Just because I wait on you and take your order, it does not mean that I am less of a human being. Treat me with respect and I will do the same to you. Just because I am standing behind a counter, it does not mean that I am an idiot. It means that I was not born with a silver spoon in my mouth and have had to work for my money. And just because you are the customer, it sure as hell does not mean that you are always right.
Every so often I have a day at work that does not completely suck balls. Today was one of those days. Well, actually, it was a few days ago (This post took me a while to write). I actually had a fun time. I got to work with one of my favorite people ever (D. CUPCAKE SHOUT OUT!), and there were no exceptionally stupid patrons. None that I had to deal with at least.
Since there was nothing particularly exciting happening, I made it my mission to educate some of the newer employees. This has been an ongoing process, but I am slowly making headway.
Today’s lesson: polite rudeness.
Polite rudeness (definition): the art of telling a patron that they are being completely stupid without actually saying anything rude.
Let me explain. This is a talent that I have perfected over the years. It never ceases to amaze me how much more patrons think they know about a menu/restaurant than the people who actually work there. I work 20 - 40 hours a week in this place and you spend maybe 3 hours a week (and this is being SO VERY generous assuming that you eat here in the restaurant for 3 days for an hour each). But yes, you must know the menu better than I do. How could I have been so naive? *facepalm* Would you like to come back here and make it too? You can probably make it better than I can too, right? At a certain point you have to start fighting back to retain your own dignity. Unfortunately, when upper management lives, breathes and drinks the motto, “The customer is always right,” there is very little you can do and still expect to keep your job. That is where polite rudeness comes in. It helps you keep your sanity and your job.
The art of this tactic is all in the tone of voice and the facial expressions that accompany it. When I go into this mode my voice becomes ridiculously high and every sentence ends with an upswing of cheeriness. I make myself sound like I am merely trying to be helpful to this poor customer who is in such desperate need of it. In actuality I am pointing out the insanely obvious while educating the customer on how stupid their statement/question is.
Examples of when this would come in handy:
“I did not get any chicken on my dish.” “OH! That is because we did not ring you up for that so you were not charged for any meat on your dish. But let me go ahead and get that for you!” “Oh, well I can pay for it…” “Nooooo. You go ahead and enjoy this. Don’t worry about it at all!”
“I would like [insert dish here], but without [insert random vegetable here].” “Ok, well, there isn’t actually any of that in that dish, so you don’t have to worry about that!”
*Customer begins to head behind the counter for a napkin* “Oh! Let me go ahead and get that for you!” *slight body check*
“I would like an order of tossers, but with the sauce on the side.” “Ok, would you just like an order of tenders instead? They are the same thing, but they already have the sauce on the side!”
*Customer begins to go behind the counter to grab a bottled beverage* “Oh! Let me go ahead and get that for you!” *slight body check*
“I didn’t get my dessert.” “Oh! I am so sorry to hear that. We leave them up front on the counter so that you can choose the perfect one for you. Did you remember to grab it on your way out?” “Well, no….” “OH! Well, then that explains it! You can go ahead and grab it right now if you would like!”
See how each of these responses can be read two ways? One way it can sound bitchy and another way it can sound happy way. That is the magic of rude politeness. Thoughts?