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Giving You Side-Eye

, , , , , | Right | January 30, 2018

(I work at a sit-down restaurant, but it is well known that we do to-go orders over the phone and at the cashier’s desk. For to-go orders, we charge a $0.35 fee. This fee is meant to pay for the chips and salsa you receive automatically with your order and the containers we use to put the food in. The customer in question is ordering in place of a regular who always orders the same thing. The regular has never had this issue.)

Customer: “Did somebody call in an order? I’m picking it up for my son.”

Me: “Oh, I can take care of that over here.”

(I walk from the hostess desk and escort the customer to the front. The customer produces one of our paper to-go menus and opens it to a section that has been written on.)

Customer: “He comes in almost every day for this.” *points to menu item* “I swear, he could live on the stuff.”

(I immediately recognize the order and put it in the computer. Some of our menu items are supposed to only come with one of two sides, but we serve it with both. This order contains one such item.)

Customer: “He usually gets both sides.”

Me: “I was just about to ask you that. Some of the items on the menu say they’re only supposed to come with one or the other, but we serve it with both. If you don’t mind, I’d like to go make sure this is going to come with both sides. I don’t want to charge you an extra $2 for a side you’re already getting.”

(The customer smiles, thanks me, and lets me go. I’m back a few seconds later with the news that she’s getting both sides, and therefore, I don’t need to charge her extra. Shortly after I read her the price, one of my coworkers shows up at the desk and listens to our conversation.)

Customer: “That can’t possibly be right, because I know it’s not $2 in tax.”

Me: “Well, part of it is from the $0.35 to-go fee, which is to pay for the chips and the bins they put the food in. So, tax would be on [price of food plus fee].”

Customer: “No, [price for food without fee]!” *jabs finger at the menu*

Me: “Yes, ma’am, I understand that. But, like I said earlier, your total includes the $0.35.”

Customer: *throws hands in the air* “I shouldn’t have to pay you guys just to get the food to me! If you were delivering, I could understand it.”

(This conversation continues for about another two minutes, with the customer getting more and more agitated.)

Customer: “Now, look. I’m about the only person he trusts with this card. And he doesn’t remember the numbers, or any of that kind of thing.”

Me: “Yes, ma’am. I remember he said he had a few strokes a while ago.”

(I don’t remember now exactly what she says, but the customer continues trying to haggle over the $0.35. Exasperated, I give in just to get her to let it go.)

Me: “Would you like me to take it off?”

Customer: *looks at me like I’m stupid, responding in a condescending tone* “Well, it would help him.”

(The customer paid and then left after her food was given to her, but not before complaining about her hip needing to be replaced and a number of other unrelated things. My coworker was just as flabbergasted as I was.)

This story is part of our Hagglers roundup.

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