Walmart Hell: Someone's Been in the Kool-Aid
What Waiters Sometimes Dream Of

10 Insanity-Causing Things Customers Do At A Deli

Dumdeli Hello my name is Anna and I work at a Deli.

Just a Deli. We don't serve chicken and don't slice cheese. We stick strictly to cold cuts. While working at the Deli you get a wide range of customers. Sometimes they're great folk, really. But then there are those who drive me to the point of insanity.

Here are ten things they do that drive me crazy:

1. Asking for something thin but not shaved. And then complaining that it's not thin enough and that they'll just have it shaved. Usually to make myself feel better I take the unshaven ( the stuff you fucking wanted in the first place) 200 grams of ham and slam it roughly into the garbage to make you feel (if you do feel at all) bad about the waste.
2. Demanding I open another package of Smoked Meat because the half of one already open just looks too "fatty" for them. This is usually women. And they usually don't want the other package either after you've opened it because hey, guess what, it's no leaner.
3. Running up to the Deli all out of breath, slamming your big fucking fingers into the freshly wiped windows and waiting impatiently for someone to serve you. I can practically feel those bulging eyes burning into the back of my scalp as I wipe down the slicer. I get that you have other things you need to do. But so do we and we'll get to you, don't worry.  

4. Come in at exactly 9:45, watch me clean the last few parts of my slicer for a bit and then ask:

"What time are you open till?"


And then happily reply, "Oh! I'm just in time!" With that dumb fucking happy-go-lucky smile on your face.
5. Those customers that want to "see" what meats have the most protein, less fat and lowest amount of sodium. This wouldn't be a problem if it was just one or two meats. But when I have to reach over the Deli counter to shove ten fucking chickens and turkeys in your face to have you not satisfied with any of them and walk away....makes me want to run at you with sharp objects, preferably a meat cleaver.
6. Customers who come up to you on their cellphones still in deep conversation and look at you expectantly. The conversation goes a little like this..

Me: "Hi there what can I get for y-" Delicusty

Customer: "Get me.."

10 second pause.

Customer to phone: "Yeah, I'm ordering now.."

Me waiting.

Customer to phone: "Well they have oven roasted chicken and turkey..."

Customer: "Okay give me the turkey."

I grab the turkey and bring it to the counter.

Customer: "Wait no come back."

I am summoned back and wait while they chat a little longer.

Customer to phone: "Well today's Thursday..I don't know, what do you want?.. It's 2.69 per 100 gram...are you sure they'll eat it?" 

Customer: "I want 200..of the chicken."

Me: "Sliced or shaved?"


Me: "Sliced or shaved?"

Customer: "Hmm?"

Me: "Would you like that S l i c e d or s h-"

Customer: "Sliced."

7. Come up to me with a fucking Turnip and shove it in my face without saying a word.

( I swear a lady did this to me once) What in the name of Lucifer am I supposed to do with a Turnip? This is a Deli.

So I ask her in the politest voice I can muster, can I help you?

She glares at me from over the counter and says "Cut this for me." 

Now we're not even supposed to cut your Kielbasa for you and you want me to cut a Turnip?

After five minutes of me trying to explain to her that our machines aren't made to cut that, we don't have the proper knives, a n d it's a safety hazard to even try, she storms off in such a fuss that she sticks the Turnip with the Watermelons. Dumbasssign

8. Putting 215 grams up on the scale after they've asked for 200 and getting yelled at because that one piece "wont get eaten."

9. Pronouncing meats in such a weird fucking way.

*Piri-Piri Chicken. Is pronounced PEee-rEee PEee-rEee. Not PIe-re PIe-re.

*Kielbasa. It's called koo-bah-sah Not Keel-ba-sa

10. Complaining that we "never have anything in."

And threatening that you might just switch grocery stores.

Ooooo, big fucking deal. Get on with it then, and I dont want to see you back here in a week. 




Sub Shop Slut

I agree with everything but the pronunciation. koo-bah-sah / keel-ba-sa sound EXACTLY the same coming from my mouth... sometimes we just can't help our accents? =/


I have never ever heard anyone call "kielbasa" "koo-bah-sah." Never ever. Not in the Midwest or the West Coast. If that's ignorance, it's pretty damn wide-spread.


lol! I'd be beyond confused if someone shoved a fucking turnip in my face, no matter what department I was on! xD


I am going to go along with SSS and Kelly on this one, I have pronounced it keel all my life, not knowing any different, and never been corrected on it...learn something new every day I guess!

TychaBrahe says kill- or keel-bah-sah. It also says, however, that in Bulgarian it's kulbasa. The writer is obviously from Europe.


I don't work in the deli but I have heard other customers call Jennie-O products, "genie-o", "jan-o" and "jen-o". I don't think that's an accent issue. I think its just the lack of reading comprehension.


I lived in polish town for a year and my friendly neighborhood polish deli pronounced it Kil-bah-sah.

Never heard koo-bah-sah.

I'm in chi-town. Maybe it's a regional thing?


I've always heard keel-basa in the states, even in advertisements. But then I will never fully understand some foreign languages. Why do the French use a whole alphabet when they only fucking pronounce half of it?

Michael Chandra

But where's the fun in pronouncing everything?
You know, my language (Dutch) used to use the french symbols to indicate how to pronounce something (mostly originating from French), but they got rid of that. It's a pain in the ass. The difference between "appèl" and "appel" is rather clear, the first is a juridical term, the second is an apple. And yes, you pronounce these in a different way. Imagine the confusing now that they got rid of the difference in spelling.


Pronunciation is so tricky sometimes but I gotta say, I've never once hear kielbasa pronounced with a 'koo' sound.

I once had to run a demo with minestrone and bruschetta. If I pronounced the 'e' on minestrone a custy would correct me. If I dropped the 'e' (the correct Italian version) a custy would correct me. If I pronounced bruschetta with a hard 'ch' sound people freaked but as soon as I used the soft 'ch' sound I'd be corrected by someone who actually has a clue about Italian cuisine. One of my favorite customers was an elderly Italian man who would come in just to chat for an hour or two so he hung around correcting people when they used the Americanized pronunciations. That made my life so much easier because the custys would either believe him or they'd run away from him. Either way, I get peace.


It's kiełbasa - with the L with a line through it, which is pronounced like a w. So it's more like "kiyewbasa" or "kiyebasa", but "kielbasa" is perfectly acceptable. My family's name was just pronounced with an L instead of an Ł when they came to the US, because English doesn't have all the letters of the Polish alphabet. But anyway, according to Wikipedia, Canadians use "kubasa" instead of the Ukrainian "kovbasa".

Sub Shop Slut

Wow I think it's funny that there's so much conversation about the pronunciation! "N/A"s post makes me laugh, I always say min-EH-trone-EH and bru-SCHet-tuh which both seem wrong according to that post n.n Oh well, i'm in New Jersey, we do everything back-asswards! lol


It's not that they're really wrong as such, just Americanized pronunciations. Of course technically bruschetta isn't even the tomato topping but rather the grilled bread. I had a few customers correct me on that too but there's only so much you can do while serving 'bruschetta' from a jar.


I remember a Canadian commercial voiceover that pronounced it "cue-basa." I still laugh over that one. But at least you can tell what they want!

I was at the deli at one of our big local supermarkets once and heard a woman at the hot foods ordering a panini. Except she pronounced it "pa-nya-ni". How did she even get that from 'panini'?


I work at a grocery store deli... I can totally sympathize because I have the same problems! (Minus the turnip incident...)

My personal favorite it when someone spends at least 10 minutes browsing the front case, and then when I ask what they'd like, they say "1 pound of the turkey." I swear, that makes me want to hit you over the head with something heavy. Even worse, when I ask WHAT KIND of turkey they will WHILE STARING AT THE FRONT CASE, say "Well, what kinds do you have?" I will just motion to the case and point out the 2 6-foot sections of the display that are full of turkey. If i'm in a particularly antagonistic mood then I'll play 20 questions with you just to point out how stupid a question that was. "do you want oven roasted or flavored? smoked? buffalo? Then onto brands from there.

Oh, and I once witnessed a physical BRAWL at the deli counter over who got to place their order first. Because you know, waiting the extra 3 minutes it would have taken you to be patient is just too difficult for some people. Luckily the store manager was standing nearby and saw it happen... he's a big burly-looking guy and promptly kicked them both out of the store while threatening to call the police if they didn't leave. :)

NC Tony

And of course number six drives everyone crazy, doesn't matter where you work. Some douchebag comes along with their phone stuck to their ear (or if they're an extra large douche, they have their bluetooth on) ignoring you and acting like you're being rude for interrupting their phone call, while you're trying to do your job. It's illegal to talk on a cell phone when you're driving, it should be illegal to talk on your cell while you're being rung up.


"Cue-basa" is mostly correct; it's certainly closer than "keel-basa" or "koo-basa". The "e" on the end of minestrone is pronounced, just not as "ee". The "ch" in bruschetta is a hard "c". Customers are dickbags. So now you know.


Every definition website I've been to have thus far pronounced it "keel-basa" or "kill-basa" It might/must be a European pronunciation.

We sell bialys where I work and half of the customers pronounce it "Bi-ali" instead of "Bee-ali". I had to look it up to be sure myself. I thought it was an Italian baked good until I found out it was a Russin/Jewish/Polish creation. Who would have thought...

I don't know much about working in a deli, but all of those sound pretty annoying.


Okay, I can sympathise with some of those. Dunno what this Keelbasa thingy is?
I work at a supermarket deli in Australia. We do everything; sliced and shaved meats, olives, sausages, cheeses, cooked chicken, raw chicken, bacon products and seafood-so we get lots of opportunities for weird behaviour.

We only do three variety of turkey, plus two type of chicken. however we do a dozen varieties of ham so we get the same crazy conversations (just go back to the previous comments and sustitute ham for turkey)...I'll have ham...what variety?...leg ham...what type...250grams...which ham?..leg ham...umm, okay, we have several varieties, what FLAVOUR of ham do you want?

Love the customer glued to their phone (not!!). I get that you sometimes have to call hubby to ask what fish he wants for dinner,but that only takes a couple of seconds. Don't hog my deli counter while you hold an entire business meeting unless you want me making loud and innapropriate comments that they will hear on the other end of the line.

The evil cousin of the cell phone person is the one that just can't unplug their Ipod earphones for a minute while I serve them...I get that you loooove listening to your tunes while you shop, I also it, but just put it on stop/pause for a minute.

Also hate the people who meet up with friends at my deli counter then gather in a cluster...along with various hubbies, kids and shopping trollies while they catch up on 10years worth of news. Sure its great that you guys haven't met up in a while, but isn't there more comfortable places to catch up then in the middle of a supermarket? go to the cafe or swap phone numbers, please!

Yep, I recognise customers 1, 2 and 5. at our deli we pre-slice and shave all our meats. Its supposed to make things easier and faster. That doesn't mean I have time to turn over every...single....slice...of...ham in the stack so you can pick the best ones. Nor will I take the stack apart because you reckon the top pieces look too dry.

If I tell you that item can't be sliced any thinner cos it will crumple, believe me! I slice this stuff for a living, remember?

Do you also have the customers that make you groan when you see them coming? the ones that make you, suddenly, find a desperate desire to go hide in the coolroom till they go?

Ponda the Deli Panda

We have Jennie-o and sara lee products in my wonder what they want when they ask for sara-o and jennie-lee lol. My pet peeve is when they ask you to open a new package of meat because they dont want the last pound or two off the butt of it...but don't realize that when I open a new one they will still be getting the butt end.
Or when they order roast beef and you ask if they need anything else b/c the slicer will get very messy and they tell you no but decide they need oven roast chicken afterwards and get pissy about you having to sanitize the slicer after the beef... >:(


I sell tea, and the South African red tea, rooibos, is pronounced "roy-bos" like a cross between bus and boss, but you hear everything. The Chinese and Israeli women who briefly worked with us both pronounced it "ruby-os" and I've heard customers throw a D in there.

Burger Bitch

Ugh, fuck me. I hate cell phone custy's, I honestly think they're the worst.
You can either talk to me, for the thing you fucking came here for, or the person on the phone.
Not both.


If a douchebag won't stop their cell conversation when they step up to my coffee counter, I just lean around them, paste a big smile on my face, and say "Can I get something started for the next person in line?" Sometimes it makes the douchebag hang up in a hurry; other times I can take the next person's order, ring it up, accept payment, AND make their drinks, all while the douchebag is still yapping. Either way, I am not, repeat, NOT, waiting for them to be ready! We are supposed to get every customer out the door in three minutes or less--no self-entitled piece of shit is gonna fuck that up for me! (Mind you, I ALWAYS give superior customer service while I do this...and I make drinks really really quickly.)


Majuba, kielbasa is Polish sausage. Comes in fresh, smoked or the ever-popular Easter favorite which includes lots of marjoram (herb). Well, those are the traditional forms, now it's also available with cheese, extra-hot, etc.

Oh, those big groups, I hate those too! I call them family reunions. Honestly, why do people think it's OK to block aisles or access to a counter with their six unruly kids, babies in strollers and eighteen other assorted friends and relatives? Go visit somewhere else, preferably at home!

Projector Peon

Oh, those people standing around gabbing always bugged me. Why? Because the managers would bitch me out for not helping the custys. They saw people and thought I was ignoring them. Grrrr.

As for the biggest pet peeve I had while working in a grocery store deli? The custys who needed me to walk around the counter to hand them their order. That in itself wasnt' the problem. It was that as soon as my back was turned, they had no problem reaching the free samples that were up top. Just a note, stainless steel is reflective enough that I could tell what you were doing behind me.

Deli brat (Rheannon)

I slice cheese, chicken, ham, turkey and sausage in my deli.. among other random deli meats. I REALLLLYYY relate to the closing at ten thing. I am also off at ten. customers dotn reaalize it takes forever to clean then sanitize my entire dept...then to have them order at 945? wtf! i then have to clean my slicer, counter, whiteboard, wrap station, scale, and redo my floors then retake out that trash that I used...and if we get overtime we get in trouble...I hate closing oye!


I used to work in a little corner deli back in the day. Mostly pretty good work, despite the 6am startup. Hated getting up at 5am, all summer, and walking waaaaay down the street to work. Plus my mom bitching "Why don't you go out with your friends, don't you HAVE friends". Yeah, I do and I also get up at 5am, so I go to bed by 11! Sheesh.

The work was OK, busy breakfast, then some lunch/appy, then home by 4:30. Cool coworkers, money off the books, could eat whatever we wanted (within reason), few kooks. No prob. Plus I didn't have to work with the creepy owner, who wore the same clothes EVERY day and was rumored to be a "fan" of teenage boys, so not going there ...

My big peev was the liverwurst, still can't look at it to this day. That shit would mess up a slicer something fierce, then if you forgot and put something else on before cleaning it, crap, there's even more mess. Then there was the headcheese, damn that stuff BOUNCES when you put it on the pile, and it smells funny. One dude came in every so often for a headcheese hero, mega mustard. I would see him crossing the street towards us and suddenly have to use the restroom ...

Overall a decent summer gig, but you know you've worked there too long when you have nightmares about giant muenster cheeses invading from outer space, flying through the sky and shooting lasers at you! Quitting time ...


I did have someone toss me my cold cuts at a counter once. It was mega crowded, no way for him to come around the counter, so I went long and caught the roast beef and salami! No, I did not then spike it and do a touchdown dance ... ;-)


Ugh, I HATED it when people would show up five minutes before closing and ask for meat when they SAW me just finishing cleaning the slicer. Technically we were still open, technically there was nothing wrong about them asking for meat to be sliced, but it was STILL annoying!

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