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Shake Up The Customer Dynamic!

, , , | Right | March 8, 2023

This happened about twenty years ago. Every night, about one hour prior to closing (about 1 AM), the milkshake machine would be taken apart and cleaned and the remaining liquid would be heated to guarantee there were no germs developing in the sealed container.

In comes a regular customer of ours who always finds something to complain about.

Regular: “Hi there, can I get a strawberry shake?”

Me: “Unfortunately, the machine has entered the cleaning cycle. Shakes will be available in about three hours’ time from the drive-thru.”

Keep in mind, the machine is in full view, and he can see that it’s taken apart.

Regular: “You are just lazy and don’t want to do your job, get your manager!”

What follows is a rant to my awesome manager. By the time he is done, we have about fifteen minutes until closing.

Since the customer is hell bound on having his shake, my manager complies. He assembles the parts of the machine needed (takes about five minutes) and takes a step back before he pulls the lever to dispense the oh-so-precious milkshake. A huge cloud of steam and boiling liquid comes out.

After about a minute, my manager comes back with thick oven gloves, puts a lid on the boiling hot cup and hands it over to the customer.

Manager: “Free of charge, enjoy!”

That customer’s face was worth the additional cleaning; never saw him again.

The Tables Haven’t Moved, But They Have Turned

, , , , | Right | March 8, 2023

I’m a manager at a restaurant. We have been in lockdown for a few months (you all know why) and we are just beginning to reopen but with a lot of social distancing rules.

A party of six comes in headed by a soccer mom type.

Customer: “I want those two four-person tables pushed together.

Host: “We can’t do that due to social distancing; you’ll be too close to the other table next to you.”

Customer: “Let me speak to the manager.”

She’s calm, just insistent and it’s obvious she’s played the card before.

Me: “How can I help?”

Customer: “Can we push those two tables together?”

Me: “No, can’t; social distancing. You’d be too close to the next table. You can have that table that’s for six in the corner, you can have that booth for six after we clean it, or you can have that table for six outside after they get up in I’m guessing about ten minutes.”

All the while I’m pointing to each table like I’m showing them emergency exits on an airplane.

Customer: “You can’t push those tables togeth—”

Me: “No, we will not be moving tables. You can have…” *And I point out the tables again.*

Customer: “You know what I think?” *She begins turning to her friend.* “You know what I think?”

Both Of Them Together: “We go somewhere else?”

At this point I clap my hands together and say:

Me: “Thank you and have a great night.”

With that, I immediately turn around and walk away. The best part is she stares at the back of my head for a solid two seconds before she shuffled out. I didn’t realize this until I watched the video of the exchange.

It felt so good that they are starting to realize some of the dynamics have changed since we reopened.

Active-ly Taking Her Down

, , , , , , , | Right | March 7, 2023

I work in a daycare attached to a library and gym complex (it’s a big building). I am relatively new and don’t really know my manager yet. She’s stern but fair, so I respect her. A mother comes in and drops off her toddler.

Mother: “I’m going to need him to be kept active and busy while I am gone. I prefer him to be fatigued when we’re at home.”

Me: “O…kay? We have plenty of activities that can keep him entertained such as—”

Mother: “No, you’re not listening. I need him kept active! Like you have to actively wear him down. You seem new so I don’t blame your ignorance—ah! There’s the manager. You! Over here!”

She actually points at my manager and yells for her to come hither. My manager slowly walks forward with the weary gait of someone who knows what’s coming.

Manager: *Strained.* “Mrs. [Mother’s Name], how lovely to see you again.”

Mother: “I need [Child’s Name] to be worn out when I return. What will you do to accommodate me?”

Manager: “Well, [Child’s Name] is four, right? We have a small playground that—”

Mother: “I saw that, not good enough. It’s just some swings and a slide. What will you do to ensure my child is kept active?”

Manager: “This is a daycare, ma’am, not an activity center. If you want some sporting activities then—”

Mother: “—you’re not listening! What will you do to accommodate me… today!”

Manager: “Well, we could try tossing him into the river and see how quickly he can swim back.”

Mother: “What?!”

Manager: *To me.* “What do you think, [My Name]? How strong is your throw?”

Mother: “Stop being so preposterous before I report you to—”

Manager: “The librarians are always moaning about rodents of unusual size* scurrying about the air vents. [Child’s Name] looks small enough to enter the vents and take them out for us. Just give him a torch and a pen-knife and he’ll be good to go.”

Mother: “That’s it! I will be reporting you to your boss unless you start taking me seriously!”

Manager: “Okay fine, we’ll just pit [Child] against the other kids in gladiatorial combat. The librarians like to place bets on the victor and the winnings we get make up for the s***ty customers like you.”

With that, the mother released a desperate shrill of a noise before storming off to the building’s management office. I am staring at my manager in awe.

Manager: “That was Mrs. [Mother’s Name] and she runs the club of mean mommies that have made my job miserable for the last year. I’m quitting today… good luck!”

My manager really did quit that day (well, two weeks’ notice), before any complaints could be bought down on her. One of the building managers took over managing the daycare while they trained one of the other workers, and they got to experience this mother and her friends firsthand. Their response was “now I know why [Manager] quit” and after multiple complaints from literally every other employee who had to deal with these mothers, they were banned!

*Yes, this is from “The Princess Bride”.

We’re Not Crying; We Just Have Music In Our Eyes

, , , , , , , , | Related | March 7, 2023

I just lost my grandmother this week. While she was ninety-five years old, she had been doing pretty well until a sudden illness. She has been one of the most important people in my life. She has been the purest source of unconditional love, and it is thanks to her total acceptance, support, and love for me that I made it through some of the most challenging times in my life. Needless to say, losing her has been very difficult. I cried plenty the day she died, but for the last several days, it has been difficult even to eat or sleep, much less cry. I’ve felt in a sort of numb haze.

Today, I took the subway home. I walked into the station just as my train was pulling away. Frustrated and cursing my timing, I started to head into the station to await the train when I heard a busker playing a beautiful classical piece on his violin. Realizing I had nothing better to do until the next train came, I stayed and listened. He played beautifully, giving each note soul. When he finished the piece, I applauded.

Busker: “Thank you! Not many people have the opportunity to stay and listen.”

Me: “Thank you. It’s been… a really difficult week. You made it better.”

Busker: “Next week will be better than this one.”

I dropped some bills in his violin case and headed for the train. When I got to the train, I was thinking about his music and how much Grandma would have loved it. She was the daughter of a classical composer, and she adored classical music. The music felt like it had been a warm hug from her. Something eased in me, and I was finally able to cry. My grief feels tinged with warmth and love now, rather than just totally overwhelming.

Thank you, subway busker. Thank you, Grandma.

This Is What Happens When Calcified Entitlement Is Finally Shattered

, , , | Right | March 7, 2023

I have handed in my notice and it’s my last two weeks of work at the grocery store I have been at for five years. There have been some emotional farewells here and there, but I am mostly happy to be leaving.

We have one notorious customer who is hated by pretty much everyone. Their behavior really should have got them banned but corporate have no backbones so they always get a free pass.

I am working as checkout manager and I am called over to a coworker who is having issues with said customer.

Customer: “You! Train this idiot better! She’s not accepting my coupon!”

Coworker: “Ma’am, like I said I can accept the coupon but for the correct product. This coupon is only for [Store Brand] products and you’ve selected [Premium Brand].”

I take a quick look at the coupon for show, but I already know what it says.

Me: “My checkout clerk is correct, ma’am. This coupon can’t be used with this product.”

Customer: “Are we really going to do this song and dance… again? We both know you have the override code you can just type into your little machine so why don’t you save us all some time and just type it in so I can get on with my day?”

Me: “No, ma’am, I won’t be doing that.”

Customer: “Fine, then I guess we will be calling your manager, who will call corporate, who will tell you to do as I say. And for the inconvenience of wasting my time I will be demanding a discount too.”

Me: “You won’t be doing any of those things, ma’am. In fact, I will be refusing you service today.”

Customer: “Feeling brazen today, are we?” *In a sing-sing voice.* “Someone is about to get fiiiiired!”

Me: *In the same sing-song voice.* “Somebody has already quiiiiit!”

The customer is shocked into silence for a moment, and I feel a sudden wave of courage.

Me: “Get the f*** out of this store and don’t come back. We all loathe you. We’ve never encountered a human being so miserable and hateful as you and the mental anguish you’ve caused us means I am officially banning you as my last act as manager here.”

Customer: “I’m going to call corporate right now!”

Me: “My name is [My Name]. Tell them it was me. They’ll call me and I will say you’re a liability to our store and the mental health of all our staff. I will tell them that you’re the reason I am quitting and more will likely follow me if they let your spiteful soul back in. They won’t risk losing multiple staff to appease one customer who has claimed an uncountable number of unfair discounts over the years.”

The customer is still standing there, not sure what to do now that all their usual threats have failed.

Me: “Well then… off you f***.”

She stood just outside the door and angrily called corporate. As predicted corporate called my manager, who called me in. I told him that if her ban was lifted I am walking out right now and I can think of at least four more checkout clerks on their last mental thread because of that one woman and they were just dying to take a long mental health leave of absence on full pay. 

The ban was upheld.