the chain gang

Starbucks Baristas Are Forming Online Support Groups Ahead of the PSL’s Launch

Gotta make it through somehow. Photo-Illustration: Photo: Getty Images

Giant jugs of Pumpkin Spice syrup have started arriving at Starbucks. For employees, that’s the harbinger of four months of misery. To cope, desperate baristas all over the r/starbucks Reddit page are forming online support groups of sorts. All it takes is one of them posting something halfway sarcastic or fearful about the PSL, and the community goes into full catharsis ritual.

Last week, a user named AppKerman posted a shot of the two-quart tub of “Pumpkin Spice flavored sauce” that’s now lying in wait inside a cabinet at his store. Fellow baristas on Reddit saw his caption (which reads, “It’s coming. God help us all”), and the feelings just sort of poured out — sympathy, dread, even what a licensed therapist might call PTSD.

Lots of the commenters’ prime complaints are about the so-called “other Starbucks.” This is a reference to a rogue café that serves pumpkin spice (in any form) before corporate’s allotted season, which usually begins the Tuesday after Labor Day. This poor barista’s location, in other words:

It’s fair to say baristas don’t have a high regard for the staff at these “other Starbucks” locations:

Per the commenters’ gripes, stores that shanghai the official release date turn rule-following baristas into bad guys, who now get spit at by customers on top of demands for a PSL. They’re already putting up with it, and it’s only mid-August — which is apparently enough to make an overwhelmed person like this redditor just quote from the Book of Revelation, the part about the coming of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse:

Baristas Are Already Commiserating About the PSL’s Launch