I worked at a chain restaurant during one of my summers in college. I can neither confirm nor deny that the name of this restaurant rhymes with Schmapplebee’s. It was by no means the worst job I’ve ever had, but it also wasn’t the best. I wasn’t very assertive then, which I’m convinced you need to be in order to succeed in restaurant service.
One evening during the dinner shift, two truckers were sat at one of my tables. My Schmapplebee’s wasn’t far from a major New York City bridge, and we often had diners who were just passing through. They seemed friendly enough and ordered two certain types of steaks. When their food came out, they became angry. One insisted his was the wrong steak. I assured him it was what he’d ordered (and I had written it down correctly), but he started to shout at me. When I hurried away to fetch my manager, the men started to talk to the folks seated at my other tables and tell them what a bitch I was. When I returned and my manager tried to deescalate the situation, one of the men picked up his steak and threw it at me. The manager forced them to pay for the meals before she kicked them out. They left several dimes and nickels for me on the table. Good times.
Several years later, I was working as a supervisor at a Greeting Card Company Store. It might have started with an H and ended in allmark, but then again, it might not. You might be surprised to know how quickly conversations with the customers of this type of store can spiral. They might be the Live Laugh Love crowd, but tell them something they don’t want to hear, and it’s Rage Scream Foam At The Mouth. No, ma’am, we don’t have a verified list of this year’s Christmas ornaments yet, because it’s March. Zero to shriek in seconds! No, ma’am, that coupon clearly says it doesn’t apply to Lenox products. Ten shades of purple! Grandma only looks harmless while she’s picking out “Happy 6th Birthday To My Grandson” and “Best Wishes For Your Turtle Adoption” cards. Grandma is not harmless. When Grandma drags 50 rolls of wrapping paper up to the counter and gets told the BOGO wrapping paper deal only applies to a different kind, Grandma shows her true colors to poor, shrinking Hi-My-Name-Is-Shelby behind the register. Grandma is a monster. I’d bet a lot of stale counter gummy bears on it.
A woman hurried into the store one day, wanting to return a small, chipped glass angel. There wasn’t a tag, bar code, or receipt so I had to decline. This woman could not believe how unfair this was, and she shouted for the manager, which unfortunately for her, was me that day. She demanded the district manager’s contact info, which I said I would need to check on since we were just getting a new one. Her answer was to hurl the glass angel at the wall directly behind me and walk out angel-less, never to return. I’m not sure what she gained by this, but I’m sure it was something!