- Jun 2004 Archive
- Dec 2005 Archive
When I was in college, I worked in the bakery of an upscale
grocery store in the summer time. We sold pumpernickel bread at this bakery, but
it was not frequently purchased, so rather than keeping the bread on the shelf,
we kept it frozen in the freezer. Thus, I was not terribly familiar with this
item, as I only saw it when people came in and requested it. The way this bread
was baked, it had small holes on the top. Within my first month of working in
the bakery, I only saw this bread about two times, and when you take the bag out
of the freezer, it is covered in ice so it is hard to see exactly what the bread
looks like. I wrongly assumed that the holes in the bread were raisins, as they
were small, dark and oval shaped.
One day a man called on the phone asking if we had
pumpernickel bread with raisins. I told him yes and put one on hold for him to
pick up when he arrived. About an hour later, he arrived and I took his bread
out of the freezer. When he examined it, he got a very stern look on his face.
He said, "Miss this bread does NOT have raisins, I specifically asked for
raisins, why did you tell me it had raisins if it did not?" I looked at the
bread and realized I had made a very stupid mistake and immediately apologized
and explained to him how I had only seen this bread a few times but was
convinced it had raisins. He did not accept my apology, he just stood there and
stared and me and continued to tell me how stupid I was for not knowing that the
bread was raisin-less. After apologizing several more times and suggesting that
there might be a commercial brand of pumpernickel bread on the store shelves and
showing him the breads we had that did have raisins, he still stood there just
staring at me in disgust and muttering rude things, so I decided I should just
go back to work because I had done all I could think of and apologized multiple
times and I did not wish antagonize him, even though I was shaking with anger at
this time because he was being so rude over a loaf of bread.
I could tell he wanted to yell at me more, but he finally
walked away. However, I noticed he went to the customer service counter - which
is fine, its his prerogative to make a complaint. A few minutes later, he left
(I can't remember if he bought the bread or it was given to him for free) and
the customer service manager came over to me smiling and shaking her head. She
told me this man ranted and raved to her how he drove here just for this bread
and could have DIED in a car crash coming here and it would have been for
nothing since the bread didn't even have raisins and if he had gotten into an
accident, it would have been all my fault. I thought to myself, "But he was
willing to risk his life if it did have raisins?" We don't live in a
big city – yes, I realize accidents can happen anywhere, any time, but it
wasn't like he had to even drive on the high way to get here. He told the
customer service manager what city he was from and how offended he was that he
had to drive all the way from his hometown to our store and risk his life for
nothing. The city he was from is the neighboring town - a 15 minute drive, all
on side streets. The manager told me I wasn't in trouble and that I handled the
situation very well, as I remained calm even though he was telling me how stupid
I was, and she said not to worry I wasn't going to get in any trouble – but it
would probably be in my best interest to remember from then on that the
pumpernickel bread did NOT have raisins!
I work at a large electronics store where, while we can't
order anything from the suppliers, we can ask for another store in our chain to
transfer it to us. This takes from four to five business days. One day a
customer called up and told us that she had asked the sister store to send us a
particular video game yesterday and had we gotten it? I checked our stock and
our sister store's stock. Neither of us had it. I said that it wasn't at either
store and might have been en route. She called back later that day. She called
twice the next day and twice on the third day.
On the fourth day, a woman and her young child came in loudly
demanding said game and irritably yammering on a cell. I looked it up in our
computer. We had never received it and our sister store didn't have it. I got
through the words, "It doesn't look like-" and she slammed the cell
into my face and demanded I explain to the person on the other end.
The person on the other end was already irritable and when I explained the
situation, she lost it. Apparently the employee at the other store promised it
would be there in one to three business days, and it was the fourth so we had
certainly gotten the game and where was it? One of two things could have
happened. A) The customer called, asked if they could transfer something, gave
her name and the name of the product and hung up without ever knowing if the
store had it or B) the employee at the other store had agreed without checking
as it was about to be our problem, not his.
I tried to placate her and told her some other places that
carried the game, but she would not be calmed. I was rude. I had sold her game
to someone else. I had no idea how to do my job. She was positive it was in the
store, no matter what I said. I got irritated as I could not get a word in
edgewise. Meanwhile, her daughter started chanting "You body language is
hostile! Her body language is hostile! Look at her body language! Look at the
way she's standing! Her body language is hostile! Your body language is
hostile!" Finally the woman on the other end of the phone demands the
manager and I'm left alone with Mrs. Hostile Body Language who proceeds to rip
into me. The two words I manage between screaming fits only enrage her more, and
she howls that I am screaming at her and she once was a manager somewhere so she
knows I am the kind of employee who needs to be fired, and won't my managers be
happy to finally get rid of me. Unbeknownst to her, all of my managers and
supervisors are standing right there silently horrified at the family's
I work at a small Internet provider, and we offer low rates on
High speed internet. One day a customer of ours came in to the office to switch
from dial up to high speed. I had been eating the last piece of a chocolate bar
when he came in. I eat a little piece everyday, and I had about two bites left.
I went into the back room to get the equipment he needed, and when I came back
in the room he said "I hope you don't mind, I ate a piece of your chocolate
bar". I brushed it off until he left, but I was floored! This was not a
piece of candy sitting in a dish, it was obvious that it was my afternoon snack.
The worst part is that he actually bit the bar, he didn't break a piece off!
Needless to say I threw the rest out.
I work at an Irish Pub. One night, I had a draft
beer on my tray that I was about to drop at a table when I saw a young
woman barreling towards me. I didn't have time to react, so she
slammed into me. Beer flew everywhere - all over me, all over her, all
over the floor. I looked up and said, "I'm so sorry!"
Even though she had run into me, I still felt badly that she was covered in
beer. She gave me the world's dirtiest look and huffed off, joining two
young men at their table. I went over, apologized again that
she was drenched, but she just rolled her eyes and ordered a beer. Well, I
like to kill 'em with kindness, so I made an extra effort to give top-notch
service without bothering them. Every time I was within earshot, I heard
her talking about me in Polish. I don't know Polish and I don't like
to jump to conclusions, but when I kept seeing her point
at me I was pretty sure I was the topic. I was uncomfortable
being talked about in a language that's foreign to me, but when one guy's beer
was low I asked if he would like another one. The girl laughed in my face!
Why? Only she knows, I was just doing my job. Luckily she left after
her one seemingly bottomless beer. The guys stuck around a
while longer. I guess they appreciated my service and/or were compensating
for their rude friend, because they left me a 100% tip.
This happened years ago, when I was shopping with my mother
and younger sister at Value Village (a department-style thrift store). We would
go there about once a month and try on clothes. We would each take a cart, fill
it up, then go and try them on. On a lucky day, you might try on 50 different
pieces of clothing and wind up with three or four that you want to buy.
Anyway, I was using one of the change rooms, trying on
clothes. If I found something that looked good, I'd come out of the change room
and show my mother and sister to see what they thought. One time as I was coming
out, this woman grabbed my arm, muttered, "Scuzzi, scuzzi," and went
into my change room--the change room that still had all of my stuff in it,
including the clothes I'd worn to the store and my purse! Turns out this woman
had one dress she wanted to try on to show her friend.
My mother and I were shocked! If the woman had just ASKED,
"Could I please use your change room to try on one dress?" I would
have said, "Sure, go ahead." But to just barge in and take it like
that is RUDE! This woman was European (you could tell from the accent), so some
people might blame this on a culture thing, but I think that taking something
that is someone else's without even asking is still rude, no matter where you
I used to work at a very large hardware store as a cashier. In
a job like that you meet a lot of strange and/or rude people--it's just part of
customer service. One guy that really, really stands out came in on a very hot
summer day in his biking outfit and handed me two very damp, almost WARM dollar
bills to pay for a bag of nails (or whatever it was). I was vaguely grossed out
by the money and laughed nervously, saying "Heh, they're wet".
"Oh yeah," said the guy. "I just biked twenty miles--and I CAN'T
WAIT TO GET OUT THERE AND BIKE SOME MORE!!" Apparently he'd had his money
tucked into a special, bikers' wallet attached to his waistband and right
against his sweaty back. Yep. I must have looked repulsed because he finally
caught on and said, "I guess that's kind of gross, huh?" UM, YES, JUST
A LITTLE. What a moron. My husband jokes that I should have rubbed his change in
my armpit before giving it to him, and I'm almost sorry that I didn't. Blech. To
make it worse, it was a really busy time of the day and I didn't have a chance
to wash my hands until hours later. Note that the guy never apologized, either.
I work for an upscale grocery chain. Like many of my coworkers
I'm grossly overqualified but working there suits my lifestyle; I have a baby
and I work weekends only. Naturally most of our customers assume we're complete
idiots but one customer in particular stands out.
The day this incident occurred I happened to be giving out
samples. This meant I was stuck behind a table which meant I was a stationary
target for customers who wanted to ask mostly stupid questions. I don't even
remember what this customers question was now but I remember answering it. She
was quite old so when she asked me to repeat the answer I assumed she was a
little hard of hearing and repeated myself a little slower and a little louder.
She glared at me and said, "I'm not deaf, it's you that can't talk.
(company) shouldn't hire you &%$& foreigners, nobody can understand a
*^&%#$% word you say," then she walked off and asked one of my
coworkers the same question. I should tell you that English is my first language
and although I wasn't born here I've lived here for many years, never had a
problem with anyone else.
"Foreigner" is a relative
term. When I first moved to the Southeast, I pretended to not hear well
when communicating with my very Southern neighbors simply because I could not
understand a word they were saying through their thick Southern drawls.
"Eh? What was that?" "Excuse me, I didn't catch what
you said." Of course, they were probably thinking,
"Stupid, heathen Northern Yankee! Thanks for visiting, now move back
About six years ago I worked as a bag girl for a grocery
store. The first couple of shifts were spent with training videos, all
demonstrating how to either be polite to customers or bag groceries properly.
Most of the stuff was common sense - almost anybody realizes that putting a
gallon of cooking oil into a bag on top of potato chips is a bad idea, after
all. But I watched the videos anyway, then went into the main part of the store
to do my new job.
First incident: I came back inside after loading up somebody's
groceries. As per our training video, I found the nearest checkstand that wasn't
being attended by a carryout guy/girl and started bagging the groceries. The
customer had already filled the bottom of his cart with bags of stuff, so I
politely took over and finished the job. I should note that, before I put in
stuff that I'd bagged, I checked to make sure that I wasn't putting anything on
top of bread or other easily-crushed stuff.
The customer never said anything to me about loading a flat (2
1/2 dozen) eggs, unbagged, underneath his cart. They were apparently right in
the middle, out of my sight - not that I could see them through the tan-colored
bags inside the actual cart anyway.
So, as soon as I pushed the heavily-loaded basket down the
ramp in front of the store and into the parking lot, this flat of eggs slid out
and fell onto the asphalt. The guy gaped at me like I'd just sacrificed his
firstborn and said, "Wow, you're not very good at this are you?" and
made several other comments along those lines the entire time that I loaded his
groceries into his trunk - he even resumed making these comments after I came
back from running the wrecked eggs back inside and bringing out a replacement.
Oh, and here's my favorite one: a customer tried to tell the
cashier that her register had given the wrong price for his carton of
strawberries. She looked it up on the produce department sheet taped up by her
register and said that no, that was the listed price. Then the guy started
complaining about the sign on the strawberry display stating that the price was
lower - two dollars or so - than what he had just been charged. So I, the happy
bag girl, was sent all the way to the produce department at the back of the
store to check the display. That would have been all right, except that when I
got there and checked things out I wanted to go wring the jerk's neck.
The display was a giant table with two OBVIOUSLY different
sized cartons of strawberries shown. One side of the table had the very small
package, and the other side had a pretty big carton. Okay, so there's obviously
going to be a price difference, as the latter carton was easily twice as large
as the smaller.
The price sign was one of those metal-framed things that stand
by themselves on tables and such. This thing was right in the middle. On the
side with the smaller cartons, one price was shown. When I went around to the
other side, I saw the higher price. This guy had to go to the side with the
larger cartons of strawberries to pick out his purchase, but I guess he didn't
see the giant price in six-inch-tall letters. And even if he'd missed the sign,
he still should have figured that the bigger container would cost more than the
I got back to the check stand and politely explained that the
price he was quoting as the correct one was for the smaller container. He glared
at me for almost ten whole seconds before he finally whipped out his wallet,
paid the cashier, and grabbed his cart (obviously he didn't want me loading his
groceries for him after that).
After one month of putting up with customers like that - there
were a lot of shoppers who apparently decided that people who bag groceries
exist to be blamed, yelled at, complained about, and verbally abused - I quit. I
learned that I'm just not good at working retail. But on the happier side, I
still make doubly sure that I'm polite even when I want to do or say something
that would put me in e-hell.
I work in a pharmacy, and quite a few of our elderly or infirm
customers have their prescriptions delivered to their homes. We collect the
forms from the doctor, make them up, and send them out, usually all in the same
day. Please note that this service costs our clients absolutely nothing.
We had a particularly unpleasant and demanding customer who,
in the interests of anonymity, I shall call 'Mrs. Witch'. She calls us about
four times a week on average, generally just to complain. She also claims to be
housebound, although I have seen her out and about many times in the town,
generally screaming at people. As she is usually out when we try and call on
her, we nearly always have to make three or four trips to deliver to her.
I was working one Saturday. We do not deliver prescriptions at
the weekend, and all our delivery customers know this full well, and are used to
it. However, Mrs. Witch calls at least five times to ask when her prescription
will be delivered. Each time I explain the "no-deliveries-at-weekends"
policy, and each time she screams abuse and hangs up. The fifth time, she starts
whining about "oh, it's a sad state of affairs when a poor old woman with
no family and no friends is left to die by some jumped-up little
witch." She then asks me to come and deliver her prescription myself.
I explain that a) I am uninsured to do so and b) there is no way I am trotting
halfway up the town on my lunch hour to deliver a bag full of morphine in full
view of the needle-exchange users who hang about outside the shop. " And
anyway", I said, "looking at your records, you shouldn't run out until
at least next Wednesday, and that's why we haven't delivered it this
week". Mrs. Witch is, for once, shocked into silence, so I decided to
grab the advantage and told her that, if she is able to make it to the shop
BEFORE a quarter past five, we will happily hand her order over to her. After
going on for about ten minutes in the "I'm a poor defenseless woman,
society's going down the toilet, nobody cares about me" vein, she hangs up.
We shut the shop, as usual, at half-past five. I had locked
all the controlled drugs away, and written up the records, leaving us LEGALLY
unable to give out any more prescriptions. I was just locking the door, when
along comes Mrs. Witch on her shopping cart, looking for all the world like
Jabba the Hutt in a pink mohair tent. I popped my head round the door, and
explained (politely, I must add) that, unfortunately, she had missed her
opportunity, and we would deliver her items on Monday. She slammed the door
open, whacking me in the face, and started screaming 'I WANT MY DRUGS! GIVE ME
MY DRUGS! YOU CAN'T TREAT ME LIKE THIS!' I refused again, and she blocked the
only exit, still screaming. By this time, it is ten to six, and she barricaded
us in the shop until at least six o'clock, refusing to let any of us out. In the
end, we had to threaten to call the police to make her go away.
On Monday, she had the cheek to call our head office and make
a complaint about me. Evil, manipulative old witch. The only comfort I have is
that she has a sixty-year start on me, and will probably be dead soon.
These stories are about the worst customers I have ever had
the displeasure of assisting. For some background information, I am an
assistant manager at a large world wide convenience store chain, aside from
paperwork and ordering, I spend a fair amount of my shift every day out on the
floor assisting customers, many of whom are very pleasant, but for every nice
customer, you get 5 that you wish you could avoid forever.
My first story took place when I had only been employed for a
month or so, a woman and her daughter both came in together and each requested a
pack of cigarettes. Since the state law here requires that I card anyone
who looks to be under the age of 27 before selling them an age restricted
product, I asked to see the daughter’s ID. When the daughter said she
did not have her identification, I was required to inform her that I was unable
to sell her the cigarettes. Her mother then said that she would buy them,
and when I apologetically said that not only could I now not sell her the
daughter’s, I could not sell her her own.
She went off, she started screaming at me, telling me that I
was to show her written “proof” of the law (We have signs throughout the
store informing customers that we card under 27, and that second party sales
were prohibited) and she refused to leave the store until she either got her
cigarettes or I pulled the written laws out of thin air and showed it to her.
During this time I was the only clerk in the store and I had a line growing
behind this woman. After I repeated for the third time that if her
daughter wanted to go and get her ID then I would be more than happy to sell the
cigarettes to them, but until then I was going to help my other (very patient)
customers. I informed her that if I broke the law and sold her the age
restricted products, and if there was a secret shopper from the company or ABC
in my store I would A) Lose my job, B) Be fined up to $5,000 and C) go to jail,
and that I was not willing to take that chance. During this whole episode
I tried to be polite and apologetic, and finally the daughter went home and got
her identification, and I was able to complete the sale and breathe a huge sigh
The kicker is that the next day the woman called my boss and
told her that I did a good job and that she only gave me such a hard time to see
if I would give in… for fun. That is what she told my boss word
The second story is about a night when I was working with
another clerk and two guys and a girl came into the store. One of the men
was probably about 25 and the other two were maybe 18 (note, the law says I have
to card people who look under 27, I can lose my job even if they are 21 and I
fail to card for cigarettes or alcohol) The older man came to the counter and
proceeded to check out, the girl stayed near the cooler looking at the sodas,
and the other man walked out of the store as he told the person at the counter
to buy him a cigar. Again I told the customer that I had to see his
friend’s ID or I was unable to sell him any age restricted product. He
began yelling at me, accusing me of being racist and only doing this because he
was black. His female friend came to the counter and joined in and then
his other friend came back inside with another man and a woman and I had all of
them screaming and cursing at me at the top of their lungs. After trying
to diffuse the situation by informing them again of the law I finally told them
that they would have to leave the store, that I would not be selling them
anything. At that point three more men came in and joined into the fray,
and they refused to leave. I called 911, told the police that I had 8
people in the store who had been asked to leave for being abusive, and
wouldn’t. I stayed on the phone with the operator until the police
arrived and arrested them for assault (the operator had heard two of them saying
they were going to come across the counter and f*** me up)
All the while we had customers coming into the store and
calmly going about their business while my co-worker rang them up.
There are plenty of other stories I could tell, but these are
the two worst I’ve come across. People, please, don’t assume just
because we are unskilled labor that the person behind the counter is racist,
stupid, or some kind of automaton. Please at least set down your cell
phones, speak to us civilly, and let us do our job properly. We’re all
human whether we’re a convenience store clerk, or the president.
I work at a large electronics store where we have a computer
system to keep track of our stock since it moves so fast it's impossible to know
what our inventory is at any given time. One of my coworkers, "Al," is
Native American. An African American lady asked him to check to see if we had a
certain item in stock, so he lead her to the computer. Another coworker,
"Billy," who is Caucasian, walked up behind him to wait for him to
finish. Al turned and asked if we had any of the item in stock. Billy told him
we did and pointed to were it was. Al left the computer and Billy took it over.
Now, Al's customer was entirely oblivious as to what had just happened. She had
seen a white employee walk up to them, point away from the computer, and take it
over. She threw an absolute FIT. She screamed and howled and demanded managers.
Everyone tried to explain what had happened to her, but they were white and
apparently lying. Al attempted to explain to her, but she was so angry she
seemed to had stopped hearing at that point. Later she apparently demanded to
know why Al put up with such blatant racism. It astounds me how some people jump
so quickly to the idea that they're being oppressed that they rule out common
This was an incident that happened when I still had the
misfortune to work in a fast-food Chinese restaurant.
Some background: Our till had a special feature on it--$10 and
$5 buttons. So if someone handed you a ten to pay for their meal, you just hit
the $10 button and the till calculates everything automatically. This saved
time, since you wouldn't have to enter 10.00 manually (pressing each number key
and decimal point individually) and then press the "Cash" button when
someone gives you a ten. Same goes for the $5 and you would press
"Cash" if someone gave you exact change. The only problem with this is
that once you enter any payment, you can no longer add items to an order. This
all becomes important later.
One slow night, a woman and her boyfriend came in. They
ordered combos, which I served. Since the drink machine is right next to the
till, standard practice at our restaurant was to serve the meals, ring them up
on the till, press the "Subtotal" button, and then ask the customer if
they want any drinks or other extras. Well, I did that, only my finger slipped
and hit the $10 button (which was right below the "Subtotal") button,
meaning that I couldn't ring in the drinks in the same order. I apologized for
my mistake, and informed the lady (who'd done all the talking up to this point)
that I'd have to ring their drinks in afterwards, since the till wouldn't allow
me to add anything else to this order (thinking that I'd already been partially
The lady then says, "Well, that's a bunch of s***! Now
I'll have to pay more tax."
"What do you mean?" I asked.
"Well, if you pay in two batches you end up having to pay
I politely explained that, no, she wouldn't, since tax is
based on a percentage. I again apologized for the inconvenience of having to pay
for her drinks separately from the meals, but it was an innocent mistake and
wouldn't cost her anything.
No, she insists, she knows that she'll end up paying more,
because she works as a cashier. I shudder to think that she might actually do
the addition herself. I try to move on with business, asking if they would like
drinks. She sighs and turns to her companion and basically says that I'm trying
to cheat her. Which, of course, I'm not, my finger slipped and hit the wrong
darn button. It wasn't like I did it on purpose. And anyway, she'll pay the
exact same amount of tax anyway!
(After all, anyone who passed grade 7 math would know that if
you have 7% of $10 (70 cents) plus 7% of another $10 (70 cents) equals $1.40. Or
if you paid it together, 7% of $20 would be $1.40, the same amount! Of course, I
didn't point out this equation to her, since 'the customer is always right'.)
They order drinks, amidst much grumbling about how incompetent
I am, and that I'm a stupid b**** for cheating them, I must be just a tool of
corporate greed...blah, blah, blah. There were a few other derogatory terms
about Chinese people (I'm half Chinese) thrown in there, too. Said under her
breath, but loud enough that I heard, which I'm sure was her intention. After
finally paying, the customer practically yells at me that I should refund her
f***ing money that I had "cheated her out of". I was very upset at
this point, as I'm a very honest person, so I finally grabbed a quarter out of
my tip jar and gave it to her, saying "Here's a refund. Have a nice
evening." At least that shut her up and she left the counter to go eat.
Then I went to the back of the store, where I broke down in
tears. I'd been treated like a piece of dirt before on this job, but never had
been accused of trying to steal from anyone before. With good reason--I never
steal! At this point I'd worked at this restaurant for over a year and had been
given a raise (which was almost unheard of in this company) because my work was
so outstanding. When my boss saw me in tears, she asked what was wrong. I told
her the whole story, and she poked her head out the kitchen door and asked me to
point out which woman had given me a hard time. Then my boss told me that she
knew that woman, because when she'd owned her own dollar store, that woman had
been caught stealing from her, and my boss had even had to testify against her!
Thank goodness I had an understanding boss, who assured me that I had done
nothing wrong. Honestly, working for her and the other manager (who was also a
decent person), was the only reason I stayed at the job for so long!
When we would ring in meals and drinks, the receipt would show
the meal cost, the drink cost, then the subtotal, then the tax and then the
grand total, which is what the customer would pay. Everything was clearly
annotated on the receipt like this example:
Combo 1 $4.49 Med Drink $1.09 Subtotal $5.58 Tax (7%) $0.39
Grand Total $5.97
Then of course the receipt would say "Cash" and the
amount and what the change was, or "Interac" if the customer had paid
with a debit card.
Seems pretty straightforward, right? Not to some people. Once,
an elderly man came back after eating, accusing me of overcharging him. He was
convinced that I had charged him the subtotal in addition to his food. In other
words, he thought the $5.58 from the above example was an extra charge. I
politely explained to him that the $5.58 was merely the subtotal, shown on the
receipt so that he would know what the total for his entire order had been
before tax had been added on to it. But he would have none of it. It's showing
up on the receipt, so I MUST have charged him for it. Never mind that it would
be completely impossible, given that he only handed me $6.00 (and received three
pennies in change), for me to have taken an extra $5.58 from him. It made me
wonder how on earth he managed to pass 5th grade math if he couldn't figure out
that $5.58 plus $1.09 plus $4.49 plus $0.39 would have been over $11!
He was so insistent that I had overcharged that I had to call
over my supervisor to deal with him, and he had the threaten the man with
calling mall security! Unbelievable. Thankfully, he left after we threatened to
call security. Just goes to show why no system can ever be truly declared
Here's another story that I'm sure all the readers who have
ever worked in fast food can relate to:
I worked at a Chinese fast-food outlet at the local mall to
pay for college. Not a dream job, but it got the bills paid. Unfortunately, some
people seem to think that fast-food workers are all stupid, and treat us like
dirt, which can be really wearing day after day.
Once, during the lunch rush, a lady came up to the counter. I
asked "Can I help you?" as usual. She replied that she needed a few
minutes to decide. Why she hadn't bothered to look at the menu while she'd spent
10 minutes waiting to get to the front of the line is beyond me, but that's her prerogative.
I said, "Do you have any questions?"
"No, I just haven't made up my mind yet."
"No problem," I said, getting in to my required
sales pitch, "Our special today is the orange chicken, found in combo #4.
We have the four set combos, or you can choose your own combo. I'll give you a
few minutes to decide." I said, then turned to the next man in line and
said, "May I help you, sir?" Of course, intending to serve the lady as
soon as I'd served the next customer, thus giving her time to decide what she
wanted to eat.
Well, this lady got totally pissed and started to yell at me.
Apparently, she expected for me to wait for her while she decided, and for
everyone else in line behind her to wait while she decided what she wanted to
eat. This is a fast-food restaurant! My manager quickly stepped in and asked if
there was a problem. The lady then shoved her finger almost in my face and
shouted, "That stupid girl right there tried to serve someone else instead
of waiting for me."
After much drama, the manager stepped in and took her order.
After she left, I asked my manager if I'd done anything wrong (even though I
knew I hadn't, I done exactly as the store's training outline says). My manager
told me that she had defended me to the lady, (yay!) which I hadn't heard, as
I'd been serving another customer. Since the lady hadn't been able to get my
manager to side with me, it had taken the wind out of her sails.
I worked at a cafe/gift shop at a national park this last
summer. I worked in the cafe portion and we were the only place you could
purchase food in the whole park, so we got a high volume of customers. My
best friend and I worked there together, and although we got quite a few rude
customer a few stand out and we still laugh at them today.
One of the worst customers I had the whole summer happened on
my first day of work. An elderly woman and her grown son were ordering
their meals. Her husband was standing to the side looking angry. She
asked me if she could substitute something in the meals we offer and I told her
we couldn't. Her husband then stepped up to the counter and started
yelling at me, saying "We came 3000 miles, I think you can make an
exception for us." He then told my manager I was being rude to him.
Fortunately the son led him away, the wife finished ordering, and my coworker
told the manager I wasn't rude to him at all. For our coffee, the milk and
sugar were in the back of the cafe.
We got a lot of European tourists who would order a white
coffee (coffee with milk in it) and we would hand them the coffee and show them
where the milk was. One English woman became very upset when she saw her
black coffee and before we could show her where to get milk, yelled at us,
"Can I get some cream and sugar or is that too hard for
We offered many vegetarian options at our cafe, and we got
many compliments on this. One woman, however, came up the counter and
started yelling at us because we didn't have any vegan options. We told
her what vegan items we had (there were several) but there was a specific
item in the sandwich cooler that had cheese in it and she wanted that item to be
vegan. So she wanted us to make her that without the cheese. We told her
everything in the cooler was pre-made and we couldn't make anything.
She then became so upset we had to get our manager. Our manager ended up
making her a special sandwich (although it wasn't the one she originally
Some of the rudest customers we had (but also some of
the nicest) were the tour bus drivers. Because they brought business to
the park, they were allowed one free food item and one free drink item each time
they came to the cafe. One particular bus driver never seemed to want to
wait in line and thought he could cut in front of customers to tell me what he
wanted. Another would always order 3 or 4 items(which wasn't uncommon) but
then would never pay for these extra items. There were a few items bus
drivers weren't allowed to have for free, but one driver would always try to
take these items, and would get really upset when told he had to pay for them,
and then would loudly exclaim "Well, I'm just not going to bring my
customers (tourists) here anymore." Even when my manager
heard him, his ploy never worked and he always had to put the items back.
Page Last Updated July 30, 2007