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I worked at Starbucks part-time (More than a year)
The benefits are out of sight. I was offered Starbucks stock after my first year, as well as 401k through Fidelity, and a superb Blue Cross Blue Shield health insurance plan. You can cover your whole family with that plan, and it can include domestic partners. I got a pound of free coffee every week and free coffee all day (although I think that was specific to my store, which bent the rules). There's also an Employee Assistance Hotline which you can call if you're having issues in your personal life. And HR is really responsive--they won't see you as a troublemaker if you're legitimately having an issue. They will handle it.
Also, sexual orientation and gender identity are included in their anti-discrimination policy. None of the gay or lesbian people on my staff got crap for it, even though about half the staff was quietly conservative Christian and Republican.
If you're a people person, you develop relationships with the regulars and it's fun to make their day. I felt it was pretty rewarding to make drinks. I loved the artistic side of it. And again, the free coffee...just awesome.
They're also usually pretty flexible about scheduling, so it's ideal for if you're working two jobs or are a student. I worked with people in their 50's who had their own careers, but worked part-time at Starbucks for the health insurance.
The vacation time system is also pretty sweet. I worked with a guy who was there for 10 years and took like a month vacation to his home country.
The staffs can be really tight...or they can be really vicious. But a spirit of teamwork is definitely encouraged. And exemplary work is recognized.
In an 8-hour shift you get three breaks: one 30-minute clock-out lunch, and two 10-minute on the clock breaks.
You'll also occasionally get those amazing customers and you live for seeing them. We had four customers who every year each put 100 bucks in our tip jar around Christmas. Sometimes those people can make your day with the things they say and do.
If you work at a store worth their salt they will work you to the bone. Especially in a large or high-volume store there is so much to do, so much to clean. A morning shift person will have the absolutely insanity of a morning rush, but an evening person should be expected to handle evening rushes with a limited staff as WELL as get the place spotless in what I believe is not a reasonable time. We could get the place clean by 10:45, all right--if we broke the health and corporate rules about when to tear things down. And of course if that was ever found out we were in deep. And if we went over 10:45 we were also in trouble. Management sometimes has some very unrealistic ideas about what the job actually entails and what rules and boundaries should go with that.
The pay in my state starts near minimum wage. The ceiling for a barista is $10/hr, which you hit when you've been there about five years. But tips help, and some high-volume affluent stores will have tips up to $4/hr.
There's also a tendency to have fanatical management. Other "kindly" corporations like Whole Foods have this too--the managers drink the Kool-Aid and worship the company. I once spoke with my manager because my schedule was being changed with less than 24 hours notice, and that was against state law. She got this crazed look in her eye and spat "Starbucks law goes above state law!" But that's only a tendency. There are some pretty cool managers out there. Mine was insane.
The customers are spoiled rotten so they also get kind of unreasonable about their Starbucks. They will stand there and demand that you make a drink five times because there's still foam on that latte and they said NO foam, not LIGHT foam. This is a business model of Starbucks': everyone is special, and we will bend the rules for everybody. And I've had people scream at me and call me a (b) and promise me that they would make me lose my job. I've also had stuff thrown at me. But, that's also just customer service.
These last few years Starbucks has been obsessed with selling, too. There's a lot of pressure on the staff to make sure people go home with $15 bags of coffee and sub-par espresso machines. It's hard to maintain the relationships they want us to maintain while trying to sell stuff.
Overall, if you can put up with the customers and the physical demand, and if benefits are more important than income, do it. It's rewarding in its own way. Wear insoles.
Advice to Management
Drop the obsession with sales. You're damaging customer relationships and making yourself look like "Just another corporation."
I applied online. I interviewed at Starbucks.
After filling out online application. They will show you a list of Starbucks that are hiring about 10. WRITE EVERY STORE NUMBER DOWN!!!!!!!!! Then, CALL EVERYONE OF THEM!
Read this 2 minutes script.
"Hi, My name is ________, can I speak to your hiring manager please." If the hiring manager is not there, find out what their name is and what day and time they will be available. Find out the name of the person you are talking to and write their name down as well and thank them for their time. Then, call back when the hiring manager will be available.
If the manager is there.
"Hi, my name is ___________, I saw online that your store was hiring and I was wondering If I could stop by for no more then two minutes, to drop off my resume and cover letter. When your free of course, this way you can get a feel for me vs just seeing my name on a piece of paper."
Two things will happen, either they will state they are no longer hiring, in which case, you ask them if they know of any other stores that are hiring and what is that managers name. Thank them for their time then, repeat the script with that store.
Or they will give you a time and a day. (Mines offered to meet the next hour.) Prep A resume and a cover letter, dress up as best as you can. I wore a shirt and tie. Go in. be positive, show them you want to learn, and be honest. I told them I didnt drink much coffee, but there is a lot of coffee history they' will teach you if you ask. For fun, ask them about the black apron.