A Free Sandwich Actually Costs Time

, , , , , , | | Right | May 7, 2019

(It’s almost time to close at the sub shop I’m working at. A lady I estimate to be in her 60s comes in with a coupon to buy a sub and any drink to get the next sub free, which we allow. This is what ensues.)

Me: “Hello. What can I get started for you?”

Customer: “I have this coupon.” *reads off coupon* “So, I want a six-inch [sandwich #1] on [bread], and a six-inch [sandwich #2] on [bread]. Make sure you toast the bread thoroughly; I can’t stand [Store] bread when it’s not toasted.”

(I ask what cheese she wants and get ready to put them in the toaster. As I open the toaster she says:)

Customer: “Wait, what are you doing?! I want the bread toasted; I told you I can’t stand [Store] bread when it’s not toasted.”

Me: “Well, our standard protocol when toasting sandwiches is to have the meat and cheese on already so everything gets cooked.”

Customer: “No, no, no, just toast the bread, or it won’t get cooked thoroughly. I know your ovens; they don’t cook the bread if it has everything on it.”

Me: “All right.”

(I toast the bread twice bare and once more with the meats on them. The bread is very much darker at this point, but not burnt. Vegetables go fine, no issues there, but every so often she gets angry and impolite when she has issues with the way I’m doing things, and then she switches back to normal behavior. We get to the checkout process. She has two sandwiches and a drink which qualify for the coupon, and she also has a bag of chips and another drink.)

Customer: “How much extra will it be if I buy a [bottled drink] instead of a cup?”

Me: “Can you read what your coupon says so I can check?”

Customer: *ignores my question and asks the same question in a more hostile tone*

(I ask her to read the coupon again; she does so.)

Me: “All right, since it specifies any drink, the price would be the same.”

Customer: “Good.”

(I enter her items into the register and she sees the total on her side.)

Customer: “Wait, what? Why is it [price]? It should only be [price a few dollars less].”

Me: “Well, the first sandwich and the first drink are normal price, which makes the second sandwich free, and the system sees the second chips and drink as a meal with the second sandwich, so it discounts them even though the second sandwich is still free.”

Customer: “No, it still should be [lower price]. I think you’re doing it wrong.”

(We have this circular argument about three more times. Meanwhile, other customers are waiting and I am running out of time to start closing procedures.)

Me: “Would you like me to explain how that coupon works one more time?”

Customer: “I don’t care how the coupon works; it still should only be [lower price]!”

(I have no other way to explain to her the prices and calculations, so I just tell her each of the prices, and I am surprised to see her take one of our napkins and start doing the math herself. She then asks me to confirm each of the prices in a not-so-polite manner. This goes on for about five more minutes. She then realizes…)

Customer: “I might be doing the math wrong.”

Me: “All right, so we’re all clear here?”

Customer: “Yes.”

Me: “All right, here’s your receipt. Have a good night.”

Customer: *jokingly* “I wonder where my son gets all his nagging from.”

(We finished up there, she left, and I apologized to the next customers for the wait. This whole exchange cost me twenty minutes and was a contributing factor in our late departure at the end of the night. Not once did she apologize, but maybe she forgot to…)

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