By making this post, I want you to know that I am not talking about just any customer who is older – quite a few are sweet and always nice to me. No, I am talking about a different group, and I have to talk about it. It’s bugging me. I’m talking about the older fellows who come in rags and wearing the same clothes for weeks – but yet always have money to buy that 40 over on the shelf. And I’m talking about older customers who have money to help themselves, yet sit in their piss all day. Literally.
There is this one older guy (probably in his 60s) who comes in a lot at work. A coworker of mine told me once he looks like a naked mole rat, and ever since then I can see it when he walks in. You know it from the moment he walks in because he is all you smell. It’s disgusting. It’s like some weird combo of sweat, body odor, and piss all mixed together. Mind you, I work in a restaurant. How some of these customers still remain after he arrives, bless them. Seriously. It makes me gag to the point I have to run to the back just to breathe. But I have to ring him up. Because he always wants something odd.
Some days are easy and all he wants is a grilled cheese (we charge $4.99 for one, it’s not on the menu). Sometimes he wants a cold cheese sandwich (the same, just cold… and kind of gross, but it’s what he wants). The other day he ordered one of these grilled cheeses, and then he turned around and he decided to change his mind. Keep in mind, it’s $5 for what he ordered. He decides that instead he wants to make it a steak. The way he orders it is so odd, because normal people just want a steak sub. He wants the bun on the side, and then he has to proceed to tell me this 500 times despite having ordered this multiple times. I know what you want, Joe, you’re weird, but I got you.
My point though, is that we charge $7.99 for our cheesesteaks. That’s the option I ring him under because he still wants the steak and the bun and the price is still going to be in there for the cheese and onions, that’s just how it is. So I tell him he owes me like $3 more with tax factored in, and he hands me $1 and asks me, “Is that enough.” And I’m like… No… you owe me a couple more. So he gets mad and goes, “Forget it!” and walks off. Like, you may come in a lot, but the prices are what they are. We’ve helped him out quite a few times, but we can’t cater to him.
The one day he did this same thing – ordered something like a grilled cheese, then wanted to swap it out for a fish sandwich. Which is like $8.99 because it’s a big piece of fish. We let it go. So it’s not like we haven’t dealt with him before. But he thinks if he comes in all the time we can just cater to him, and that’s not fair or expected of us. And he’s getting worse and worse with age.
A couple weeks ago he ordered his weird steak order, and then asked me 2 minutes later what he ordered. He’s starting to lose his mind. This guy is in really bad shape, he can’t even take care of himself. Like I said, you know him by his smell – it’s disgusting. And I try to bear with it because he is old and he’s harmless. Sometimes he tips me, too. Anywhere from $1-$10. So yeah, I try to grin and bear it, but it’s getting to be out of hand.
Sadly, the smell is not even the worst of it. He’s rude. I mean, sometimes he’ll be nice to me and actually ask me to get him water. Other times he just barks at people (even customers) to get him water. “HEY! You! Come here!” – like how rude is that? Yesterday I was helping a customer locate our Stella Artois 6-packs, and Joe’s over there barking at me to come to him. Like… I’m helping a customer, I am not dropping what I’m doing to walk over to you. And I explained that I was going to ring this guy up first, because he was ready to checkout. After I finished ringing the guy up, I asked him what he needed and he was like, “Nevermind.” And he sounded annoyed. I went to the back to bitch about it. He can’t be like that, my job is not to cater to his needs (I keep saying it, but it’s true). Like the whole water thing; it’s not even my job to get people water or anything. We do that to try to be nice. He’s an old guy who walks with a cane.
Sadly, still, this is not even the worst of it. The owner of our place had to ban him from our bathrooms. I’m not even going to go into detail about it because it’s filthy and disgusting, but let’s just say that every time he uses the men’s restroom, you know he was the last one in there by the mess that he leaves behind. So my boss, the owner, had a talk with him well over a month ago that he doesn’t want him to use our bathroom because we’re sick of cleaning up after him (okay, I never had to, but you know what I mean), and he did everything short of ban him from the place. Like he asked him to not come around as often. Until he starts taking care of himself, because he can’t tell him not to come in, but he’s a hassle.
The one day I saw Joe freak out and leave the store because he pissed himself. No joke. Here’s this older man who just up and leaves in a panic because he sat down in his own piss. We should’ve burned that chair, but they just really sanitized it.
The main point of this post is this guy needs help. He has the money – I mean anyone who pulls out wads of twenties here and there obviously has money. Apparently he used to work at the school as a custodian for years, and he never spent his money. So he definitely has it (despite how stingy he is some days). My issue with him, is why doesn’t he hire help? He can’t take care of himself, he wears the same clothes for like a month. He can’t wash himself and he has issues going to the bathroom and walking.
I feel bad for the guy, I do, he’s probably all alone and has no one to look after him. No family. But, some things you have to do for yourself, and he’s just not doing it. I know his memory is going bad, but come on, he’s had years to prepare for this. Even last year he wasn’t this bad. The man is barely in his 60s I think, and he’s bad! I don’t know how someone can let themselves get this bad, but he did.
I’m pretty sure they’re going to try to watch him coming in now. Especially when I told Alex about him barking at me when I was with a customer. He can’t do that. So he told one of the owners and I think they’re going to do something about it. This has been an ongoing issue for a long time. It’s sad, but what can we do about it? The man has got to help himself.
He’ll bitch about our prices and say the guys down the road will take care of him, but yet he always comes back. I know his mind is bad, I keep saying it, but if you don’t like our prices, why come back at all? If anything, that’s proof he’s lost it.
I spent this post talking about old man Joe, but I’m briefly going to mention that it sickens me some of the other customers that come in. Like I said, the ones who wear the same clothes all the time but yet always have money to buy a 40 or two.
We used to have this guy come in almost everyday, two-three times a day and he’d buy one to two 40 Hurricanes (cheap stuff). His hair was always greasy, his clothes had shit stains sometimes (no joke), and sometimes he’d wear the same clothes a few days in a row (those pants with a shit stain for like 3 the one time). He always talked like he was drunk, I’m pretty sure he woke up drunk. And he always wore a hat. So if his hat wasn’t on his head, I knew he was drunk off his marbles. We had to turn him away a few times because he was just so drunk.
I haven’t seen him in two weeks, rumor has it he’s in rehab. So I hope it helps him. He needs it. But he’s also probably in his 60s or so, and if you’re that bad at that age, the only thing that can help you change is yourself. Rehab isn’t going to help unless he wants it to.
The one thing this job has taught me is how sad people are. Seeing them drive in heavy storms just to get a six-pack is sad. Consistently seeing certain people 2-3 times a shift just to buy one or two beers (the big cans or 40’s) is sad. Seeing people beg others to buy them beer because they don’t have the money or we denied them. Sad. Just sad.
I mentioned last post I’m ready for a change. Here’s yet another reason.