Free Ice Cream Does Not Mean Free To Abuse

, , , | Right | April 13, 2020

(I work at the local swimming and sports center, manning the bar section where we do kids’ parties. Once a year, we hand out free ice cream to children that have earned their swimming diplomas. We school in three levels of swimming. This customer has three kids, one in each level of schooling. It is a few minutes after his second kid has gotten an ice cream. I recognize the father the minute he calls out to me.)

Me: *serving another customer* “Here’s your change, sir, and here’s your free ice cream, little lady.”

(I head out to the swimming section to serve a kid’s party and then return to be stopped by the customer.)

Customer: “Hey, you son of a b****! I have been waiting here for twelve minutes and I demand you give me my ice cream now!”

(Staying calm, I explain how it is usually busy with the free handouts and three kids’ parties.)

Me: “My apologies for the long wait. Could you please be a bit more patient? I will help you as soon as I can.”

Customer: “That won’t do. I demand my ice cream now! My son will be out here with his C-level diploma and I won’t have him waiting in line this long when my girls already had to!”

Me: “Well, I’m terribly sorry, sir, but it is policy that the children show their diplomas to us; otherwise, anyone could say their child got it and ask for free ice cream, even if they failed the exam.”

(The customer bursts into a raging fit about me not trusting him and how he is a pillar of the community. He is cursing and calling me names, ranting about how I should respect him, at which point I lose all my respectful demeanor.)

Customer: “Get me my d*** ice cream now, you annoying little brat!”

Me: “Well, sir, seeing as your two daughters have had to wait in line, you should be well aware of how things go around.”

Customer: “I said if you don’t get me my ice cream right now, I will take my business elsewhere.”

Me: “So, you will stop waiting in line here when it was your turn after two or three other customers, though you would not have gotten your ice cream seeing as your son is not here to show his diploma, which would mean you would have to wait all over again, and will go somewhere else to get him his ice cream, where you will have to pay for it. My dear sir, I do not care who you are or where you’re from, but from what I can tell, you have just wasted ten minutes of everyone’s time by stopping me from doing my job, you have embarrassed your daughters by acting in such a foul manner in front of them, and worst of all you just gave me the option to ignore you from now until forever. So, go to this other store where you will have to pay, and take your son and your daughters with you, or wait in line like every other respectable parent in this place. I don’t care either way.”

Customer: “How dare you talk to me like that?! Don’t you know who I am?”

Me: “Like I said, I do not care who you are, especially if you disrespect me or my colleagues.”

Customer: “Even so, I am a paying customer so you should treat me with the utmost respect.”

Me: “Sir, you have not paid for a single thing yet; you got your ice cream for free. If you are referring to the swimming lessons, that has nothing to do with me. Now, if you will excuse me, I have paying, respectful customers to serve, and children to tend to. I’ll know when you have made your choice.”

(I walk off taking orders, once again ignoring the customer completely.) 

Other Customer In Line: “How could you not jump over the bar and punch that guy?”

Me: *jokingly* “Because I can’t jump high enough.” 

(The other customer and I chuckle at that. When the customer’s son’s exams are done, I see the customer standing in line at the bar with his son in hand, ready to show the diploma, when it is their turn to be served.)

Me: “Well, then, young man, which ice cream do you want?”

Customer’s Son: “I want a [Brand] ice cream, please.”

Me: *handing over the ice cream* “There you go. Sorry for the long wait; I had a very obnoxious man earlier who was holding up the line.”

(All the customers who had witnessed the event laughed out loud when they heard me, as the man stormed out with his kids, cursing all the way to the car, and probably on the way home, as well.)

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