This Food Ain’t Worth Spit

, , , , | Working | June 6, 2019

(My husband and I have just picked up our son from his dance class, which released a bit late due to rehearsals. We decide to go into a popular food chain for dinner. We have no trouble ordering at the counter, and I follow my son to the table he’s picked out while my husband gets our drinks. Other than a couple enjoying the last of their meal, the only other occupants of the lobby are two employees, probably in their early 20s, sitting around, talking quite loudly. I don’t get it, since they’re clearly understaffed in the kitchen, but I brush it off as them being off the clock and waiting on a ride. Everything’s fine until we settle down.)

Employee #1: “Man, I tell you what. I hate that manager! I hate him so f****** much. Why the h*** they gotta hire these a**holes?”

Employee #2: “Nah, he’s not as bad as [Other Manager]. That b**** signed me up for a whole extra shift this week! Like I’m not already busting my a** with two a week. I hate this stupid, worthless, f****** job. I hate this whole f****** company.”

(The cashier we ordered from joins them at this point, and hubby brings the tray over. The “chat” continues in a similar vein between the three for a bit, swearing all the while. More than once, I’m tempted to speak up, but I just bite my tongue and ignore their rants, figuring it’s not worth it. That is, until about halfway through our meals:)

Cashier: “These customers are the d*** worst! I mean, seriously, what the f*** is their problem? This guy sent his food back three times yesterday!”

Employee #2: “Why didn’t you just spit in his food?”

Cashier: “Too many cameras, man. I would if I could.”

Employee #1: “Doesn’t stop me. I know how; I’ll show you.”

(At this point, my husband is hurriedly gathering everything back onto the tray and goes to stand up, but I stop him.)

Me: “I got this.”

(I gather the tray, and head for the counter, walking straight past the oblivious trio. I am NOT a confrontational person. My husband usually handles complaints because I get tongue-tied and flustered. Not so this time.)

Me: *to another employee* “Can I see your manager, please?”

Employee #3: “He’s with an order. Can you wait just a few minutes?”

Me: “No. No, I really can’t. Manager. Now.”

(In retrospect, I AM sorry for scaring her, but at the time, I wasn’t really thinking about it. It should also be noted that, due to all the noise in the back, the employees can’t really be heard above a low rumble at the counter.)

Manager: *handing off drive-thru headset* “Can I help you, ma’am?”

Me: “Yes, you can. Your employees, there, are talking about spitting in customers’ food. Well within earshot of my family.”

(The man’s eyebrows jump up and he turns extremely pale.)

Manager: “I… completely understand, ma’am. Let me just remake that for you…”

Me: “I’m not done. They’re also griping about hating their shifts, their managers… [Other Manager] was one they mentioned… and how much they hate working here and with your company. And swearing like sailors, to boot.”

Manager: “Well, let me get this remade for you, and I will certainly be taking care of this severely.”

Me: “Thought you’d like to know. Can we get that to go? I think the other people have left already, and I’m not going to hang around with them anymore.”

(He nodded and came back with our order completely remade, as well as a card with his name and number on it, with instructions to call if any of us got sick. As we drove away, all I could see from the road was the lobby sign suddenly flipping to closed. I’m willing to bet I’m glad to have missed out on the complete a**-chewing that likely followed, and on subsequent visits, none of those employees were in sight.)

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