The Best Comeback Since Sliced Bread

, , , , , | Right | September 14, 2018

(I work in the in-store bakery of a major supermarket in the UK. One of the things we do is slice our fresh-baked loaves for customers. Unfortunately, our bread slicer broke a few days ago and we are waiting for a replacement part, so we can’t use it. A customer comes to the service door. She looks to be in her late thirties, while I am nineteen.)

Customer: *thrusting bread in my direction* “Excuse me, can you slice this for me?”

Me: *walking over to her* “I’m terribly sorry, but our slicer is broken. We’ve been unable to slice bread since Wednesday afternoon.”

(The customer leans to the side.)

Customer: “I can see the slicer right there. Slice it for me.”

Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am. I know the slicer is there but, as I said, it’s broken. It cannot be used.”

Customer: *huffing* “You people are all the same; your generation is so lazy! All I’m asking you to do is slice this loaf. That’s not so hard.”

Me: “Again, I would love to slice it for you, but I can’t. The bread slicer is out of order. We’re waiting for a part that needs to be ordered directly from the manufacturer.”

Customer: “Look, let me make this simple: you either slice this bread instead of being so lazy, or I get your manager.”

Me: “Our manager knows the slicer is broken. He was the one who had to authorise us ordering the part. You can speak to him if you like, but he’ll tell you the same thing.”

Customer: “Well, this is disgusting! All I want is to get some bread sliced and you’re refusing.”

Me: “I’m not refusing; I just can’t slice bread on a machine that is broken.”

Customer: “There you go with those lazy excuses. You know in the time you’ve made all your lies you could have sliced this bread!”

Me: “Madam, I really don’t know what to tell you. The machine is broken; it needs a specific part replaced and it’s going to take time to get here. In the meantime, we can’t use the machine. If I could slice your bread, I would. But I can’t.”

Customer: “Well, get a bloody knife and cut it for me!”

Me: “I’m sorry, that’s not something I can do.”

Customer: *smiling triumphantly* “See, your machine isn’t really broken! If it was, you’d have said yes.”

Me: “Not really. We don’t have any knives suitable to slice bread in here. Plus, if you’re going to cut it with a knife, you’d be better off doing it at home.”

Customer: “Fine. Let’s see what your manager has to say about this. I hope you enjoy being unemployed!”

(The customer leaves. My manager does not come over. I decide to make up a few temporary paper signs to put around the bakery aisle to inform customers of our technical difficulties. We didn’t before because all our other customers understood, even if they were a little disappointed. After I put the sign up, I notice the woman is skulking about in the bakery aisle. I wonder what she is up to, so as I put up the signs, I keep an eye on her. Then, an elderly couple, probably in their seventies or older, picks out one of our baked-in-store loaves, and the woman practically jumps on them.)

Customer: “You know they refuse to cut these now? Their staff can’t be bothered. They’re hiring all these young, uneducated people who are too lazy to cut it for us! I tell you, this generation is so lazy!”

(The couple stare at her and then me.)

Elderly Woman: “Oh.” *points to signs I just put up* “Their slicer is broken, deary. I guess you’ll have to make do like my generation did without the luxury of electric slicers and cut it yourself at home with a bread knife instead of being lazy and relying on somebody else to do it for you.”

(The customer was speechless. She turned bright red and left without a word. It made my day.)


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