So tonight I went out to dinner, since a local place was having a special on wings and I wanted to try their wings. As I waited for my food, a woman at a nearby table began to angrily berate her waitress loudly enough that I could overhear the discussion. Her complaint was that the basket of fries that she'd ordered for her family was not big enough. She pointed out angrily that the menu claimed that it was a serving for four people, and she argued loudly that there were clearly not enough fries there for four people.
Thing is, there were only three people at the table: this obese woman, her obese teen daughter, and a five-year old who was well on his way to being obese. And here mom was, arguing that a basket of deep-fried potatoes intended for four adults did not constitute enough food for her and her two children.
So then the manager was summoned over. And I'm thinking that even though this is a totally stupid complaint of the type that has forever kept me out of customer-service-oriented employment due to my inability to refrain from speaking my mind when confronted by such people, the old tenets of customer service should still apply here: Make the customer happy. I mean, I grew up with an understanding of the concept that in business, "the customer is always right". (Archaic, I know...I'm old.) But this twenty-something "manager" appeared genuinely perplexed and stumped as to how to respond. She replied that it wasn't her fault that the menu put out by the corporate office said that the basket contained enough fries for four people, and then she stood there all cow-eyed staring at this woman who was going on and on and on about being ripped off.
And I'm over in my seat thinking "Geez, she's a fat pig but you're a manager with, like, authority. Offer her something else or just ask her what would make her happy. That's just a no-brainer, one would think.
But apparently such is not taught in manager school any more, because she just stood there looking like a deer in the headlights as this woman harangued her loudly in front of the whole restaurant. The manager didn't even try to placate or mollify the woman. Finally, the woman worked herself up into such a fit that she announced to her two fat kids that they were leaving and not paying for the fries. And sure enough, all three of them waddled away while the manager and the waitress just looked at each other in befuddlement.
Now to begin with, the fat woman was wrong to act that way, but managers are paid to manage things like this, and customer satisfaction being important (at least once upon a time), I was embarrassed and ashamed for the two employees who, between them, could not de-escalate this simple situation and make this pig and her two piglets happy. I mean, how hard is it to just give them more fries or offer a substitution?
Pathetic. Pathetic all around. When did it become acceptable to act like that in a public establishment, and when did managers stop working towards keeping even the most unreasonable customers happy? More importantly, what ever happened to basic civility and courtesy? Where did these things go and when did they leave?