Editor-in-Chief Column: Dealing with People

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I finally got a real job. After spending summer after summer either going to camps, doing summer work, or not much of anything, I finally got a summer job working at a place that sells water ice (I’ll leave it generic in order to protect the innocent). Thankfully I wasn’t overworked, but I did work a decent amount. For those of you who don’t work and think the idea of working at a dessert restaurant is glamorous, well, think again. It was definitely fun, but it was hard.

The best and worst part of working at this water ice establishment was the customers. In an effort to avoid the stereotypical teen-run restaurant where the cashier is chewing gum and staring at you evilly, there are certain requirements for how this establishment’s workers must act when a customer walks into the store. The first thing the customer should hear should be: “Hi, welcome to [name of establishment here]!”  Now at this point, customers get divided into one of three categories based on the way they reply to this greeting.

If they go into the first category, they reply back happily, ask me to make them something, pay, and then put some money in the tip jar. Austin likes this kind of customer. If the customer goes into the second category, they sort of reply, tell me to make them something, pay, and then leave. Hmm, I didn’t like that kind of customer as much as the first kind, but at least they weren’t rude. So, what does being in the “third category” mean? Well, let me show instead of tell.  Some customer habits (like calling water ice “Icee” like the Wawa stuff) annoy me slightly, but not enough to make me angry. But then there are some that do annoy me. For instance, please don’t tell me that I’m making your product wrong. I’ve been working here since March. You just got here, okay? Second, please don’t get angry with me when I can’t sell you a hot dog. There isn’t a [place I work] on the face of this Earth that sells hot dogs. And well, if there is, someone should probably report them because that’s not authorized. Third, if you have a buy-one-get-one-free coupon, please be aware that if you buy two items, the cheaper one will be the free one. In other words, don’t buy a super-deluxe waffle cone and a kiddie-sized water ice and expect to get that ice cream free. No matter how much you try to explain that you said the waffle cone first, you’re paying for it.  Of course, I saved the best for last. My personal “favorite” was when a woman came in and asked for a vanilla waffle cone. She asked me to grab her cone with a napkin. I figured she meant that she wanted me to give her an extra napkin with the cone so it wouldn’t drip on her. But when I reached in to get the cone, she yelled, “NO, NO, NO. I WANT YOU TO PICK UP THE CONE WITH THE NAPKIN. I WORK IN THE EMERGENCY ROOM. I KNOW ABOUT GERMS.” Instead of explaining to her that one, there’s already paper around the cone so I don’t touch it with my grubby hands, two, it’s hard to put sprinkles on a cone with a napkin around it, and three, she would soon be touching the cone and, as the one working in the emergency room, she was sure to have dirtier hands than me, I turned, smiled and said, “Okay.”  So, what’s the moral of the story? You should be nice to the people who prepare your food. Don’t worry, I’m not the kind of person who puts horrible, unspeakable objects in your treat if you’re rude to me, but I am the type to give you a little bit extra if you’re polite to me. Just remember that we aren’t subservient to you, we are your equals, and we’re really doing you a favor. So please be polite.

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