Making A Clean Break For Closing Time

, , , , , | Working | July 12, 2018

(It is currently around nine pm. I’ve found a new “island grill” near me and decided to check it out. Their online hours say they are still open for a couple of hours, and when I arrive, there is a lit “OPEN” sign above the door. The hours next to the door agree that they should be open for two more hours. However, when I try and open the door, it is locked. I try pushing and pulling, then peer through and knock on the glass. There are a couple of people eating on the far side of the small eating area, but they don’t look over from their conversation. Finally, a pimply-faced teenager comes out from the kitchen area and pushes open the door.)

Employee #1: “We’re closing.”

Me: “Oh, sorry. Your hours say that you are open until 11.”

Employee #1: “We are.”

Me: “It’s only nine pm.”

(I hold up my phone to show the time. The employee stares at me silently for several moments.)

Employee #1: “We need time to clean.”

(Before I can respond to that, he shuts the door in my face and stalks off. I knock on the glass again, but no one responds. I consider waiting for the other people to exit, but that just feels creepy, so instead, I pull up the website and dial their contact number. A woman answers.)

Employee #2: “[Restaurant], how may I help you?”

Me: “Hi. I was wanting to come in tonight, and wanted to confirm when your closing time was.”

Employee #2: “We are open until 11 pm tonight.”

Me: “At the location at [Address], right? Because your front door has been locked.”

Employee #2: “What? Hold on for a moment.”

(After a couple of seconds, the woman comes out from the back, sees me, waves, and then walks over. She fiddles with the doors, apparently unlocking them, before pushing them open.)

Employee #2: “I’m so sorry about that; I don’t know how that happened.”

Me: “Well…”

(Before I can say anything, the first employee comes running out.)

Employee #1: “We’re closing!”

Employee #2: “What? [Employee #1], we don’t close until 11.”

Employee #1: “But we need time to clean!”

Employee #2: *glancing between me and the teenager* “Could you… please wait by the register? [Employee #1], we need to talk.”

(I ended up waiting about ten more minutes before the second employee came back. She only offered the explanation, “He’s new.” The food itself was pretty good, I’m just wondering how they couldn’t wonder why business had suddenly slacked off when one of their employees locked the front doors.)

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