Can Hipsters Be Friendly and Still Be Hipsters?

I speak of my own people group here, so no one get your panties in a twist. I’m at the end of my rope with brooding hipsters in the service industries. What’s a hipster? An article in the Times in 2009 defines hipsters thusly:

“Hipsters are the friends who sneer when you cop to liking Coldplay. They’re the people who wear t-shirts silk-screened with quotes from movies you’ve never heard of and the only ones in America who still think Pabst Blue Ribbon is a good beer. They sport cowboy hats and berets and think Kanye West stole their sunglasses. Everything about them is exactingly constructed to give off the vibe that they just don’t care.”
 
Hipsters around here mostly means grungy, tired looking 20 somethings wearing peg pants and ghost world glasses, with boys and girls sharing hair styles, jeans, and ‘tudes.
 
I am going to write a thesis paper called “Maybe hipsters shouldn’t work in service industries.” 

 
You know what I’m talking about. You go to Whole Foods, and have a difficult time getting the hipster looming over the sushi to tell you when it was made last. You speak of a new band, and your hipster friend tells you when they saw that band in a basement in Lee’s Summit in like, 2009.
 
Hipsters wear neckerchiefs and wrist tattoo’s and facial piercings and always seem to be “working on their art” from the trunk of their hatchback parked in the Crate and Barrel lot at 11pm.
 
I am going to speak to you briefly, in a letter I’ve written today about a small subclass of hipsters; the local coffee shop barista hipster.
 
Dear Barista Hipster,
In any other food industry, I would never let a person with a beard like yours TOUCH my food, much less prepare it while glowering at me. I love that you think the anarchy symbol etched in the “Daily Specials” blackboard entitles you to be a “fringe element” but last time I checked, I’m paying you for something here.
 
The fact that we are exchanging money means two things: I am paying you, and you are taking my money in exchange for a service you’re providing. That means, for this brief moment, you work for me. So smile. I’m a nice person. I don’t mope at you when I order, so don’t mope at me when you ring me up.
 
I don’t complain when my coffee is 175F instead of 190, so don’t roll your eyes at me when I ask, with a “please” and a smile, if I can have two percent milk. I’m not being rude to you, so for a brief second, can you explain to me what your daily drip is without being condescending?
 
Barista Hipster, I GIT IT that selling out to the man by holding down a steady job to fund your thrift store “upcycling” habit must be really hard on your artistic soul, but you signed up for a service industry. How about a little friendly service?
 
I know that smoking unfiltered Lucky Strikes to fit in with your recovering addict friends is really hard on your teeth, but you don’t have to give me a toothy smile, just a genuine one.
 
Chances are, when I ask you how you are doing, you are going to shrug. Don’t. Just don’t. You don’t have to lie, but don’t put me off in an asinine fashion when I’m attempting friendly banter.
 
I know you stayed up til 3am working on your poetry with the girl from Goodwill with the ratty side ponytail. But hey, dude, you work at a coffee shop, you have no excuse to have no energy.
 
I’m not asking you be Mary Sunshine. I’m only saying, hey, if you work in a service industry, you need to smile, say “HI, how are you?” and you have to say other polite nothings. It’s part of the deal we are transacting when I walk in here, and give you money. It’s not prostitution of the soul, man. It’s good service.
 
Sincerely,
A Happy Hipster.
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About Jennifer James

I'm a full time mom who works full time. I'm a painter, a dreamer, and a believer that the most feminist thing you can do is adore your femininity. I say what I think, when it's appropriate for sharing. I write when I feel like I have something to say. I love always.

2 thoughts on “Can Hipsters Be Friendly and Still Be Hipsters?

  1. Seriously. There were coffee shops in Bellingham that I stopped going to, even though I preferred their coffee, just because of the cranky hipster baristas.

    Here in Lake Tahoe we don’t have bad service from hipsters so much. We have service industry stoner snowboarding bros. While they are usually less than completely competent, they are usually at least friendly.

  2. I see snowboard bro’s as labrador puppies. Furry, floppy and friendly. Hipster baristas are like those hairless cats: scrawny, sharp and leave you wondering “why would anyone look like that?”

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