Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Bad behaviour

At about 30 minutes to closing guy walks in the cafe.

“Is Shannon [our manager] in?” He asks.
“No. She’s off today.”
“Oh. Because she’s always in.”
“Yeah.” I smile. “I know what you mean. I guess it’s one of those rare days she’s not in.”
“Ok. Can I get a Panini?”

I opened up the already wrapped Panini tray, grilled one on the already cleaned grill, and prepared it on the already cleaned prep surface. This means we have to re-wipe and clean everything. But it doesn’t matter because we are in customer service after all. It’s what happened next that got me mad.

“Anything else for you?”
“Yes. This cookie.”
“Ok. That comes to $10.”
“Are you kidding me?”
“No. That’s the total.”

“ You are *#$@ kidding me? For a sandwich and a cookie?”

Silence from me. I heard you the first time. Do I look like a retard who thinks charging more for food is a good joke? And if you bother to notice you’ll realized I am completely expressionless in an effort to control myself from reacting to your rudeness. Prices are prices. I don’t set them.

Now this is just off the top of my head, but here are a couple of alternatives he could have taken to create a win-win situation here.

Possibility one:
He could have said. "Wow. That’s a little more than I expected. Maybe I’ll skip the cookie. "

My response would have been "Sure. No problem. How about a muffin or cinnamon bun on the house? They don’t keep over night anyway."

Possibility two:
He could have said. "Hm. I didn’t realize how expensive they are because usually I get the staff discount from Shannon. I’m meeting her soon. Could I just wait for her to get here for the discount?"

My response would have been. "Sure thing. You want a coffee or something to drink?"

Instead, he gives me a dirty look, pays for the food, gets on the phone to [from my deductions on his side of the conversation] Shannon, and rants loudly for us all to hear. Shannon gets in 10 minutes later. She makes him a free drink and leaves.


Anonymous said...

That is totally pathetic. Shannon should be fired. She is the manager not the owner, right? The free drinks and staff discount that she gives her friends is stealing. If it does not belong to you, you do not have the right to give it to someone else.

If she is stealing for her friends, what is to stop her from stealing money from the cash for herself.

Esme said...

I don't want to mistakenly destroy someone's character here. Shannon actually is a pretty dedicated manager.

As for staff discount in possibility 2, that's just my suggestion on alternatives. We get $x per shift at 40% off for meals. How we use that is up to us.

Actually I felt bad for her. She seemed a little embarrassed at how her friend behaved.

Anonymous said...

Why do customers treat retail people like this? It is not you setting the price; you're just getting paid to be there. If this person had any brain cells, they would have checked prices before they ordered.

Anonymous said...

I've kept up my habit of tipping at least $1 whenever i get a latte (is that enough, or am I being loser?) to help rebalance the karma, ever since you wrote that post a while back.

I also try to be actually *nice* the staff now instead of lost in thought just waiting for the caffeine hit.

not that that helps you, particularly!

Esme said...

I think people just need to vent and the customer service people are at the front lines. But if they stop and think about it they know it's pretty useless and only serves to make other people's day worse.

A dollar tip is very, very generous! I think I've only ever seen this a few times. And I'm sure the cafe people appreciate the nice :)

As for karma, I actually like working at the cafe most of the time. I meet some really nice people. I was just working on a couple more posts on things that made my day. Stay tuned.

SavingDiva said...

I can't believe someone was that rude! I listened to a show today on NPR that talked about the lack of manners in our society. The author (of the book about the end of manners) attributes it to narcissim, stress, and thinking you won't be recognized.

moocifer said...

Yes, it was rude, but really it spoke more to his lack of perspective and flexibily, and his poor attitude, than anything else.

When confronted by someone like that, just be the more agile one. And don't bother being shocked by what people do, because it wastes your reaction time and clouds your perception. Just see it clearly and make an appropriate, conscious, response.

BTW, if you want to really benefit from working in a front lines position, you might try reading Zingerman's Guide to Great Service.
It's a book about how to give the best customer service possible. Even when someone is a jerk. And how to handle the jerks without having negative effects on you or on the other customers who are standing around. It is likely that you will learn thjings from this book than you would not learn from your boss or your coworkers. And the things you learn could be valuable, not only now, but in the future.

--longtime register/retail person