Mortadella Mortified

, , , , , | Right | August 14, 2019

(I work at the supermarket deli, and there is a regular I always hated serving. She is a grouchy old fusspot who always seems to find a problem in something. She comes up to the counter and I’m readying myself for another miserable experience.)

Fusspot: “I want some of that meat, sliced.” *points to case*

Me: *trying to see where she is pointing* “The olive mortadella?”

Fusspot: “Yes.”

(In case you don’t know, mortadella is Italian sausage meat that tastes similar to bologna, but is fancier and made of higher-quality meat. The olive mortadella is stuffed with green olives, and the olives themselves are stuffed with tiny pieces of red capsicum, or bell pepper for my American readers. I pick up the opened chub of olive mortadella to bring it to the slicer, but she starts protesting.)

Fusspot: “No! I want the other one!” *points again*

Me: *putting a hand over the chub she’s pointing at* “This one?”

Fusspot: “Yes!”

Me: “Yes, that’s the olive mortadella. The one you’re pointing at is unopened; I have the opened one here.”

Fusspot: “No, they’re different!”

Me: “They’re the same, and I can’t open a new one until we use up the opened one.”

(The deli workers often make an exception upon request, if the chub is very close to the end, but this chub has barely been used; it’s only had maybe a quarter of it taken off, if that.)

Fusspot: “No, the one I’m pointing at has something else in it. It has that red thing in it.”

Me: “That’s the red capsicum stuffing in the olive. This one has the same stuffing, as well; once you slice through the olive you’ll see the red stuffing inside it.”

(After some back and forth, the fusspot stalks off to the customer service desk. She comes back shortly after with the customer service worker in tow, who is a lovely person but doesn’t know much about the deli. By this time, I’ve explained what transpired with my coworkers in the deli.)

Fusspot: *points to me* “This girl refused to serve me what I wanted.”

Coworker: “Which meat did you want?”

Fusspot: *points again* “That one.”

Coworker: “That’s the olive mortadella. This is the unopened one; it’s the same thing.”

(The fusspot starts arguing with my coworkers and me, and we reiterate our policy that we can’t open a new chub when there is so much left on the opened chub, and that we guarantee that the olives in both chubs are stuffed with the same red capsicum, but it almost always falls out when it hits the slicer. Initially, the customer service worker suggests we slice the opened one and discard the first slices until the stuffing appears, but as the stuffing ends up predictably falling out, it just results in a pile of wasted sliced meat. We try to show her this, but she won’t accept this explanation or that the same thing will happen when we open the new chub. Eventually, the customer service worker tells us to just open the new chub anyway and give her what she wants. My coworkers are fed up and comply. As the first slice comes off the slicer, lo and behold, the red stuffing that the fusspot had been coveting falls out, and the slice is identical to the ones we’ve already sliced. I have been teased before by my coworkers for always being “mellow” in the face of problem customers, but at this point, I am well and truly pissed off. I pick up the slice of mortadella from the new chub that she requested, and march over to the customer, displaying it to her in all its stuffing-less glory.)

Me: *not making any attempt to mask the steel in my voice* “There’s the slice from the new chub that you wanted. As you can see, the stuffing has fallen out.”

Fusspot: *looks down meekly and mumbles something*

Me: *unwavering death glare for five seconds before I silently turn around and continue about my business*

(I know it sounds like a minor thing to get worked up over, and maybe it is, but I hate wasting perfectly good food, and I had reached the end of my rope with this crazy lady. To my pleasant surprise, however, the fusspot returned many times after this incident a reformed customer. She never gave me any problems after that. Somehow I must have scared her into being nice.)

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