There are several websites where people employed in the service industry share their most outrageous stories of unreasonable and, in some cases, abusive customers. Most of the stories are focused on the bad habits of customers like bad tippers and diners trying to get a free meal.
It seems some customers cannot be pleased, no matter what the server does. I know that for a fact.
While in my early twenties, I was employed as an assistant manager at Jack in the Box. One instance of a disgruntled diner has stuck with me all these years.
A few days before Halloween, just as the sun was setting, a car pulled up to the drive-through menu. With a tone in her voice that let me know this was going to be difficult, she ordered a Jumbo Jack cooked medium rare, some tacos, and a few other things. First of all, who the hell orders a Jumbo Jack medium rare? Nevertheless, we tried to accommodate her request.
She pulled up to the window, where we exchanged pleasantries; well, I did, anyway. She was a bitchy 20-something with the personality of a pissed-off cockroach, with her young children dressed in their best Halloween costumes sitting in the back seat.
Our Rosenberg Jack was pretty speedy with customers’ only complaints being that sometimes they get a whiplash from going through the drive-through so quickly, so speed of service was not an issue.
When her order was finished, I opened the window and handed her the meal, putting on my best customer service face and said, “Here you go.”
Without saying a word, she grabbed the bag and opened it. I immediately thought there was going to be a problem. She sat there in her car and examined everything in it: the fries, the tacos, and the burger. She promptly drew my attention and said the Jumbo Jack was not prepared as she requested.
Upon hearing her complaint, I took the burger back, tossed it in trash in her line of view and asked the cook to prepare another one to her specifications, medium rare. Upon completion I opened the window and handed her the freshly prepared sandwich. She examined it and gave it back, once again complaining about it not being prepared correctly.
I repeated the previous steps and then again handed her another burger. For the third time she examined it and complained it wasn’t correct. We tried one more time.
After handing her the fourth burger, I told her if this one wasn’t correct I didn’t think we were capable of making her a burger suitable to her tastes. Thinking I was being setup for a lawsuit, I told her, “We cannot serve you an uncooked patty, which is what it sounds like you want.” She looked it over as before, and made a grimace that any two year-old would be proud of.
Then, she reared back and tossed the Jumbo Jack at me. Being pretty nimble, I dodged the flying burger. It landed on the floor behind me as I thought, “Oh, no, she didn’t.” I quickly picked it up as she began to exit the drive-through but not before I could put my pitching arm to good use.
I leaned out the window and tossed Jack’s signature burger her way. Her car window was still open so it flew through the driver’s side window and landed smack dab on the windshield, splattering the mayo, lettuce, and tomatoes on the glass and dashboard. I was a pretty good baseball player and was proud of my pitch as I watched the quarter pound patty ease its way from the wrapping and find a home in her line of vision.
I fully expected the crank to come into the restaurant and throw a fit, or an extremely rare hamburger, but she meekly drove off never to be seen again. My crew all gave me a hand and complimented my pitching skills.Thank heaven, there wasn’t social media with instant reviews back then.