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My Reuben In Ruin

, , , , , | Right | November 4, 2017

(It’s the lunch rush in a cafe where I work as a cashier. One of the other cashiers on staff is still a trainee, and this is her first day with her own drawer and register. She’s very nervous, as she never wanted to be moved from the back of the restaurant. About halfway through lunch, I get a tap on my shoulder. It’s my trainee, looking close to tears. She asks me to come help with a customer. Said customer is an old-ish woman who looks very angry.)

Me: “What can I help you with, ma’am?”

Customer: “You need better workers. This little girl doesn’t know the menu.”

(The trainee is 4’10” and has a soft face, so she looks about 12, though she’s actually 20.)

Me: “My apologies, ma’am; it’s her first day with her own register. What can I help you with?”

Customer: “All I want is to order the Reuben, and this stupid little girl says you don’t have it!”

(I’m angry at her for calling my trainee names, but I bite my tongue and plaster on my fake smile.)

Me: “Ma’am, we actually don’t have a sandwich called a Reuben. Could you be thinking of the asiago steak–“

Customer: “No, it’s a Reuben. I’ve ordered it here a hundred times.”

Me: “Ma’am, I’ve been working here six months. I know the current menu like the back of my hand. I assure you: there is no Reuben. There may have been seven months ago–“

Customer: “I was here last week, and I want a Reuben! Why don’t you know your own menu? You’re as stupid as this little girl!”

(My trainee moves to the back to cry while I deal with the woman. I’m pretty angry now, but I shove it back. Both managers are busy right now.)

Me: “Ma’am. There is no Reuben. There was no reuben last week or last month, and probably no Reuben last year. You are either thinking of the wrong name, or you are at the wrong store. I would be happy to get you something else.”

Customer: “But I know–“

Me: “Ma’am, you can read through the entire menu. If you like, you can come back here and look at my register. I assure you, there is no Reuben. There has never been a Reuben. There is no possible way to get a Reuben at this restaurant. I’m pretty sure we don’t even carry the ingredients to make a Reuben.”

(Flustered, the woman finally got something else. I offered to customize a sandwich for her. She got chicken noodle soup. My trainee was fine the rest of the day.)

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