There’s Blood In The Water

, , , | Right | June 27, 2017

(I work at the fishmonger’s counter where we have a display selling whole, gutted salmon in bags for £4/kg. A young woman and her daughter approach the display and order some fish. This conversation takes place as I am wrapping it.)

Child: “Mummy, look at the big fish!”

Customer: “Yeah, it’s really big, isn’t it!” *pauses, to me* “What’s that red stuff? Is that blood?”

Me: “Yep. We get these in gutted so there’s a little blood from being packed immediately after.”

Customer: “I just didn’t know fish had blood.”

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Welcome To The Hotel Exaggeration

, , , , , | Working | June 27, 2017

(I used to work at a very prestigious five-star hotel in Central London. Naturally with the territory comes some guests who, in my experience, were impossible. This is however not that kind of story. I am currently an hour into the morning shift when my service phone rings. The call registers from the front desk.)

Me: “In-Room Dining. [My Name] speaking.”

Front Desk: “Hi, [My Name]. Can you go to [Guest Room] and help [Affluent Guest] out, please?”

(Note: Affluent Guest, as I would soon find out, was a regular at this hotel. She also established a reputation with most if not all the hotel staff as being incredibly demanding and impossible to please. This is the first time I am dealing with her.)

Me: “Sure. What is the problem, may I ask?”

Front Desk: “You know? I actually haven’t got a clue, mate. Is this your first time dealing with her?”

Me: “The guest? Yes. Yes, it’s the first time.”

Front Desk: “Okay, just to let you know she’s VERY impatient and extremely rude, so be careful, okay?”

Me: “Thanks for the heads up. I’m on my way to the room now.”

(I hang up and head up to the floor that Affluent Guest is on. On the way I cross paths with one of the housekeeping associates.)

Housekeeping Associate: “You going to [Affluent Guest]’s room?”

Me: “Yeah.”

Housekeeping Associate: *rolls eyes* “She’s craaaaazy. Don’t let her get her way!”

Me: “I won’t.”

(I’m a little bit concerned about how much of an issue this particular guest is perceived as, but for benefit of the doubt I just put it down to exaggerations on the hotel’s part. I find the room, knock, and then enter to see a frail, old Chinese lady sitting on the sofa.)

Me: “Good Morning, ma’am. My name is [My Name]; I understand you’re having some sort of issue with your room?”

Guest: “Hello, my dear. Yes, I cannot get the window to open, see? And it’s very hot in here!”

(From the moment I walked in I could feel the humidity. On this particular summer day in London, the heat was out in force.)

Me: “I see. Unfortunately, ma’am, because we are on the seventh floor, the windows are locked shut for your own safety. Have you tried your air conditioning?”

Guest: “I have, my dear. But I don’t know how to work it properly.”

Me: *starting to get a little bit concerned* “Okay… has anyone else came to the room to help you?”

Guest: “Yes, but they didn’t do as I asked. They thought I wanted to change rooms! All I want is to get the air conditioning working.”

Me: “Of course, I completely understand, ma’am. Let me see what I can do for you.”

Guest: “Thank you so much, young man.”

(I go over to the A/C unit and realise that not only is it not on, it’s also broken. In regards to the guest, the perception of her being anything but pleasant has completely faded away at this point, but I’m more so concerned that this elderly lady was allowed to sit in such heat for such a long time.)

Me: “Okay, ma’am. I realise what’s the problem. Your A/C unit here is not working for whatever reason. Did anyone else check the unit?”

Guest: “No, not at all!”

Me: *stunned at this* “Okay. Here’s what I’m going to do now for you. I will be calling the engineers to the room to see if they can fix the A/C. In the meantime, I would recommend you go down to the restaurant on the second floor. We have air conditioning down there so you can cool off and relax whilst the problem here is fixed. I’ll also ask the restaurant to have a cool drink waiting for you to make up for the issue. How does that sound, ma’am?”

Guest: “That sounds very nice! Thank you for your understanding. May I have your name?”

Me: “You certainly can. It’s [My Name].”

Guest: “Thank you, [My Name]. I will be leaving a message about your conduct tomorrow before I leave. Thank you so much for your time!”

Me: “It’s my pleasure, ma’am. Have a nice day!”

(I left, happy that I was able to resolve the guest’s problem AND shatter the pretensions of nearly everybody else about that guest, and all because I didn’t over exaggerate her issue, and instead treated her problem as something that was easy to fix in less than an hour. Never let other people’s perceptions cloud yours.)

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No Such Thing As A Free Lunch

, , , , | Right | June 27, 2017

(I work in a restaurant where you can have unlimited free salad with every main course. You can also purchase just salad on its own. This occurs one afternoon after a man comes to the bar, orders one starter, and helps himself to no less than six bowls of salad. When it’s clear he’s not going to order a main, I go over to him.)

Me: “Hello there, would you like to order your main course now?”

Customer: *looks angrily at me* “No, I don’t want a main.”

Me: “I’m afraid our unlimited salad bar is only free with every main course, so you will have to order a main or pay for the salad.”

Customer: “I can’t believe this; I’m not paying for salad. It says it’s free.”

Me: “Well, it is free with every main meal, so you need to order a main course. Let me get you a menu.”

(I walk off to get him a menu and to let the manager know what’s happening. He’s pretty blunt when talking to me but always supports us. He sees the guy on the camera and loiters by my till as the guy is pretty big and rather aggressive in his tone. When I go back to him, he is still there and standing near the till.)

Me: “Have you decided on your main?”

Customer: *mumbling complaints* “I can’t believe this; this is ridiculous, having to pay for free salad.”

Me: “It’s only free with a main. You can pay just for the salad, which is obviously cheaper.”

Customer: *pays for the salad reluctantly* “I can’t believe this. It’s disgusting! What sort of a place makes you pay for salad?!”

Me: “A restaurant!”

(He stormed out and my boss, who was watching the entire exchange, snorted and disappeared into the office where I later found him crying with laughter. He tried to tell me off but failed miserably.)

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That Muffin Just Takes The Cake

, , , , | Working | June 26, 2017

(My parents and I moved to London five years ago, but my much older sister still lives in our home country (USA). My eight-year-old niece is visiting at this point, and my mom and she and I decide to stop at a café for lunch while shopping in our local shopping centre. It is a chain café but we’ve eaten at different locations before and had a decent meal. Having gone in, nobody even looks at us for a few minutes.)

Mom: *signalling one of the servers* “Hi, could we get a table, please?”

Server #1: “Um… yeah… just go ahead and sit down anywhere…” *hurries off*

My Mom: “Ooookay, guess we’ll sit outside.”

(We pick a table outside, and are waiting for a few minutes before a different server approaches us:)

Server #2: “Hey, are you ready to order?”

Mom: *dumbfounded* “We haven’t even gotten menus yet…”

Server #2: “Oh! Um, I’ll get those for you.”

(Server #2 returns a minute later with menus, but before we can decide what we want, the server we initially spoke to comes over:)

Server #1: “Are you ready to order now?”

Mom: “We just got the menus less than a minute ago. Could we have a few more minutes to decide?”

Server #1: “Uh… sure…”

(We finally decide and Server #1 returns, and takes our order. Both my mom and I order dishes that involve two poached eggs, while my niece orders a blueberry muffin, as she is not very hungry and is not allowed to eat chocolate in public because she’s so messy.)

Server #1: *almost immediately after leaving with our orders, comes back* “Sorry… we don’t have any more blueberry muffins left…” *to my niece* “You can come inside with me and look at the other pastries in the display? How about a chocolate one instead?”

Me: “Oh, no, she’s not allowed chocolate.”

Server #1: *as if I have two heads* “Oh. Ooookay…? Well, I’ll take her inside and have her choose something else then.” *leaves with my niece, without my mom’s consent*

Mom: *quickly, to me* “Go with her. Make sure she doesn’t get anything she shouldn’t.”

(I go inside, and of course find Server #1 trying to convince my niece to get a huge chocolate muffin, dripping in chocolate. I intervene.)

Me: “Hey, [Niece], how about one of these fruit tarts? This one’s got apples on it. You like apples!”

(Thankfully my niece is not dead set on a muffin, and agrees to an apple tart. Server #1 shoots me a death glare for some reason.)

Server #1: “Fine. I’ll bring it out with the rest of your food.”

(I go back out to the table with my niece and wait for our food. It eventually comes, but neither my nor my mom’s eggs are runny in the centre. I don’t mind it too much but my mom is a picky eater and takes the plate inside, and tells them that the middle is solid and she wants a properly poached egg. She returns, and soon after her remade food is brought out. This time the eggs are VERY undercooked, almost raw.)

Mom: “Seriously? Come on, they can’t poach a freaking egg?”

(She sends it back again, this time cancelling her entire meal, as my niece and I are almost finished eating and we have a lot of errands to run. We eventually get the bill, and the meal she never ate was on it.)

Mom: *to me* “I knew they would try and charge me for this bulls**t.” *flags down Server #1* “Hi, yeah, I didn’t eat that. Take it off the bill.”

Server #1: “FINE.”

(Needless to say, we didn’t leave a tip.)

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Cucumboincidence

, , | Working | June 25, 2017

(We usually serve jugs of tap water with ice and a slice of lemon. I notice that the manager has put a slice of cucumber in one for a table. I go over to get it.)

Me: “Why did you put cucumber in it?”

Manager: “Why not?”

Me: “What if they’re allergic?”

Manager: “Who’s allergic to cucumber?! They’re more likely to be allergic to citrus.”

(I take the jug over to the table.)

Customer: “Can we get one without the cucumber? I’m allergic. The lemon’s fine, though!”

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