Story Time: Michael Bublé Edition

Yes, that is how he used to look at me. Eat your heart out.

Yes, that is how he used to look at me. Eat your heart out.

Not too long ago I was trawling through this very blog, replacing now-deleted YouTube videos, and I came across this awesome cover of “To Love Somebody” by Michael Buble. Bublé. Sorry, Mike.


Yes, I call him Mike. We’re likethis, I tell ya.

No, we aren’t. But we used to work together, so let me tell you an exclusive story about Michael Bublé, from the days when he was just an embittered aspiring entertainer by night, embittered experienced barista by day. The looks he throws in that video remind me of him back then. Because (sigh) he used to look at me that way.

100% bullshit free.

He used to work at the Pacific Centre Starbucks in downtown Vancouver, a seriously busy location with a clientele of stockbrokers and high-powered financial types who had no time to shoot the breeze or hang around chatting with the barista about his Other Life (Everyone at Starbucks has an Other Life; one of their district managers sings opera and in fact toured Japan in Aida, and let me tell you it helps a long night of inventorying along when he busts out the Mozart). So there wasn’t a lot of communal goodwill swirling about the shop, and the people working there tended to be more stressed and less happy than baristas in other stores. They’ve since redesigned it so it’s much more conducive to sitting and talking, but at the time it was a pretty industrial-looking takeout, high volume coffee stop and that’s it.

I was there picking up some spare shifts. I was notorious for picking up extra work anywhere, everywhere, and routinely received talkings-to about it, because a barista working at time and a half or double time or even (once, gloriously) triple time costs a lot, but then they’d never hire enough staff to cover all those shifts, so they had to let me take them or just give up on the money to be made.

I always liked working Pacific Centre, and for only one reason: Michael Bublé. Not even joking. And here’s why.

He was an absolute joy to work with. Oh, god forbid he be some smiley maniac muttering “Bless you and have a GREAT day!” Oh no. Never. That’s not what I mean At. All.

He was a joy to work with because we were both embittered bitches who loathed the demands of quotidian reality as a pair of baristas (well, I was a lead, now called a shift supervisor; he was a lowly barista). They asked him to be a lead, but he refused. Of course they did; he was clearly highly intelligent, had a high energy level, and people loved him. He said straight out that he didn’t want to take on any more responsibility at work than he had to; he knew his priorities were elsewhere. And this was in the 90’s, the days where everyone was supposed to throw their whole being into doing whatever banal tasks the company asked, because we were BUILDING TOMORROW! With lattes.

Oh yeah, and all the girls and half of the boys had crushes on him. Even the straight ones. He had that brooding Emo Snape thing going on without even trying, and he was both smart as a whip and funny as…there aren’t any great embittered wits around anymore, have you noticed? But there were elements of Stephen Wright about him sometimes, and an awful lot of Oscar Wilde and George Bernard Shaw in his black moods. Michael was like a cat, a sleek black cat that sits in the corner judging you.

He liked me because I was a bitch like him.

He told me he turned down the promotion and why, and said he liked, no, needed, to be able to go on auditions several times a week and was deliberately putting in the amount of work elsewhere that it took to keep a roof over his head and no more than that. He’s a good-looking fellow, so I assumed it was acting auditions, but he corrected me. I asked what kind of music he did, and he replied:

“Nothing that anyone wants to hear, apparently.”

Yeah, so next time your talented friend is thinking of pitching it all to become a middle manager at Walmart or wherever, tell him about the time Michael Bublé told his co-worker that nobody wanted to listen to his music.

61 million plays for this song. Probably NOT all his parents, eh?

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