Help Me First: A Mantra

, , , | Right | March 20, 2020

(There is a drive-thru window at the fast food restaurant where I work, and while I am assigned to drive-thru, a very large group of children and their parents come in on their way to a soccer game. There are two people working the dining room line, and I am in charge of the orders at the drive-thru. I never ignore a customer, but I try not to make eye contact with the customers at the front if I am getting food for the drive-thru, so they know someone else will help them in a minute. However, if they talk to me, I let them know the situation.)

Customer: *at front* “Excuse me?”

Me: “Hello, sir! I’m sorry, I am currently in charge of the drive-thru, but [Coworker] or [Other Coworker] will be with you in just one moment!”

Customer: “No, that’s what I wanted to talk to you about. You need to ignore the drive-thru until you’re done helping us.”

(There are about thirty people in the store, and it will take a while to get them all situated; all the while, my drive-thru is also very busy.)

Me: “I’m sorry?”

Customer: “We’re part of a soccer team, and we are on our way to a game. We’re in a big hurry! If you could just please ignore the drive-thru for a while, it’s very important that you help all the people I’m with!”

Me: “Sir, I’m sorry, but drive-thru customers are just as important as customers that are inside the restaurant. I can’t just leave them waiting while I help you, especially because I am currently the employee in charge of the drive-thru.”

Customer: “But I don’t understand. Why can’t you just stop working on the drive-thru and come take my order? We are in a very big hurry!”

(At this exact moment, my drive-thru indicator rings, telling me that a person is at the sign, ready to order.)

Me: *to the front customer* “[Coworker] or [Other Coworker] will be with you as soon as they can! I hope you have a great day!”

Customer: “Wait! Come back! I want a—”

(When he finally was done ordering with my coworker, he tried to complain that I wasn’t doing my job right. They weren’t able to explain it to him, either.)

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