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Do Robot Baristas Need WC Benefits Too?

“What can I get started for you today?” asked the former art-major turned Starbucks barista.

“I’d like a medium-sized coffee please.” I responded.

“You mean a Tall?” I heard snarled back at me.

“A medium sized please.” I said back.

Our eyes locked, and in that moment, the rage of law school and political science classes; the hazy five and a half years of art history and philosophy classes boiled under each respect skin until it all broke loose:

“Can you get a TALL coffee started for this… gentleman?” yelled out the barista to his crew.

Maybe this exchange has happened to you, maybe not. It’s entirely possible that this didn’t even happen to your humble blogger, but with art mimicking life and life mimicking art, who can say anymore.

What’s important is that pretty soon, that might not happen to anyone.

Café X has opened in San Francisco, and has deployed a robot to take orders using a touchpad kiosk, and then deliver the coffee using an access code.

No more workers’ comp; no more overtime; no more lawsuits of the kind that employees can file against employers for a variety of abuses.

Obviously Café X, no matter how many kiosks it sets up in San Francisco or anywhere else, will still need human laborers – someone to refill the coffee and milk; someone to perform maintenance and repairs; someone to address issues of rent and contracts with other vendors.

But these jobs are ones that will have fewer injuries and fewer compliance costs, not to mention just be fewer in number.

Everywhere you look, the world as we know it is changing – your humble blogger asks the same question again, as is often prompted by such developments: is California’s workers’ comp system changing to keep up?

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    February 5th, 2017 at 22:01 | #1

    Your point was understood, but a medium would be a grande and a tall would be a small. I was a barista before I became a barrister. Interesting note: Venti is the large and it’s called Venti because it holds 20 ounces. The iced venti, however, holds 24 ounces, despite its deceptive name. Thems hobbits is tricky.

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