Afternoon Snack: A Scone, With Personality

My Nutrition Report Card today would not make my parents–or my nutritionist–very happy. There were carbs, there were fats, there were caffeinated beverages. And in the afternoon, when I was feeling hungered at the 4 o’clock hour, I decided to do what the British do and give myself a tea time. I went to Caribou Coffee and had an iced chai tea with a nasty looking orange-currant scone:

The Caribou orange-currant scone is a scone without integrity. Its orange icing looks like dried up ink from a long lost Simpsons episode. The currants are like bastard raisins. The thing weighs a ton. It’s dry, it’s brittle and it feels like you’re eating a shoe. And yet–somehow–it hits the spot.

But that’s not why I brought you here today. I brought you here to talk about personality. Let’s go for a moment to one of my favorite scenes from “Annie Hall.” Alvy Singer is with his friends in his childhood home, reliving a childhood memory, when his mother introduces her sister as the “one with personality.” Tony Roberts says: “Bev, I hear you’re the one with personality.” She smiles somewhat battily and nods: “I’m the one with personality!”

This hits precisely on what I like to call People Who Don’t Have a Personality So They Pretend They Do Syndrome. These are people who are overly jubilant; who have catchphrases, memorizing clever lines of diologue from popular movies. These are the ones who have convinced themselves that an outsized personality is equal to a winning personality. These are people we hate.

The Caribou coffee that I visited today is notorious for employees with PWDHAPSTPTDS. The first perpetrator is a guy I like to call ENJOY. I call him that because when he hands you your coffee, he says in a long, drawn out condescending way:


He does it every time. He does it with a twinkle in his eye, and a grin on his face. I want to punch him.

The second guy with PWDHAPSTPTDS was working today. I like to call him TIP MONKEY. He is a tip prostitute. He inflates himself with fake personality air until you drop money in his bowl. I’d have paid $40 to get him to shut up.

I don’t even remember what he said. I said: “Which scones are fresher: the blueberry or the orange-currant?”

He took this as an opportunity to show off his personality.

“They’re all delivered at the same time,” he said. Fair enough. “There’s really not one that’s fresher. They come in in the morning. SO I mean both scones are equally good. There’s really no way to tell. I mean, sometimes we’ll have a scone that’s been sitting there a day, but we usually throw those out. But I mean, with scones, we sell a lot of them, so usually you don’t have to worry…”

I stood there nodding and smiling. My interior monologue was going something like this:


Spotlight center stage. Enter Adam, in a red robe, smoking a pipe.

ADAM: Please stop talking. Please. Please. I want you to stop talking. I want you to stop. Please. Please. Can you please stop talking?


5 thoughts on “Afternoon Snack: A Scone, With Personality”

  1. Just wandering around and got linked to you from Google… Haha, don’t know if you know, but those of us employed by Caribou Coffee are required to be fake and friendly, or our store’s budget is cut when the Secret Shopper says “the guy making the espresso drinks didn’t smile enough of welcome me back.” So yeah. There’s a lot of fake friendliness — but don’t think it’s just because we don’t have personalities to begin with.

    Tip whores are a pain in the ass, though. Try tipping arcade tokens or Canadian coins — that’s what I do!

  2. ex- Caribou worker

    I used to work for Caribou. They treat their employees like trash, and not to mention I never had a break once the entire time I worked there. I would work eight to nine hour shifts without a break! I would also like to add, that there were no labor laws posted in the back. That in fact is against the law. I was wrongfully fired, because my stupid store manager, was dating a shift supervisor, and we got into it one morning, because she was late for the umteenth time. He sided with her, and let me go. She was always at least a half hour late. Which meant, no open store. And as far as their coffee, and pastrys, well lets just say that they were not exactly fresh. I would love to sue, and I hope a good lawyer reads this.

  3. I know my response is a little delayed but, I stumbeld across this web-site while doing a search for people who hate caribou and read a comment posted by an ex-caribou employee. In response to some of the comments made by people I would like to say that I to am an ex-caribou employee. They do treat their employees like trash! I worked for them a little over a year and a half, and lost my job over some stupid stuff. When asking questions upon my termination ( which the store manager could not even perform herself) I was told that he didnt know anything and basically agreed to going off of hearsay. Either way the rest is politics. Before caribou, I had worked in coffee for 6 years at various other coffee shops. When I started there they treated me as if it was the first time I had ever seen an espresso machine As time passed I became a shift supervisor but was only offerd a .25 cent raise, BullSh** ! to find out later that any bonuses or raises giving would effect the managers bonus. 5 of us got together and threatend to quit unless we got raises. Pretty sad it took that to get a halfassed raise but whatever, We were tired of working long days with no breaks , nights weekends , double shifts then having to do P&l the milk order, bank deposit , bakery order , inventory and any other job the MANAGER was sposed to do. I observed that stuff like that happend to shift supervisors at evey caribou. It’s almost as like they train their managers to push their work onto the shift sups’. We did it and didnt complaine. While doing all that stuff we still had dishes to do , bakery to unthaw, ( thats right folks caribou bakery is pre packaaged and frozen until de thawed .. they can sit in the coolers for almost 3 months before going bad, also they are designed to last 3 to seven days .. dosnt sound too fresh to me) put milk away make drinks re stock etc etc… Awhile after my one year mark my manager was fired on a bogus rap, was never even givin a reason why she fired. For 2 months after she was fired another shift supervisor and I took over and did all the grunt work until the new manager came in. Who by the way was a fat lazy beast of a woman who was two faced and annoying Not once did we recieve any kind of thank you or raise not a pat on the back .. the district manager was worthless Later on the new manager decided she didnt like the staff and wanted her very own staff to do it her way .. the right way .. She eventually found a way to get rid of every one of us but 2 . who one has her head so far up the managers ass her face is turning brown. So anyway all in all my caribou never posted workers rights in the back , it states in the hand book that breaks are not gauranteed and basically if you work for them you are pretty much handing over any right to think freely the 8 to 10 hours you work. They eventually will find a reason to get rid of you unless you are a brown noser and eat sleep breath and shit caribou .. By the way mike kohls “The Head Bou’ ” made over 2 billion dollers last year and they fire people because they make too much money .. It bullcrap and it needs to stop caribou is an unfit work environment and If you ever came into my time the customers that used to be regulars will tell you they now go elsewhere because they new manager got rid of eveyone who knew them and instead of being treated like VIP as regulars usually get treated they are just another no name face who wants some fancy foo foo drink and didnt leave a big enough tip . So i say FU caribou! someday there will be a lawsuit against you and your evil work ethics.. and those who were wrongfully fired and mistreated will finally have justice.!

  4. So I applied at Caribou Coffee last week and they called me back today to tell me that I have to be 16 in order to work there and that I should go back when Im 16 in 2 months but after reading this im not really sure if I want to. I wanted to work there because I love coffee and need a after school job so i thought they would have easy hours sense there a coffee shop. Is it true that they really treat all there employee’s like crap?

    -concerned job hunter

  5. I depends on the manager. If the Manger is a Caribou Barbie then yes…Caribou tends to hire type A persons who will do the dance called out by their superiors.

    I personally treat my people well andthey are happy…but yuo do fear for your job on daily basis. The hours are long, the pay is marginal.

    It really depends onthe manger of the store as to if you will have a good experience with this comapny or not.

    I feel that they are on a tough road. times wil get tougher in the near future based on what I see as bad upper mangement and the trend towards big business.

    Its a coffee shop for gods sake!!!!! Really, don’t take it so seriously, its a coffee shop. Keep life simple man!

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