From Staypuft, October, 2009:
I was once an assistant manager for a well known drug store that served ice cream by the scoop in Southern California. During a very hot summer night the line was almost out the door as I was quickly getting as many of my customers their favorite scoops of ice creamy goodness.
This evening was the classic case of everything that can go wrong, did go wrong. I was the only manager on duty that night, so being in charge of customer complaints, slow moving lines at the pharmacy, the many returns made by customers made my head spin. Not to mention being short two crew members this evening did not make matters any easier.
Surprisingly the customers, for the most part, were happy just to be experiencing air conditioning. They took magazines off the nearby racks and read quietly as they saw me hustling around as fast as I could taking care of business. Each customer that I helped in that line wore a smile upon their face as I cheerfully greeted each one and gave them an extra large scoop. Almost like a scoop and a half for waiting in such a long line.
A middle aged lady walks up to the counter. She must have been wearing three pounds of make up. Amy Winehouse and Bozo the clown would have been proud to see the art work that she had on her face. Adorning herself with every piece of jewelry in that would have made the home shopping network look cheap.
I look up and squint against the gleaming of golds and reds, no, I am not talking about the jewelry, I'm talking about her clown makeup. But the shine coming off her bling was not helping either.
"Hello! What can I get for you?" I ask politely.
" Hmmmm .. yess," she snears.. " I would like a scoop of vanilla."
"Ok! would you like that in a cup or a cone?" I ask.
"Hmmmm... a scoop of Vanilla...yes.. in a cup. In a cup." she grunts that would put fear into any horror movie monster.
"Alright! no problem.. one scoop of vanilla in a cup, coming up." I re-verify every order every time since my stock on cups and cones were running low. Throwing away supplies was something I didn't like doing nor afford.
I turn around and show her the cup, rinse off the scooper and dive into the vanilla ice cream. Cheerfully, I present her with a a cup with a very impressive scoop of vanilla.
You could have heard the crickets outside the door laughing.
Her make up almost cracked like the pavement in the parking lot as I attempted to hand her the cup. "NO! I wanted a CONE! Do it again!"
With the air conditioning on full blast, the frigid air of the freezers below me, I lost my cool. And the volcano within began to bubble.
"Madam... I asked you if you wanted a cup or a cone. You said "A cup" I verified it with you and you saw me take a cup from the counter and scoop the ice cream in. You never said a cone."
"I said a CONE! I stood here for three hours waiting for ice cream.." She barked.
"No madam.. you did not stand here for three hours so don't try to make it sound like you did. If you do not want this ice cream, there is the door. You have a nice day." I said gritting my teeth.
Suddenly the crowd behind her starts to grumble and shift like an earthquake.
"Everyone here heard me tell you I want a CONE!" Her voice shrills, hurting my ears.
I look at everyone behind her.. their patience has been drained already. In unison, like a gospel church choir, all of them sang " YOU ASKED FOR A CUP!" a few shouts of "get outta here" and "here is your cone" as they grabbed their crotch area came at her like a barrage of gunfire from a WWII machine gun.
With her final stroke of dignity she turned to me and demanded to see The"F"ing Manager.
I looked down, picked up my name badge that clearly shows my title. Silence... like the coming of the storm, the volcano within erupted. I raise up my eyes to meet hers and say "You see this....I am the "F"ing manager. GET THE "F" OUT OF MY STORE..... NOW."
She leaves having much of her mascara puddling on the floor while the crowd cheers. With each of the following customers that night I asked them to please call the 1 800 number on their receipts and give my store a rating upon customer service.
I got a call from my district manager the following week. He congratulated me on a successful amount of feedback. However, he mentioned one particular lady that had a bad experience while getting ice cream. When I told him the whole story, he shrugged it off and said to keep up the good work.