Don’t You Know Who I Am? A Philosophical Quandary

, , , | Right | July 18, 2019

(In the Netherlands, the “customer is always right” policy isn’t as strongly abided by as in the USA, and as a result, an employee can occasionally be rather frank toward customers. Essentially, employees aren’t about going above and beyond for every customer, but rather are encouraged to keep a shop running smoothly. Employees may occasionally bend the rules to be nice if you’re being nice to them, but if you’re mean, they are encouraged to stonewall you or simply refuse service, to keep the atmosphere of the store as a whole as positive as possible. I am working in the kitchen of a restaurant, just bringing some cleaned glasses to the counter, when I see a small line of people at the counter. About third in line is a visibly annoyed American woman who sees me and calls me over.)

Customer: “You! This service here is terrible. Come here!”

(I walk over.)

Customer: “Yes, I’ll have a—” *starts giving her order, but I just stand there listening to her, which seems to set her off more* “Well? What are you waiting for?!”

Me: “Well, I work in the kitchen, not at the counter. While it is nice to know what you’ll be ordering, it really isn’t something I can help you with. But no worries; you’re almost at the front and my colleagues will be happy to help you when it’s your turn.”

Customer: “Well, I have never been treated this poorly by any establishment! Do you know who I am?”

Me: “Not a clue. Do you know who I am?”

Customer: “I… What?”

Me: “Well, maybe we know each other and I just forgot. How do we know each other?”

Customer: “I have no clue who you are, but that—”

Me: “Well, then I guess we’re even! My colleagues will help you as soon as it’s your turn. Enjoy your meal!”

(And with that, I walked back to the kitchen. When the woman complained about me at the counter, my colleagues simply said that I was right, and audibly remarked among each other that people who attempt to skip the line are rude and annoying to deal with, while never really accusing her. My manager did tell me to hold back on the cheekiness a little, though.)

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