You probably don’t remember me—I went by “RHU Noob” in my previous (and first) post about my bygone days with Anorexic Bagel Lady at Dunk’s. In light of recent events, I think I’d like to change my name to “Dairy Tard.” (I know, “Dairy Fairy” is more cutsey and rhymes, but let’s face it—I’m no dainty maid and there is not enough Red Bull in the world to ever give me wings.) So Dairy Tard I am. And this tard needs a bit of guidance.
I’ve been waitressing and scooping ice cream at Buster’s Clover Street Diner and Ice Cream Bar (name has been heavily reworked, obviously) for three years now. It’s a far cry from being in Retail Hell—as far as dead-end jobs go, I consider myself spoiled rotten to work here. As the name implies, this is an independent, mom-and-pop restaurant with a local, cushy, homey feel to it. It’s old, but reasonably well-kept. The man in charge and the owner is (surprise, surprise) none other than Buster himself, who stays at the diner for the majority of his day, every day, mostly just sitting at the counter and yucking it up with the regulars.
He’s a great guy to work for, I must say; I’d rather have no other boss. In one sentence, Buster is the shining symbol of everything opposite to corporate douchebaggery. He’s fair, considerate, personable in a rough-around-the-edges way, and genuinely gives a damn about who’s working for him and how they’re doing. Oh, yeah, and he possesses a functioning backbone, yet has no qualms about taking orders or even scooping ice creams when we get slammed. It’s just that sometimes, he can be a bit too hands-off for my liking. This incident that happened yesterday really highlighted this.
Okay. So, it’s about 3:00 on a beautiful Friday afternoon, and a 20- or 30-something Indian (this becomes important later) lady talking on an iPhone and toting a boy of about three or four approaches one of the ice cream windows.
Indian Lady: “How much for a small soft serve?”
(If this seems a little high, just remember that they don’t call us Tax-achusetts for nothing.)
Indian Lady: “So two would be about $4.80?”
Me: “Yup, $4.82.”
Please note that the menu is literally right next to this woman. I don’t get annoyed when I see customers counting their cash when asking about prices—I’d rather tell them up front how much they’d be paying than make them something they don’t even have enough for. However, I see that Indian Lady is holding a credit card.
Indian Lady: “Okay, can I have two small vanilla soft serves in cups, and one with banana and caramel?”
No problem—done in about one minute.
Indian Lady’s adorable little boy: “I wanna drink, I wanna drink!”
*Indian Lady smiles at me in that nice “oh, you know kids” sort of way.*
Indian Lady: “Okay, tell her what you want.”
Little boy: “Apple juice!”
Two seconds later:
Me: “Okay, that comes to $8.35, please.”
Indian Lady: “That can’t be right.”
Me: “The soft serves are $2.41 apiece, the apple juice was $1.80 plus tax, and the toppings are $0.75 each.”
Yes, ma’am, and it’s clearly written on the board right next to you, so please stop acting like you're surprised.
Indian Lady: “So you charged me $1.50 just for bananas and caramel?”
Me: “Yes. All toppings are $0.75 each.”
And apparently, those were the words that hit the bitch switch.
Indian Lady: “That’s ridiculous! I am not paying $1.50 for that!”
Me: “You have to pay for it. I just saw you eat some of it.”
Indian Lady: “Take it back, I’m not paying for it!”
Me: “I can’t.”
Indian Lady: “Why are you charging me $1.50 for toppings? That's ridiculous! At the other ice cream places, they charge me $.75 and they give me bananas and caramel! I get all the toppings for $.75!”
BULL TO THE FUCKING SHIT, LADY. At that comment, I actually had to put in a conscious effort to refrain from smiling. Unfortunately, I’m not exactly articulate when you stick a hostile person in front of me.
Me: “Well, we charge per topping here.”
Indian Lady: “Well, that’s insane. I don’t want this at all if you’re going to charge me $1.50 for toppings.”
Me: “I’m sorry. I don’t set the prices. You still have to pay for it.”
Indian Lady: “I can go to another ice cream place right now and they’ll give me bananas and caramel for $0.75!”
Me: “You can do that, but you’ll still have to pay for this.”
Indian Lady (giving up): “I’m going to another ice cream place. I don’t want any of this.”
Indian Lady: “I’m really going to another ice cream place.”
IL *sarcastically*: “Great customer service!”
Me: “Have a nice day.” *Closes window.*
So, I hurry over to Buster at the counter and tell him what happened. His first question: “Was she Indian?”
Me *lights up*: “Yes! Did you see her?”
Buster: “No. That’s very typical of the Indians.”
And he proceeds to matter-of-factly explain to me that Indians, in general, tend to be cheapskates and will not hesitate to haggle with you. That was the point of his talk. Not a single question was raised about the woman or the incident in general. So, I mean, I suppose I shouldn’t really care if my boss doesn’t care…but still.
I’m very glad that this cheap bitch decided to pick a fight with me. Buster has hired a lot of new kids for the summer (15- or 16-year-olds, mostly) and for many of them, this is their first job…let alone their first job dealing with the public. I’m almost certain that most of them would have caved to the demands of this greedy bloodsucker out of pure fright, and that really bothers me. I’d love to tell them how to handle this sort of thing (especially seeing as where it’s a problem our boss tends to ignore, as it is fortunately uncommon), but I feel I can’t do this adequately if I don’t really know myself.
That’s why I’ve come to you awesome lot of tried, seasoned, thick-skinned bastards for help. I was not trying to be rude to this woman, but I wanted to let her know who was in charge and that I would not lower the price for her. What would you do in my place? What did I do well and poorly? And, just for the hell of it, what kind of ice cream do you like?