We’ll Be Mandar-In And Out

, , , , , , | Working | March 26, 2018

(I am visiting a friend in China. He is working as an English teacher at a university, and is fluent in Chinese. I know absolutely zero Chinese, so my friend has to tell me about this conversation afterwards. We are both pasty-white Americans, and we are both wearing typically American clothing at the time. A waitress comes over to our table.)

Waitress: *in bad English* “You decide what to eat?”

Me: “No.”

Friend: “Nah, I’m good.”

Waitress: *in Chinese* “Hurry up, you fat American pigs. I bet you are going to eat everything we have here and leave this place in a mess.”

Friend: *a little shocked* “Um… What?”

Waitress: *in English, looking as if she said nothing wrong* “Sorry, my English bad. You want water?”

Me: “Sure, we would love some water.”

(The waitress leaves and brings us water, and takes orders. Then, this happens at the end of the meal, when we are ready to leave.)

Waitress: *in English* “You have nice meal?”

Friend: *in perfect Chinese* “Of course. It is always nice to come to local restaurants. Of course, I will never come back here again. We both know why.”

(The waitress looked like she’d seen a ghost. My friend did not tell me anything else that she said apart from that first part, but I remember that she said something just about every time she came to our table to bring food and stuff, so she was likely being a big potty mouth every time. In hindsight, I should have noticed how stressed my friend was at the time.)

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Getting A Piece Meal By Piecemeal

, , , , | Working | March 25, 2018

(I decide to pick up fried chicken for dinner. I go to a fast food chain that serves fried chicken and walk inside to place my order.)

Me: “I’d like to get the ten-piece, dark-meat-only bucket.”

Cashier: “Okay.”

Me: “I’d like to get that as a meal.”

Cashier: “Okay.” *presses buttons and a ridiculously high price comes up*

Me: “That’s very high. The dark-meat-only bucket costs a little less than the eight-piece bucket, but your total is a lot higher than the eight-piece meal.”

Cashier: “That’s because I rang you up for the twelve-piece meal with substitutions.”

Me: “That’s not what I wanted. The dark-meat-only bucket has thighs and drumsticks only, which is why the bucket cost is less than the eight-piece bucket. I want the dark-meat-only bucket, not the twelve-piece, as a meal.”

Cashier: “That can’t be made a meal. If you want a meal, you need to get either the eight-piece bucket or the twelve-piece bucket and request substitutions.”

Me: “What? Why can’t it be made a meal?”

Cashier: “Because it doesn’t come as a meal. You have to get either the eight-piece or twelve-piece bucket to get a meal.”

Me: “I’ve gotten it as a meal before.”

Cashier: “Well, they must have rung you up for one of the other buckets and did substitutions.”

Me: “That makes no sense. The price for the dark-meat-only bucket is a little less than the eight-piece bucket even though it has more pieces, and I’ve gotten all ten pieces in the past with a meal.”

Cashier: “You can order two additional pieces to go with your meal.”

Me: “That’s even more money, boosting the price of the actual bucket even higher. Why can’t that particular bucket be a meal? I’d like to talk to the manager.”

Cashier: “Okay, but he’s not going to tell you anything different.”

Me: “That’s fine, but I want to talk to him.”

(The cashier gets the manager.)

Manager: “Hello, how can I help you?”

Me: “Hi. Is it possible to get the ten-piece, dark-meat-only bucket as a meal?”

Manager: “Of course!”

(The manager pressed two buttons on the register, a more reasonable total came up, and he walked away. The cashier glared at me the rest of the time I was in the restaurant waiting for my order.)

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Don’t Dish Out What You Can’t Take

, , , , | Working | March 23, 2018

(There is a nice restaurant my husband and I pass on our way to work, and we really want to try it. Finally, on our anniversary, we make a booking and give it a go. We are given seats and menus. [Dish #1] sounds nice, but it comes with mushrooms. It’s not especially busy, so I decide I will ask if it is possible to have it without mushrooms. I find a second choice just in case. The waitress comes by.)

Waitress: “Hi! Welcome to [Restaurant]. Are you two ready to order?

Me: “Yes. Can I first just ask: can [Dish #1] be made without mushrooms?

Waitress: *making an exhausted expression as if to say, “Here we go…”* “Are you allergic?”

Me: “Oh, no. I just don’t like them, is all. I just thought I’d ask, since it sounded nice except for the mushrooms.”

Waitress: “Sorry, no substitutions.”

Me: “Oh. Well, it’s not a substitution. I’m not asking for something else, instead.”

Waitress: “We’re not going to make you something off-menu just because you don’t like mushrooms. If you don’t like what a dish comes with, maybe you should pick something else.”

Me: *a little surprised by her snippy attitude* “Oh, well, I’ll just have [Dish #2].”

(The waitress takes my husband’s order and then stomps off. My husband looks at me.)

Husband: “Wow, she was really rude. Do you want to say something?”

Me: “It’s fine. [Dish #2] looked nice.”

Husband: “Well, she’s not getting a tip. Not after that sour attitude.”

(The waitress passes by to take the order of another table just as he says that and she looks our way, so I think she may have heard him, but she says nothing and calmly takes the order of the next table, perfectly politely. When our food arrives, I am shocked to find that my order is covered in mushrooms, even though [Dish #2] doesn’t come with mushrooms on the menu. The waitress slams both dishes down, and then storms off before I can say anything.)

Husband: “That’s it.”

(He gets up and walks towards the waitress, calling to her just as she tries to vanish into the kitchen.)

Waitress: *scowling* “Yes?”

Husband: “I’d like to speak to your manager, please.”

Waitress: “Oh, he’s not in right now. I’ll have to get him to call you back.”

Husband: “Somebody must be in charge. A supervisor or something.”

Waitress: “No, it’s just me. I’m in charge.”

(Just then, another member of staff comes out of the kitchen carrying an order.)

Waiter: “Is there a problem here?”

Husband: “Yes, I’d like to talk to your manager.”

Waiter: “Oh. He’s in his office in the back. I can get him if you like.”

Husband: “Yes, thank you. I’d appreciate that.”

(I stand and join my husband to try and calm him down; I can see he is seconds away from shouting, which isn’t going to help. I don’t really want to make a fuss, but something has to be done; I’ve been served something I didn’t order, and cannot eat. It’s covered almost completely in mushrooms, so it’s not even like I can pick them out. The waiter comes back out, followed by the manager.)

Manager: “What seems to be the problem?”

Me: “There was a mix-up with my order.”

Husband: “No, the waitress here was rude, and she got my wife’s order wrong on purpose.”

Me: “I’m sure it was just a mistake.”

Manager: *turns to the waitress, who is glaring at me* “Was it a mistake?”

Waitress: “Of course it was.”

Manager: “I’m just going to check with the kitchen to see what happened. Can you tell me what you should have gotten? I’ll straighten this out.”

(Once I tell the manager what my order was and that it came with mushrooms, he assures me that, no, the dish doesn’t normally come with mushrooms unless somebody asks for them. He goes into the kitchen. He then comes back out, looking furious, eyes locked on the waitress.)

Manager: “In my office. Now. I’ll deal with you in a minute.”

(The waitress glared at my husband and me, and then stormed into the kitchen. The manager got us back into our seats and asked for details on exactly what happened. Once we told him, he looked even angrier and explained that the order ticket the waitress gave to the kitchen said, “Extra, extra mushrooms,” on my order. He was deeply apologetic and explained that the waitress was new; this was her first shift and her first job ever. He offered to remake both our meals since they were now stone cold, giving me [Dish #1] without mushrooms like I originally wanted, and he offered to give us both our main meals for free to compensate us for what happened. I told him it wasn’t necessary — as long as we got our food as we ordered it, it was fine — but the manager insisted on giving us a free dessert and coffee. The waiter served us instead, and he was perfectly pleasant. We chatted a little, and we told him about how it was our anniversary and how we always passed this place and wanted to come in. As we left, the manager came rushing out and gave us a bottle of wine to take home. When I tried to decline, as I felt he had done more than enough, he said it was an anniversary gift. We have since been back there many times, and we always go on our anniversary. The best part, though, was that some weeks later I saw the rude waitress as I was on my way home from work. She was with a friend. She nudged them and very loudly announced, “That’s the b**** that got me fired.”)

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How To Cheese Off Your Customers

, , , , , , | Working | March 23, 2018

(I am allergic to milk. When I go out to restaurants, I am always careful to specify to servers that my allergy means no milk, butter, cream, yogurt, or cheese, especially when I am abroad. My friend and I are out together, and we have both ordered food. I was extra careful to ask for no cheese or sauce on my burger, and to double-check that there is no milk in the bun. Our food comes out.)

Server: “And here we go! A burger for her, and pasta for you! Enjoy, ladies!”

Friend: “Thanks!” *to me* “Looks great, doesn’t it?”

Me: “Yeah! Oh… Hang on. I think they forgot to not put sauce on my burger. It should be okay if it’s just a relish, though.”

Friend: “Double-check, just in case! But it should be fine.”

Me: *deconstructing my burger with my fork* “Oh… So, not only is there lots of sauce on my burger, but there’s cheese… and… What is that?”

Friend: “It looks like they buttered the bun for some reason. You’d better send that back!”

Me: “Yeah.”

(I call the server back over.)

Server: “Is everything okay, ladies?”

Me: “Unfortunately, there seems to be cheese and possibly butter on my burger. I’m allergic, so I really can’t eat that. I’m so sorry, but is there any way I can get a new burger, please? Without the cheese or the butter on the bun, and with the sauce on the side, please?”

Server: “Oh! Wow! I’m so sorry; that shouldn’t have happened! I must have forgotten to put in an allergy warning on the till. Let me fix this for you right away!”

(He goes off to the kitchen and comes back after a while with a new plate.)

Server: “Again, I am so sorry that happened! Here you go. I spoke to the chef this time, so it should be all right. The sauce is on the side this time!”

Me: “Thank you! I’m so sorry to cause a fuss!”

Friend: *just as the server leaves* “Erm… I think I can see where they scraped off the cheese?”

Me: “What?” *deconstructs the new burger again* “Seriously? I think they just replaced the bun… and it still looks buttered. Maybe it’s margarine. Does this look right to you? I really don’t want to cause a fuss again.”

Friend: *pointing* “That’s definitely cheese still left on it! Don’t eat it! I’ll call our server back again.”

Server: “Ladies! What’s up? Is the new burger okay?”

Friend: “So, there still seems to be butter on her burger and–” *pointing* “–it looks like the cheese has just been scraped off here.”

Server: “What? I really did talk to the chef this time! Gosh, I am so sorry! I’ll see to it right away!” *takes the second plate back*

(While the server is away, my friend finishes her food. We also have timed tickets for a tourist attraction; though it’s nearby, we will need to leave the restaurant soon. We’re debating whether to get the burger in a to-go container when a lady marches up to our table.)

Manager: “Hi, girls. I’m the manager here. I heard there’s a problem with your food?”

Me: “Oh, there’s no problem; there’s just a mix up with my burger.”

Friend: “Yeah, we’re just waiting for her meal to come out again.”

Manager: “Right… The chef is saying you keep sending back perfectly good food. Is that right?”

Me: *taken aback* “What? No! I’m allergic to milk, and I asked for no cheese on my burger. My food keeps arriving with cheese on it, so I’ve just asked for a plain burger this time.”

Manager: “Right. I can’t see the problem here. Why can’t you just scrape it off?”

Friend: *worried* “She has an allergy! If she eats anything with milk in it, she will get seriously sick! Like, phone-an-ambulance sick!”

Manager: *haughtily* “I know what an allergy is! My husband is lactose intolerant! He can eat cheese, or scrape it off if he has to!”

Me: *trying to be calm* “An intolerance is different. Trust me; I don’t like sending food back, but I genuinely can’t eat it.”

Manager: “Hmm… You both seem very young… It looks to me like you’re just looking for a free meal.”

Friend: *raising her voice in frustration* “Honestly, we aren’t looking for anything! She just wanted something to eat, but she has to be careful because she has an allergy. We can’t explain it any better than that. She has not touched one ounce of her food! You can’t charge us for something she hasn’t eaten!”

Manager: “Well, I don’t comp meals when customers don’t communicate properly!”

Me: *jumping in quickly* “Look: it’s fine! I don’t want the food anymore. We have to leave soon, anyway. Can we just have our bill please?”

Manager: *changing her tune suddenly* “Of course! I’ll have your server bring it over immediately.” *hurries off, looking smug*

(Our server reappears with our bill soon after that.)

Server: “I am so sorry about the manager. She’s new. She told me not to comp your meal, but I’ve taken the burger and drinks off!”

Me: “I hope you won’t get in trouble for that.”

Server: “Nah, I’m one of the few experienced staff left! But, at this rate, I won’t be here for long!”

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Can You Please Shut Your/The/A Mouth?

, , , , , | Working | March 23, 2018

(I start work at four am, and the only coffee place open at that hour in my town is at the gas station. I don’t know why, but the clerk at four am always likes to play grammar games.)

Me: “Can I have my receipt, please?”

Clerk: “It’s my receipt. It’s not your receipt until I give it to you.”

Me: “Whatever. Can I have the receipt?”

Clerk: “I can give you a receipt. If you want the receipt, you need to be specific.”  

(It’s not worth it anymore. I just head into work a little earlier and make my own coffee now.)

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