I Have The Next Four Days Off and...

...it's also a LONG WEEKEND!!!! Guess who I won't be missing?

"I stood in line for ten minutes! You need to open another till!"
Meanwhile in Africa there are children dying of starvation,
as Shar, my supervisor, said afterward.

I will be escaping the extremely ugly attitudes of customers who always get long weekends off and take out that heavy burden on US!!

Last night we were short staffed. My supervisor was doing double duty in the soup and sandwich AND till three position. I was counting end of day tills and finishing production (making yogurt parfaits for the next day etc) One of the drive thru staff came over to help her super because there was a crazy line up in store front. This left two people in drive thru. It wasn't as busy in drive thru so it was the exact right thing to do, thank you Kayla. I left what I was doing and jumped on the soup and sandwich station to speed things up.

Angry customers are a fairly rare thing with us considering the volume of business we do because most people understand our position and are patient to wait. But occasionally we get a real winner, where winner means loser. Last night, a customer tore a strip off my supervisor for not having TWO tills open. She said when there is a line up we should have the presence of mind to open two tills yada yada, blah, blah, blah. We hear this all the time.

Dear First World Person with Line-up Rage:


Open two tills with what staff? And...

Common misconception:  All tills must be open for quicker service

Truth: This is a restaurant, not a grocery store. That standard works at a grocery store were a cashier is ringing through already gathered groceries one cart at a time.

This does not work at a busy cafe and pastry shoppe. The person taking your order is ALSO the person who has to gather the order you just gave him/her when they are ALONE on the till. This is why we have what is called in the biz: Tandem Teams

I'll spell it out for you because I know you have trouble with any concept that doesn't involve your instant gratification. "Tandem" means: "Having two things arranged together". Tandem teams are faster than single individuals.

Brenda, I see you nodding. It's true! Am I right? Oh, big kudos to Shar, my supervisor who handled our disgruntled guest very well. Much better than I would have. Good job. Had I been the one to handle her I would have pretty much given her the contents of this post you're reading now right between the eyes.

So anyway, tandem teams. There are actual experts who have figured out that tandem teams are faster and I'm not talking about the people who CHOOSE to stand in for 15 minutes to get a coffee and then get up in our faces about their long wait. These are experts who look at numbers and have stopwatches, clipboards, calculators, ledgers, green see through visors and white shirts with arm bands, and stuff.

Just for fun I googled "old time accountant" and got this.
My mental image didn't have a vest. Is that still a fail?

Perhaps, valued guest and abuser of my staff, as you're standing in line, you could run a scenario through your mind. 

Take that second person off the open till and put her on the closed one, like you seem to think is the better way. She then has to wait for coffee to brew, approximately 5.5 minutes including opening pouches and lining the basket with a filter. She takes an order. The person then gives her 3-5 beverages all requiring several steps and last night everyone wanted iced beverages. This means she will stand in line for the whipper as well as having to build each beverage and each beverage, as I'm sure you're aware because you ordered some, requires several different add-ins. 

The person she left on the original till is now faced with the same requirement. Take the order and fill the order. Each order requiring several labour intensive steps to complete.

Have we really sped up the line? If there are two people on the till - say it with me: tandem team - one person would take the order, the other (we call that a runner) fills the order, the order taker takes the next order, the runner fills the order. See how that is a well organized, well choreographed and well executed way of moving a line? Watching two well trained, efficient people working as a tandem team is actually a beautiful thing to behold. I am totally not kidding here.

We are the experts. Not you. Us. You are the expert on standing in line and focusing on yourself. We are the experts on focusing on everyone around you.

That being said, when we actually HAVE the staff, do you know what we do?  We break up the tandem team so people like you feel better. Even though we know, and anyone with common sense knows, tandem teams are faster.

This is what we do for you First World People with Line-up Rage issues.  People who opt to stay in a line up for coffee of their own free will. We will actually hamstring ourselves because YOU think YOUR way is better. Just to make YOU feel better about standing several long minutes in a line up. For a coffee.

Ask yourself FWPWLUR, at any time did you see my staff standing around joking and gossiping? At any time was anyone staring off into space doing nothing? During every minute of your interminable wait (while in other countries several people died due to starvation), IF you actually had been watching you saw five people running an entire restaurant AND a drive thru and working their goddam asses off all because you chose to stand in a line up. For coffee. I can't help where you ended up in the line. I can't help that you chose to get coffee at the same time as fifteen other people during an evening where the restaurant was short two people.

Don't even vent your anger on us. 

Common misconception: Your angry words to my staff is what everyone wanted to say themselves and they all admire you for it

Truth: Every person after you apologized for your behavior and were extremely sweet and friendly. Each person behind you asked us how we were and hoped we were having a good evening. Each person made it a point to thank us and tell us we were doing a good job. None of which would have happened if you had not yelled at us.  So, a really big thank you for that.

Also, one last thing.  Do you really think any of us behind the counter would purposely choose a slower way to serve a line up if a faster way was available? 

You have a nice day. 

I swear I am a jackass whisperer and not much else some days.

During my time off I will be relaxing on the computer

Because this is out of the question


Anonymous said...

People who freak on folks in the food service industry, have never worked in the food service industry. And when it happens at a Tim Hortons in Canada it is obviously an American who married a Canadian. :D


Frimmy said...

I used to think that too. Unfortunately I've seen too many Canadians freak on me or my staff. The thing about Tim Hortons is Canadians think of it as THEIR shop. So that gives them rights to tell you how to run it better.

We're expected to smile and take it too. It's easy to tear a strip off someone you know can't defend themselves. However, they are wrong about that. I don't have to take it and I have told a guest they are SOL.

Our travel mugs have more capacity than our corresponding take out cups. It's to prevent over fills and burns to the guest. We had this one guy order a refill French Vanilla and scream at our staff because it wasn't filled sufficiently for him. A. It's a cappuccino and should be one third foam in the first place, and B. we fill his refill cup with the contents of a large to go cup which is 20 ounces, the amount he pays for. So he is totally getting his 20 ounces of French Vanilla even though it doesn't come to the top of the mug.

He screamed at my staff all the time for one reason or another but the last time he came to scream at us I had had enough. He points at the logo on the travel mug and asked whose logo it is??? Like this was some kind of logical argument. I pointed at the to go cup and said the same logo as this cup.

He said; "I paid for a large and I want this filled to the top!" I said; "Well clearly what you pay for and what you think you are entitled to are two different things."

He looks at my name tag and says; "Oh! You want to make it fight, do you? Fine!"

I have never heard a peep from him again even though he still comes in. I'm sure he gives the staff a hard time when I'm not around but he's bully and therefore a coward and he didn't expect anyone would ever stand up to him.

What I want to know is why the anger in the first place. It's coffee. If you're losing your shit over coffee or waiting too long in a line-up you put yourself in, then you have issues you need dealt with.

The manager had someone complain to her (screaming again); "I just waited 20 minutes in line for a coffee!!!" The manager said: "Why the hell would you do THAT?" That was priceless.

jas said...

true, true, all true, but as u said, u get this complaint all the time. as every customer knows at some point in their lives, the cashier is purposely not doing this or that jussst to offend said customer.

Anonymous said...

When people lose their shit like that, I always presume they had like 8 other things piss them off, most out of their control, and this was the one thing where they figured they could get away with a shit fit. But I reiterate, people who lose it on a cashier have never been in the food service industry, or probably, service industry. You know, like those teenage kids who's parent's don't make them get part time jobs but buy them cars and give them spending money?


ps. how is your weather? ours is like summer its a wonderful weekend so far

Frimmy said...

Mostly I try to look at that way. Pissed off person could have had any number of horrible things happen before they arrived in the line up at my restaurant. With serial rude people, the ones who have established themselves as regular staff abusers, I don't take their crap.

The weather here is chilly but sunny, around 4 but feels colder. I planted some stuff but I'm concerned it's going to be too cold. Aside from worrying the plants are going to bite it in a frost, I love having it slightly chilly but more like 12 or 15 though.

Our lilacs haven't even started yet. They're still tiny green spikes of flower buds. I bet your magnolias are already done! Maybe even your lilacs...I loved the lilac display the Niagara Parks maintained and usually made it a point to visit there during that time of year. I once tried to hit the Rochester NY lilac festival but they were late that year and I missed it.

I miss Avondale Dairy ice cream!!!


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