Chickening Out Of New Years

, , , , | Right | December 23, 2014

(I’m the on-duty manager at a small-town grocery store. We have a full-service deli that offers roasted chicken and potato wedges. Normally, it closes at seven in the evening to allow clean-up time before the store closes at nine, but on New Year’s Eve, food service stops at five. Around 6:30, a pair of women approach the deli counter. I’m one aisle over working on some stock with a coworker.)

Customer #1: “Excuse me, we would like a 16-piece chicken.”

Customer #2: “And two large orders of potato wedges!”

Deli Worker: “I’m sorry; we stopped serving food at five tonight. We’re closing the deli up early because it’s New Year’s Eve.”

Customer #1: “We called in earlier and talked to the manager. He said you were open until seven!”

(I didn’t talk on the phone at all that night.)

Deli Worker: “Well, let me call the manager over here. He’ll sort this out for you.”

(I come over.)

Me: “Yes, ladies, what can I do for you?”

Customer #1: “We called in earlier and the manager said the deli was open until seven.”

Customer #2: “And we have a party of eight people waiting for us to come back with chicken to eat.”

Me: “Well, I’ve been the manager all day. I got here at 11 this morning and have yet to speak to a single customer on the phone. If you talked to the opening manager, I apologize if you received the wrong information. However, I can’t give you any chicken because we don’t have any. It also helps to call ahead on orders of this size because we don’t always have 16 pieces fresh and ready to go half an hour before closing the deli.”

Customer #1: “We come here all the time, [My Name], you know that. You carry my groceries out. Isn’t there something you can do to help out a loyal customer?”

Me: “I’m sorry. You’re lucky that [Deli Worker] is even still here. She actually was just about to clock out when you got here.”

Customer #2: “This is outrageous! How are we supposed to serve eight people food now?”

Me: “Well, in town, there are three different stores that sell pizza for carry-out, and they’re all down [Street]. Otherwise, the sandwich shop is open until 10 tonight, and even here in the store we have all sorts of food.”

Customer #1: “We could probably try [Pizza Place]…”

Customer #2: “Better idea! How about we buy four frozen pizzas and you just put them in the oven for us in the deli?!”

([Customer #1], [Deli Worker], and I all stare at [Customer #2].)

Customer #2: “I demand your service!”

([Customer #1] ended up talking [Customer #2] down and they ended up buying four frozen pizzas and taking them home.)


This story is part of the New Year’s Eve roundup!

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