Lyle's Blog

A button is pushed

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Those that know me know that I am slow to anger....that is at least when it comes to one of our customers. I can count on my hand the amount of times that I have let one of them get to me to where I get angry back. Today, I had one of those times.

The last time that it happened was when a customer stopped me and complained that the waitress had forgotten his refill on his Pepsi. I told him sorry and went to the kitchen and retrieved him a new drink. As I approached his table, he told me that he didn't want the drink and that he wanted it taken off of his bill. "Why?", I asked and reminded the man that we had gotten his drink as soon as we found that it had been forgotten. "Because, you probably spit in it.", he returned. "What?", was all I could say. "I know how you guys work.", he said. Now, we were having one of those very busy days and I was kind of tired and he just pushed the wrong button. "How dare you accuse me of that." And with that, I grabbed the ticket off of his table, showed him the door, and told him to leave. He smiled a winning smile and did as I asked.

A customer that had heard it all consoled me. "You should have made him pay.", they said. "He wasn't coming back in anyway.". That customer had said something that made sense to me so today when something similar in nature happened and I could tell that the angry customer was not going to be coming back again, I stuck to my guns instead of making the concessions that I had intended on giving her as I came to her table. She was angry and was telling me how she was never going to step foot in our door again. I just shrugged and said, "OK".

Minutes later, she is yelling at our cashier as I walked into his station. I tried to talk to her but her feet were firmly set. I should have just walked away but instead I asked her why she was so upset over the charge on her food. We had given her everything that she requested and her request was one that I had never heard of before in my thirty years of restaurant work. She had requested that the cook hand crack her omelet and separate two of the egg out of the four. When the cook messed up and separated them all, I had him redo the order so that the woman would get exactly what she wanted. When I related that to her, she told me that it was my problem and not hers. My button was pushed and I told her that we had given her a very fair price for the food that we had given her. With that, she opened the togo container that she was taking home with her. "Does that corn beef look crispy to you?", she demanded. "I asked for crispy hash and you couldn't even do that right!". Defeated, angry, and shaking feeling the blood pressure pounding in my head, I turned to Chris and said, "Charge her.". I then walked away. She then threw ten dollars at Chris and said, "That is all you guys get." and then spun around and left the building. It took me hours to calm down. Even now, hours later, it bugs me.

I know that our quality is good and our prices are fair and that you can't please everyone but when you run across that one, you just don't feel good about it. And you wonder if there was anything at all that you could have done that would have made this situation turn out right.

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