In the words of my lovely coworker: Today was bullshit.
The boss’ wife made waves. There was a “big” football game on our Coffee Shop T.V. And a concert across the street must have gotten out early, because we were stupid busy. And there were just two of us to take care of it. Go figure.
Now, the worst thing about it being busy is that customers are tetchy from waiting in line and are more likely to be high maintenance when they reach the front of the line. Which, I would like to point out, actually makes the line move slower.
Fortunately there was one customer today who had this all figured out. Don’t wait in the line. Harass the barista making lattes instead.
As I was steaming a pitcher of milk, I became aware of two beady eyes examining me from across the top of the espresso machine. Since I’d already made the mistake of making eye contact, I had no choice but to talk to him.
Me: Can I answer a question for you, sir?
Customer: Yes! ( He was clearly miffed that it had taken me so long to notice him. You know, because hiding behind the espresso machine is exactly where I typically look for customers with questions about our menu) I have a question about your “Soups and Salads”.
Me: Okay. . . Well, what is it?
Customer: Yes your Soup and Salad menu.
(At this point he gestures up at the board titled “Soups and Salads” where we list our different kinds of soups and salads, as one would expect)
Customer: Now, the “Soup and Salad”, is that a full sandwich?
Me: *blank stare* Umm . . . actually those are just our soups and salads.
Customer: Okay but what if I wanted a soup and salad?
Me: *more blank staring* . . . You could get cup of soup and a house salad as a combo for seven fifty?
Customer: What about a sandwich?
Me: You can get a half sandwich and a cup of soup for the same price as the soup/salad combo.
Customer: Well what about a full sandwich?
Me: With soup? It’s a dollar extra to substitute your sandwich’s side for a cup of soup.
Customer: Okay, how much is that?
Me: (Seriously?) It’s a dollar extra.
Customer: Now, is that a big bowl of soup on the side?
Me: No . . . It’s a cup of soup.
Customer: Oh oh okay, so it’s a cup of soup. Okay I’ll have the Turkey and Cranberry sandwich with lentil soup. How much is that?
Me: It’s eight fifty . . . (a dollar more than the sandwich normally is, you lunatic).
Customer: Now, that will come out on a croissant right?
Me: No, it’s usually made on whole wheat.
Customer: Not a croissant?
Me: No . . . but I can tell them to make it on a croissant if you –
Customer: Well I’ll take it on a croissant . . . but don’t charge me any extra for that!
At this point I’m looking for the reality T.V. cameras.
Nope. No cameras. This shit is real. And after all that, he couldn’t figure out where to get water or remember to take his table number. I would also like to point out that this man is a regular at the Coffee Shop. I know where he lives and he’s been coming in for years.
Do we really have to play that game every time you come in? Do we? Can’t we just be cool with the fact that I work here every day, you come in here every day, and the menu doesn’t ever change. Neither does the location of the water. Or the deal with the table numbers.
Later on, after I started to calm down just a little bit, I was back on the register. A woman approached me with a sneer.
Her: I want a panini. But I don’t want the usual bread. I want you to make it on the sourdough over there.
Me: I’m sorry but we don’t have sourdough bread here. We have whole wheat, baguette, and hoagie rolls.
Her: No. I see it over there. That bread. *she points over in the direction of the baskets in the kitchen. Where we keep all our types of bread together.*
Me (trying to be patient): Okay, can you just point out the bread you’d like us to use?
Her: This one here! The sourdough! *pointing to the whole wheat*
Me: Okay, that’s our whole wheat.
Her: No it’s not. It doesn’t look right. Grand Central Bakery’s whole wheat doesn’t look like that.
Me: I don’t know what to tell you. That’s our wheat bread. From Grand Central.
Her: Well then what is this stuff? *pointing to the hoagie rolls*
Me: That’s what we put our paninis on. It’s also from Grand Central.
Her: No they don’t make that kind of bread.
WHAT IS IT with customers arguing with me about our products? I can assure you that this bread was from Grand Central bakery. I receive it from them in the mornings when I open. It’s on our invoice. If it’s not from Grand Central then there is a secret scheme afoot with the delivery drivers. But I kinda doubt that.
That’s about all the ranting I can do without working myself into a fleshy bomb of rage and hatred. I have to admit, from a distance it is kind of funny. . .But at the time I was about two annoying customers away from climbing on the counter and hurling ceramic cups at a couple of old ladies who wouldn’t leave me alone. Maybe I have anger managment issues.