The Customer – Always Right?

The little boy stood at the counter, his chin almost resting on the edge. “Can I have some ranch sauce, please?” he asked. Cute? Well, it was cute the first time. And sort of the second time. But this was his third trip.

It all started when a large family came in today while I was at work. There were two grandparents, two sets of parents, and about five children. It appeared that they were all traveling together. They ordered 40 chicken nuggets, a quarter pound burger, a hamburger, and two large drinks. They asked for barbecue, hot mustard, ranch, and honey mustard to go with their nuggets.

I began to get their order together as it came up from the kitchen. The only thing special they had requested was that their nuggets be extra crispy. While I was waiting for them to finish cooking, I started putting the rest of the order on a tray on the counter. The only problem was, every time I turned around, the tray wasn’t there. One of the family members would snatch it up each time I turned my back, and carry it over to where the rest of the clan was seated. Then they would send someone else to lie in wait for the next morsel of food.

Meanwhile, they admired our display of three cups that was sitting up on a shelf, showing the different sizes of drinks. “Your Monopoly game ended yesterday, right?” the mother asked.

“Yes, it did,” the cashier replied. “But we are still accepting winning game pieces.”

“Oh, ok,” the mother said. Then she reached out and took the medium and large cup (the only ones with game pieces) off the display and proceeded to peel off the game pieces. She kept the game pieces and gave the cups to her children. They went and filled them with soda.

After all of their food was gone – or at least I think they got it all – the parade started. One of the mothers stood at the counter holding her quarter pound burger.

“This is disgusting!” she exclaimed, while the customers in line turned to stare. “I can’t eat this.”

“What seems to be the problem?” I asked, trying to be the perfect concerned manager, while secretly hoping that she just forgot to tell me she didn’t want onions.

“Look at this,” she said, opening the box and pointing to her burger. “This burger has been sitting back there at least an hour and a half. The bread is stale and the meat is raw.”

I had just seen the kitchen crew toast the bread and cook the meat (which was not pink at all) but I did not point these things out to her. Instead I said, “I am so sorry about this, Ma’am. I will get them to make you a fresh one right away.”

I took the burger into the kitchen and asked for a new one to be made, this time with the meat extra well done. By the time I got back up front, the lady’s husband was standing at the counter holding the hamburger.

“You can’t expect my mother to eat this,” he said, opening the wrapper and showing me a perfect hamburger. “Why, the meat is raw.”

Again I apologized as politely as I could, and again I made a trip to the kitchen to request yet another sandwich with extra well done meat.

Then the sauce parade started. All five of the kids took turns coming to the counter and asking for sauces. Our policy is to give out four sauces for each 20 piece nugget, and since they had ordered 40 nuggets and four different kinds of sauce, I had given them two of each with their order. But each kid had to come and ask for sauces, and each kid wanted at least three of his chosen flavor. By the time the sauce parade stopped, I’m pretty sure they had a whole packet of sauce for each and every one of their extra-crispy nuggets.

Now it was time for seconds. One of the older girls came up and ordered a free quarter pound burger – using a game piece that her mother (or aunt) had most likely gotten off of one of the cups from our display. This time I was taking no chances. I ordered it with the meat extra well done without the girl having to ask.

Then one of the boys asked for some ice cream, again using a game piece to get it for free. By this time I was not sure if there would be anything left in our store by the time they were done.

Finally they began to pack up their things to leave. All of the extra sauce packets found their way into purses, and all of the soda cups (including the ones off the display) were refilled. They all went out the door, and I breathed a sigh of relief.

Then one of the boys came running back in. Breathless, he stood at the counter.

“Can I help you?” I asked as politely as I possibly could at this point.

“Yes,” he said. “I need eight forks and eight spoons.”

“What do you need them for?” I asked, trying my best to put up a feeble protest to this last uncalled-for pillaging of my store.

“My mom is going to fix dinner later and we don’t want to have to do dishes.”

I gave them to him. I know I probably shouldn’t have, but at this point, I just wanted them all gone.


On the death of bugs

After I lost my friend Joy, I wasn't quite sure how to deal with my loss and explain it to Trip. He had just turned three at the time. Joy was like a grandmother to both of us, and he loved to go over to her house. I took him to visit her in the hospital a couple times, but after she was gone I didn't know what to do.

I decided not to take him to the funeral. I wanted the freedom to be able to cry, to grieve, without a little boy to try and comfort.

But after a while he started asking about her. “Mommy, is Miss Joy home from the hospital? Mommy, can we go over to Miss Joy's so she can give me crackers and read me a story?”

As best as I could, I explained to Trip that Miss Joy was with Jesus now, and when Jesus comes to take us to live with him in heaven, Miss Joy will be there too. I had to explain to him a bit of how death was, that it's not reversible. He was upset but seemed to take it pretty well. When we drove past a cemetery, I explained to him that was where all the people who had died were, with the tombstones that were signs telling all of their names.

When the one year anniversary of her death came, I decided to share this time with Trip. He still remembers her and the times we used to have with her. So I took him to the store and we picked out some flowers and went together to put them on her grave.

A few weeks later, Trip and I were driving in the car and were discussing some pesky bugs we are trying to get rid of around the house. I explained to him that I was trying to kill them, but some of them would take a while to get rid of.

He thought about it for a while, and then said, “Mommy, when they all die, we will take them to a bug cemetery and bury them and make little tiny signs that says 'BUG'. OK?”

I wasn't sure what to say.


Wii diet

Two years after my daughter was born, I decided it was time to get serious about losing the weight I had put on while pregnant with both of my kids. So two weeks ago I got a Fitbit Flex. It looks like a bracelet, but it measures your activity throughout the day. There is an app that goes with it on my phone, which allows me to log what I eat, and shows me a real-time graph of how many calories I have eaten vs. burned.

But my scale doesn’t have a battery right now, and I haven’t got one around the house. And of course I can never remember to buy one when I’m at the store. So I am using my Wii Fit program both as an exercise program and as a scale. When I start my daily workout, it will weigh me first and then say out loud “That’s Obese!”

Tonight it said “That’s Overweight!”

I got excited and started jumping up and down. Tommy just looked at me and shook his head.

“You’re the first woman I’ve ever seen get excited when the TV tells her she’s fat.”

A lesson in perspective

I had an interesting day at work today. I figure there are two ways to look at this.

Day #1:

  • I had to do a lot of chores that someone else was supposed to do.
  • Several people were grumpy.
  • I was forced to stay an hour past the time I was supposed to get off.
  • It was hot in the store today and I was sweating all day.

Day #2

  • I did so many chores today that I met my 10,000 step goal on my pedometer half an hour before I got off work. I'll get to relax tonight.
  • I had the opportunity to cheer up several people.
  • I got to work an extra hour so my paycheck will be larger.
  • Even though it is 106 degrees outside, it didn't feel too hot when I left work.
I was assembling orders together during lunch today, and one of the kitchen staff got my attention.

“Why are you so excited? Are our times really good?”

“No, our times are terrible,” I replied.

“Then why are you happy?” he asked.

“Well, as I see it, there are two ways to look at things. I can be happy about them or I can be cranky. I think it's better on me and all of you if I'm happy.”

He looked at me and shook his head.

But I like day #2 better than day #1.

I think I'll keep it.


The start of a blog

So I have decided to start a blog, just to have a place to talk and ramble about life’s various quirks.

20130805-161242.jpgI haven’t written for over a year. On July 17, 2012, I lost one of my dearest friends to leukemia. Her name was Joy Conner. I began to work for her several years before that. Although I was supposed to be “helping” with the computer, as our friendship grew we spent more time talking and less time actually working on boring stuff. She wanted to write a screenplay, and her life’s dream was to have the movie premiered here in our small town. I typed up one of her screenplays, and together we wrote another three. None of them were ever published or sold, but we had so much fun writing together.

Then she got leukemia. It came fast and hard. In April we got the diagnosis. In July she was gone. I cried for weeks. Afterwards I couldn’t bear to write. So I decided to take a year off from writing, kind of like a year of mourning. Now I’m ready to move on and write some more. Maybe I’ll end up writing something that sells.

It would make her proud.