Disgruntledpatriot's Blog

November 16, 2009

Am I Just Getting Old?

Filed under: Sick and Tired — Trever Bierschbach @ 10:46 am
Tags: , ,

I had a couple of experiences this weekend, things that have happened over and over again and I finally decided to write something about it.  It seems to me that I am either getting old and cranky or people in the service industry are getting more and more lazy.  I remember a time when you heard things like ‘work ethic’ and ‘when you choose a job, it’s your choice so no matter what it is you should be the best at it you can be’.  Where have these attitudes gone?  Let me give you a couple of examples.

I went to a local pizza place on Saturday night, one that offers cheap pizza in three different configurations.  When we go we always order a ‘combo’ that includes two pizzas, a soda and bread sticks.  I walked in, the only customer there at that moment, walked to the counter and said “I want a number 3, one sausage and one pepperoni.”  The cashier/order taker responded by saying “One pep and one sausage?”  I said yes and set down a $20 bill, then went to the cooler to get my soda.  When I set it down on the counter, next to the pizza, and collected my change a confused expression came over the cashier and she said she would have to charge me for the soda.  We did finally clear it up, but the whole time I was wondering what the problem was in the first place.  I have been accused of speaking too loudly many times, but never have I been known to speak too softly or to mumble.  The cashier/order taker is there to A. Listen, B. take money, C. get food.  By that list one would say that 33% of her job is to listen to the customer, I would argue that it is higher, but still.  If 1/3 of your job is to listen, and you can’t even catch a simple order then what is your problem?  I find that I repeat myself more and more when I go to places and order food.  I used to work in fast food, I remember how important it is to listen.

Second incident this past weekend was at a breakfast restaurant.  It was a busy Sunday morning granted, but I don’t like to make that an excuse.  If you have a busy day at a restaurant, you still have only so many tables.  You can never get more busy than your busiest day, no matter how many people are waiting to be seated, you still have only so many tables.  The waitress took our order, and after a negligible wait brought our drinks.  Instead of setting them in front of the people who ordered them she set them on the end of the table, and waited for us to claim our drink.  It had been less than a minute.  Then after another wait our food came out.  The food was right, but again she couldn’t remember who ordered what.  She also brought an extra order of hash browns, that I am sure was from someone else’s table since her ticket didn’t have the extra order on it.  I understand that being a waitress can be stressful.  I have worked fast food and retail, I understand that customers can have a very negative effect on an individual, and customer service is ver stressful.  What I don’t understand is a person that has two tasks, and cannot perform 100%.  All our waitress does is take orders, and carry food and drink.  She doesn’t make the food, I didn’t see her have to clean anything in the interim, and I didn’t see her managing anyone.  Take orders, and carry food.

I said above that I used to work in fast food, and I know that at least one of my readers knows exactly what I am talking about, we used to work together at the same fast food place.  Back at this time we operated a drive through window, with one person at the one window, taking orders, taking money, and handing out food.  You had a two register setup, no computer screen keeping track of orders, and no machine making the drinks for you, and we still managed to hit our target time in line, which if I remember right was three and a half minutes.  That’s from speaker to drive away, the amount of time a customer was allowed to wait for our store to make its goals.  Now they have two, sometimes three windows, half a dozen people doing each task of the drive through, a machine filling the drinks, a computer bank keeping track of what goes where, touch screen registers, and two speakers to take orders and I can’t remember the last time I was in and out of a drive through in less than five minutes.  Perhaps it isn’t a problem with lack of technology, but a lack of work ethic everywhere.  It seems like we are creating a society that strives to work as little as possible, all the while complaining about not making enough for what little they do.



  1. dude! you talkin’ ’bout me?!

    Sorry I’ve been MIA lately. My work hours are absolutely insane. Over the last three weeks I’ve been pulling all-nighters and sleeping very little. But, enough complaining about that.

    I came to see if you’d had any input on the recent UEA GW emails? I’ve read a few dozen of them and am still digesting it a bit.

    Concerning bad service, it seems almost rampant now. One of the worst, and amusing at the same time, experiences for my wife (girlfriend at the time) and I was at a local “fine-dining” restaurant here in Vinings; with their prices, there’s an expectation that service is impeccable. Our server, Kevin (yes, it was so bad that we remember his name), took forever to get to our table. Once he did arrive, it was immediately obvious that Kevin wasn’t entirely lucid. He proceeded to take our orders, and then immediately took our orders again. He thanked us and left us sitting there asking each other “what in the world?” Kevin then returned about five minutes later to apologize and take our orders a THIRD time. There was no fourth time, but there was an extremely long wait for our entrees to arrive. And just to be sure that he got _everything_ wrong, the food delivered wasn’t what we’d ordered. And it wasn’t just a simple missing side, it was a masterful series of substitutions: duck instead of steak, weird pancakes rather than a salad, seemingly random vegetables, and two chocolate chip cookies. I suspect that even the chef was confused.

    We sat there for a moment wondering what to do – we would feel guilty wasting perfectly good food, but at about 75 bucks a plate, we did have expectations. But, it was not our decision to make. Apparently Kevin had offered up his unique style of service to everyone at our neighboring tables. Someone complained and the manager arrived immediately. Thankfully, the manager was veteran and handled the situation perfectly. Another, friendlier and more sober, waitress arrived and informed us that “Kevin isn’t feeling well”, which I interpreted as “We just canned his ass.” The entire experience was something akin to a poorly-executed SNL skit. The restaurant sucked it up and everyone in that section ate for free that night. The trade was a bit more fair to the customers, but we left a generous tip for the second server.

    Opposite poor customer service is the demainding customer. Those are the customers who feel that they must yell/scream/complain at an unreasonable level, and generally feel no embarrassment whatsoever. I’m not sure which side to take in those cases, maybe we should just have a law that allows for a two minute all-out melee to determine the outcome.

    Or we could just make a little more effort to be nicer, even in those fast-food jobs.

    (BTW – for fast food, I’ve found that Chik-Fil-a has great service, and those damned nuggets are addictive)

    Comment by IsaacD — November 26, 2009 @ 1:20 am | Reply

  2. Very good concept, I like how you convey the message.

    Comment by Watch_MoviesOnline — December 5, 2009 @ 3:21 pm | Reply

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