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Jimmy Stewart, Is That You?

, , , , , | Right | August 3, 2022

I work in a Chinese restaurant. When taking pick-up orders over the phone, we usually only get the phone number unless customers tell us their names on their own. When people come in to pick up, we ask what they ordered or what their phone number is. Occasionally, we can see addresses if they’ve ordered for delivery in the past, and we will also use that as an extra confirmation when they pick up to ensure we give the correct order.

We have two orders in for pick-up. A customer comes in and stops in front of my coworker’s computer where she’s taking an order over the phone. I gesture for him to come over to my computer and ask if he’s he’s picking up.

Customer: “I’m picking up for someone.”

Me: “What was their phone number?”

Customer: “I don’t know a phone number. He called in.”

Me: “I have two orders that were called in. Do you know what it was?”

Customer: “No. It’s for Harvey.”

Me: “I’m sorry, but we weren’t given a name. You don’t know the phone number they may have used at all?”

Customer: “No, I don’t know his number. It’s for Harvey!”

Although I only have two orders on my computer, I don’t want to tell him what they are in case he agrees to an order that isn’t theirs by mistake. It’s not uncommon for some orders to be very similar, and since he can’t tell me anything about the order, I don’t want to risk it. Sometimes, people think they’ve ordered from us but have called another restaurant nearby by mistake.

I try to explain to the customer that I can’t give him an order if he can’t tell me what is in it or the phone number, but he continues to interrupt me every time I try to speak. Each time he interrupts me, I stop and wait for him to finish talking before I ask if I can finish speaking. He always tells me to go ahead, but as soon as I get a few words in, he interrupts me again.

Me: “If you can’t give me a phone number or—”

Customer: “I don’t know his d*** number! Just give me the food.”

Me: “I’m sorry, but I don’t know what order you’re picking up for. I can’t give you anything.”

Customer: “I just told you it’s for Harvey! I told him to say Harvey!”

Me: “No one told us the name Harvey. I cannot give you anything without you giving me a phone number, what is in the order, or maybe an address if we have it on file.”

Customer: “[Street]!”

Me: “I don’t have an order with that street listed as its address, either.”

I know that by this point I am getting increasingly frustrated and he can probably visibly tell by my face reddening and by the tone of my voice.

The customer is already getting loud and yelling at me, and he continues to do so until he is interrupted by a woman who comes in sometime during our interaction.

Woman: “Now, Uncle [Customer], this kind young lady just explained to you why she can’t just give you an order. You need to talk to her nicely. I’ve never seen you speak to a woman like that before. You know better than that!”

Customer: “I’m trying to pick up food for Harvey and she won’t give it to me!”

Woman: “Harvey who?

The man stammers, and she rolls her eyes.

Woman: “See? You don’t even know, so how is she supposed to know who you’re picking up for?”

Customer: *Mumbling a bit* “Harvey…”

Woman: “Who are you picking up for?”

Much more loudly and clearly, the customer gives a second name that sounds nothing like “Harvey”!

Me: “I’m sorry, but I don’t have an order under that name, either.”

The customer gets more frustrated and angry but the woman cuts him off.

Woman: “You need to leave, Uncle [Customer]. Go ask [Name #2] what he ordered and come back and tell her nicely. I’ve never seen you be so disrespectful before.”

Customer: “I don’t wanna walk back. My feet hurt…”

The woman gets him to leave. Then, she turns to me.

Woman: “I can’t stand drunk people.”

Me: “Thank you for your help, ma’am. I really appreciate it.”

Woman: “It’s okay, dear. He had no right to talk to you the way he did.”

At this point, my coworker takes the woman’s order as I answer a phone call. By the time the man returns a few minutes later, my coworker and I are both taking orders over the phone, and the woman is waiting for her order to be done.

I hear the man loudly say what the order is, but since both my coworker and I are busy, he is ignored. I have the pleasure of being done first and addressing the man.

Me: “You said you’re picking up [item]?”

Customer: “That’s what I said, isn’t it?”

Me: “I’m just making sure since I was just on the phone with another customer. I don’t want to give you the wrong order because I misheard you.”

The customer grumbled, and the woman sternly berated him about the way he was acting. She made him apologize to me, but he grumbled some more, instead. I opted to run to the kitchen to get his order rather than attempt to engage with him so that he could get out of the store quickly.

After he left, I thanked the woman again and left for the night, as my shift had ended.

I know some people will probably say that I should have just read out what the orders were to see if he recognized them since there were only two, but I’ve done that before in the past and ended up giving them the wrong order because it was very similar to what was actually ordered. They had to bring it back and the customer that had that order had to wait for a new one to be made fresh. If you’re picking up for others, please at least know SOMETHING about the order so we can work with you!

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