I deal with a wide variety of customers at the job I work with. If you don’t know by now, I work at a place that sells food and beer, and it’s also connected to a bar (with the same kitchen). I live in a college town as well, so we get a variety of people as well. I’ve met my fair share of customers. Some I love, some I can’t stand. Here is a rundown of some of them. This is an idea that’s been brewing in my head for the past few weeks, considering I spend so much time at work.
The One That Pays With Exact Change
This one isn’t too annoying, unless the line is getting long. Usually it’s the person who will hand you money and go, “Oh, $0.59? I think I have that.” And they dig around in their purse or pockets searching for change. In most cases, they’re usually slow, but always come up with the change. When I have a growing line, however, this is usually where I start to ring up the next customer on the other register. I’m so impatient these days.
Anyone who has ever worked in a place that sells alcohol, you have certainly seen a few of these around. Now, to me at least, I think there is a huge difference between a person buying a 12 pack after they worked 12 hours, and a person buying the cheapest 12 pack and paying all in change. Mostly because the latter is usually an alcoholic with no job and begs people for money. No joke, I’ve seen them do it.
I have people I see 4 or 5 times a shift. They come in, buy a 24 oz “tallboy” of something (generally Natty Daddy’s or PBR [Pabst Blue Ribbon], as they are the cheapest ones), then come back later for more. Generally, too, a lot of these regulars will come in and pay me in quarters, dimes and I have had ones pay me in pennies. All for that cheap alcohol.
I have people asking me what is the cheapest ones, then thinking it’s too expensive. It’s $1.20 for a PBR tallboy. Hurricanes are our cheapest 40 at $2.25. Sorry, nothing is $1?
There was also this one guy, recently banned due to a phone call from someone saying they found him drunk in a ditch or some shit like that. I dunno. Anyways, this guy, older, he’s probably in his 60’s or something. He used to come in and buy two Hurricanes daily. Then he would come back later in the day to buy more, and by his second or third trip he would be drunk off his ass. This guy slurs his words on a regular, but he’d really be slurring them then. We’ve had to kick him out multiple times. He came in over the summer a few times wearing the same shit stained pants 3 days in a row. It was nasty. Then he went to rehab and cleaned himself up, was doing really well, and then… his family let him drink again. He’s been in and out of jail lately. Public nuisance.
Another case was with this older lady who came in with her friend, went to try to buy a PBR, and she was stumbling. My manager came out and took care of the situation at least, but she flipped out because he wouldn’t sell to her. She was drunk as fuck.
By me saying this, I hope you know I have nothing against foreigners. I really don’t. However, it is extremely difficult when you speak in broken English and don’t seem to understand what I’m trying to ask you. It’s even more difficult when we’re at a busy time, the place is loud, and I’m struggling to figure out what you would like to order.
There is a guy who works with us, who’s from Africa I believe. His parents came in the one day, and it was extremely painful. They first came up to the register and asked me how much an extra large pizza was and how much the toppings were. While pointing at the menu that showed the price. Once I placed their order for the pizza, they turned around and decided they did not want the pizza anymore, that they wanted burgers. So I had to run to the back, tell them not to make the pizza, then refund their money, and start the order over again. All the while biting my tongue out of annoyance. This was during dinner.
I’ve also had customers come in and I’ll ask them if this and that is okay on their sub. And they reply, “huh?” as in they don’t know what I’m asking. And I point at the menu asking if that’s okay on their sub. They are still confused. And I don’t know how to communicate to them because they don’t seem to understand what it is they are ordering.
Again, I have no issues with foreigners, I respect anyone trying to learn English, I know it’s difficult. But if you are coming over here for schooling or whatever, then at least try to have someone help you communicate what you are saying. It’s painful trying to figure out what you want and make sure you get what you want.
I once wrote about this lady who lives across the street from the store (here). She’s the prime definition of a know-it-all. I know our prices can seem a little high, but this lady acts like we charge an arm and a leg for stuff. Here’s the thing you learn when working at a place – it costs an arm and a leg for certain products. Tomatoes are apparently really expensive as well, unless you get them locally. But this lady straight up bitched and complained that we charge $1.50 for bacon. Most places charge $0.99 I think.
What some people don’t realize is that there are certain items on our menu we charge more for, and certain items we charge less for. So really, all in all, our prices are fair and competitive. And as far as the bacon goes? We do have really good bacon, so yes, it’s a tad bit more expensive. I don’t make the prices, the owner finalizes them. So why are you getting upset with me when I tell you that we charge for this? You don’t know everything, because if you did, you’d understand how a restaurant works.
The Callers On The Phone
I hate answering the phone, I really, truly do. This could be it’s own section on its own. I have a few I’m going to mention though.
There’s the caller who asks for the specials that we have going, I say all 5 of our specials, tell them all of our pizza prices and wing sauces (on the phone for like 2 minutes), and then… they say, “okay thank you,” and hang up. Waste of time.
There’s the caller who mumbles, sounds like they’re far away, and then gets upset with me because I can barely understand what they’re saying.
There’s the caller who wants to pay over the phone. Which we normally don’t do unless it’s the only way to accept payment. And during dinner it’s so hard to hear all of the numbers they are saying on the phone, and then we have to have their slip off to the side so they can sign it when they get there. A pain in the ass.
The one who gets upset because the bar/restaurant does not take reservations, and they think because they know the owner, they get special privileges. Luckily, for me, one time during one of these phone calls, the owner was actually around. This person was getting mad at me because I told him the truth – it’s first come first serve, we don’t accept reservations and we only have so much space over there. The owner took the phone call and explained exactly what I was saying. That shut them up.
The One That Pays For Food, Then Stays At The Register Waiting For Food
This actually happened the other day during lunch. I had a guy order a sub and a reuben, and then proceeded to wait directly at the register the entire time for his food. To make it even worse, when I did have customers show up, he left his bottles of water also sitting right at the register, and still moved right to the other register. Like dude, sit the fuck down and get out of the way. I’ll bring your food to you when it’s ready, which took about 10 to 15 minutes. Stop holding up the line. It’s rude as fuck. At least have the common courtesy to stand off to the side.
There’s another older guy who comes in every now and then, and he’ll stand at the register, blocking the entire thing up just waiting for his food. I’m sorry, but I have other customers and there are places you can stand at that are not directly blocking my register area. I’ve even politely asked people or told them they can sit down and I’ll bring their food to them. They still remain standing.
And then there are times when my manager or the owner will ask them if they’re waited on, making me look bad. It stresses me out.
As with most places, I have my regulars. I have my regular workers who come in buying their 6 packs and 12 packs on a daily. They don’t bother me as much because I know they’re getting off work. And most of them I’ll stand there and bullshit with, and after a year or so of seeing the same people, it’s like you’re old friends.
I actually have an older guy who comes in and buys 6 packs of Old Milwaukee pounders, and I’ve been keeping up to date with him because his mother was close to dying, and then she passed away a few days ago. He said he’s going to work on going back to work and come in to buy food from now on and cut out the alcohol. But he was thankful for me for asking about his well being.
Then I have my food regulars. I actually have a group of guys who come in almost everyday for lunch. I still don’t get it, there area so many other places to eat at, don’t you get tired of eating at the same place everyday? It actually gets annoying to see some of these people everyday.
This was a long post, I know. I actually split it in half, I have a part two I’ll be posting soon to follow up. What have been some of your most annoying or favorite customers? What were some of your best and worst experiences? Working in customer service I’ve learned there are many stories, and sadly, most of us can relate to the more awful ones.
I don’t mind some customers, I really don’t, but some of them really make me hate my job. Or maybe I’ve just reached my capacity with working in retail and upfront with customers daily. I still think everyone should have to work some time in some sort of customer service job.