleasure it brought her to sabotage those around her was probably fleeting. I hope she is more comfortable in her own skin now.

SkippyMom said...

Everything about this post makes me sad. Sorry your sister and the barista have issues that caused them to act that way and that you simply walked away without correcting his behavior/your drink.

I absolutely see you point and think you are a great person for not bringing the sabotage up regarding your drink, but I have to wonder if he did that to a diabetic or someone who simply couldn't handle that amount of sugar? I know it isn't our job to save the world, but it is sad that had to happen.

Hayley said...

I've been reading your blog for a little while now and love it!

I would have said something to the barista. I mean, what if you were diabetic or something? I would have been pissed!

Rachele said...

You should have told him you're a diabetic and too much sugar could put you in a coma, and then you'd have to sue him :-P

I'm not opposed to lying if it means teaching some idiot a lesson, lol.

redgirl said...

Wow. Are you serious? I wish you had had some way to let him know that you knew.

I completely agree with you...we are responsible for ourselves. Tearing other people never builds yourself up.

Signed Elsie said...

If he takes offence at taking drink orders then he shouldn’t be working as a Barista. I would have said something rather than pay for a drink that was not what I wanted. What he did was not just deliberately nasty but if he had tried that on a diabetic or someone with allergies he could have made them quite ill.

Anonymous said...

Speaking as someone who used to tip the scales at over 200 lbs, and who is still sensitive about her weight despite having dropped 80 lbs since then, there is absolutely no excuse for that kind of behavior. I don't care how much you hate your body--attempting to ruin other people's lives because you don't like yourself is childish and stupid. I don't usually complain at restaurants, but I would have over that.

Anonymous said...

you should have said you just watched him make your drink so you know he's lying and see what he says then.

Anonymous said...

Honestly, I think you should have either reported him, or told him you saw him make your drink incorrectly. Thinking a drink order means the customer is making fun of him means he has vast insecurities, definitely, but screwing around with people's orders, aside from being unsafe (what if he added extra sugar to a diabetic's drink, or something that triggers an anaphylactic reaction?) means he is in the wrong job. You're not doing him any favours by letting him get away with it.

G.H. said...

Thank you all for the comments!
Most of you said I shouldn't have let him get away with it, and you're all absolutely right!
Although, I still don't know what I would have said to him. I knew that deep down, no matter what his actions were, he was just a sad insecure little boy, and instead of yelling at him, I wished I had just offered him a hug.

I walked away hurting for him. I didn't care about paying for a wasted drink, because all I could think of was how depressed he must have been to do something like that.

brandi said...

This will be wildly unpopular, but I would have called him out for muttering under his breath FIRST. Because, come on now, ordering a drink the way that you want it in the way that it is supposed to be asked for, is not something you're doing just to make him feel worse about himself. Yeesh. And if he still felt the need to fuck with my drink, I probably would have quietly lost it on the guy with something along the lines of, "Look, you fat fuck. I watched you make my drink and you made it all fat, all sugar. I guess this is the one that you made for yourself, to keep that huge ass of yours in fighting condition."

And if he had something to say after that, he'd be losing his job.

Anonymous said...

You wouldn't have needed to yell at him to make him aware that you knew what he did and it wasn't cool. You can't tell by looking at me but I have a medical condition due to some screwed up cancer surgeries and I have very specific dietary restrictions. He could have really done some damage to someone like me and I would not have known why I had gotten so sick. Not cool. He needs to grow up and get a different job.

Ann's Rants said...

I love your "doucherocket" label. Hilarious. Not so funny with the asshat making your drinks though, WTF???

Thanks for stopping by my blog. This is an awesome blog concept...great idea. And I love the afterbar feel.

Veronica said...

You're beautiful..

Anyway, grow up, Heather, bulemia's so '87.

Anonymous said...

You can still call the store, speak to a manager, and say something along the lines of "One of my drinks the other day was made with Classic Syrup instead of sugar free. I'd appreciate if you would speak with your staff about being careful, especially where so many people have dietary restrictions or allergies." You don't have to ID the kid - God know 95% of customers dont' remember the description of who served them. The kid is probably just angry and not thinking, not that that excuses it.

Anonymous said...

You should've called him on it. It might have reminded him that he's hurting an innocent PERSON. It might have helped him re-focus his negative energy into something more positive. It might have shamed him into taking the high road next time.

Or, if not, at least it would've let his manager know that he's a shitty employee and potentially spared someone else the pain of dealing with him.

Anonymous said...

p.s. Sorry if I posted twice - feel free to remove one. Me no good with kompooters today. :(

DKM said...

I can understand not wanting to hurt the kid's feelings (though he sure wasn't trying to spare YOURS), but I would still call the place and report what he did to his manager (go back and get the kid's name if you feel you can't identify him). Say you waited because you were hesitant to get the kid in trouble; they should understand. But like so many other people said, it's really important his employers are aware of what he's doing, in case some diabetic/person with allergies ends up in a serious condition due to his actions. I'd feel awful if that happened and I knew I could have done something to prevent it!

Anonymous said...

Congrats on the Lemondrop link!

purplegirl said...

I think you did the right thing not calling him on it--there's no way you could have done it without humiliating him and making him more upset and angry. And calling him a "fat fuck" as someone else said would just be cruel. However, I do think you should call the store and tell them what happened, because there are certainly circumstances where it could be harmful to someone, and this kid needs to know that.

Anonymous said...

As one of those people with serious dietary restrictions, that is just not cool. I mean, sure to most people its just a few extra calories, to me, it could mean hours of being doubled over a toilet or maybe yet another trip to the ER. (not that I can have the fake sweeteners anyways, I just mean switching something in my food without my knowledge.) I agree saying something along the lines of "I saw that you (accidentally?) put the wrong syrup in this, and that could land a diabetic in the hospital. Could you remake this please?" Not yelling, not getting him in trouble, just calling him on it would have been the appropriate action.

I also would have called him on the muttering. Thats just me though, I am very outspoken, and i would have honestly asked how he thinks my drink order is a jab at him. Not in a mean yelling way, or anything, but ya, I would've said something. Isn't more insulting to have people order full fat and full sugar around you just so they think they are making you more comfortable?

Cheryl said...

I understand having crappy self-image. Taking it out on other people? Not cool. I'd have called the barista on what he did for the same reasons others have pointed out. He could have put someone in the hospital or even killed them. I do understand why you didn't say anything and I totally empathize with the kid. I got over my own issues with seeing myself as fat and ugly only just a few years ago, as an adult. I never took pizza orders personally when I worked at Chuck E. Cheese's or what people took from the buffet when I worked at Ponderosa, though. That kid needs to get help if he's taking drink orders personally and then doctoring the drinks. He *really* needs to get help. I'd say something to his manager, out of concern he might do the same thing to the drink someone with health issues ordered.

julia said...

On behalf of baristas, I apologize. That is just not cool in any way. If you are a super mean, nasty, rude customer, we still should make your drink correctly (because we are doormats. But whatever.). You were polite and didn't even call him on it? Please do complain next time. Trust us, we are used to it, and it's no problem to remake your drink if you think/KNOW it was made wrongly.
Like everyone, said, you could have health reasons for that that could result in pretty serious consequences. Even though you don't, it's still important. You paid for it, you know how you like it, and that's how you should get it.
End of story.

Marrock said...

Seriously, call the manager and let them know before that asshat kills someone just because he's being pissy.

Wendy said...

This may be my favorite post you've written so far on here.

First off - I agree you should call the manager. My MIL has diabetes & if he did that to her she could go into a coma, or die. It's really serious.

That said, and out of the way:

I still enjoy being friends with older women (40s-50s or later) than women my own age (30s now) because women in their 20s and 30s subtly sabotage each other all the time. It's sad, and hard to be around.

Once I worked very hard & lost 40 pounds. Suddenly I found all the women in my circle of 'friends' had changed. I caught whispers of terrible rumors going around about me, all awful and untrue. I wasn't invited anymore. Attitudes changed. All of those women were heavier than me now, and suddenly they didn't like me anymore. It was suggested to my face that I was easy and it was obvious by the way I showed off my figure (I was wearing jeans & a t-shirt, well covered and nothing tight). Those women had no idea that to me, being heavy was foreign because I had always been thin before. They had only known me overweight, and when that changed, THEY changed.

That said, every single pound I have gained, lost or regained has been COMPLETELY MY FAULT. Every ounce. Every dimple, every bump, every pudge is TOTALLY UNDER MY OWN CONTROL.

So barista dude: STFU. It's your own damn fault. Do something about it, or get on with it. Trying to punish everyone else is only adding to your self-loathing.

You should call & complain. Or better yet, write a letter.

I hope your sister is better now. My best friend did this sort of thing, sometimes to me. I knew it, but I loved her & I forgave her. I knew it wasn't malice that drove her. How could I tell her that I was the ugly friend? She wouldn't have believed me.

Cinemarella said...

Funny enough, the other day after reading this post, I stopped by Starbucks and ordered a non-fat iced white mocha. And watched as the barista used whole milk in it. I didn't say anything either (because I'm a giant wuss, and also because I didn't care enough to complain).

However, I think my barista just didn't read the cup/forgot--I don't think she was being malicious like your stunner. But I was surprised. I wonder how often this actually happens? I've never really paid any attention to the baristas before. Now I'm thinking maybe I should.

Anonymous said...

I've heard of the reverse happening at Starbucks before --- overweight kids coming in and asking for extremely sugery, fatty drinks, and leave happily slurping on the sugarfree, non-fat milk kind without ever knowing the difference --- but what he did is frankly dangerous. I can understand why you didn't call him on it at the time, because when it happens, how do you know what to say to that? But he could seriously hurt someone in future, so I think talking to his manager would be a good idea.

Also, if he's that bitter, he needs some sort of help. Maybe having someone push him in that direction would be a good impetus. If he's working in a customer service position, he needs to get past his problems so he can do his damn job. He chose to work there; if he can't hack it, that's his problem, not yours or anyone else's.

Anonymous said...

Sucks that he took out his frustrations out on you :(
I found your blog by accident but I'm loving it! Keep up the great writings!

147xxxx said...

It totally obnoxious that he tried to calorie up your drink, but honestly I'm kind of concerned about that store having sugar free mocha syrup because starbucks doesn't offer it; All bottles of it expired like over a year ago!
Love your blog and thanks for linking me and being a fan :)

Sal Paradise said...

Heyo GH, just wanted to drop my kudos for your work... I've been a big fan for a hot minute now. Actually, you inspired me to start my own blog, *kind* of along the same lines, but my caters more so to the bonkers stories and characters I've come across bar tending in Tampa for the last 7 years. I'd *love* if you could check it out someday.
It's a work in progress, granted I have NO freakin' idea what I'm doing. Like I said, maybe in a week or so (once I get a couple more solid posts up), you could drop by and give me any pointers on the layout and whatnot? I would really really appreciate any advice you could potentially throw my way.