This next story happened a month or two in. I was a clerk in the deli/bakery.
The store manager called me and asked if I could come in an hour early. I walk to work, and hadn't started getting ready yet, so I explained that I would be a few minutes late.
When I got there, I find out from the morning shift, who were already on overtime and tired, that co-worker (mentioned earlier) couldn't get her car to start. A friend of mine, who worked in the kitchen, was also asked to come in early. Day shift still couldn't leave because another co-worker, whom shall henceforth be referred to as Awesome Co-worker (or AC), was running later than I was.
Shortly after I arrived, a woman approached the counter and asked for a few pounds of turkey to be sliced. If you've ever bought meat from a deli, you know that they ask you what number you'd like it sliced at. She asked for it to be sliced at 2. That's really thin, and it just falls apart.
C: I don't like the way that looks. It's falling apart.
Me: I'm sorry about that, it's because it's being sliced so thin.
C: I don't want it to look like that.
Me: No problem! I'll slice it a little thicker so it won't do this!
C: No, I want it at two. But I don't want it to look like that.
At this point, one of the day shift clerks came up to the front.
C: I want you to open a new one.
DSC (Day Shift Clerk): What's going on?
C: I don't like the way that looks, I want her to open a new one!**
DSC actually went to the cooler and got out a new, whole turkey and opened it up.
DSC:Quietly Just do it, or she won't leave.
After I was done, and the Customer went on her merry way. Co-worker arrived. And I had to listen to her complain about there being too many of that particular kind of turkey opened up in the cooler.
I was talking with some coworkers today and our conversation reminded me of this story from when I was about 20 years old. I had just started working as a butcher and I was fresh faced and wide eyed and about as big a sappy romantic that you ever could meet. I was also addicted to Food Network. I watched a ton of it all the time(trust me this is relevant). I was stocking the case when I noticed a woman feverishly looking through the meat case, looking frazzled. She'll be Val, I'll be Me.
Me: Can I help you find something? You look confused.
Val: Yeah, I just started dating a guy who is new to the city. He's from Philadelphia and he really misses cheesesteaks, I want to make him one for Valentine's Day, but I have no idea what I'm looking for.
Me: Well, you won't really find it here. What you need is very thinly sliced ribeye. (She slumps like I just told her that her dog died. I think on my feet and come up with a plan.) But listen, do you have time to come back later today?
Val: I guess, why?
Me: Well I can help you out. I just need to ask you a very crucial question. Does he like Pat's or Geno's?
Me: Those are the most famous cheesesteak places in Philly but they are very different.
Val: Oh he said something about Cheese Whiz? Does that matter?
Me: It does, that's Geno's. Ok, give me about 2 hours and I'll have everything ready for you.
Val: Really? You can do that?
Me: Technically I'm not really supposed to, but yeah I'll take care of you.
So when she left I tossed a couple ribeye steaks in the freezer to firm them up and proceeded to grab the Italian rolls, onions, cheese whiz, and some seasonings. When the meat was firm I put it on the slicer and shaved it thin. Sprinkled on a little seasoning and packaged it up. I also sautéed the onions for her and packed them as well. When she came back I handed her everything she needed so she could check out and gave her a sheet of instructions.
For a few months, about once a month, she and him would come in to shop and would always call ahead of time for me to slice up some more meat. Each time the guy would shake my hand and thank me for bringing him a little bit of Philly to our city. After maybe 8 months she came in and hugged me because he'd asked her to marry him and said that anyone who went through so much to make him a cheesesteak for Valentine's Day was worth marrying.
I used to work at a deli in a grocery store. One day, a dude comes up to the counter while my back is turned. He knocks on the counter with the veracity of a rabid Jehovah's Witness and immediately shouts at top volume: "HEY I NEED SERVICE OVER HERE! HELLOOOO?"
I grit my teeth in my best "How can I help you?" smile and walk over.
Before I can get a word in, he shouts, "A POUND OF HAM!" and storms away.
I call after him, "Sir, what kind of ham? How do you want it sliced?"
He screams over his shoulder, "I DON'T FUCKING CARE, JUST GIVE ME A FUCKING POUND OF HAM! I'LL BE BACK FOR IT!"
Without another word, he disappears. I shrug, grab the cheapest, crappiest ham in the case, open the slicer to the widest setting and buzz off two half-pound slices of slimy, almost-expired, cheap ham. I leave it on the counter and return to washing the dishes behind the counter.
The man returns a few minutes later, sees the ham, and grabs it furiously before stomping to the cash register. He pays and leaves.
The next day, hamboy returns to the deli. I'm the only one working again, and right away I recognize him. I don't even try to disguise my shit-eating grin as I address him. "Hello sir, what can I do for you today?"
He holds up the pound of ham from yesterday and, with a surprisingly subdued tone, says, "I can't use this. It's not sliced."
"Actually, sir, it is sliced. I recall you asked for a pound of ham, and so I gave you a pound of ham. Is there anything else I can get for you today?"
He paused, staring right into my eyes, seemingly trying to intimidate me. I don't even blink; I just stare right back. Finally, he looks down at the floor and mumbles, "I'd like a pound of Boar's Head honey ham, sliced thin please."
"Absolutely sir! Coming right up!"
I sliced the ham, bagged it, tagged it, and wished him a pleasant day. He left with his tail tucked between his legs. I like to think he was polite and courteous to deli workers everywhere after that. I never saw him again.