I Love Vegans But This Takes The Cake

| USA | Working | March 21, 2017

(Right out of culinary school, I get a job as a baker for a hotel. We make pastries, breads, and desserts for the hotel restaurant and the attached banquet halls. The bakery is very small, usually just myself and the bakery manager. The job is fantastic until the manager quits and is replaced by a new girl. This new manager is a vegan, and a judgmental one at that. She seems to think that everyone else’s diet is evil, and that we should all switch to hers. I mostly ignore her and get on with my job. Because our hotel is situated on the edge of an industrial area, we get quite a few business breakfast meetings and lunches from the nearby businesses, and we provide the baked goods to these events, to be served by the banquet staff. One day, I am approached by the banquet servers, who are working a larger business lunch for maybe 60 people.)

Banquet Worker: “This cheesecake is not good. The customers are complaining.”

(She slides a plated, un-served slice of cheesecake across the counter to me. I notice the color is not right: most cheesecakes are off-white to pale gold in color, and this cheesecake is stark white.)

Banquet Worker: “I’m embarrassed to served this. It’s gross.”

(I use a fork to take a small bite and can barely swallow it. The mouthfeel is… squeaky. Like cornstarch. The consistency is creamy, but the taste is bland and just awful.)

Banquet Worker: “Did you change the recipe, or something? You guys have always made good cheesecake before.”

Me: “I wasn’t here yesterday. [Manager] made these for today’s banquet.”

Banquet Worker: “Oh….”

(Over the last few weeks, the manager had been tweaking recipes and making mistakes, which I would then have to fix. The manager comes in the next day.)

Manager: “How was that banquet yesterday? Did it go well?”

Me: “No, not really… Did you change the cheesecake recipe?”

Manager: “Yes! Wasn’t it fabulous? I made all-vegan cheesecakes! You know how sometimes customers ask for the recipes? I wanted them to all have that cheesecake and then be surprised to find out that it was vegan! Now all of those people know how yummy vegan food can be.”

(I think I just stood and stared at her. She tried to trick 60 or so people into eating vegan cheesecake without thinking about the fact that at least some of those people might have been allergic to those ingredients or might have had dietary restrictions. She was so pleased with herself, right up until the executive chef dragged her into the office to tell her that her little stunt was unacceptable. I left a few months later, and when I dropped in two months after that, I was unsurprised to hear that she no longer worked there. It seems that management had encouraged her to leave, due to the fact that she kept putting her own agendas ahead of those of the company. I don’t mind vegans in general, but pushing your diet on unsuspecting customers is never okay.)

Incidentally Complaining

| Middletown, NY, USA | Right | March 15, 2017

Me: “Thank you for calling [Hotel]; how can I help you?”

Guest: “Yes, I checked out this morning and you charged my card $20 for incidentals, and the charge hasn’t been reversed yet.”

Me: “I’m sorry, sir, but it can take up to 72 hours for holds to be released.”

Guest: “No, I called American Express. They told me that it as soon as it’s released they credit me within two hours.”

Me: “Sir, I understand that but we don’t release the charge for up to 72 hours after you check out.”

Guest: “Look, you have my $20 and I want it back with interest. I called the police and told them that you’re stealing my money. If I don’t get it back I’m filing charges!”

Me: “Sir, there really is nothing I can do. The hold will be automatically released in approximately 72 hours. It’s hotel policy.”

Guest: “Well, this is ridiculous. What if it was $500 and I needed to pay rent and you had a hold on my account?”

Me: “I’m sorry, sir, but whether it’s $500 or $20, hotel policy is the same.”

Guest: “Well, you need to have that posted somewhere. No one told me! If I don’t have my money by tomorrow I’m filing charges!”

This Manager Does Not Compute

| USA | Working | March 12, 2017

(I am interviewing for a clerk position in a hotel. After speaking with the front desk manager and the operations manager, I finally sit with the general manager.)

General Manager: *looking my resume over* “Wow, it looks like you’ve had a lot of experience! That’s good. And computer experience?”

Me: “Yes, ma’am. I use it all the time.”

General Manager: *whispering* “Can you show me how?”

Me: “Uh… how what?”

General Manager: “To use a computer.”

(Thinking she was joking, I laughed, but she didn’t. I found out later that she didn’t know how to use a computer, and that she was new! I was astounded how someone who didn’t know could be hired for such a high position. I could only figure that she must be a friend or relative of the owner. So far, it’s been going ok, though…)

Making Blanket Statements

| NV, USA | Working | March 10, 2017

(My husband is Italian-Spanish, born and raised in Italy. He didn’t learn English until after he graduated high school; it is his third language, as Italian and Spanish precede it. His accent is pretty thick, but not impossible to understand, as long you’re paying attention. One night we are staying in a hotel for a convention, and my husband calls the front desk for some extra blankets.)

Husband: “I’d like a few extra blankets, in room [number].”


Husband: “I said, I would like some extra blankets. We are in room [number].”

(Pause. I can see that he is growing frustrated.)

Husband: “Blankets! I am asking for extra blankets. Can you send some up, or do we have to come get them ourselves?”

(Pause. He turns and thrusts the phone at me.)

Husband: “Will you please—”

(I take the phone.)

Me: “Hi, we need some extra blankets for room [number].”

Employee: “Oh! Okay, I thought maybe that’s what he wanted, but I wasn’t sure. I could barely understand what he was saying.” *laughs* “I was like, ‘Is he even speaking English?’ It sounded like gibberish.”

Me: “Yes, well, he was definitely speaking English. He worked very hard to be able to do so, and every time someone like you makes fun of his accent, all it does is show everyone else how narrow-minded you are. Why don’t you try learning a third language, and see if your accent is perfect?”

Employee: “I—”

Me: “Anyway, two more blankets will be fine. Good night.” *hangs up*

A Troublemaking Transformation

| USA | Working | March 7, 2017

(I am the ‘bad’ worker here. A young man approaches. He looks like he’s in his mid-20s, hair in thick disarray, facial hair everywhere, torn shirt, torn jeans, wrinkly clothes, red eyes, unwashed face, basically looked very unkempt. I figure he is a ‘punk’ and therefore a troublemaker, so I keep a close eye on him. After a bit he disappears. The next morning, a handsome young man in a very well-tailored suit comes down.)

Suited Man: “Hello, I’d like to check out.”

(After asking his room number, I checked the computer and realized that he was part of a group of lawyers that was staying with us! Moreover, he was the same ‘punk’ from before. I couldn’t believe the transformation, so I just stood there and gawked. It was like one of those makeover shows, before and after. ‘Never judge a book by its cover’ is true.)

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