When Free Jalapeños Make An Entitlement Monster

, , | Right | December 17, 2018

(We offer small cups of jalapeno slices, and one or two other similar toppings, as an optional free side. Some people like eating them with popcorn or chips. As they are totally free and aren’t something most people ask for, we typically give away maybe two or three tiny cups a day at most and a single large container can supply enough for well over 100 cups. They’re only available on a first-come, first-serve basis for those who ask for them and we don’t tend to buy more until we run out. We’ve just run out, towards the end of a long, slow night. A really nasty-looking customer, maybe in his 50s, comes up to the stand.)

Customer: “Do you have any of those free jalapeño slices?”

Me: “Unfortunately, we just ran out. We’ll probably be getting more in within the next day or two.”

Customer: *blunt* “Well, this is gonna be painful, I can see. Then give me some free nachos.”

Me: “I’m sorry, sir, but I’m not authorized to give out free nachos as a replacement for the jalapeños.”

Customer: “Well, you’re out of jalapeños. So, give me the d*** nachos for free. Now.”

Me: “Again, I’m sorry, sir, but I’m not allowed to give out a paid food item as a replacement for an optional free item. I could give you one of our other free side options if you’d like.”

Customer: “Don’t make me repeat myself. Nachos. For free. Now. Or else.”

Me: “I really don’t have the authority to give out free items. If you’d like, you can speak to my manager. He might better be able to assist you, as he has more authority than I do when it comes to these sorts of things.”

Customer: *in maybe the darkest tone I’ve ever heard someone speak* “You’ve made your choice. I hope you like sleeping on the streets because I’m about to put you there.”

(He stormed off and I saw him going ballistic at the manager’s desk for several minutes. He ended up getting a free large popcorn, a drink, and free nachos, and our manager even spent fifteen minutes digging through the storeroom to try and find him jalapeños. He tried repeatedly to get me fired. My manager at the time, who was notorious for following “the customer is always right” to a T and screwing over employees to make bully customers happy, obviously didn’t, but it did cause me a lot of trouble and this situation was cited as part of a reason I was denied a raise when I was supposed to be getting one. The real kick to the gut? The customer fell asleep before his movie ended and when I saw him walking out, he not only threw out most of his popcorn, but he hadn’t even touched the nachos. Thankfully, that manager is gone, and our new one has pretty much zero tolerance for people like that customer. He’s also actively fighting to get adequate and fair pay for me and my coworkers who have been at the theater for a long time. So, I’m glad I toughed it out and didn’t let people like that get me down too much.)

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