Life is weird enough.

21 Jul

As some of you may know, I have worked in food service for over four and a half years now. It may not seem as a long time, and it probably isn’t when you are talking of other types of work. But, as anyone who has worked behind a counter serving the public knows, it doesn’t take long to become both jaded to the appalling levels of rudeness and entitlement displayed for your hapless benefit, and endlessly amazed at the new levels of idiocy and privilege every other day of work brings.

To whit,  shenanigans from this past weekend.

First, a customer collars me as I do a round of the dining room.

Now, lest you be misled by that statement, this is not a rare occurrence by any means. Whenever I’m the one managerial-type person on sight, I’m often called upon by sitting down customers to be witness to all manner of housekeeping-type outrages:

  • “The table we want to use has two crumbs and a glass-ring mark!” (never mind that there are four other perfectly clean tables with the same number of seats around that one dirty one)
  • “One of the creamer containers is not full!” (never mind that we are closing in ten minutes and no one has bought coffee or otherwise used any creamer since four in the afternoon)
  • “Why is (item) no longer on the menu? That was my favorite item and I want you to make it for me, right now!” (never mind that we do not carry the ingredients to make it, for you or anyone else, and haven’t for the past year)
  • “I ordered something I don’t like, so I want you to replace it with something else I know I like, and give me a refund on top.” (never mind that the cashier asked you–twice–if you were sure you wanted to order it, since you did say you had never had it before, and never mind that you were offered a sample so you could better decide whether you wanted it or not)

The conversation–if I may be so generous as to call it that–broke records on both the entitlement and the stupidity fronts.

The setup for the conversation is this: I work for a franchise, and about half a year ago, my current location was remodeled. Nothing major–we were even open as it happened, which was…interesting is the mild form of the word that comes to mind.

Also, as part of my regular duties, I’m supposed to check often that nothing awful is going on on the premises, such as

  • vomit near the side door (“can you find someone to clean this for me?” because I’m in a hurry and can’t be bothered to clean up the mess my five year old just made in a public place),
  • an elderly lady stuck in the men’s handicapped stall (“can you crawl under the door to get her out?”, because even though I know she gets confused and wanders off, I was too busy on my phone to mind where she was and what she was doing),
  • a cellphone accidentally dropped into the trash right before another customer tossed his full soda cup into it (“can you look through the trash for that for me?” because even though it was I who threw it in the trash, I’m too important to get my hands dirty, but these are the type of things you are paid to do),

and the like.

So when, in the middle of the dinner rush, this gentleman stops me with a mild enough, “excuse me, may I call your attention to something over here?” I’m expecting something along the lines of any (or even several in combination) of the different things I described above.

Instead, what I got was an almost fifteen minutes monologue–because I was not allowed to put in one word edgewise–on how the remodel cost the location money, how we should remodel again to better advertise our product and increase our revenue, on how this gentleman’s expertise is in marketing and therefore I should ensure to get word to the powers that be so that such a remodel takes place sooner than soonest, how the corporation should heed his vast expertise on all matters marketing, advertising, traffic flow, point of purchase appeal, and so on and so forth, ad nauseam.

The entire time, as I’m biting my tongue and trying not to roll my eyes, the same thought is running through my head in a loop: are you fucking kidding me?

Deities forgive me, sir, but if you knew anything about marketing, you would probably know that franchisees never do anything without the approval–and more likely the prompting–of the corporation who owns whatever restaurant/gas station/fast food joint/whatever it is. You would also know that, however asinine said corporation’s decisions seem to you, they are as final as death. No manager–let alone someone as low in the totem pole as the likes of me–has any sway over any company policies. By the time these decisions come down to the individual locations, a team of people up there in corporate land have spent months–if not years–mulling over the logistics, the consequences, the projected earnings, and the like.

Not, mind you, that some of the decisions made by the corporate offices are not the epitome of moronic (to give you one example I know of, a promotion for a new product went all the way to buying the ingredients and getting all the promotional items to all the locations in the country, and two days before it went live, it was called of).

The second incident went on quite a bit longer.

See, a group of people grabbed five four top tables and arranged them in a circle so that the eight or nine of them could sit around them. All the extra chairs? Oh, they shoved them to the side. People needing to walk to the restrooms? Oh, they could walk around the other side of the restaurant, right? Bags and laptop cases and shit laying on the floor about two feet around that makeshift round table? Oh, it’s not as if people are at risk of tripping over them, right?

What did this rather large group of people, who took up a quarter of the available space and made half the seats in that area redundant, consume? Sodas and coffee.

And how long did they sit there? Well, they were there over four hours before closing, and stayed for  a full hour after we closed–I actually had to go there and tell them that we couldn’t finish closing with them sitting there.

At least, though, they didn’t ask me if they could stay after the staff left–which, I kid you not, a customer at another location had the gall to ask me one night. Because, see, he was working on something important on his computer and couldn’t stop for something as menial as us peons needing to leave.

And what about the group of teens who walked in through the side door as the manager was locking the front door,  asked for plastic ware and glass cups at the counter, grabbed napkins and condiments from the counter…then proceeded to unwrap food from a different chain on the table, and sit there making a mess all around the table for over twenty minutes?

Or the family who came in after closing, as a customer was leaving–dude, why do you hold the door open for people to come in, when you know that place is closed and has been for twenty minutes?–and then loudly bitched at me because a) we were closed, b) there was no food, c) there were no drinks, d) we were closed, and e) I didn’t even try to accommodate them because–did I mention this?–we. were. closed.

I couldn’t make this shit up, guys.

4 Responses to “Life is weird enough.”

  1. Lori 21/07/2014 at 7:50 PM #

    Everybody in America should have to work in fast food or retail sales. Seriously, it should be mandatory. Because this shit is rude, entitled and just pathetic. And it happens every day.

    And love Mr. Know It All. Now that’s just a man who hasn’t got a clue but really, where would he get one? There’s no room in his brain for anything but himself.

    • azteclady 21/07/2014 at 10:51 PM #

      I have long argued that teens should be required to work retail for at least a year before college, but I’ve come to realize that even then there are those beyond learning.

      (There is this…well, she’s 24 so I’ll stop calling her girl, shall I? She is the first to call customers rude for just about everything–while she herself is rude in the exact same manner, and on a regular basis, to everyone she works with. Then she’ll put her “oh, I’m sorry, did I offend you?” face and expect to be forgiven.)

      Still, I do believe that more people are capable of learning by literally walking on the other person’s shoes than not, and still think teens should work retail, for at least a full year, before college.

  2. Rowena 10/08/2014 at 11:36 AM #

    Wow. This takes me back to my days of working at Walmart in San Diego. It was fun but man did we get a lot of what you described in this post. I saw a lot and learned a lot about how stupid people can be over the stupidest things.

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