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So Hot The Customers Toast Themselves

, , , | Right | May 28, 2020

I work at a well-known, widespread sub shop. We are actually the busiest store in my town because of our convenient location to a hospital, a portion of our college campus, and many forms of public transportation. When the students come in for the start of school, our store can get pretty crazy sometimes.

Move-in week for freshmen was about a week ago. It’s early August and, due to a sick coworker, my manager and I are the only ones working during the morning and lunch rush.

Me: “How ya doing?! What can I get for you today?”

The customer mumbles and looks at the paper in her hands a few times.

Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am. What did you say?”

More mumbling and sighing from the customer. This continues on for a few moments before I get frustrated. I have a line out the door behind her. Finally, I pull down the protective glass separating us. She can easily see over the top of the line while I barely reach her neck. I hunch over and speak a little louder to combat the noises of the oven behind me, thinking she can’t hear me.

Me: “I’m so sorry, ma’am, but I can’t hear a word you’re saying. You have to speak up.”

Customer: *Heavy sigh* “I need three sandwiches!”

Me: “Fantastic! Can you tell me the breads first?”

Customer: “What?!”

Me: “Can you tell me the different breads for your subs first? So I can start cutting them to prepare properly.”

Customer: “Ugh, FINE.”

She goes on, giving me short, curt answers to all my basic questions. The line behind her is slowly growing and the oven behind me has bread that needs to be taken out of it or it will burn. The door is open to prevent that from happening, but our AC is busted and the entire store is stifling at this point. By now, I can send her food on to be finished with veggies and whatnot.

Me: “All right. Now, what kind of cheese do you want on these?”

Customer: “Swiss on all.”

Me: “I’m sorry, but [Restaurant] doesn’t carry Swiss. All my cheeses are labeled here.”

I point.

Customer: “Ugh! I don’t know! White!”

I am visibly upset and on the verge of saying something I really shouldn’t. I can’t help but look between her food and my selection.

Me: “But… they’re all white.”

Customer: “AMERICAN!”

My store is so hot by now, and my oven keeps beeping because the door is still open and we’re all sweating. The customers behind her are just as upset as I am at this point so I put the cheese on and send her food on its way as fast as I can.

I run to take out all my bread and nearly hit my manager with a hot pan. We’re both extremely sweaty and miserable and the lunch rush has only just started. I go back to my other customers who, thankfully, have easier orders and speak clearly, everyone just wanting to get their food and leave. I rush through about two dozen people’s orders before I have a small break to breathe. I run the register while my manager finishes wrapping up the difficult customer’s orders.

Me: “So, I have three six-inch [orders]. Did you want anything else with that?”

Customer: “Why is it so hot in here?! I can’t even think!”

Me: “I’m sorry about that. Our AC is broken right now, so there’s not much I can do about it.”

I try to joke.

Me: “If anything, you might be more comfortable eating on the sidewalk. I bet it’s cooler outside by now.”

Customer: “HOW DARE YOU?!”

She pays and stomps off.

Two hours later, a close friend and coworker comes in to start his shift and our line is efficiently taken care of. We have a temperature gauge sitting on top of our oven and the highest it reached all day was about 110F, taking into consideration whenever we had to open the oven to get any bread out.

All of us are ready to pass out and I’ve found myself sitting in the freezer just to cool down. Finally, we’ve reached a break three hours after my encounter with the difficult customer and I’ve all but forgotten her. As I’m doing dishes, my manager is doing paperwork in his office but starts to laugh loudly a few minutes in. He comes out to me at the sink.

Me: “Uh… [Manager], what’s so funny?”

Manager: “After over a year of working here, with a flawless track record and attendance, you have received your very first complaint. Congratulations.”

Turns out, that woman kept her receipt to take our survey and gave us all zeroes! In the comments sections, she went on to describe how “compliant and kind-worded” she had been while I had insulted her. She complained that the store was too hot and it was my fault because I was mean to her. She went on to say the employees looked terrible and acted like they didn’t want to serve anyone. She demanded I be fired because I was “conceited” and just a “rude teenager” who didn’t care about anything, and she said that she would never come to our store again.

My manager, who’s only been with the store a few months, immediately emailed his boss about how the woman REALLY acted and said to not give her any form of compensation common to poor reviews. Good riddance to her!

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