You Catch More Fries With Honey Mustard

, , , , | Right | April 1, 2020

(This takes place at a fast food place across the street from a major regional hospital, so it’s always busy, especially the drive-thru. When I walk in, I notice an older woman, with whom I assume is her daughter, trying to place an order on one of their new self-ordering boards. I get in line to order at the register. A few moments later, the woman goes ballistic.)

Customer: “This is ridiculous! All I want to do is place an order. Why is everything so difficult? You!”

(She points to an employee who appears from the back, carrying another customer’s order.)

Customer: “Why doesn’t this thing work?”

(The employee hands the order to the intended customer and then comes over to help.)

Employee #1: “How can I help you?”

Customer: “I can’t get this thing to work! All I want to do is place an order. This lady is trying to help me but she can’t make it work, either.”

(So, the woman with her isn’t her daughter. The two women go to the board to try to place her order. Another employee appears to take the next order at the cash register.)

Customer: “No! No, this isn’t working. Why doesn’t anything work?”

(She sees the new employee at the cash register.)

Customer: “All I want to do is place an order. Can you take my order?”

Employee #2: “Of course, ma’am. Just let me finish this order.”

(The customer then turns to me.)

Customer: “I don’t have time for this. I’m in a hurry. All I want is to order one simple thing. I don’t understand why I have to go through all this. I waited here at the register for five minutes and no one was here to take my order.”

(I catch the startled look on the cashier’s face. It’s a busy lunch hour and he is moving constantly between the back and the register, but he can’t have left the register unmanned for more than thirty seconds or so. I roll my eyes at him, letting him know I don’t believe her, either. He finishes with the customer in front of me, and I gently nudge the woman forward.)

Me: “Here, you go ahead.”

Customer: “Oh, no, you’re next.”

Me: “No, no, you’re frustrated and upset and obviously in a hurry. You only want one item, so go ahead. I insist.”

(She protests again, I insist again, and she goes ahead and places her order. She only wants an apple pie. She pays with her card, getting frustrated again because the card reader isn’t reading fast enough to suit her. While this is going on, [Employee #1] gets her order in a bag and hands it to her as soon as she finishes paying and she leaves.

I step forward, smile knowingly at [Employee #2], and place my order. He rings it in… and then zeroes out the payment.)

Me: “Oh, but—”

Employee #2: “Don’t worry about it. You were nice to her, so I’ll be nice to you.”

(I thanked him and enjoyed my free lunch. See, it pays to be polite!)

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