The Cake Is Their Lie

, , , , , , , | Right | March 14, 2019

(Most cakes in our grocery store bakery are brought in frozen, already decorated, and ready to display. There are some that we decorate in-house, but those are baked elsewhere and thus are also brought in frozen. A customer has already ordered a cake and is asking about in-house decoration with my manager, which is the kind of question you would ask before placing an order. After a few more moments of conversation which I do not catch, my manager laughs, and the customer rips the cake box out of his hands and storms off toward the front of the store. My manager follows her and soon both are out of sight. I walk over to the packager.)

Me: “What was that about?”

Packager: “That lady has gotten the last two cakes from us for free because they were–” *air quotes* “–‘wrong.’ I had [Manager] take her order to try to keep her from scamming us this time, but apparently, she’s tried again. I didn’t really hear what was happening.”

Me: “She’s done this before?”

Packager: “Yeah, before you started, she badgered a free cake out of me. [Absent Coworker] took her order and double-checked it, but when she came to pick it up it was missing whatever birthday number was supposed to be on it. She never told [Absent Coworker] to put a number on it; it was not on the order slip at all. I offered to do it for her on the spot, but she said it was too late. I was here alone, so I tried calling the MOD, but she never came and the customer kept getting mad at me, so I gave it to her for free.”

Me: “Wow. She insisted on getting a free cake for that?”  

Packager: “Yep. The time before was kind of my fault, but still stupid. She had ordered a chocolate fudge cake, but I forgot that we have more than one brand of chocolate fudge cake, so I didn’t write down which one. Shouldn’t be a big deal, since we had her number. [Assistant Manager] called her to find out which one and she refused to tell her. I was on vacation so she guessed and guessed right, but the customer still insisted it was wrong, and [Previous Manager] made [Assistant Manager] give her the cake for free.”

(Our conversation is interrupted as the baker, back from her break, walks back into the department and up to us.)

Baker: “[Produce Colleague] said someone was trying to get free cake?”

Me: “Apparently, we have a frequent scammer trying to pull one over on [Manager]. I wonder how [Produce Colleague] knows about it, though?”  

(The packager and I fill her in on what we know. We speculate a bit on what is happening and then go back to our work. After a while, [Manager] returns.)  

Manager: “Well, that was entertaining. [Customer] is no longer allowed to order cakes from us. I just spoke to [Assistant Store Manager] to get the okay.”  

Packager: “Did she pay for this cake?”

Manager: “Oh, yeah. I followed her all the way up to the front, telling her we could go talk to customer service together if she was upset. She yelled at me to stop following her, told me to f*** off, and then tried to get [Produce Colleague] to get me to stop following her. She went up to cash, paid for it, and left in a hurry.”

Me: “What was she claiming was wrong with it?”

Manager: “She claimed that the person she ordered from had told her that the cakes are baked in-store. I corrected her and told her that we never discussed that, and she called me a liar.”

Packager: “She wasn’t supposed to pick that cake up until five pm. I’m betting she came in early thinking you were a new hire on closing shift and that you wouldn’t be here, so she could blame it on you and get it for free since you couldn’t defend yourself. She probably wasn’t expecting you to be here, and definitely wasn’t expecting you to be the manager.”

Manager: “Nope, she wasn’t. And now she’ll have to find someone else to scam because we’re not putting up with her s*** anymore.”  

Me: “You should probably put that in writing, especially if she likes to prey on new hires. You and I both know that [Absent Coworker #2] wouldn’t be able to stand up to her without something to back her up. It’ll help all of us if she tries it again when you’re not here.”

Manager: “You’re right; I’ll do that now.”

(There is now a note from [Manager] hanging prominently — but out of sight of customers — proclaiming that no more cakes for [Customer] at the cake decorating table. We have also been given permission, in case she does somehow manage to order a cake, to call and cancel her orders. It seems like a small thing, but after many years of customer service with bad, spineless managers, I am very proud to work for this one.)

This Cookie Crumbles Most Efficiently

, , , , , | Related | February 20, 2019

Our family was having dinner at my mom’s house. At the conclusion of the meal, Nana told my youngest son — twelve years old — he could have a cookie if he helped clear the table. He promptly seized the cookie with one hand and took an enormous bite while collecting utensils with the other hand. Nana suggested gently that the cookie was for after the table was cleared, to which my son replied with a mischievous grin, through a mouthful of cookie crumbs, “But Nana! I’m just multitasking!”