Peppered With Risk

, , , , , , | Right | July 26, 2018

(I’m a cook at a popular casual dining restaurant known for its baby back ribs. A waitress rings up a ticket with big red “ALLERGY! SPEAK TO SERVER!” notes on it. Allergy notes typically go to me before anyone else because I have almost all of the ingredients in the kitchen memorized.)

Waitress: “Uh, the woman at table 33 has an allergy to peppers.”

Me: “Table 33 with the spicy shrimp taco? That dish is literally nothing but peppers.”

Waitress: “Is there any way you can make it without peppers?”

Me: “Honestly? No. Try talking to the table again; suggest the [other shrimp taco]. Or, I can make a custom taco no problem, but there’s no way she can have it like it appears on the menu. If she’s really allergic, that’s one thing, but if she’s just worried about it being too spicy, I can easily tone it down.”

(The server returns after speaking with the table.)

Waitress: “She says she’s allergic to all peppers. Like, green peppers, red peppers, chili peppers, jalapeño peppers, black pepper—”

Me: “Ah, geez.”

Waitress: “—and she still wants the spicy shrimp taco.”

Me: “I’ll see what I can do, but ask if she wants a different side dish. The beans are seasoned with pepper. And the rice has black pepper in the seasoned salt we use. Try suggesting some substitutions for the toppings on that taco, because I can’t put any of the current toppings on it.”

Waitress: “I already tried. I suggested, like, cheese, or lettuce, or tomatoes, but she said no. And she was insistent that she’ll have anaphylaxis if it’s made wrong. She started waving an Epi-pen at me. [Manager] is coming back to the kitchen to make the taco. She doesn’t want any substitutions; just make it without peppers.”

Me: “F***.”

Manager: “Okay, the shrimp is ready from the grill. Hey, there’s no seasoning on it; these are plain!”

Me: “Yeah, they are allergic to pepper, so I can’t use the cayenne on it.”

Manager: “Okay, next is the chili lime sauce—”

Me: “Nope.”

Manager: “…okay, then I’ve got the taco slaw—”

Me: “Nope. It’s made with chopped jalapeños.”

Manager: “F***. Okay, the pico—”

Me: “Green and jalapeño peppers, and seasoned salt.”

Manager: “And the garnish drizzle—”

Me: “Just checked. White pepper.”

Manager: “So, that leaves…”

Me: “Plain, flavorless shrimp on a plain, unseasoned tortilla, with a slice of avocado garnish.”

Manager: “Did they want lettuce or plain tomatoes, instead?”

Me: “[Waitress] said no.”

Manager: “Sides are rice—”

Me: “Seasoned salt.”

Manager: “—and beans—”

Me: “Salsa, peppers, and seasoned salt.”

Manager: “Well, I give up. Send it out.”

(The server takes the sad-looking plate out to the table, and returns five minutes later.)

Waitress: “She said she wants pico and chili lime sauce on the side because the tacos are bland.”

Me: “So, now she suddenly doesn’t care about her allergy?”

Waitress: “I tried. She insisted. I reminded her. She’s pissed off because it looks nothing like the photo in the menu.”

Manager: “Somebody’s living on the edge today.”

Me: “Okay. Fine. Pico and chili lime. What side dish did she want instead of the rice and beans?”

Waitress: “…”

Me: “Well?”

Waitress: “She picked southwest mac and cheese.”


Waitress: “I KNOW. I TOLD HER.”

(Apparently we haven’t killed her yet, because she returns at least once a month to flirt with death. She orders the same thing every time.)

You Really Had To Travel To Get The Answer

, , , , , , , , | Working | October 16, 2017

(I have signed up for health insurance through my job a few months ago, and my new cards are starting to come in the mail for the new year. I receive one set that is confusing, so I call the numbers on the back of the card and in other parts of the paperwork to clarify what it is for. The numbers only lead to an automated system, and there is no number for a direct help line, but I decide to try the trick of repeatedly hitting the “wrong” button. That is, the options are 1, 2, or 3, and I repeatedly only hit 8. It takes a while, but I am finally transferred to a human operator.)

Operator: “Thank you for calling Work Services. How can I help you?”

Me: “Yes, I’ve just gotten my health cards in the mail, but I’m not sure what this particular card covers. I’ve made some changes since last year’s coverage and I don’t recognize this one, and the paperwork that came with it doesn’t make any sense.”

Operator: “What does the paperwork say?”

Me: “The paperwork says ‘Travel Card,’ but the card itself has symbols for medical and prescriptions on it, and the paperwork has instructions about logging in bus tickets and stuff.”

Operator: “Yes, that’s your travel card.”

Me: “But what does that mean?”

Operator: “What is the card number on the front?”

Me: *gives him the number*

Operator: “Okay, I’ve activated your card. Anything else I can do for you?”

Me: “What is the card for?

Operator: “It’s a travel card, so you use it to pay for prescriptions. It’s for travel expenses.”

Me: “Travel card or prescription card?”

Operator: “It’s a travel card. So, you use it to pay for the bus and your work reimburses you for the cost of getting to work.”

Me: “But I don’t take the bus.”

Operator: “Well, subway, train, whatever. You’ve received the public transportation coverage.”

Me: “I have never even heard of that, and I don’t take public transportation to get to work. Anyway, the paperwork and the card itself don’t match up, because the card has a medical symbol and a prescription symbol on it.”

Operator: “It’s a card to pay for prescriptions.”

Me: “You just said that it was for paying for the bus.”

Operator: “Okay, I’ll cancel it.”

Me: “I don’t even know what you are cancelling; is this a card for prescriptions or a card for the bus?”

Operator: “You didn’t sign up for the travel card, so I’m cancelling it.”

Me: “I don’t want you to cancel it if it’s for prescriptions.”

Operator: “I’m just going to cancel it.”

Me:Do not cancel it. If it’s for prescriptions and medical, I need it.”

Operator: “You signed up for the travel card?”

Me: “No.”

Operator: “I’m cancelling it.”

Me:Do not cancel it!

Operator: “I can cancel it.”

Me: “I want to talk to a supervisor, please.”

Operator: “I can just cancel it.”

Me: “Please get me someone who can explain what this card is for. I want to talk to a manager or something.”

Operator: “Okay, I’m cancelling your card.”

Me:Get me your supervisor, please!

Operator: “I’m going to cancel—“

(By this point I’ve pretty much lost my mind running in circles with this guy, and I’ve got the phone out at arm’s length and I’m just screaming.)


Operator: “Ugh, fine. I’ll put you on hold.”

(After ten minutes on hold the line picks up again.)

Operator: “Are you still there?”

Me: “Yes.”

Operator: “Oh. Did you want a supervisor?”

Me:Yes, please!

(Five minutes of hold later I am speaking to a woman.)

Supervisor: “Thank you for calling Work Services. I am [Supervisor]. How can I help you?”

Me: “Hello, I’ve just gotten a card in the mail with medical and prescription symbols on it, but the paperwork that came with it says ‘Travel Card,’ and I’m really confused.”

Supervisor: “Can I have the card number please?”

(I give her the number.)

Supervisor: “And can you describe the card exactly, just in case?”

Me: “It’s blue with an orange swoosh on it, with three symbols: a bandaid, a medical cross, and that snake and staff thing that hospitals have.”

Supervisor: “Okay, that is in fact your prescription and medical card which can be used for medications and copays, which matches with the information in our system as part of your coverage plan. The travel card would have been orange and red with a picture of a bus on it. And the system shows that it is activated and ready for use beginning January 1st. And you said that the paperwork that came with it was the travel card paperwork? That’s a mistake. I’m going to send you a fresh copy of the correct paperwork for the medical card. I can’t imagine how that happened.”

Me: “Envelope stuffers.”

Supervisor: “Haha, yep, probably.”

Me: “So, I have received the correct card, but not the correct paperwork.”

Supervisor: “Exactly. Does that help you?”

Me: “Absolutely! I appreciate it. So… he kept saying he was cancelling my card; it won’t get cancelled will it?”

Supervisor: “Oh, no! I’ll take care of it right away to make sure that doesn’t happen to you. I’ve got this. I’ll get the paperwork in the mail tonight or tomorrow, too. I’m going to take care of it.”

Me: “Your calls are recorded?”

Supervisor: “Yes.”

Me: “Awesome.”

(True to her word, I got the correct paperwork in the mail just a few days later, and no more hiccups. I hope that someone eventually hears the recording of the s***-storm of the first half of the conversation.)