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Wish You Could Scrub Away This Customer

, , , , | Right | February 17, 2021

I work at an upscale deli and restaurant. I am bubbly and cheery to every customer. I like most of my regulars but there is this one that is always a jerk.

He comes in pretty often around lunch. He’s probably in his late twenties or early thirties. He always wears scrubs. He’s aggressive and demands free food because “we messed up his order last time,” even though I know we didn’t. He tries to pull this with every employee.

He answered his phone once when I was in the middle of taking his order and, presumably, he was talking to someone else in the medical field, because he angrily sighed and said:

Customer: “Just give her fat a** [specific quantity of medicine]—”

He continued to chat on the phone while also trying to whisper his order with me. He got frustrated juggling the conversations when I had to ask standard questions like, “Here or to go?” and, “What kind of bread?”

He once wanted to try our avocado and jicama salad, except he couldn’t pronounce “jicama.”

Customer: “I’ll have that avocado and whatever salad.”

I tried to be helpful and educational as quite a few customers can’t pronounce it.

Me: “The jicama?”

Customer: “Yeah, the avocado and s*** salad.” 

The icing on the cake is when I am on the counter by myself. It’s a slow day and one of my managers is in the back. She’s new also and was hired at the same time as I was.

I haven’t seen this customer for a month, thank goodness, but in he comes, swaggering up to the counter. I greet him as I greet all my customers and get his order ready. As I’m packing up his salad, he asks:

Customer: “I haven’t been in in a while. Did you miss me?”

I don’t like the look he’s giving me, basically leering, and I feel uncomfortable. I don’t want to answer “yes” and give him ideas. I answer with a safe:

Me: “I miss all my customers!”

Customer: “You’re full of s***. You know that, right? So full of s***.”

I stop what I am doing and glare at him. I am so stunned that I don’t know what to say, except:

Me: “I don’t think so.”

Customer: “Oh. I was just kidding.”

He spoke in a flat tone, obviously not meaning it. I rang him up with a chilly disposition and complained to my boss later.

Unfortunately, she hadn’t heard him say that and we couldn’t ban him. He still came in from time to time, but I wasn’t as cheery talking to him. I low-key wanted him to complain to my managers so they could tell him, “What do you expect from telling people they are full of s***?” He never did and I left the job a while later. I saw him once at the grocery store I started working at, but he didn’t have scrubs and was wearing faded and worn-looking clothing. Maybe he got fired for having no bed-side manner?

They’re So Not Ready For Aisle Two…

, , , , , | Right | February 16, 2021

Customer: “So you guys don’t have any coleslaw or chicken salad?”

Me: “Yes, we do have those. They’re in the cooler on the end of aisle one.”

Customer: “So, which one’s aisle one?!”

Me: “The… first… one?”

Customer: “Well, how the h*** was I supposed to know that?!” *Stomps away*

Does “Closed” Have No Meaning For ANYONE?

, , , , , , | Working | February 12, 2021

I’m about seventeen or eighteen and have just started my first “real” job in a supermarket deli. I have not yet experienced any rude or entitled customers. We have a sign-in and sign-out sheet in the deli as well as a machine in the employee break room to clock in and out; we are expected to use both. It is 10:00 pm and everything is shut down and closed; I go to sign out on the sign-out sheet but there isn’t a pen. No worries, I think to myself. I’ll go clock out, borrow a pen from the break room, and come back to sign the sheet. 

I come back and see a well-dressed customer standing in front of the deli counter, looking expectantly at me as I come through the deli gate. My hair is down, I have no apron or hat, and my handbag is slung over my shoulder. The lights in every deli case are off, half of our stock has been put away in the back room and everything else — the products, the slicers, you name it — is covered in large plastic sheets. By every indication, the deli has shut for the night.

Me: *Cheerfully* “Hi, just letting you know we are closed tonight! I’m just—”

Customer: “No, you’re not.”

I don’t know what I was expecting, but the customer’s response comes from so far out of left field that I am honestly taken aback for a moment.

Me: “Er…”

Customer: “Are you not going to serve me?”

Me: “Um, I’ve already clocked off. It’s past 10:00. The deli closes at 10:00 pm—”

Customer: *Firmly* “No, it doesn’t. It closes when the rest of the store closes.”

I stare at him for a moment, not sure how to proceed with his complete denial. I open my mouth to suggest calling a manager over, but he beats me to it.

Customer: “I see how it is. That’s fine; I’ll go get your manager.”

Frowning, I go to the drawer to sign the sheet. As I’m leaving, the customer comes back with one of the night managers in tow. The customer complains to the manager that I won’t serve him, and the manager goes behind the counter, lifts the plastic sheet off the slicer I just spent twenty minutes cleaning, and starts slicing the customer’s ham for him.

Me: *Quietly, to the manager* “Just for future reference, can you tell me what the protocol is when a customer asks for something after the deli is closed and the usual deli workers are clocked out? Do you come into the deli to serve the late-night customers? Do you also clean the slicer afterward? Because [Deli Manager] gets upset when things aren’t clean in the morning.”

Manager: “Don’t worry about it.”

Me: “Well, I need to know because if this happens again, I want to make sure I’m doing the right thing. Is what you’re doing now standard procedure here?”

The manager just waves a hand dismissively.

I see I’m not going to get an answer, so I give up and go to walk away. The customer stops me on my way out and asks for my name. Without thinking, I give it to him. Like I said, this is my first Not Always Right customer in my first-ever job; I am not very smart yet. 

Customer: “Okay, [My Name]. I work for [My Supermarket] and I’m going to see what the head office thinks about your work ethic.”

I never got a proper answer — from anyone — on what store policy was if a customer wanted deli products after the deli was closed. Thankfully, there were no repeat incidents where the issue came up again, and I also never heard anything from that customer. I have no idea if he actually contacted anyone or not. But thanks to his parting words, I did spend a good few days anxiously stressing that I’d lost my job almost as soon as it had begun. What a jerk.

Makes You Sand-wish You’d Gotten Pizza

, , , , , , | Working | January 29, 2021

I’m coordinating lunches for an event coming up on a Saturday. There will be thirty-one teenagers to feed, so I’m shopping online for the best options at the lowest prices. I find that the best deal is a four-foot sub sandwich in the deli section of the local big box store. It says it serves sixteen to twenty, so I figure two of those will be just what we need.

On Tuesday, I try all day to call the deli to place the order, since there’s no way to place the order online. The phone just rings and rings with no answer. I finally decide to just stop in after work and place the order in person. The young woman behind the counter seems to be totally confused, having no idea what I’m talking about.

Employee #1: “We need twenty-four hours’ notice for special orders.”

Me: “Oh, there’s plenty of time. I just need them on Saturday.”

She eventually goes and gets a laminated menu card and I show her what I want to order. She goes into the back for a minute, I assume to retrieve an order pad. She comes back with a little notebook from which she tears a piece of paper. She writes down the kind of sandwich I want. I remind her, twice, that I need two of them, so she finally writes the number two with an arrow pointing to the name of the sandwich.

Me: “I would like to pick them up at noon on Saturday.”

She writes, “Saturday 12:00.” She acts like we’re all done.

Me: “Don’t you want my name or phone number?”

I finally insist that she write my name and number on the order.

By Friday, I’m worried that the order has been lost since I have absolutely no faith in the employee who took the order, so I try to call the deli again to confirm the order. Again, I try calling all day and get no answer. Finally, I go into the store in person. I see that [Employee #1] is there, and I’m not looking forward to dealing with her again, but she helps another customer who came in just ahead of me and [Employee #2] steps up to help me.

Me: “Hi. I’ve already placed an order for tomorrow and I just want to confirm it.”

Not wanting to directly insult his coworker, I tell a little white lie.

Me: “I’ve had a previous special order get lost, so I just need to confirm that you have the order and that I’ll be here tomorrow at noon to pick it up. My boss will have my head if I mess this up!” 

[Employee #2] goes into the back and comes back with the scrap of paper on which [Employee #1] had written the order.

Employee #2: “Yes, it’s here. We’ll make the sandwiches in the morning and see you at noon.”

You can guess where this is going, right? I arrived at the deli counter promptly at noon on Saturday to encounter [Employee #3], who had no idea what I was talking about, and absolutely no sandwiches made. She offered to do the only thing possible at this point: make the sandwiches as fast as she could. I agreed to come back in forty minutes, hoping my group wasn’t starving to death waiting for lunch, and she agreed to a discount for the trouble.

I picked up the sandwiches forty minutes later and headed back to our event with them. It was then that I noticed that the sandwich that was supposed to feed sixteen to twenty people had been cut into twelve pieces, so now I had twenty-four sandwiches to feed thirty-one people. Fortunately, our group was pretty cooperative about sharing, and with the other snacks and sides we had on hand, we managed to work it out.

I followed up by contacting the store manager, who replied, “I’m sorry we fell short,” and, “I hope you’ll give us another chance.” Not likely! A different big box store just a couple of miles away has the same sandwiches for just $2 more. Next time, I’ll spend the $2.

Scratch That Customer Complaint

, , , , , | Right | December 19, 2020

I work in a deli in a grocery store. A customer comes up to the sub counter and orders two unusual subs: baloney and provolone. But that’s not the weird part of the story.

Coworker: “All right, I can make those subs for you.”

Customer: “Actually, can you get the other person to do it?”

That other person is me. My coworker is taken aback by this but agrees. As I’m making the subs:

Customer: “How would you like it if I scratched my a** and make you a sandwich?”

Me: “I’m sorry?”

Customer: “Because that’s what [Coworker] did.”

This time, I am taken aback. I was watching [Coworker] the entire time and not once did I see her do that. Rather than argue, I apologized and finished her order. When I spoke to [Coworker] about it, she was slightly embarrassed but swore she never did so. We never saw that customer again.