Tag Archives: money

The hardest working java house in the world.

The busiest little coffee whorehouse in the world.

Back in the day, there were these little booth kiosks on the far side of the parking lot of your local department store.

Tiny little buildings that were called Photomats and it was drive thru film developing drop off and pick up.

This is before digital cameras came along and put them out of business.

There was enough room to house a clerk, a register, a filing cabinet for peoples pics, and film to sell.

This was before the automatic film deloping machine existed, all of that was done off site. But even if those machines did exist, they would not fit in that tiny little hut.

Why am I telling you this?

Because I am in a Starbucks that is roughly the size of 2 of those little buildings.

It is also the busiest Starbucks I have ever been in.

There are currently 47 people inside the building and another 20 outside.

In Yucca Valley, California.

For those that are unfamiliar with the local geography, Yucca valley is in the middle of nowhere and is not close to anything but the ground.

Tables to write at are as rare as a unicorn in this place.

However, I am Irish and was born with the luck, so I managed to secure a spot within 2 minutes of clearing the door jam.

As packed as this place is, the biggest question is, where do I start?

Lets go with the staff.

At first I thought the barista was really slow, there being several rows of logo cups with various things written on them all awaiting her attention.

However, after watching the barista, correction the TWO baristas, working at a fairly good clip, I came to the conclusion that the issue lies with the cashier.

He’s some sort of cashier rockstar. The man knows his shit.

Every move is quick, precise and flows into the next.

Its like a retail ballet. As impressive to behold as it is to realize that he makes minimum wage.

Side note – Before anyone climbs onto their soap box to screech about corporate greed and how can the cashier support a family of 5 on minimum wage, keep in mind that the job could also be done by any else off the street with minimal training, and that is why it shouldn’t pay more than minimum. There, said my piece.

The manager, it seems, is a good one, seems to grasp the fact that the manager is always moving and HAS to be a quick fill in helper at any point in the process.

In short, this TINY little Starbucks in the middle of fucking nowhere is absolutely rocking it.

And here I thought the only thing this area of Southern California was capable of doing well was cooking meth and hiding massive indoor pot farms.

Silly me.

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Posted by on May 5, 2014 in Uncategorized


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Why don’t you just shoot me?

Life can be tough, wear a cup.

Every now and then, life decides to sucker punch me in the nuts.

Crude imagery, but I think it fits.

I got laid off.

Let me correct that, I got laid off from a job I had for 90 days and my entire staff was fired.

Staff of only 2, but still.

Out of the blue.

I have been employed since I was 10 years old, I have always had a job, its my thing.

We are Irish immigrants, its kind of a cultural thing. Unemployment is not only frowned upon, its just not allowed.

I have never been dead weight.

So, the job hunt begins.

Blogging pays shit, so I need a new corporate management job.

Fortunately, I interview well, so I am not that worried about that step of the process.

Its the uncertainty that hits me, along with the break in routine.

I don’t have someplace to be tomorrow and that is disconcerting on several levels.

The one thing you never want to do is to admit to yourself that you are scared shitless.

That just leads to bad things.

Liquid breakfasts with high alcohol content is the first one that comes to mind.

Whenever I am between jobs, I do not touch alcohol, not that I have a problem, but to make sure I never develop one.

Plus, I tend to be a mean drunk.

That is barely tolerable when you are drinking too, but not at 7am.

Tends to wear on the nerves.

Besides, the only drug I allow myself, working or not, is caffeine.

And thats not going anywhere soon.

I just got a job offer to ruin peoples days as a telemarketer.

For the record, they saw my resume and called, I did NOT pursue them.

Not that theres anything wrong with that.

Hard core, pure commission sales has an element of “Ass in the wind” that I was never totally comfortable with.

Its one of the reasons that I first went into management and training in the first place.

I began identifying the perfect job opportunity for me, just so I’ll know it when I see it.

Here is what I came up with.

Councilor at a nymphomaniac summer camp for girls.

I don’t have the schooling for that.

Ok, so that was Dave Atell’s joke, but it was the perfect setting for it.

Here is the long and the short of what we are ALL looking for.

Someplace that doesn’t suck, that you kind of look forward to going to, pays you enough that you don’t question being there, and that you don’t have to ride a bullet train for 6 hours to get to. (Kudos to the Japanese, I couldn’t do it.)

So, I put out a lot of resumes yesterday, and I am going to put out a lot more today.

Hopefully, I will find a new home sometime soon, doing something I enjoy.

And if I’m lucky, it will not suck.

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Posted by on May 2, 2014 in Uncategorized


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The dawn of the modern cheap bastards.

There are times and situations in which I can be a cheap bastard.

Tipping is not one of them.

My mom waited tables back before she became mom.

I waited tables for a very brief period, not my thing, but I respect the trade.

Tipping was something that never really mattered to me at that point, mainly because my overhead was so low that minimum wage and tips was ample at that point in my life.

10% used to be the standard.

And then the Government stepped in, like it usually does, and fucked it all up.

Those in the service industry are now taxed as if they got a healthy tip, regardless of whether or not they did.


With single parenting at an all time high and tradeskills at an all time low, there are a shit ton of people waiting on others and trying feed a family on it.

Tipping used to be an additional amount you gave to thank the server for making things a little nicer, not expected, but an “Above and beyond” type of thing.

But the government has decided that they have had enough of that shit.

I did the research and crunched the numbers, and if you tip anything less than 20%, you are penalizing your server for taking care of you, because they are going to be taxed by the state for that amount no matter what went down.

I recently got into one of those frustrating online arguments with an old friend who waited tables back in the day and who’s daughter is waiting table now.

The old information I was operating under is what led to the argument.

Shit has changed, friends and neighbors.

I did a little research and found out 2 shocking facts.

1. The government will tax any tipping position as if each and every customer tips big. That alone is pretty shocking and shitty all at the same time.

2. It seems that stiffing your waitress, leaving nothing at all, is more popular now than back in the day.

What the hell? The research didn’t give age demographics but I would be willing to bet that the stiffing is a younger demographic and the weak tippers are the older demographic. I could be wrong, and I have been thru most of this, but that would follow the tendencies of both demographics.

The older generation grew up during that period that 10% was an extra that the government never touched, a thank you for the effort.

The younger generation, quite frankly, doesn’t think of much beyond themselves, so stiffing doesn’t hurt anyone. That may be a rude statement, more than a little generic, but seems to follow that same logic.

My own field research turned up results that led me to the conclusions above.

I made it a point to go out to eat a lot over a one month period. Places that you pay at the table.

The discussion of how much to tip among the older generation always started at 10%.

The disappointed look on the waiter/waitress after collecting the bill from a younger person, along with a quick inquiry, was usually a stiffed tip.

Not everyone, but enough to form the opinion and take sides. (Side note – I ended up contributing a tip to a few that truly deserved it and got stiffed.)

The long and the short of it is this.

First, tip starting at 20%, anything less and you are penalizing your server. Yes it sucks and makes it cost more to enjoy a meal out, but It is not the wait staff or the restaurant’s fault. Blame the assholes we elected.

Second, and this one is key, STOP BEING CHEAP BASTARDS!

If you can’t afford to tip, you can’t afford a sit down meal, go get some drive thru.

I remember the original conversation I had with the outraged mother at the beginning of all this.

I would be pissed too.

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Posted by on April 28, 2014 in Uncategorized


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Do I really need to walk a mile in your shoes to know they don’t fit?

Two sides of the same coin.

I was writing a few minutes ago and something oddly uncomfortable happened.

Not like “Too much fiber and a long line at the bathroom” type of uncomfortable.

I mean the outside my comfort zone kind.

I get heavily absorbed when I write, and really don’t pay attention to what is going on around me, unless of course I need something to write about.

And then she was there.

Indian, skinny, she was about 5’4 and had a child clinging to her skirt.

In her hands was a sign.

“Poor, hungry, please help.”

The saddest eyes in the world stared at me.

There are easier ways to get money out of me, but none of them come to mind as I write this.

And it hit me two separate ways.

On the one hand, outrage.

Fucking beggar. And she does this shit in front of her child? Raising the next generation of beggars? Just great, just fucking wonderful.

On the other, curiosity. (Almost wrote compassion, but I tend to analyze first.)

What would you do for your kids? Is there a line you would not cross if your ass was against the wall? Yeah, bad choices, not thinking about your future, blah, blah, blah. But the past has already happened, the future is tomorrow, and the present is… Right. Fucking. Now.

I rarely carry cash, so the $5 in my wallet kind of shocked me.

Yeah, she’s a pro, I’m a sucker, and a five spot won’t kill me.

And its none of your business, good or bad.

True, I make it yours by putting it in print, but this is a lecture, not a discussion.

Socrates once wrote, the poor are with us, always.

A few thousand years ago, thats age’s version of this woman and her kid was carrying a sign written in ancient Greek into the vomitorium and hitting up the Ancient Greek blogger, Bittermaximus for a few drachma’s.

The Greeks invented the alphabet, democracy and astronomy, so I will put solving the problem of homelessness just out of reach for my skill set.

Unless of course the problem can be solved with sarcasm and shitty comments, then I am your man.

Which is a pretty immature way of throwing my hands up and braying, “I can’t fix it, so I’ll make fun of it.”

I like to think its important know your strengths and weaknesses and come to peace with them, you tend to sleep better at night.

And I sleep like a rock.

A guy in line just had two things happen.

He got in the woman’s face and slapped at her sign.

Rude, and mean. Cruel and unnecessary.

What happened next was interesting.

He got his venti cup of steaming goodness at the counter, picked it up and turned to go to the cream and sugar kiosk.

And dropped a steaming venti cup of black coffee right onto his (Let me guess)…Bruno Magli shoes. (Ridiculously expensive shitty Italian shoes.)

You know, it always shocks me when Karma pays attention to the goings on around here.

And its about time.


Posted by on March 10, 2014 in Uncategorized


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