Fries Are Very Important, But Yikes

, , , , | Working | February 15, 2021

When I am twenty and still in college, I work at a fast food restaurant over the summer. This branch has a lot of staff turnover, so much so that at any given time, around half my coworkers are either on their two-month new hire probation or working their two-week notice period. Anyone who has been there for a few months is called “senior staff” and they speak of things that happened earlier that very same year as “the old times.”

Of course, the place is dysfunctional. I have a lot of problems with my “senior” coworkers, many of whom have an attitude problem. Things come to a head one day when I am on register along with two coworkers: a shift supervisor and an entitled “senior” employee who has been there for like six months.

At this store, when things are quiet, people on register are also responsible for the fries — putting them into the fryer, taking them out, and bagging them — when their line dies down. There isn’t a particular rota system; if the other cashiers were busy but you don’t have a line when the fryer goes, “Beep!”, you are now in charge of taking out the fries and bagging them.

The “senior” employee claims that she is attending to the fries a lot more than I am. At one point, while she has no one in line and I am literally in the middle of a transaction, with cash in my hands, she turns to me and says:

“Senior” Employee: “[My Name]! Do you not hear the fryer?!”

Me: “And do you not see that I have cash in my hands?”

The supervisor sided with the “senior” employee and completely lost it. She went off at me in front of all customers and staff, shouting and screaming about how she couldn’t believe that newer staff would “disrespect” “senior” staff. The shift manager had to come in, order her to take five, and almost push her into the staff room when she wouldn’t shut up about me.

I was speechless. I had planned to ask to switch from full-time to weekend shifts once my classes restarted in the fall, but I decided I didn’t want to work someplace where fries were such a contentious issue, so I gave in my notice as soon as the head manager came in for her shift.

And that’s the story of the one job where I have not been able to pass my probation period.

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Thank You, Next!

, , , | Right | January 14, 2021

I’m working in the concession stand, where we also sell movie tickets on days we don’t expect too many people. A married couple approaches and I stop what I’m doing to serve them. The woman doesn’t even look at me and the man is the only one who interacts with me, not even saying, “Hello.” Everything goes okay until I give him his change.

Customer: *Deadpan* “You should say, ‘Thank you,’ you know?”

Shocked, I don’t know what to respond because, one, he didn’t give me the time to say anything, two, he is the one who should say, “Thank you,” as I’m the one providing a service, and three, he isn’t anyone to try and give me a manners lesson. In about five seconds, I recover enough and I answer.

Me: “Very well. Next!”

The next customer approached and he left without a word.

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The Pain In Spain Is Caused By The Diners

, , , | Right | January 13, 2021

We’re eating dinner as a family at a grill located on the beach while on vacation in Ibiza. We had to make our reservation on the first day of our vacation because it’s such a lovely and in-demand restaurant.

We have two children under the age of four, so we ask for a reservation at 6:00 pm, their first dinner service. We arrive early so we can pick a seat near the front of the terrace. Everything is going well, the food is excellent, and the children are well-behaved.

At 7:30-ish, a “lovely” middle-aged couple appears.

Female Customer: “We want a seat on the terrace!”

Hostess: “We don’t have any seating on the terrace at this time, but our next seating is in an hour. We will be more than happy to seat you then.”

Female Customer: “But we had a reservation! We should be able to sit wherever we want!”

Hostess: “Your reservation was at 6:30 pm. Unfortunately, because you arrived very late, all of the tables on the terrace are occupied at this time.”

Female Customer: “Why can’t I sit there?!”

She points to an empty table on the other side of the terrace.

Hostess: “Ma’am, that table does not belong to this restaurant. It belongs to the cafe next door. We can’t serve you if you’re sitting there.”

Female Customer: “I can’t believe this! I had a reservation. How dare you give away our table?!”

Hostess: “We operate on a first-come-first-served basis, even for reservations—”

Female Customer: *Interrupting* “I want the manager! You’re useless!”

The husband speaks up, but instead of being embarrassed by his wife’s shouting and hysterics, he seems to be egging her on.

Male Customer: “Exactly, dear. Such poor service.”

The hostess leaves, and the woman pulls out the stool from behind the hostess stand and sits down! She is in the way so the poor hostess cannot do her job. The hostess greets two more tables, who are more than happy to sit inside, but the couple interrupts her to heckle her. A few minutes later, the manager arrives.

Manager: “What seems to be the problem?”

Female Customer: “We had a reservation—”

Manager: “My hostess tells me that you were an hour late to arrive.”

Female Customer: “You should have saved our table!”

Manager: “You didn’t arrive. We can seat you at 8:30 pm if you still wish to eat. Our bar is open, so you’re more than welcome to sit there until your table is ready—”

Female Customer: “I want free drinks!”

Manager: “I’m not going to give you free drinks because you arrived late. I am willing to seat you but—”

Female Customer: “We’ve been sitting here for half an hour!”

Manager: “There is half an hour until the next seating. Please come back later. You are bothering other diners.”

Female Customer: “I don’t appreciate your tone. You’re very aggressive!”

At this point, the woman has interrupted everything the manager has tried to say and talked over her. The fact that the manager is still willing to seat her at all is a marvel to me!

Manager: “I’m not dealing with this anymore. You’ve harassed all of my servers and belittled my hostess. If you still want to eat here, fine. But you need to apologize to everyone that you’ve insulted. It’s their choice if they want to serve you.”

Female Customer: “You’ll seat me and my husband, now!”

Manager: “That’s it. Get out.”

Female Customer: “That table is free! That family just left! We’re going to sit there.”

The woman pulled her husband, who was still encouraging her behaviour, over to the dirty table and sat down. She waited for the servers to clear the table and tried to order a drink. No one would make eye contact with her. After several minutes, the police arrived and she was escorted out.

I made sure to leave a large tip. I think the staff handled the situation well, though I would have kicked her out a lot sooner!


This story is part of our Best Of January 2021 roundup!

Read the next Best Of January 2021 roundup story!

Read the Best Of January 2021 roundup!

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A Olive And Breathe…

, , | Right | January 9, 2021

I work at a bar that specializes in beer, and we sell some simple food: chips for 1€ and chips with olives for 2€. A completely sober patron comes and asks for two pints and chips.

Me: “Will that be chips or chips with olives?”

Patron: “What’s the difference?”

Me: “Just chips are 1€; it’s 2€ with the olives.”

Patron: “Yeah, but what’s the difference?”

Me: “I don’t know what to tell you, man. One plate has olives; the other one doesn’t.”

Patron: “I don’t understand.”

With an internal facepalm, I give him the two pints and a plate of just chips.

Me: “That will be 4€, please.”

The patron opened his mouth as if to say something but saw I was already doing something else and just dropped the money on the bar and left.

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Thanks For Sleeping On It, I Guess

, , , , , | Working | January 7, 2021

In 2018, as a high school graduation gift, I go on a solo trip to Spain and Portugal. During the Madrid leg of the trip, I have booked a room at a hotel for four days, with the plan to take a train on the fourth day to leave for Seville. On the evening of the second day, I have this interaction.

Receptionist: “Good evening. How was your last day here in Madrid?”

Me: “It was great, thank you… Wait, last day? I still have two more days.”

Receptionist: “Are you sure? You appear to have booked for two days only; you’ll have to leave tomorrow.”

Me: “Did I? I’m pretty sure I booked for four nights, not two.”

Receptionist: *Smugly* “Well, I surely didn’t mess up writing it down, so…”

Me: *Trying to keep calm* “Are you absolutely, 100% sure? Can’t you double-check?”

Receptionist: “I’m certain beyond doubt and I won’t check again. So, prepare to check out tomorrow.”

I’m worried and kind of scared. I can’t change my train’s reservation, and even if I could, there is no guarantee the hotel in Seville will have a room available, anyway. But, keeping my calm, I go to my room and pack up hurriedly. After a night of troubled sleep, I go on a hunt for a new place to stay for two nights, taking me the entire morning searching the Internet and making physical visits, leaving me almost one hundred euros poorer than anticipated. The same day, in the evening, I receive a call.

Receptionist: *Sheepish* “Hello? Are we talking to Mr. [My Name]?”

Me: “Yes, what is it now?”

Receptionist: “Turns out, you did book for four days… I mixed up the room numbers. My manager asked me if you’d like a refund for the inconvenience, or if you want your room back.” 

Me: *Barely suppressing my rage* “I’d like to have a refund; I’m certainly not going back after nearly spending 100€ for a new place to sleep in.”

I did get my refund eventually, though I definitely noted the receptionist’s behaviour in the review for the hotel.

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