Working with the public is rewarding for some people—they absolutely love talking and interacting with people. Of course, then there’s me, and there’s a reason why I like to be in the kitchen, away from the public. There’s a saying that you never know how rampant stupidity is until you work around people. Oh my god, how true that is! I’ve read other people’s horror stories, and witnessed a few personally. Here are some of those “winners” that are out there (remember, these people vote and many of them have kids; they’re part of the reason the collective IQ of the country is dropping like a rock).
While working at Del Taco on graveyard shift, I once had a car pull to the drive-thru speaker and ask, “Does your chicken quesadilla have chicken in it?” Dumbfounded, I asked them to repeat the question, to make sure I heard correctly, which they did in all seriousness. I answered their question with a rather sarcastic “Yes”. If there wasn’t a risk of losing my job, I would love to have come back with something like, “No, we just call it that. It’s chicken-flavored tofu bits. It could also be a very flavorful part of the chicken called shit, I’m not sure.”🤦♂️
Chicken “GRILLED” Steak?
At Cracker Barrel, we tend to abbreviate food names in the kitchen to make it easier and quicker to communicate. For example, pancakes are called “cakes”; an order of French toast is just “one order of toast”; chicken fried steak is called CFS (the acronym). One of my co-workers tells the story about how a server asked him whether the customer could order the CFS grilled. Excuse me? That’s the name: chicken fried steak. In case you don’t know, it’s a cube steak that is breaded and fried from frozen. No, you can’t get it grilled, you dumbass.
At work, we sell roast beef. A portion is placed in a bowl and covered in brown gravy and baked. Upon ordering, the meat is transferred to a plate, and the extra gravy saved for use on the line. One time, one of the servers rang in “roast beef, no brown gravy, sub white gravy”. We had to call her and tell her that it was impossible, as the beef is cooked in brown gravy. I guess the customer thought we added the gravy after baking. To her defense, she was a fairly new server.
Cheese (less) burger?
A customer walks into a burger joint (doesn’t matter which one) and orders a cheeseburger with no cheese. The cashier clarifies, asking, “So you want a hamburger?” To which the irritated customer barks back, “No, that’s not what I ordered! I said a cheeseburger with no cheese”. They then wrapped a hamburger in a cheeseburger wrap, and the customer seemed satisfied.
The public suffers from a condition I have called “Burger King syndrome”, or that they have a “Burger King mentality”. By this, I refer to Burger King’s slogan from years ago: Have it your way. Forty to forty-five years ago, if you went to McDonald’s and wanted a hamburger with no pickles, you were given a normal burger, and you picked the pickle off yourself. These entitled fucks in the world today get butt-hurt and offended that anyone dare put a pickle on their sandwich. I want to see a Karen go into a high-end restaurant and ask that their food be prepared special by altering the entire recipe. For example, ask Gordon Ramsay’s steakhouse to sell them a Beef Wellington without the mushroom duxelle surrounding the beef, or without the English mustard that are integral parts of the recipe. They’d probably be told to go pound sand.
Something For Nothing
People are always trying to find a way to get something without paying for it. “If it’s for free, it’s for me” is a popular saying. There are people who go to a restaurant and intentionally make a confusing order, or find something miniscule wrong with their order, just so they can get it for free. Then there’s the douchebags who will go into a place like Walmart with a receipt and demand a refund for something without bringing the item back. Excuse me, that is stealing.
Along this line, I worked at Wendy’s back in 2004, when several hurricanes tore through Florida in a short period. Tomato crops were affected, and tomato prices spiked (I remember $4/lb for tomatoes), while the quality was shit. If restaurants were lucky, they’d be able to order one case of tomatoes, and hopefully the quality wasn’t terrible. Burger King would just use all the tomatoes, then apologize, “Sorry, we’re out of tomatoes”. Wendy’s went to “tomatoes on request only”. One day, these high school kids tried to be clever, and say they ordered Jr Bacon Cheeseburgers with no tomato, but got tomato anyway…just so they could score free burgers. Being the manager on duty at the time, I informed them that they were lying through their teeth, as they couldn’t have had tomato on their burger, because tomatoes were by request only. Needless to say, they were unhappy that I wouldn’t fall for their tricks, and did not get free burgers.
A few months back, I went with my daughter to Nevada. At the time Utah didn’t have a mask mandate, but Nevada did. Someone walks into Walmart without a mask. The door greeter confronts the person about the mask. The customer tries to enter, but is barred from doing so. A shouting match ensues and management and security are called. The guard was a big, buff black dude—looked like a nightclub bouncer. The customer keeps on and on about the mask, making an ass of themselves the whole time. All over a stupid mask. Needless to say, that person did not shop there that day.
You want me to look for it?
Many grocery store workers get this kind of doofus. Someone who doesn’t want to be bothered to find something. Immediately after walking in the door, they find the closest employee and ask something like, “Where is your [insert item here]?” and then expecting the employee to take them to where the item is, because they don’t want to be inconvenienced into taking a minute and looking themselves.
Hell, I’m the total opposite. I’ll spend several minutes looking for something. I even try to avoid the employees asking, “Can I help you?” I try to avoid human interaction like that. Besides, most grocery stores are set up in a similar fashion, with certain items grouped together in a particular aisle.
The last one I’ll feature today is the people who think shopping is an all-day field trip. They meander at a snail’s pace around every aisle, usually walking smack down the middle, forcing people to move as far as they can against the shelving. Half the time, you have to stop, since they have their rambunctious progeny in tow. The kids are knocking everything over and/or dropping shit on the floor. The 3-year-old wants to push the cart (into everything and everyone) and the toddler strapped in the seat is screaming because they want to get out. When they stop to pick something, the cart is sitting cross-ways in the aisle, prohibiting all passage. These are also the kind like the Kentucky couple who threw a fit because, at the height of Coronavirus panic buying, they weren’t allowed to buy 23 cases of Mountain Dew because the store had limited quantities, or the ones who get into Black Friday brawls over the last big-screen TV or Xbox🙄.
I hope you’re not the “Karen” kind. It’s usually not the cashier or server’s fault something is amiss. Retail and restaurant workers put up with a lot of shit, more than they should, honestly. Do you have an experience with an entitled Karen? Drop a comment! I’d love to commiserate.
It’s a world full of ugliness, rudeness and entitlement. With everything that has taken place throughout 2020, workers of the service industry could definitely use a bit of positivity and niceness. Thank a cashier or restaurant worker for being “essential”. Do a nice thing for a stranger. Perhaps that will spark a positive chain reaction. God knows we need a little bit of good news. Remember to wear your mask when required, don’t be a dick, be safe and be well.