We Can Only Be As Fast As Our Customers

, , , , , | Right | January 11, 2021

I work at a fast food place. It’s Saturday, it’s lunchtime, and it’s the school holidays, so we are unbelievably busy. A woman is in line with a little girl, and while I’m serving the customers in front of her, I can hear her complaining about how ridiculous the wait is and that we’re taking too long. She happens to be stood right next to our menu boards on the walls; we also have menu boards above the tills. Finally, she’s at my till.

Me: “Hi, sorry for the wait—”

Customer: “This is ridiculous! I’ve been waiting for over ten minutes!”

Me: “I’m really sorry, we—”

Customer: “You’re supposed to be fast food!

Me: “Again, I’m really sorry. We’re very busy and—”

Customer: “Yes, I can see that! You should have more people here!”

Me: “I assure you, everyone who can be here is here today and we’re going as fast—”

Customer: “Then why is it taking so long?!”

Me: “I’m really sorry. It’s just very busy today, but the food is coming out quite quickly. What can I get for you?”

The customer then picks up her daughter and sits her on the counter — the counter where we put the trays of food for customers — and starts talking to her.

Customer: “Right, darling, what do you want?”

Girl: “Burger!”

Customer: “Do you want a cheeseburger? Darling, do you want cheese?”

Girl: “Burger!”

Customer: “Yes, but do you want cheese?”

Girl: “Yes, please!”

Customer: “And what do you want to drink, darling?”

Girl: “Milkshake!”

Customer: “No, you can’t have a milkshake; you had sweeties earlier. What do you want?”


Customer: “No, you’re not getting a milkshake. Do you want water? Do you want juice?”

This continues for every part of the girl’s meal. Now onto what the customer wants.

Customer: “Right… Erm… What do I want? I didn’t even think about what I’m having!” *Laughs* “God, I can’t even see this properly.”

She leans over the counter near my face and squints at the menu boards.

Customer: You used to do a burger… I liked it… Do you not do it anymore?”

Me: “Sorry, which burger was it?”

Customer: “You know the one, it came with cheese and a nice sauce and salad.”

Me: “The [burger #1]? The [burger #2] maybe?”

Customer: “No… No, it had salad in it.”

Me: “Everything you see up there is what we’re doing right now. Sometimes we have promotional burgers we only sell for a couple of months or so, and at the moment, we’re doing the [burger #1] and that has—”

Customer: *Continues squinting and leaning* “No… No, it’s not these… What’s that?” *Points*

Because of the position of the menu boards above my head and the tills, I cannot see what she’s pointing at, at all. I do my best to talk her through the burgers we do, but she just mumbles, “No,” at everything before finally deciding she wants… chicken.

The woman takes nearly fifteen minutes to order a kid’s meal and a chicken sandwich meal. I typically average forty-five seconds per customer. 

Me: “Okay, that’s £7.38, please.”

Customer: “How much?”

Me: “It’s £7.38.”

Customer: “Have your prices gone up?”

Me: “Erm… they went up by about 10p nearly a year ago but they haven’t drastically changed?”

Customer: “Unbelievable! Like you lot don’t make enough money!”

She glares at me and gives me £10. She has taken so long to order that all of her food is ready, but her daughter is still sat where I need to put her tray of food.

Me: “I’m sorry, do you mind if I put the tray up here for you?”

Customer: *Rolls her eyes* “Come on, sweetie. The mean lady says you can’t sit here now.”

Me: *Smiling with gritted teeth* “Would you like any sauces?”

The customer then starts moving the food and drinks around on the tray, inspecting everything, and doesn’t answer me.

Me: *Louder* “Would you like any—”

Customers:Where’s the ketchup?

Me: “Right here!”

I place three small tubs on her tray.

Me: “Enjoy your meal.”

The customer glares at me, takes two ketchups off, and throws them back at me.

Customer: “You’re very rude, aren’t you? I asked for one ketchup; there’s no need to take the mick!”

The customer finally walks off. She has actually taken so long to serve that the entire queue behind her has been served by my colleagues.

Manager: “Dear God in Heaven, how the h*** did you not slap her?!”

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