Marlyna Mercer is a barista at Starbucks in the Barnes & Noble where my writers’ group meets. I’m not a Starbucks customer, since I love coffee—black—and the triple strength stuff they sell is fit only for mixing whatever you mix to make lattes and frappes and such, but I do buy coffee from her to support Barnes & Noble for letting us meet there.
Marlyna works for B & N, not Starbucks. She’s been with them for 20 years, the last three or so as a barista. I think they keep her doing coffee because they need someone who can work alone, and she is a very dependable employee.
Her favorite things about her job are that it’s quiet and she gets to meet so many customers. Being a barista allows her more interaction with customers than just running a register in the bookstore. Her least favorite part of her job is putting cold food in the freezer.
When I arrive for meetings, I usually enter through a door directly into the coffee bar rather than the bookstore, and Marlyna’s smiling face is the first thing I see. Based on my own experience, I would think she’s a major asset for the store.
A single mother, she has a daughter 23 and a son 21. She is currently putting her son through college and likes her job location because her commute to work is very brief.
When I first began to know a bit about Marlyna, she was dealing with a blown water heater. It caused a good bit of damage to her place and created quite a mess to clean up. I overheard her talking to some plumbing company that wanted $2,000 or so to install a new one, and I suggested she buy one herself at Lowe’s or Home Depot and find a handyman to install it. She did so and ended up paying a fraction of what the plumbing company wanted.
This happened several months ago, and the last time I asked her, she still hadn’t put in a new carpet to replace the one ruined by the flooding. She smiled and said they could live without that. She was just glad there were no injuries and everything else was okay.
I asked her about hobbies, and she said Korean dramas. That’s not one I hear every day.
How many waitresses, cashiers and others who serve you do you know anything about? What do you do to let them know you care about them as individual human beings? Readers want to know.
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