Pour a cup of kindness: Treat your baristas well, or they’ll give you whole milk

Sabin Laskoski, Op Ed Columnist

My girlfriend works at Starbucks, so I spend many of my days off sitting at the café with my laptop on the desk and my earbuds in, usually taking notes from online PowerPoints while blasting BROCKHAMPTON.

Often times, however, I find myself just sitting and staring in complete awe at how rude many of the customers there truly are. I normally think to myself, “It’s only coffee, so how does someone even become so rude over it?”

Unfortunately, this is not the right mindset which I should have while thinking about reasons as to why some people are just downright mean; which in turn makes me wonder- is it really that hard to be nice to people?

Like any other person, I go to classes every day of the week and then go to work afterwards on most days. With this being said, I encounter so many people throughout my days that it would be nearly impossible to keep track of whom I encounter.

The issue here is, many of the random people that I interact with are either closed off, standoffish, or simply rude. Now, I am not saying that I am a saint by any means. I have my days where I just want to sit by myself, stare at the wall, and complain about every hardship in life.

And yes, it is unfair to judge someone by simply interacting with them on a stranger-to-stranger basis, but at what point does the unpleasantness from strangers seep into your own thoughts?

Several times I have seen workers at a Starbucks (whether it is the library Starbucks on campus, the Commons, or a chain store) cheerfully tell the customers whom they are waiting on and making drinks for, no matter how ridiculous they may be, to have a wonderful day.

The response that a barista receives on an average basis from which I hear, “Yep”. One simple, unenthusiastic, unpleasant word- one that is simply a nicer way of saying nothing. Is it actually that difficult to maintain a nice attitude and respond in a respectful manner?

I’m not asking people to get on their hands and knees and thank the baristas for their coffee. Instead, I just want to see someone interact nicely with another human being for once in my life.

This goes the exact same way for retail, with the usual interaction between customer and employee being the same circumstance and outcome, and the same situation within the classroom.

When a professor ends class and thanks the students for attending, I have had several professors who have told their students to have a great day, weekend, etc. However, the voices that respond are miniscule if not completely lacking.

If I am walking on the street, I notice people who walk past me with their head down and eyes forward, completely avoiding all interaction with strangers. I don’t walk around telling everyone I meet to have a wonderful day, but I enjoy the opportunity to interact with strangers, even if it is just to tell them to have a good day.

To this day, I still do not understand the way that society remains withdrawn and displeased with one another, and although I am truthfully no master when it comes to being polite and cheerful to strangers, it would be heartwarming and redeeming for my view of society to see pleasant interactions between strangers happen at least once in a while instead of once in a blue moon.

Through my experience with being in therapy, I have found that being nice, courteous, and polite isn’t that difficult after all.
With that being said, maybe we can all band together to start being kind to one another, one interaction at a time!

Sabin is a sophomore Mass Communications major and a Staff Writer for The Voice.