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Baristas Know All The Gossip

An illustration of several people, each one passing some juicy gossip on to the next one.
Illustration by Tara Jacoby

I never worked for a big chain coffee shop, but for one very sweaty year and a half of my life I worked at a local bakery that also had an espresso machine. I was quickly forbidden from working the espresso machine, mainly because I was much better at kneading bread and gossiping than at remembering drink orders and gossiping.

All retail work is good for gossip because you are constantly confronted with people who think they are better than you, are almost always in a rush for no reason, and will happily talk to their sister on the phone about how their boyfriend is cheating on them and they’re going to steal all of his plants in the night and abscond with them (this is a real story I once overheard).

This week’s gossip is about a few baristas who have their ears wide open for gossip but are much more interested in what their fellow workers are up to than anything the annoying people in the drive-thru.

Joining me this week is Tobin Low. Tobin co-hosted the podcast Nancy, which the Normal Gossip team loves, and is currently an editor at This American Life. We had so much fun this episode!

I talked to Tobin about why being a producer is a great job for a nosy person, how to be a joyful gossip, and the very specific horror of hearing a family gossip story revealed by one of your grandparents with absolutely no warning. Then we dove right in to a story of hourly wages, spilled milk, and a group chat hell-bent on solving a workplace mystery.

You can subscribe to Normal Gossip on Apple PodcastsSpotify, or wherever else you listen! You can follow Normal Gossip on Instagram here.

(The transcript for this week’s episode can be found here.)

And if you do have some good goss that you want us to hear, the email for that is normalgossip@defector.com, or phone it in to 2-6-7-9-GOSSIP.

We are also now accepting gossip for our season 2 listener gossip episode! We are looking for your stories from niche organizations (bake sale organizing committees, embroidery groups, charity relay races, anything you think is a small and important culture). Please call or email those in and indicate that they are for the bonus episode!