Friday, February 4, 2011

The customer is always right? Plus, a shotgun.

Ladies and gentleman ... what a Friday! It even involved a shotgun and lots of police officers.

Last night at work we got slammed all evening, so we just left some of our mess to clean up this morning (since everyone who worked last night was opening up today). My morning was actually relaxing. I like watching the restaurant come together and prepare for the day. Sweeping up all the crud and crumbs and piles of dirt (seriously. who put that pile of dirt there?), and feeling ready to do my job. I like that feeling.

However, since my boss was home today with a sick daughter, I was left as the only waitress on the floor most of the day. Usually, there are two. Today, it was only me, with the every-now-and-then help of one of the cooks. Our lunch crowd is generally much less relaxed than our supper crowd, due to the time constraints of lunch hours; so, working busy lunches is more stressful. And today, it was pretty much just me. Refilling tea, running the cash register, greeting people, taking orders... and mostly feeling guilty that these customers weren't getting prime service because I was so busy and stretched. Therefore, I become slightly frazzled and stressed. Also, tips are worse because service declines. A yucky cycle.


Two work adventures. One is frustrating, the other funny:

One of the orders I took back to the kitchen somehow got placed in the "finished" stack instead of getting displayed to be cooked. I don't know whose fault it was, but guess whose fault it was to the customer? Yup. Mine. I usually have a hard time bouncing back from guilt trips like that at work.

A mom with three teenage daughters came in after we slowed down. Mom and pleasant-daughter-1 came over to the counter and ordered, while the other two just plopped down at a table. I walked over with Mom's and Daughter 1's drinks. I asked the other two girls if they'd like anything. Daughter 2 answered, "no, thank you." Daughter 3 (aka Lil' Miss Teen Queen) met my eyes and exclaimed, "Yes!" as though my question offended her. She then turned to her mother:

"Why didn't you ask me if I wanted anything?" (in a Hollywood-perfect-Teen-royalty voice) "I am your child!"

Mom: I asked you in the car.

Lil' Miss Teen Queen (to me): I would like a root beer. Bring it to me in a glass like hers (pointing to her mother's plastic cup). Or a to-go cup. Either one.

My brain: Yes, honey. Those are your only options. Unless I pour it down your shirt.

Lil' Miss Teen Queen: And I want some ice cream. (pausing) But I don't want it now.

She eventually ordered six strips of bacon. But I glad she narrowed down her options to root-beer-in-a-cup and ice-cream-but-not-really-just-kidding. Maybe you don't think it's funny, but I was struggling not to laugh as I walked away. It was just so stereotypically teenage: her voice inflection and royal attitude.


Suddenly, it seemed, our late lunch crowd murmered rumors to one another. No idea where these rumors began (who does, ever?), but within moments, everyone was aware that our back parking lot was full of police cars and fire personnel. No one could get in or out of the parking lot. The only thing anyone knew for sure, the one word repeated over and over with surety, was stand-off.

Our restaurant's back door opens to a city parking lot. Across from the parking lot is a large white house, where a man had barricaded himself with a gun. Some tense moments passed, with everyone wondering and a little nervous. The house is close enough for a strong arm to throw a baseball from our back door.

Eventually the situation was dissolved and the man arrested. Read all about it in this short news article.

I came home to a piece of disappointing mail, but a hot shower and supper with some family friends cheered me up. I have to keep remembering that God doesn't love me any less when days are just plain miserable. He isn't punishing me or telling me He's ceasing to care. The gospel is still true, He is still real, and still Love.

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