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Why Are You Grilling Me Over This?

, , , , , | Right | CREDIT: pixelatedperspective | June 26, 2022

When I got my first job, I worked at a wildly popular tourist location in their cafe. Now, being a young eighteen-year-old at their first job, I did everything to a T. Working food service isn’t hard, but the customers never make it easy for you.

On this particular day, it was quite busy and I couldn’t see the end of the line. The kitchen was throwing orders up to the pass, and each cashier’s transaction was probably no more than two minutes, so we were constantly moving. It was required of us to also upsell as much as possible — not that we were rewarded for it or anything, but if the manager didn’t hear us try, we would get talked to.

I had done a bunch of fairly easy orders and customers could see how busy we were, so they were generally quite nice to us… except for this one lady, her husband, and their child who was definitely way too old for a stroller.

This lady came up, ready to order, but she had a question.

Customer: “I just wanted to know what the grilled cheese is? Like what is that?”

In all honesty, I was a little shocked because it’s not like a grilled cheese was like… a food from a different culture? I could understand if it was literally any other food, but a grilled cheese is quite common in North America. This woman was speaking North American English with no accent.

Me: “Um… it’s two pieces of bread with a few slices of cheese in between, and we grill it on a panini press.”

She didn’t really seem to understand the concept.

Customer: “So, it’s like a sandwich?”

Me: “Yeah, they just grill it so that the cheese melts and it’s crispy.”

Customer: “Um, okay. I’ll get one of those, then.”

Me: “Okay, cool. Would you like it with some fries and a drink?”

The lady instantly froze. I repeated the question and she just blinked.

Me: “Did you want fries and a drink, or did you just want the grilled cheese by itself?”

Customer: “I don’t know what that means.”

Me: “Oh, uh… did you want it as a combo? With fries? And a drink?”

At this point, this lady was getting really annoyed, and I really probably should have ended the conversation there, but alas, she went on.

Customer: “I don’t know what that means. I just want a grilled cheese.”

Me: “I was just asking if you also wanted fries and a drink?”

And then she absolutely lost it.

Customer: “I DON’T KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS! THAT’S TOO MANY OPTIONS! I JUST WANT THE GRILLED CHEESE! WHY ARE YOU BEING SO RUDE?!”

Her husband also chimed in and started yelling at me, saying that this was terrible customer service and it was too complicated to understand. I literally just stood there waiting for them to finish. The lady ended up demanding that someone else take their order because I was making it difficult for them.

I pulled someone else to go help and walked into the kitchen and began crying instantly, mostly out of frustration because it was literally not that confusing. I watched through the kitchen doors as the guy helping this lady tried to calm her down, but she was throwing hands like her life depended on it.

To this day, any time I see a grilled cheese, I just get flashbacks.

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