woman explaining what its like to be funny at work; customer service rep giving a thumbs up

@pissbarbecue/TikTok Antonio Guillem/ShutterStock (Licensed)

‘People just don’t expect you to be a person in front of them’: Barista says customers are caught off guard when she’s funny

“A customer once asked me how I was, I said ‘Livin la vida loca’ and bro teared up laughing.”


Jack Alban


There’s something great to be said about those who manage to find enthusiasm in even the most mundane and unexpected of places. Laughter, joy, and excitement—even if faked—just to lubricate a situation and make things better go a long way, especially in an environment where this kind of behavior isn’t a given.

Imagine if you were waiting in line at the DMV, and the employees working there didn’t look like they were one mini-social revolution away from looking like they’d oversee a gulag? Wouldn’t that be nice?

A TikToker named Bee (@pissbarbecue) says that this is a very real phenomenon she experienced as a customer service worker. In a viral clip, she relays an incident that shows just how surprised customers are whenever she exhibits any type of personality while on the job.

Because patrons aren’t expecting her to rattle off jokes while she’s serving them coffee or processing transactions, the bits she makes hit much harder as a result.

In her viral TikTok, which has accrued over 542,000 views as of Saturday, Bee puts a pithy explanation in the caption for the video that sums up what she’s talking about: “Joke power at work is 1000x joke power at home or in the streets.”

@pissbarbecue joke power at work is 1000x joke power at home or in the streets #fyp#customerservice#barista ♬ original sound – Bee!!!

Bee addresses the camera directly in her clip and says, “One of the funny things about working in customer service is that if you show even an ounce of personality and uniqueness people are just blown away. You make a joke with a customer and they’re like, haaaaaaaahhh!” Bee pantomimes an over-exaggerated laugh as if the individual just heard a Class S zinger from a lifelong stand-up comedian. She slaps her thigh for added effect.

“One time at the cafe, our chip reader was down so we had to manually swipe everybody’s card, it was f*cking annoying,” Bee recalls. “But this guy gives me his card and I take it like, ‘Give me that! Ah, I’m just kidding, just joshing, joking.’ He looks at me like,” Bee then pantomimes him looking her up and down saying deadpan, “I love it.”

“I’m like I’m so glad ’cause I did that just for you. That special funny bit was just for you my man,” Bee shares.

“People just don’t expect you to be a person in front of them when they’re ordering coffee,” Bee concludes. “It’s kind of fun. Way to subvert expectations, me.”

One viewer commented that this kind of at-work behavior doesn’t just make them feel better when they’re on the clock, but it also helps them pay their bills.

“That’s how I got so many tips at one job lol,” the user said. “Suddenly they’re like ‘oh you’re going to college right? lemme help you.’”

Someone else wrote that it’s a great boost to be on the job and have an adoring audience who enjoys your individual personality, sharing, “Literally just left work i LOVE when [customers] think i’m funny.”

It seemed numerous people enjoyed acting charming while they were at work, as another viewer wrote, “I used to always be really purposely awkward and out of pocket. like confidently. made my whole shift every time.”

However, some users said that this type of behavior could be a double-edged sword as there was a demographic of customers who didn’t seem to appreciate it.

“They either love it or hate it,” one wrote. “I’ve had ppl tell me ‘why are you so happy at 6am’ Just cuz your mad doesnt mean I should Bob this why youre going bald.”

“I said ‘yoink’ when grabbing a customers card one time. She did not find it funny,” someone else recalled.

Humor in the workplace is an essential tool to help boost morale and creating a more welcoming atmosphere, according to Forbes. The financial outlet listed additional reasons as to why cracking jokes can be such a positive force: reducing stress, humanizing you to clients/customers and other co-workers, building trust, putting folks at ease, increasing productivity, and being more approachable are some benefits individuals can enjoy of attempting to exhibit some of their personality or crack a joke instead of just being “strictly business” all the time.

Of course, humor takes on different forms, and if you’re not a naturally “light” or jocular person, you could still use that to your advantage. Just ask Liam Neeson.

The Daily Dot has reached out to Bee via TikTok comment.

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