Not So Tender About The Chicken

, , , , , | Right | July 11, 2018

(I work in a very popular grocery store bakery department, which is located right next to the deli. I watch this situation unfold with one of my deli coworkers, who’s a good friend of mine. My coworker only has 15 minutes left for his shift and is currently finishing up frying chicken tenders and placing them on racks to cool off and be packaged later. A customer known for being unreasonable and rude approaches the deli. I’m already feeling bad for my coworker.)

Customer: “Excuse me! Hello?!”

(My coworker turns around immediately after placing some hot chicken on the rack.)

Coworker: “Hello, how can I help—”

Customer: *interrupting in a condescending tone* “Yeah, I need five fresh chicken tenders.”

Coworker: “Absolutely. I have fresh ones still very hot right here. Would you like to wait for them to cool off—”

Customer: “No, I’m in a hurry and need them now; just make sure they are fresh.”

(My coworker is looking annoyed, but since he’s off soon, he goes along with it. He shoots me an annoyed grin from across the deli, and I smile back, wishing I had some popcorn. He begins picking up the still-steaming chicken and placing them in the container carefully, when the customer stops him.)

Customer: “Wait! What are you doing?! I said I wanted them fresh!”

(My coworker jumps and almost drops the container as she screams at him for the whole store to hear.)

Coworker: “Ma’am, these are fresh; they’re still very hot as I said.”

Customer: “No, you’re lying to me! I just saw you make those! They’re not fresh at all!”

(My coworker is starting to look angry now.)

Coworker: “Exactly, ma’am. I just pulled them from the fryer, because I was frying them, since this is fried chicken. So, you witnessed me completing the last step in preparing this chicken, making these the freshest chicken tenders you’re going to get.”

Customer: “No, that is unacceptable. I want to see you make those tenders from scratch. You’re probably lying to me and those tenders have been sitting there for hours. I asked for fresh, and that isn’t fresh!”

(My coworker stares at her in the most blank, unreadable stare as she unloads on him. I feel like I should hide behind my counter because I get a feeling he’s going to blow up on her. Instead, he lets a few seconds go by, and then catches me off guard by displaying the most enthusiastic smile.)

Coworker: “Absolutely, ma’am. Let me go in the back and grab a live chicken to kill for you.”

Customer: “Mhm, you do that.”

(He ends up just taking off his apron and clocking out, leaving the customer standing there, waiting. I go on my break so she won’t go after me next. The manager doesn’t even reprimand him, since the customer is stupid enough to explain exactly how it happened with her complaint.)

Manager: “Ma’am, this is a family store; we’re not going to slaughter a f****** chicken in front of our customers, even if we did have live animals. I’m disturbed you believed him.”

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