Monthly Archives: January 2018

The Drama with Sellmah

In the words of Professor Remus J. Lupin:

Nobody knows what a boggart looks like when he is alone, but when I let him out, he will immediately become whatever each of us most fears.

If a boggart summed up is your worst nightmare, then a freaky clown would probably be the form the boggart takes if I ever encounter one. If you’re laughing, see Bill Skarsgård playing Pennywise the Clown in the 2017 adaptation of Stephen King’s It (no seriously, go see that movie, because it’s absolutely fantastic). Actually, it might be a spider – or a bee (see also: insects, great heights, zombies, moldy cheese, conservative Republicans).

But one of the other forms it could take would be that of the formidable Sellmah. With beady eyes, a rather buxom figure, chipped teeth, grey spaghetti-string hair, and clothing that seems to have missed washing by just several months ago, Sellmah is a sight to behold. But what’s even better is the sound of her voice: like nails on chalk, metal knives on porcelain, the screeches of the Nazgul…  Needless to say, seeing and interacting with Sellmah is not a very pleasant encounter.

One day, in the middle of an insane rush, Sellmah orders a blended mocha, and (angrily) asks if the wait will be long. Given that the store was full of people, the line out the door and circling around the block corner, I’d say she didn’t really need an answer to that pointless question. YES. The wait would be more than 5 bloody minutes. My co-worker rang in her order on the POS and then handed off the drink to be made. As I was starting on her drink, Sellmah had pushed her way to the bar area, and was glaring intently at me as I gathered ingredients. Milk. Chocolate. Coffee. Ice…

It was the moment I was scooping the ice into her drink that Sellmah cried out: “YOU MADE IT WRONG. IT’S TOO WATERY. DON’T YOU DARE MAKE MY DRINK WATERY. YOU BETTER PUT THE RIGHT AMOUNT OF ICE IN THERE!”

Swallowing a retort and an frustrated sigh, I turned around, put on the best possible smile I could manage, and told her I understood. I put more ice in the scoop and moved to put it into the blender, until the Sellmah’s awful voice screeched out again: “That’s not enough ice! You’re trying to give me water. This is unbelievable!”

woman asks if she can mute someone. Points tv remote towards this person and presses button.

I could feel my anger boiling up to the surface, a geyser of unhappiness that could no longer be contained. I hate backseat-baristas with a passion. They’re the worst. No seriously. It’s grating and humiliating. Besides, if you have such a passion to “teach” baristas how to make drinks, GO AND WORK IN A COFFEE SHOP. Or better yet, make them at home, so nobody else has to live through an insufferable encounter with you.

I have to admit that I lost my temper. I threw the ice scoop in my hand violently into the sink, grabbed the biggest one I could find, filled it, and then aggressively chucked the contents into the blender. Afterwards, I turned around, held up the pitcher and asked her with gritted teeth if what I had was the correct amount of ice. She assented, and I blended her concoction, eager to relieve myself of her presence. Alas, it was not to be. After she got her drink, she took a singular sip and announced to the world that I was “incompetent” and had put too much water in the drink. Which I found really surprising, since the drink was so thick she couldn’t even suck anything up through the straw. Yeah. I paid that much attention to her.

Ice is frozen water. Let’s all just take a moment and remember that. Ice is frozen water.

Because this is a customer-driven business, I swallowed my pride and anger, and took her drink back, apologizing and promising to make her drink properly this time. After reaching the ice stage again, Sellmah yells out that she wants me to put in a middle-sized scoop of ice. THE. ORIGINAL. SIZED. SCOOP. OF. ICE. I. HAD. GRABBED. 

Yeah. I was angry. So angry I had to physically bite my tongue to keep from saying anything to her. I finished her drink and she left the store without another incident – for that day at least.

It was a week after this backseat-barista moment that Sellmah returned to our store, ordered another blended mocha and began another nightmare-inducing interaction.

This time round, Sellmah orders and receives her drink without any problems. However, after drinking everything BUT a tiny bit of whip cream, she returns to the cash register to tell us that her drink was “disgusting” and “undrinkable.”

Let’s stop there. If her drink was so “undrinkable,” why on earth did she DRINK THE WHOLE THING???!??

man grabs head with two hands - holds temples out of sheer exasperation

Because we couldn’t really deny her, (see the awful maxim: “The customer is always right”) she got another drink. For free.

Two days later, Sellmah entered the store to request a (free) iced water. As I headed over to the bar to get the ice and cold water, she yells a singular: “are you serious?” I turn to her, absolutely taken aback. There was no way I could have managed to screw up an ice water. Except I did.

Sellmah scoffed at me, rolled her beady little eyes and said to me: “I can’t believe you don’t know how to make an iced water. You’re supposed to put the ice in first!”

She crossed her arms smugly. As if she had just taught me the most important lesson in the universe.

Just so you know, there’s no actual correct way to “make” an iced water. There was never a moment where I wished I was a powerful witch more than that one. Can you imagine the satisfaction of waving a wand, saying the incantation Ridduklus, and watching this awful creature turn into a joke of itself?  

To add insult to injury, the next time I saw Sellmah, which was a couple days after the iced water debacle, my manager whispered these words to me: “Oh, I love Sellmah. She’s one of my favourites because just so sweet!”

Just nope. Nope.

The Game Of Life

Do what you love and never be afraid of taking risks. If you are good at something, if you are passionate about it, use it to your damn advantage and become the best at what you do. The future is in our hands. Why wait till tomorrow when you can start today?

-Shaun Gill