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Karen And Her Salad

, , , | Right | July 20, 2019

(I am sixteen, working my first weekday lunch shift while on school break. We have a salad bar and offer either an all-you-can-eat, or a one-trip/to-go salad bar. The one trip costs about 40% less than the all-you-can eat. Restaurant policy is that when you order a one-trip salad bar you are given the salad plate to fill up, and then you bring it back to the register where we put a lid on it and bag it up with croutons, breadsticks, and a fork, a knife, and napkins. The plate has slightly raised sides, and the lid is a dome shape that snaps on. You can fit more food in the lid than in the plate, which is why the store doesn’t allow us to hand out the lids with the plate. A middle-aged woman I have never seen before comes up to my register and orders a one-trip salad bar and a drink. I collect on her order and pass her the plate and her cup. She stands there and stares at me for a few moments.)

Me: “Is there anything else I can get for you?”

Customer: “I need the lid for my plate.”

Me: “Oh, I’m sorry. I should have explained. You can go ahead and fill up your plate, and when you are done, bring it back up here, and we will get you set up with your lid, breadsticks, and utensils.”

Customer: “No! I want my lid now.”

Me: “I’m sorry, I can’t do that. But I will have it ready for you when you get back.”

(The woman is looking really angry, and I am getting really nervous, trying to see where my manager is, because I haven’t dealt with an upset customer yet. The woman glares at me for a moment and then turns to walk away. I breathe a sigh of relief, thinking the crisis has been averted, but she spins back around, slams her cup and plate on the counter, and gives me the nastiest smile I have yet seen.)

Customer: “In that case, I want a refund.”

(I call my manager over, who gives her the refund, and we both wish her a nice day. She doesn’t say anything and just storms out. I explain to my manager what happened. He tells me not to worry, that I did everything right, and that everything is okay. The next day, I am working lunch again and the same woman comes back. I see her standing in line and I really don’t want to deal with her, so I go a little slower with the customer I am currently serving so that my manager, who is running the other register, will finish with his customer first and be the one to help the woman. Instead, when my manager lets her know he can serve her, she says, “No, thank you,” and waits for me. Once again, she orders the one-trip salad and a drink. Once again, I give her the cup and her plate.)

Customer: “I want my lid now.”

Me: “I’m sorry, but as I explained yesterday, we aren’t allowed to do that. But we will have it ready for you when you are done making your salad.”

Customer: “Then I want a refund.”

(I call my manager over, he does the refund, and again he tells me I didn’t do anything wrong; she just seems angry. She comes in again the next day, and again she waits, refusing to let anyone else serve her, making sure I have to take her order. Again, she orders a one-trip salad and a drink, demands the lid, and demands a refund when I tell her I’m not allowed to give it to her. After the manager gives her the refund, I ask him if I shouldn’t just give her the lid so that she won’t be mad at us — after all, we want to make our customers happy, right? The manager tells me not to worry, to just keep following the rules, and that I am doing a great job. The next day, the woman is back. The same thing happens. She waits for my line and won’t let anyone else help her. She wants the one-trip with the lid before she makes her salad. She demands a refund when I don’t give her the lid. I go get my manager and let him know that the lady is back and wants a refund again. The manager rolls his eyes, sighs dramatically, and goes up front to give her the refund. Then, he looks at me after the woman leaves.)

Manager: “Listen. You can’t keep causing us all these refunds. It makes us look bad. You need to do what you have to do to make the customer happy. I shouldn’t have to come up and do a refund every day for you.”

Me: “Oh. But I thought you didn’t want me to give her the lid. You said it was the rule, and that I needed to keep following the rules.”

Manager: “Just do what it takes to make her happy. I can’t keep doing all these refunds because of you.”

(The next day, the woman comes back again. Yet again, she waits until she can get into my line so that she can continue to harass a sixteen-year-old girl when there are other people who can help her. She orders the one-trip salad bar and drink. I wordlessly hand her the cup, the plate, AND the lid.)

Customer: *smugly* “There. Now that wasn’t so hard, was it? You have a great day, sweetie.”

(She proceeded to fill her lid — not her plate — to overflowing, put the plate on top of the lid, and squeezed so that cottage cheese ran all over the edge of the salad bar and onto the floor, a mess that I would have to clean up. After all that fuss to get her way, she never came back.)

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