22. Escalation

A recent Customer of the Day contender:

“I’d like a (special).”

“We only have (a similar special), I’m afraid.”


“The regular (special) got rotated out to make room for more specials.” A month ago, I didn’t even think of adding at the time.

“So you only have the (similar special)?” she asked in a slightly snippy tone.

“That’s right.”

“Can you make one with beef?” she asked in a slightly snippier tone.

“Yes, we can.”

“Then I’d like one with beef, please and thank you.

At this point I decided that the conversation was going to continue downhill whether I maintained neutral courtesy or not, so I let a little bit of a Tone creep into my voice. Nothing too strong, just enough of a chill to acknowledge her own tone.

“I’d also like fries,” she snipped.

“Small or large?”

LARGE.” Pause. “I’ve never been spoken to that way in my life.” Another pause. “I think I’ll order in the lobby instead.”

“OK, See you inside,” I said as I canceled her order. I figured a less than even chance of her actually coming inside, and if she did, it’d be after a few minutes of sitting in her car and fuming about me — long enough that the food would have to be remade anyway.

Then I looked toward the line, where Amy the manager — who had a headset on — was dumping the order in the trash with a WTF look on her face, and maybe a hint of bitterness because that special is a notorious pain in the ass to make and she was the one who’d made it.

“If she’s never been spoken to that way before, she’s never met other humans,” I said. “I don’t know what else to tell you.”

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