My stories today involve one common denominator, and that is our shake machine. See, about two weeks ago, our shake machine broke. No one knew how, or why, or who's shift, but it did. It began to cry horribly when powered on and screeched if you tried to dispense any shake mix from it. Seeing as the brokenness of it was beyond my capabilities of fixing (as I am, for some reason, know all for the appliances), we called the manufacturer for some help. Apparently, the repairman informed me during his visit, the machine was broken.
The unfortunate thing, though, was that he didn't have the part in stock to fix it. It would take another week before he did have it, and a day or two more to fix it. With a sigh, a headache already forming, I signed the notice, clipped it to the status board in the office and went about my shift after posting a big, BOLD notice on the machine. It simply stated, "I'M BUSTED, SORRY FOR THE INCONVENIENCE."
Not half an hour into my shift, two young ladies (Lady A and Lady B) walk in and take a moment to decide their poison. I was pleasantly surprised when I arrived at the counter to serve them, as Lady B asked for a shake, only to be quickly caught by Lady A.
Lady B: "So, you can't sell any shakes at all?"
Lady A: "[Lady B], hon, there's a big ass sign that says it right there. Busted. Bust. Ed. Broken."
Lady B: "I just wanted to make sure."
Because, sure, maybe it is every day that we post a sign up saying something is broken, just so we don't have to serve you. But we'll immediately tell the truth if you ask.
In any case, Lady B wants nothing, but Lady A apologizes, orders a kid's meal for herself (she told me that) and asked for a smoothie instead. Relieved that I wasn't about to have a customer throw a tantrum, I started the smoothie process, only to have three other customers walk in, a woman and two guys.
Immediately, one of them comes right up to the counter as I turn around to serve him and states, without a stutter, "Can I have three medium chocolate shakes?"
I blink, then shake my head.
Me: "Unfortunately, no. We only have regular and large, but our shake machine is down."
Guy 1: "Are you sure?"
Me: *leans over and points to the sign behind her* "Very. Anything else I can get you?"
Before he can answer me, I notice that Lady A has returned for her smoothie (now melting on the counter, my bad) and Guy 1's buddy has come up to my counter, both hands on the surface, and slightly red faced.
Guy 2: "Busted? What do you mean busted?
Me: "Busted...? As in... it's broken? Like, I don't know what happened, a part broke and it won't keep temp."
Guy 2: *gives an angry huff* "Don't you have a second one? What's that right there?" *points to our smoothie machine*
Me: "Smoothies. They're pretty awesome. Not as thick, but still good. Yeah. Still good."
Lady A had apparently caught my Lilo and Stitch reference and begins to snicker behind my irate customers. I offer her a quick smile, apologetic, and silently decide to offer her a coupon for the wait and forgotten smoothie.
Guy 1 has now turned around and faces the female that walked in with them, I suppose to discuss the change of plans, but Guy 2 isn't ready to let this go.
Guy 2: "Well, what do we get now?"
Me: "Um... a smoothie?"
Me: "Well... I can give you a coupon, and there's two other [sister restaurants] that have working shake machines within five miles of us."
Guy 2: "NO, you're not listening. I came HERE. I don't want to go to any other [restaurant]. You can't just give me a coupon for my inconvenience, I want my shake or you give me something else for free."
Now, at my restaurant, we do have this weirdo policy called "Yes to the Guest," but thankfully we apply it under the conditions of A) The order was wrong (doesn't matter who's fault), so we replace the accident, B) You're dissatisfied with your item (for any reason), and C) We overcharged you by accident. As he fell under none of these conditions, I squared my shoulders and put on my best Mom Face.
I had been at this restaurant long enough that I had gone through 3 store managers, and the current one supported the decisions made by his shift managers (unless they were incredibly stupid). Suffice to say, I felt empowered.
Me: "Sorry, store policy states replacements happen because of A, B, and C. You haven't bought anything and though unfortunate that you came all this way down for one item, that item is served by another of our sister's not two miles away. I can give you a coupon for half off, otherwise, I am unable to ring up anything and give it to you for free. If I do, I will need your name and phone number."
Guy 2: "No, you can't ask for a customers name and number, that's illegal, that's identify theft."
Lady A: "Excuse me, you do realize that your credit card gives them more information than that, right? And she can take your name from your card unless you have the cash? She told you what she can do, take it or leave it, pal."
Guy 2: "Look, I don't see how that broken machine is my problem. I want my shakes."
Lady A: "And I want my smoothie that you've interrupted her making. You're being an entitled ass."
With that, the group of three head out, but not before flipping me off. Funny part, though, was that my heroine returned the favor with a double finger action and a smile. She made my night, and I refunded her order, upgraded her meal, and sent her with as many coupons as I could safely stuff into her lunch bag.
May all your customers be this wickedly awesome,