April 6th 2016
Today, if you’ll allow me to, I have another work story. I hope that work stories aren’t getting boring, but it seems that that’s currently the only thing going on in my life. And, from what I can tell about life in general, that’ll probably be the case for much of the rest of the next 40-odd years of it. Although hopefully, with any luck, I won’t be working in a restaurant for the next 40 years.
My story today is that a customer complained about me.
I was halfway through a manically busy lunchtime shift, and at this particular point there was a queue of people at the door. I had maybe 4 or 5 sets of customers waiting for 4 or 5 tables. And then a couple walk in and ask for a table of 2. “It’ll probably be 20-25 minutes for a table at the moment,” I told them. My restaurant was full and there was a queue of people waiting in front of them.
“But we’re on a lunch break and we’re in a rush,” she said.
“I’m sorry but I have a queue of people in front of you waiting for a table as well,” I said.
“But I have to be back at work in an hour, I’m on my lunch break,” she said.
“I’m sorry but I have a queue of people in front of you waiting for a table as well,” I said. Because somehow when I said it the first time it must not have processed in her self-righteous, self-centred, arrogant brain.
“Well that’s not acceptable, what’s your name?” She asked. I’ve been working in a restaurant for long enough to know that if a customer ever asks for your name it 100% of the time ends in a complaint.
“James,” I said. “See you again, guys.”
And I said ‘see you again’ because they’ll be back. They come in twice a week. They’re regular customers. Every time they come in for the lunch-time buffet they always say “we’re in a rush, can you get more food out as quick as you can?” and they repeat that question every minute as if my brain had somehow not processed it. And every time they say “we’re in a rush, we’ve got to get back to work in an hour” but they always end up staying for 2 hours and making countless return trips to ask me for more food to be put out.
A few times they’ve tried using a little trick to get discount. They say to the waiter(ess) “last time we were here we were overcharged, and the manager said we could just have one buffet for free this time, is that okay?” and because of the nature of customer facing service jobs, and more specifically, the ethos of how my company deals with complaints, they got away with it. The first time I complied, the second time I said no, because they’d already done it before. They’ve tried that trick with me at least once. And I learnt that they’ve done it to other staff members too.
Basically, they’re trying anything they can to get a free meal.
So when I go back into work tomorrow there will be a complaint waiting in the inbox, I’m sure of it. And, because she HAS to, my boss will award them with some kind of money off voucher for their next visit. Wherein the cycle will repeat.
Until tomorrow, see you again, guys.