An employee's life in customer service and other random stories.

Memorial Day patrons

Today was Memorial Day. How did I get to celebrate and honor the men and women who fight to protect our country? By working, of course! I fight my own wars in the trenches of food service-dom in an attempt to keep my sanity and provide people with artery-clotting deliciousness.

It was a moderately busy/slow day and it would have been an okay night if my assistant GM hadn’t told me that it had been slow all day right before he was about to leave. If there is one thing that you never say in the restaurant industry it is, ‘Oh, it has been slow so it should be pretty slow for the rest of the night.’ This is the kiss of death. Add this to the fact that one of the people scheduled to work the night shift had already called in before I had even entered the building. I was set up. However, all of this was nothing compared to the wretched lady that came in pretty early on in my shift. She… was a treat. A wonderful woman who I hope to encounter in a dark alley sometime soon. Just thinking about her is making me shake in anticipation.

It is my theory that most people who come into restaurants on days that are otherwise meant to be spent with family are genuinely horrible people. That is why they are not out grilling with their own family. Or even hanging around with their friends, for that matter. Noone can stand to be around them because they are that shockingly detestable. There is the oddball case that involves horrible car accidents that kill every family member, but those cases are few and far between. As a result, I get to deal with these wonderful people and their outbursts because they know as well as I do, that they are utterly and completely alone in this world. That must be a horrible feeling, so I deal with it. Well, that and I have to deal with it because I want to keep my job.

Now, as I have already stated, I was missing one person in this shift. Therefore, things are not going to run as smoothly as normal. It is going to take longer for things to be made/brought out to customers because I have one fewer person to aid me in these tasks. This makes sense, yes? I think it does, but perhaps I am just being… logical? It is like if I were to go up to your car and remove one of the tires. It wouldn’t really function in the same way, now would it?

So, to get along with this story, this woman came into the restaurant during the dinner rush. This means that there are a lot of people who all want to be fed at the same time. We were actually doing quite well, considering the circumstances. Ticket times, which are simply the amount of time that it takes for us to get the food to the customer, were around 5 minutes. Definitely a respectible time frame. Well, this woman was unable to wait this horribly long time period. She repeatedly asked if this was her food as my fellow employees were trying to get finished dishes to the customers who had ordered it before her. Again, I plead logic. If someone orders ahead of you, then you will be getting your food after them. I noticed that this woman was agitated so I sacrificed a few seconds to go out and reassure her that were just finishing up her order. She definitely did not appreciate this, so I hurried back to my station and continued on in my endeavors.

A few seconds later another employee brought out this woman’s order. Before he was even able to hand this woman her bag, she was already questioning what was in the bag and how it had all been prepared. You see, this woman had made a somewhat complicated order, so she wanted to make sure that everything had been done correctly. I understand this. I really do. Everyone makes mistakes, this woman’s parents for example, and it is natural to want to make sure that you are getting what you have paid for. I made my way over to this woman, adandoning my station in the process, to assure her that everything had been prepared as she had asked when she originally ordered it. She had in fact received two orders of protein, all of the sauces were on the side and we had provided her with eating utensils. This sent this woman over the edge.

Apparently she had only wanted half of the sauce for her one dish on the side. OF COURSE! I should have known better. When the screen that I am preparing your order from says to put the sauce on the side, I should automatically know that you only mean half. Now, I know what you must be thinking. Perhaps she really had said this when she ordered, and it was not passed down the grapevine. FALSE. I listened to this gem of a lady order her food, and she said nothing of the sort. But, I did not say this. I began apologizing and asked if she would like for us to remake her food. It would literally take 15 seconds for us to put half the sauce on her dish. This was the incorrect way to go in this situation. At this point she began ranting about how this was the worst customer service she had ever recieved.

I highly doubt this was the case but I will go along with it this once, you crazy. Assuming this was the worst customer service in the history of customer service, then would I be trying to rectify the situation? If we really were that horrible, would I be trying to make you happy by fixing your order? Answer: no. If I really did not care, then I would not have taken the time to reassure you that your food was on its way, and I would not have come over to try to figure out what I could do to make you happy. She continued to yell at me that I should have gone out and asked her if she had wanted half or all of the sauce on the side. Yes. I should have wasted more time going out to ask you these inane questions. Then you could have yelled at me some more for wasting time that I could have been using to make your food. This is a lose-lose situation for me. Don’t you see that? Either I play it safe and put all of the sauce on the side (like the order says) and you get mad at me for that, or I waste time talking to your delightful face and you get mad at me for having to wait for your food. You are right, lady. This is all my fault.

I continued to try to explain how I was missing a person and that I was doing the best that I could at this moment in time. I offered to add the sauce to the already prepared dish. I offered to remake the dish entirely. I even offered this woman some coupons for free food the next time that she came in. No matter what I said or tried to do this woman was determined to be the victim of this situation. She then proceeded to tell me how she was already late to wherever she needed to be at that moment in time and how she had to leave. I am guessing her cats were missing her or something. Perhaps she was running late and needed to get home to take her crazy meds. Either way she then left the store, her parting word to me being, “Bitch!”

Here is an idea, psycho. Maybe, instead of yelling at me for 10 minutes while I am trying to fix the situation, you just let me fix things. Then, you can leave and I can get back to work helping the more sane customers in the establishment. Taking this course of action will save you time and get you home in time to watch your prerecorded soaps while eating your pathetically complicated meal. Alone. Maybe with your cats. More realistically, fish. I imagine the cats would off themselves pretty quickly having to live with you. At least the fish wouldn’t have to listen to your irritating voice.