She’ll See Worse Eventually

, , , , | Working | December 16, 2020

I’ve run the kitchen of a small cafe for six years, and I always get free coffee to go after my shift ends. Over time, the girls running the front have taught me how to use the large coffee machine myself so I can just step behind the counter and get my drink without bothering them with my order.

One day, as I do so, the new girl at the till just… stares at me with utter shock as I start pulling a shot.

Cashier: “Um, miss, you, uh, you can’t—”

It took me a moment to realise she’d just started that day and had only seen me twice, for a few minutes, in my chef’s outfit, while now I was obviously in street clothes with my hair down. The poor girl thought a “normal” customer had just casually walked behind the counter without even saying hello and started making coffee! 

We had a good laugh about it after I explained and the initial shock wore off. What a way for her to start off her new job! She now jokingly scolds me that I have to order like any other regular whenever I pass her to get my coffee.

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Next Time May We Suggest Simple Air

, , , | Right | December 15, 2020

I work at a small coffee shop. On this particular day, we are quite busy and have a steady line of customers. My coworker and I are working quickly to make drinks when a middle-aged woman cuts the line.

Customer: “Excuse me, but I want to return this hot chocolate that I purchased!”

We sell a container of our hot chocolate mix that is 100% cacao with no added sugar.

Coworker: “Okay, we can return that for you, but could you please wait in line?”

Customer: *Scoffs* “I don’t have time for that! I was told that this hot chocolate was sugar-free, but it has 500 calories!”

Coworker: “Yes, ma’am, it is sugar-free.”

Customer: “No, it’s not! It says it has 500 calories!”

Coworker: “Sugar-free does not mean calorie-free.”

Customer: “But it has 500 calories! I want to return it.”

Coworker: “And we can help with that, but we are very busy at the moment and you need to wait in line.”

Customer: “I don’t have time for that!” *Storms off*

Me: *To my coworker* “Does she not understand what calories are?”

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The Reason They Are Suddenly Embarrassed Doesn’t Make It Any Better

, , | Right | December 15, 2020

I speak German fluently, but as I am not a native speaker, sometimes I need to ask customers to repeat themselves, especially if they mumble or speak quietly.

Me: “Hello, sir, how can I help you?”

The customer mumbles something.

Me: “I’m sorry?”

The customer gets annoyed and raises his voice.

Customer: “I said, I want 500 grams of espresso beans, ground!”

Me: “Okay, and for what type of coffee machine?”

We ask this because generally, we have customers asking for several different kinds of grounds for different machines: filter, French-press, percolator, etc. He responds in a tone as if this is the dumbest question he’s ever heard.

Customer: “Just a normal coffee machine!”

Me: “Okay, so a filter machine, then?”

Customer: “Yes, that’s what I just said!”

Me: “Okay, sir, that will be €13.”

The customer mumbles something again.

Me: “I’m sorry?”

Customer: “I want to pay with a card!” *With a condescending tone* “I guess we’re having a problem with understanding today!”

Me: “I’m sorry, sir, but I am not a native speaker.”

Customer: *In a mocking tone* “Yeah, I know, Spanish?”

Me: “Um, no. English, actually.”

The customer suddenly looks embarrassed, pays, and leaves without saying anything else.

This actually happens a lot. Many customers will assume that I am from Southern or Eastern Europe and will be extremely rude to me, and then once they find out that I am from the US, they will suddenly be very polite and/or apologize for their previous comments. In retrospect, I should have called the customer out on his double standards.

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Disorder Until You Place Your Order

, , , | Right | December 14, 2020

I work as a barista at a small coffee shop. We have signs indicating which way the line forms, and yet we frequently have people get confused about where they’re supposed to enter it, and, therefore, we have a lot of line cutters. It’s store policy that I cannot tell a customer that they’ve cut the line, unless they ask me or another customer complains. It’s stupid, I know, but I’ve nearly been written up over it before.

We’re already rushed, and there’s a line stretching nearly to the back of the store. It seems impossible to miss, and yet a customer not in line waltzes up to the counter and starts ordering. No one makes a comment that I can hear, so I serve the customer as quickly as I can, move him along, and then take the next customer in the line.

Customer: “Did you see that he cut the line?”

Me: “Yes, sir, I did. Unfortunately, I’m not permitted to say anything to a customer who cuts the line unless another customer complains. May I get you started with one of our [seasonal drinks]?”

Customer: “What do you mean? You saw him and you didn’t say anything?”

Me: “Sir, I’m not allowed to tell a customer to get to the back of the line unless another customer makes a complaint that they cut the line. Now, what can I get for you today?”

Customer: “Well, I’m making a complaint now!”

Me: “Unfortunately, sir, the customer’s already been served, so I can’t do anything about it now. In the future, if you let us know in the moment, we’ll be sure to assist you with the issue. What can I get for you today?”

Customer: “What do you mean, you can’t do anything about it?”

Me: “I can’t un-take his order, sir. May I please take yours?”

At this point, my coworker has moved beside me to start pulling the line, but since we’ve only got one register, she can just get orders started; she can’t ring people through.

Customer: “I just don’t understand why you couldn’t do something when you saw he cut the line!”

Me: “It’s store policy, sir. If you would like to make a complaint, there’s a survey at the end of your receipt, and you can mention that this store policy was not satisfactory to you. Now, what can I get started for you today?”

Customer: “The survey will be at the end of my receipt?”

Me: “Yes, sir. And I’ll give you your receipt at the end of your order. May I take your order?”

Customer: “It’s just not right. We were all waiting in line, and he held everyone in here up!”

At this point, the line is stretched out the door because no one else can cash out. But just as I’m not allowed to confront line-cutters, I’m also not allowed to try to hurry customers along when they’re at the register.

Me: “I’m very sorry, sir. I can assure you that your wait won’t be much longer, once you place your order.”

Finally, he does, grumbling the whole time. After he’s out of earshot, my coworker turns to me.

Coworker: “He took twice as long complaining as the line-cutter did ordering.”

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A Barrier To Closing Time

, , , , | Right | December 14, 2020

I work in a coffee bar in a theme park that’s located in a bigger space which people have to pass through on the way out. We always stay open later than the rest of the park, but we’re allowed to close half an hour after the park closes as long as there’s no queue and it isn’t busy.

To show we’re closed, we pull a metal barrier down about halfway, but we have to leave it open a bit so we can get out and clear tables and a bin in the main space.

This happens pretty much every day. A customer ducks under a half-closed metal barrier.

Customer: “Oh, are you closed?”

Me: “Yes, sorry about that. The park closed half an hour ago.”

Customer: “Well, could you make me a coffee?”

Me: “Sorry, I’ve started cleaning the machine; I can’t make any more drinks.”

Customer: “It’s not hard to make one coffee.”

Me: “Sorry, the coffee machine is full of cleaning chemicals. I really can’t make you a drink.”

Customer: “You’re just being lazy. This is terrible customer service.”

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