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Floating Around And Then Floating Away

, , , , , , | Working | May 30, 2022

I used to go to this café most Saturday mornings for coffee, tea, cake, etc. One Saturday, a new hire served me my usual carafe of coffee. About ten minutes later, I saw [New Hire] clearing things from tables, but I didn’t pay much attention.

A minute or so later, I was about to pour more coffee from my carafe, but it had disappeared! I realised that [New Hire] must have cleared my carafe, even though it was still half-full. Looking over at the area where they deposit cleared-away items, I saw my carafe, so I rushed to reclaim it.

A week later, I ordered a panini. Some minutes later, I saw [New Hire] emerge with a panini and float through the café looking all around him. I assumed he was looking for me but just didn’t see me, or maybe it was for someone else, whatever. [New Hire] came floating back through, still carrying this panini, and I nodded to him to try to suggest it was me he was looking for, but my nod just didn’t register with him and he went back to the kitchen prep area. Thirty seconds later, he came through again, still with the panini, and this time, I spoke to him.

Me: “Hi, I think that might be mine!”

New Hire: “Weuerghe?”

He looked at me as if I were from another planet.

Then, he sailed right on, floating through with this panini. He came floating back, but before he reached my part of the café, he plonked it in front of a woman a few tables away. The woman looked gave the panini a baffled look, lifted up a corner with a knife, said something to her friend, stared back at the panini, and then started to eat it. She didn’t finish it.

I didn’t want to rush over to grab the panini, just in case it wasn’t actually mine after all, so I waited instead. About fifteen or twenty minutes went by and I’d still not been served. Then, I noticed the manager was at the counter.

Me: “Oh, hello. I ordered a cheese and chorizo panini about half an hour ago and it’s not arrived as yet.”

Manager: “Half an hour ago? That’s too long.”

[Manager] leafed through something.

Manager: “Looks like it got done, so I don’t know what happened to it. I can give you a refund, or do you still want one?”

Me: “I’d still like one, actually. I’m getting hungry now! Seriously, no problem with the wait. I just wondered what had happened as you’re… Actually, I did notice that [description of the new hire] was going round and round with a panini…”

[Manager] immediately closed his eyes, slumped his shoulders, turned his head away, and sighed. It was obvious from his body language that [New Hire] had screwed up before.

Manager: “Okay, I’m very sorry. I’ll do myself right now.”

I watched [Manager] take over the food prep area, working furiously, and very soon after, he came round with my panini.

Another week later, [New Hire] was still there, still fulfilling orders. I ordered an Earl Grey tea. When it arrived, it was clearly not Earl Grey. I took it back to the counter and told [New Hire], who didn’t say anything. He just stared at it stupidly. [Manager] overheard what I had said and ordered [New Hire] to make me an Earl Grey.

Another week later, [New Hire] was no longer there.

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