Some People Just Want To Watch The Pizza Burn

, , , | Right | September 22, 2020

I work at a family-owned pizza buffet as a busboy. I know how to handle almost everything in the store, front to back, and I take pride in my job. One night, I go in to check up on my schedule, which is posted on the wall next to the oven. My coworker passes me on his way out to bus tables.

Coworker #1: “Hey, man, what’s up?”

Me: “Oh, not much, really. I’m just checking the schedule and then I’m gonna go.”

He smiles and continues busing. Another coworker and I exchange an inside joke and have a few laughs, but he is still working so it is only a quick five-second conversation. As I’m about to leave, a man comes up to the buffet line and proceeds to stand there impatiently. My manager, who is cutting pizzas at the time, notices.

Manager: “Is everything okay, sir?”

Customer: “You know what? No. No, it’s not.”

Manager: “What can I do to help you, then, sir?”

Customer: “I noticed that your workers are fooling around.”

He motions for the coworker and me to walk over.

Customer: “If I could speak to you two, as well…”

Being identified as an employee of the buffet, I can’t simply walk away and be rude, as that would reflect on our store poorly. So, I indulge the man and listen.

Customer: “You know, there’s a lot of inconsistencies. The sauce isn’t as centered as it should be and the cheese is melted. The dough just isn’t as good as it should be, and I know what the problem is. It doesn’t have salt.”

Coworker #2: “Well, we measure our salt and put it into every batch, sir.”

The customer realizes we know he is trying to act cool and collected while blowing a lot of hot air, so he switches to complaining about me.

Customer: “Well, there is a time to goof off and talk, like when you’re not at work. I’m a manager myself so I know about that. If I was your manager, then I would give you a warning and then fire you. You have to take pride in your work, even at a dead-end job like this.”

He walked back to his table, talked to his girlfriend, and then left the buffet. I didn’t really understand what had just happened, and I don’t think he did, either. A few customers had actually complimented my manager for making good pizzas, so I know the pizzas were fine. No one was goofing off.

Did I engage in a normal, friendly human contact with my coworkers? Yes. Is that goofing off? No. So, what just happened?

Well, he did give the impression of someone with a superiority complex and I guess he just wanted to try and seem like he was better than us. He pulled the “I’m a manager” card, tried to tell us what was wrong with our pizza — and he was wrong — and then he accused us of goofing off. Maybe he was trying to be an “alpha male,” maybe he was just being a jerk, or maybe he thought he was being helpful. All I know is that that was the most confusing complaint I have ever experienced.

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