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A Hot Scene

, , , , | Right | June 3, 2020

I’m the breakfast attendant at a hotel restaurant. We normally start serving breakfast at 6:30 am, but I always come in a little earlier to set out the dry/cold foods for the early birds. I usually finish around 6:00, but the hot foods always come out at 6:30.

This isn’t an issue most of the time; customers are informed as they’re checking in that breakfast starts at 6:30, and they’re just grateful to have something if they leave a half-hour before then.

One day, however, one customer decides he isn’t too happy with that. This happens about ten minutes after 6:00.

Customer: “Excuse me, can you tell me when the hot foods will be ready?”

Me: “Oh, sorry, sir. They’ll be ready in about fifteen minutes. Feel free to help yourself to anything that’s already out and we’ll have the hot foods ready soon.”

Customer: *Angry* “That is not acceptable. You have everything else; where are your hot foods?”

Me: “Breakfast normally starts at 6:30, but I always come in a little early to set up so our customers who leave earlier than that can still grab a quick bite.”

Customer: “Is this how you run your hotel? By denying service to your guests?”

Me: “No, sir. I’m sorry for the inconvenience. If you’d like, I can head back to the kitchen and see if anything is ready yet.”

Customer: “No, don’t bother.”

The customer walks away. I breathe a sigh of relief, thankful that he hasn’t thrown a complete tantrum. Boy, am I in for a surprise.

Two minutes later, as I’m setting the tables, I hear yelling at the front desk. It’s the guy.

Customer: “…horrible customer service! That kid should be fired! He treated me like trash and refused to serve me food after I asked!”

Coworker: “I’m sorry you feel that way.”

My coworker sees me and waves me over.

Coworker: “I’ll help you two resolve this issue.”

Customer: “I don’t want to talk to that punk anymore! I want him fired!”

Me: “I’m sorry you felt your service was inadequate, but I did offer to let you have the food that’s already out. And our cook will be done with the hot food soon, so if you want to wait—”

Customer: “No! You can’t make me wait! That’s not how a choice hotel is supposed to be run! Where’s the manager?”

Coworker: “Please calm down, sir. Our manager isn’t in this early, but—”

Customer: “Forget it. I want to check out. And you’d better not charge me for my room.”

Coworker: “I can’t remove the charge for your room without my manager’s approval. You’re welcome to file a formal complaint and we will pass it along to the manager when he gets in.”

He wordlessly writes a complaint on a piece of paper that my coworker gives him.

Customer: “Thank you.” *Looks at me* “See? That’s how good customer service is done.”

He walks away without checking out.

Coworker: “Don’t worry. I think you did well.”

Later that day, my manager sided with me and did not comp the man’s room when he checked out. The man came back down for hot food a couple of hours after he made a scene, but he did not make eye contact with me or interact with me in any way.

Question of the Week

Has a customer ever tried to cross you and lived to regret it? What happened?

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