They Expect It To Be Handed To Them On A Silver Platter

, , , | Right | January 20, 2019

(The grocery deli where I work offers a variety of deli trays for ordering. Because of the time that goes into preparing these trays and because we are a busy location, we require at least 24 hours notice for these orders. A well-dressed, middle-aged woman comes up to the counter around 9:00 am. It’s important to note that during no point of this transaction does she seem like someone who has suffered recent emotional trauma. I go up to help her.)

Me: “Hi. What can I get for you?”

Customer: “Could I order a tray and pick it up today at 3:00 pm?”

Me: “I’m sorry, but we need at least 24 hours notice for our trays.”

Customer: *suddenly glaring* “Are you telling me no?”

Me: *taken aback and unsure how to politely make my “no” any more clear* “Well, as 3:00 pm today is well within a 24-hour period, no, we cannot fulfill your request.”

Customer: *angrily* “Listen. Someone in my family just died, and—“

(I REALLY wanted to hear the rest of that sentence and find out how a death in the family was going to justify yelling at a deli worker for doing their job, but regretfully this was the point at which my manager took over and I reluctantly went back to my original tasks, overhearing nothing else. I found out later that not only did my manager let the lady place an order for 3;00 pm that day, but she also let her order not just one, but four trays. We got the order done in time, but it was pretty hellish to frantically work on those four trays during the lunch rush. Unfortunately, my shift ended before the pickup, so I never saw if she came on time, was remotely grateful, or explained why she so desperately needed the trays. Forgive my callousness, but assuming she wasn’t making the whole thing up, I think her family would have forgiven her if she’d pick up some sandwiches instead of fancy fruit and cheese trays, even in her time of grief.)

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