Recently I quit my job in a rest home cafe because thanks to my clientele I have developed a healthy dislike for the elderly. Not all elderly mind you, just the ones who have an unhealthy sense of entitlement. The ones who think that just because you're behind a counter you are a slave. This annoys me because on the street if someone was rude to me I would tell them to *%$^ off. At work, no go.
My story takes place in the cafe one day when we were very busy. We had recently started up this thing called 'Roast of the Day,' and it was proving quite popular. Now people ring ahead and book sometimes for a table in our cafe.
This doesn't count as them ordering lunch however. It just means we save them a seat. I was completely overrun with people ordering left, right and centre (at most we only have two people on because it is a small establishment) so the poor girl on with me was making coffees and serving whilst I was out back making meals and delivering the roasts from the tray line (they get dished up in between the rest home kitchen staff serving the actual rest home meals). In short the roast was the quick easy option, the other meals like fish'n'chips, baked potatoes and soups weren't. I was trying to make everything run together smoothly.
Enter Mr. and Mrs. Paine.
They asked where their reserved table was and I was aghast, realizing we hadn't saved one because I hadn't expected such a mad rush on a Sunday. Luckily, a table was leaving so I cleared it and made it ready for the couple in about ten seconds. They were mildly miffed about it not being properly reserved, but I really didn't care. It was pure luck it had become available, and I stunned them with a brilliant smile. Customers' ruffled feathers always seem to be fine after a smile.
Now, we are a cafe with a very obvious counter where we serve people. There is a large cash register and a coffee machine to the side. We also have a cabinet where you can select sandwiches as well as a pie warmer. Other people were coming up to pay for their meals before getting them. Time passes. I am too busy to really pay any attention to things beyond the kitchen.
Then there is a problem. Katherine, the girl on with me, comes into the kitchen to tell me some people are complaining they never got their lunch. Shit. I come out with her and find Mr. and Mrs. Paine quite angry. Their roasts were never brought to them, they complain. They had been waiting twenty minutes. Everyone else got their food before them. They'd booked a table.
Understandably I was fairly concerned and went to the notepad by the till to try and find out what meal hadn't been delivered. I went back through the entire lunch rush and saw each one had been crossed out as delivered. I look at them and then it dawns on me.
Me: "Did you actually come up and order the roast?"
Me: "I'm sorry but we didn't have your lunch down because you never asked for it."
Them: "But we said that we wanted the roast when we reserved the table!"
Me: "I'm sorry, that doesn't actually count as ordering, because people have to order and pay at the counter before they get their food."
"Well can we get the roast now then?" Mr. Paine demands. Katherine peeks into the kitchen to ask and then returns with a meek look.
"We're out of the roast." She says in a barely audible whisper.
In New Zealand customers have to buy their food before they get their meals. If you go out for dinner at a restaurant then that's a whole different ball park. Cafes however, because they are so busy, simply serve you at the counter. We have no time to fawn over you at your table. At this point Mr. and Mrs. Paine are positively livid. I try to placate them.
"We have many other meals on the menu." I offer. I search my mind for something helpful to say and remember the sign I wrote this morning. "Our fish 'n' chips come with a delicious salad." I stare expectantly at them, and the hackles soften. They decide to get the fish 'n' chips.
I bring them their meals that are better than the roast anyway. They still seem pissed off about it all so I think, screw it, and give them a free coffee each. Instant beaming smiles. A customer at another table waves me over.
"You're meant to tell the rude customers to %$#^ off, not give them a free coffee." He tells me. I laugh and inform him they'll probably come back now.
And they did. They became goddamn regulars. I was stuck with the annoying Mrs. Paine until I quit. They never did get out of their annoying habit of waiting expectantly at their table to be served. I dealt with it by waiting patiently at the counter, and when they didn't approach, vanished out back until they rang the service bell (which they would have to approach the counter to do). And yes, both of them were elderly. I consider them partly responsible for my new ageist approach to life.
--Rest Home Bitch.