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Thanks a latte: Did this bitter barista deserve to be fired?


Talk about a bitter wake-up call.

Oh, the puns are plentiful: Matt Watson, a Seattle DJ and barista was allegedly fired, according to ABC, after he was outed as the author and owner of the popular blog, Bitter Barista.

He was, up until this week, an anonymous blogger - posting witty, writhing commentary about uppity coffee culture, ridiculous coffee orders and the people who drink them.

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A sample:

- Yes, coffee is expensive. But you're more than welcome to go to Ethiopia and get it yourself.

- When I ask "for here or to go?" I'm only curious what kind of cup you want... Not what your plans for the day are.

- I put a macchiato down on the bar, called it out, and a customer walked up and drank it in one gulp. Then he said, "I ordered a mocha."

So once his identity was outed (by, also known as people who take coffee far too seriously), he was allegedly fired this week.

Watson told ABC News that his manager at All City Coffee didn't agree that any press is good press.

"The owner doesn't find it funny, he felt personally attacked, he's getting a lot of pressure from his business partners, and I said yeah I get it and that was it," said Watson.

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Some of his posts did target his boss ("When I tweet, I like to use big words, so if my boss ever finds my Twitter account he won't understand any of it") - and others his customers ("What do you think, Cindy? Should I be naughty and get eggnog? Oh, screw it, I went to yoga this week!").

Seems warranted, right? But wait - hold on to your java.

His website opens with a disclaimer, asking visitors to only enter if:

• I understand what satire is

• I will not take this site literally

• I am not a comment troll

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• I don't believe everything I read

• I have a sense of humour

And really, when you're asking for an extra-hot, extra-foamy, half-caf, half-sweet hazelnut latte - don't you cringe? I hate myself a little (but it's delicious, I promise) and it was sort of nice to read the coffee makers also think I'm nuts.

We're all entitled to a little workplace bitterness now and then - and when his identity is anonymous, and his employer name kept out of it, where's the harm?

In the barista world - who, by the way, were recently deemed more compassionate than doctors - it seems anything but smiles and obedience with each espresso shot is a no-no. (And don't even think of putting full-fat milk into a B-list celebrity's latte.)

The daily grind gets to all of us - especially, I can imagine, in the soy-on-the-bar, extra-whip, non-fat world of a barista.

"How come everyone else on the internet gets to be mean? I'm so confused," he tweeted today.

Seems like an average joe looking for a little common ground.

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About the Author
Editor in the Opinion section

Amberly McAteer is an editor in the Opinion section at The Globe and Mail. She has been a homepage editor, online editor and community editor in Features - including Life, Travel, Style, Arts and Books. She's written columns about her quest to run a 10K and find the perfect dog. More


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