10/25/2014

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Barista loses job over blog poking fun at customers

Barista loses job over blog poking fun at customers
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PORTLAND, Ore. -- It turns out you can’t always be anonymous on the Internet.

A Seattle barista lost his job after creating a satirical blog, Bitter Barista, which pokes fun at customers, with jabs like: “Please pour your coffee in the trash can so it can ruin my day later.”

The humorous site quickly went viral.

Two Portland men behind the coffee-centric blog, Sprudge.com, discovered the nameless Bitter blog and revealed the identity of the not-so-sweet barista, Matt Watson.

In a statement, the Portland bloggers say: “Sprudge.com covers coffee news, events, rumors, innuendo and intrigue. We noticed that Bitter Barista was being retweeted and mentioned by some of our readers, who felt that it portrayed baristas and the coffee community in a negative light. We agreed.”

One barista, Julie Jones at Portland's Blue Lotus Cafe, expressed the same sentiment as the Portland bloggers. Still, she said she could sympathize with the demands of the job.

"With a job like this you understand it’s just going to be a transitory pain," Jones said. "It’s here then it’s gone. How long do I have to deal with people, maybe six or seven minutes if I’m making their food for them as well?"

In defense, Watson said the blog was all in good fun and he doesn’t know why his boss took such offense.

“I really liked my job,” Watson said. “That’s what I realized over the last week. It’s a shame you can’t have a job you like, but also complain about.”

By mid-afternoon Tuesday, Bitter Barista had added a disclaimer for folks before they entered the site. Visitors were asked to agree that they “understand what satire is” and “will not take this site literally” among other pledges.

“OK then, let’s get bitter,” read the icon to click on to enter the site.

One of Watson’s latest posts: “My ex-boss things the website is gonna stop because I don’t work there anymore. Man, I didn’t even work there when I worked there!”

Watson’s former boss told The Seattle Times that he could not endorse the statements by Bitter Barista, even if they were humorous, and that was why Watson was terminated.

The embattled barista – also an aspiring musician -- said he is not fazed by the firing. He’s received other employment offers and is also planning to write a coffee table book, he said.

“I’m OK with it,” he said. “I have a record out in six weeks and I was planning on taking some time off to promote it anyway, so this works out really well. And there’s some publicity out there, so it’s OK.”

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