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The Pancake Is A Lie

, , | Right | September 6, 2019

(I am managing a closing shift and we are five minutes from shutting off lights and locking doors. A customer and his wife come in, pick a few items, and bring them up to the registers. I am standing by, waiting to let the last few people out. The customer approaches me:)

Customer: “Excuse me. I have a few questions for you about this grill.”

(He has picked out a very small camp-type stove — one of those two-burner jobs that run on small, disposable propane canisters.)

Me: “Sure, what can I do for you?”

Customer: “Do you know if this is a good one?”

Me: “I don’t own one personally, but I have an older variation. My wife and I have used it a lot and really like it.”

Customer: “If we don’t like it, can we return it?”

Me: “I’m sorry, but once it’s been used, I can’t take it back.”

Customer: “Really? That seems like an odd policy.”

Me: “The thing is, once it has been used we can’t sell it to another customer and can’t get credit through the manufacturer unless it has a defect. Sorry.”

Customer: “Well, maybe you can help me… I just want to know how something will taste when made on this grill.”

Me: “Sorry?”

Customer: “You know how the local fire station does those pancake breakfasts?”

Me: “Yes.”

Customer: “What I’m after is that firehouse pancake taste, only when we go camping. Will this grill do it?”

Me: “Firehouse pancake taste?”

Customer: “Yes.”

Me: “I… um… I guess it would depend on what kind of batter they’re using, and to some small degree, what type of grill. If they’re using propane or charcoal, you may have some variation between tastes, but for the most part, it will depend largely on batter.”

Customer: “So, do you think this one will give me the firehouse taste I’m looking for?”

Me: “Sir… do you know what kind of batter they’re using?”

Customer: “Well, a pancake is a pancake. I just wanted to get that firehouse pancake taste, and I want to know if this grill will do it. It’s a simple question.”

Me: *trying to speak idiot on short notice* “The grill really won’t have much bearing on how it tastes. I would say if you’re using the same batter and following a similar process to what they’re using, then yes, it should.”

Customer: “So, you’ll guarantee this grill will make firehouse taste pancakes?”

Me: “I can’t guarantee that. My best advice would be to do a little research, perhaps ask someone running the grill at the fire station, and then purchase ingredients based on what they tell you.”

Customer: “So… this grill won’t make them taste the same?”

(In my mind, I say, “F*** it.”)

Me: “YES. It definitely will. Have a good time camping!”

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