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Don’t Sit At That (Vege)Table

, , , , , | Working | February 14, 2020

(My university dining hall posts allergen information for the most common allergens. Unfortunately, some of us have less common allergies and the listed allergens aren’t enough, so I’ve learned to ask about ingredients.)

Me: “Hi. Could you tell me what vegetables are in the vegetable pot pie?”

Employee: “What does the sign say?”

Me: “It says, ‘Vegetable pot pie,’ so it doesn’t say what vegetables are in it.”

Employee: “I would assume it’s just vegetables.”

Me: “That doesn’t answer my question. There are many different vegetables. Some of them I can eat; others I can’t.”

Employee: *shrug*

(I ended up not risking it. But, seriously? This is not a weird question.)

Cooking Up A Sweet Moment

, , , , , , | Working | January 17, 2020

(At the particular place in the college cafeteria where I like to eat, you tell the person behind the counter what you want, and they circle it on an order pad and hang it up for the cooks to see. The people who write the orders also do the cooking if there aren’t very many coworkers on duty.)

Me: “I’d like a grilled cheese on wheat, please.”

(The cook hesitates and stares at the pad for at least a minute. The longer it goes on, the more panicked he begins to look. After a while, I decide to help him out and point to where “GRILLED CHEESE” is written.)

Cook: *circling my order* “Oh, thank you! One moment, please.”

(He hangs up the order for his coworker and comes back to wait for other kids. Since it’s before the lunch rush, though, I’m the only one there, and I decide to make small talk.)

Me: “Are you new?”

Cook: “Yeah, just started an hour ago.”

Me: “You looked kind of freaked out there.”

Cook: *sheepish* “I’ve heard stories from the others.”

(I can only imagine; just a few weeks ago, a girl threw a tantrum in the middle of the cafeteria because she couldn’t get a vegan grilled cheese sandwich, which this particular cafeteria does not offer.)

Me: “Vegan grilled cheese girl?”

Cook: “Among other things.”

(Now my sandwich is done, and I have to go.)

Me: *waving* “Well, good luck with the job!”

Cook: *waving back* “Thanks! I’m going to need it!”

(About a week later, I run into him during a slow hour; he’s the only one working the kitchen, so that means he both takes my order and makes my food. I order another grilled cheese sandwich before deciding to chat some more.)

Me: “You know what would be really cool? If you guys allowed the option to put vegetables or something on the sandwiches.”

Cook: *grins* “Yeah, that does sound pretty good.”

Me: “Anyway, how’s the job been?”

Cook: *peering at me* “Oh! You’re the girl from last week!”

Me: “Um, I guess so?”

Cook: “Okay, one moment, let me get your food ready.”

(After a few minutes, my sandwich is done.)

Me: “Thanks a lot!”

Cook: “Hey, no problem. It’s always nice to see a friendly face.”

(I took the sandwich and went back to my dorm to eat. When I unwrapped it and bit into it, I discovered that he’d put diced tomatoes and onions in it! Just that little gesture made me tear up a little bit. Thank you, whatever your name is! Your special sandwich was delicious and kept me smiling for the rest of the day!)

The Dogs Aren’t So Hot After All  

, , , , | Working | January 3, 2020

In an effort to reduce costs, the cafeteria at my workplace has switched to a self-serve buffet-style serving model. As is typical with these kinds of serving stations, you enter at one end of a particular serving area, grab a plate, and walk down the line adding the foods you want. It seems simple, right?

Recently, one of the serving stations was set up as a “hotdog bar.” The only problem is that the order of items when entering the station the normal way was: plates, fries, pickles/onions/relish, cheese sauce, hotdogs, and finally, buns.

After the first few people through the line had to keep moving back and forth across each other in order to get ingredients in a sensible order, a few of us pushed aside the ornamental display at the “end” of the line and moved a stack of plates there so that we could all just go through the station “backward” and have things in a more logical progression, though admittedly not the most logical as people who wanted to make cheese fries still had things a bit backward. We didn’t want to try moving hot pans of food to fix that, though.

This worked reasonably well, but as I was weighing my food to pay and leave, the head chef walked over and started having a meltdown about someone moving his display of stuff that wasn’t even for sale and moved the plates back to the fries end of the assembly line. People that went to lunch later than I did reported back that the station quickly devolved back to people reaching over, under, and around each other to assemble their hotdogs in the proper order and that food ended up spilled everywhere.

According to the calendar, we were supposed to have a repeat of the hotdog bar today. For some reason, they decided on chicken wings, instead.

These Days You Have To Fight Packs Of Wild Dogs To Find Your True Love

, , , , , | Romantic | September 9, 2019

(I am having lunch with a colleague and we’ve been talking about our plans for the weekend. I mentioned someone is cooking dinner for me, and my colleague has guessed it’s a date. She’s trying to get information out of me about the person — particularly how we met — and I’m reluctant to share. I’m female and also prone to getting into weird accidents.)

Colleague: “You know, if you made something up, I wouldn’t be this interested.”

Me: “I realise this in hindsight.”

Colleague: “I’m just going to guess.”

Me: *sensing she’s not being entirely serious* “That’s fine.”

Colleague: “Okay. He’s got a criminal record.”

Me: “I don’t think so. Hasn’t come up.”

Colleague: “Darn, okay. Um. He saved you from wild dogs and that’s how you met?”

Me: “Nope.”

Colleague: “He got into a drunk fight with someone and you’re a bit embarrassed about it.”

Me: “Also no.”

Colleague: “You saved him from wild dogs and–”

Me: “Where did wild dogs come from? What do you think I do in my spare time?”

Colleague: “You lead an interesting life.”

Me: “Not that interesting!”

Colleague: “You really don’t want to say? It can’t be that bad, you know.”

(I weigh it up. I really like this colleague and trust her so I decide to go for it)

Me: “If I tell you, promise you’ll keep it to yourself for now?”

Colleague: “Yes, sure.”

Me: “I’m dating a woman.”

Colleague: “That actually was going to be my next guess.”

(In fairness, I’d assumed until meeting that person that I was straight — and am now coming to terms with my identity — so it isn’t that obvious a thing for her to guess. But I do still have one question…)

Me: “Out of interest, assuming you were asking in order of most to least likely, why was fighting wild dogs more likely than me turning out not to be entirely straight?”

Colleague: “I can just really picture that happening to you.”

Deal-ing With Idiots

, , , | Right | August 15, 2019

(I am a manager using an info desk computer when an irate customer storms over.)

Customer: “I’ve been overcharged! It’s lucky I checked my receipt; it’s ridiculous the mistakes your staff make! I can’t believe you are trying to overcharge me!”

Me: “Hi there. What exactly is the issue?”

Customer: *brandishes receipt* “I was to get three meat items for £10, but it hasn’t gone through!”

Me: “Okay, may I see your receipt and your items, please? Sometimes customers accidentally lift an item not included in the deal… Oh, I see the issue: you’ve only been charged for two items, not three!”

Customer: “I DON’T UNDERSTAND! I HAVE BEEN OVERCHARGED”

Me: “Actually, you have been undercharged by £1.60! The two items only add up to £8.40, so you got the third item for free!”

Customer: “No, I got cheated. You are trying to overcharge me! I don’t understand!”

Me: *trying not to be patronizing* “Do you see these two items?” *holds them up* “You were charged £8.40 for them, and this item–” *points at third item* “–was never scanned. It was free. The deal didn’t work because you were paying less.

Customer: “But I don’t get it! You were not giving me the deal!”

Me: “Yes, because you didn’t pay for all three items. You paid less. In fact, you owe me £1.60.”

(Normally, as a gesture of goodwill, if they had been nice I would have let them go on with their free item, but I am at my wits’ end.)

Customer: “But how do I owe you money? You owe me money!”

Me: “Right. I’m going to refund you for the two items on your receipt. Now I’m scanning the items. Okay, the deal has gone through; you owe me £1.60.” 

Customer: “I got the deal?”

Me: “Yes. You got the deal. That will be £1.60, please” 

(The customer paid and left, still muttering about how they didn’t understand. I went and took five minutes in the cold room in the back.)