All through college, I worked in the cafe of a major chain bookstore. Most of the time, it was actually a lot of fun, since all of us who worked there were around the same age and liked to make mischief. But, of course, there were plenty of SCs and nutbars...
Fuck You and Your Americano
So it's the weekend, and it's really busy. This woman with the face of a perpetually constipated ogre comes up to the register and asks for a decaf iced coffee. Now, here's the thing: we didn't brew decaf iced coffee, because hardly anyone ever asked for it, and we'd found that pouring the hot decaf over ice wound up making it taste like butt. So what we'd do in this situation is make a decaf iced Americano, which is basically watered down espresso. We'd always ask people if this was okay before going ahead and doing it, because some peeps just weren't interested.
Me: Well, we don't have decaf iced coffee, but I can make you a decaf iced Americano instead.
SC: WHAT?! That doesn't make any sense! How can you not have... *cell phone rings* *answers phone*
Me: Uh, ma'am...
SC: *sticks her finger in my face to silence me*
CW: *wide-eyed* *steps in and asks the next person in line what she'd like*
SC: *has a short, very angry conversation, then shoves her phone into her purse* Okay...now WHAT were you saying you could make me?
Me: An Americano, which is watered-down espresso...
SC: NO, I CAN'T HAVE ESPRESSO! WHAT'S THE MATTER WITH YOU?! I HAVE TO HAVE DECAF! JUST...FORGET IT! *starts to walk away*
Me: Ma'am, we have decaf espresso, that's why I was...
SC: FUCK YOU!
On the plus side, the next person in line thought the SC was a total psycho and said she felt bad that I had to deal with stuff like that.
I was not Aware of this Line Phenomenon...
Another busy day. There's this guy standing near the tea rack, to the side of the line. He's doing a whole lot o' nothin'. The two CWs who were there at the time notice him, but don't pay him much mind, because there's a line to tend to. Suddenly, after he's stood there about ten minutes, he explodes.
SC: What the HELL do I have to do to get some service? I've been standing here FOREVER and you haven't even LOOKED AT ME!
CW: ...sir, you haven't been in line...
SC: *steps up and leans across the counter* Well, I've been WAITING and I want to get served NOW! *rants and raves and pounds on the counter*
A manager wound up having to be called, simply because he was so livid and leaning so far over that there was concern he might jump the counter. Oy vey! You'd think he would've figured out he wasn't standing in the right place after a few minutes. But apparently, the mechanics of the Mystical Line were beyond his comprehension.
I am a Miserable Old Guy, Bow Before Me
This guy came in a number of times over the course of about a week and a half. We hated him intensely, because he sucked intensely.
One day, he comes in and gets a bagel, toasted, with butter chips on the side. When he orders, he's angry -- strangely, unreasonably angry, like I ran over his dog and laughed about it or something. Well, whatever. We get his bagel -- and it sits, on the counter, for about 15 minutes before he comes to get it.
Next day (and I emphasize: next flippin' day
, far past the consumption of bagel), he comes back. He's still angry -- but now, it's tinged with RIGHTEOUS FURY, for he has been WRONGED!
MOG: Yesterday, I ordered a bagel with butter, and when I got it, the butter was melted! I demand a refund!
Me: (Could this not be because you didn't pick it up until 15 MINUTES AFTER IT WAS READY?!) All right, I just have to call a manager.
Store Manager comes up, and has us...give him a new bagel for free, which is ridiculous. But oh well.
A few days later, he graces us with his presence yet again.
MOG: I want a reuben, and I want you to take the cheese off. NOW LISTEN! The last time I got a reuben here, it had cheese on it, even though I asked for no cheese, and I had to return it! So you had better take the cheese off this time!!
Argle blargle! What the crap, old man? Why do you keep coming back if everything displeases you so? Anyway, I get one of our delicious, pre-packaged reubens out of the fridge, unwrap it, and start taking the cheese off. Apparently, I'm doing it all wrong, for he keeps angrily critiquing my every move. Part of me wants to throw the sandwich at his face. The other part of me, honestly, wants to crawl into one of the cabinets and curl up until my shift is over.
Meanwhile, CW was preparing to brew a new pot of coffee...
MOG: WHAT ARE YOU DOING? Why are you putting the filter in already? Shouldn't you wash the basket first in case there are any grounds in it? Jesus Christ! What's the matter with you people?!
CW, who's thrown a bit off balance, rinses the basket to placate him. I, meanwhile, get his sandwich ready and get him away from the counter.
BUT THEN HE COMES BACK.
MOG: This isn't hot enough in the middle! All you people do is screw up! I want to speak to a manager!
I call the SM. This time, nothing ridiculous happens; in fact, whatever SM said to him that night, it either pissed him off pretty well (not a hard feat, I guess) or set him straight, because he never came back.
Don't get Your Master's in Dance
This one's semi-sucky, but more so just very nutty.
First time I dealt with her, it was late on a Sunday night. That was always the slowest time of the entire week, so I was rockin' it alone while my CW was on break. She was the first customer who'd come up in about ten minutes. To be honest, I can't really remember what she ordered this time around; that's not what stuck in my mind. What DID stick is all the stuff she started unloading on me.
Dance Lady: I work at Chain Furniture Store, and my manager doesn't like me to take breaks. I usually don't eat dinner, and I don't ask to, because I'm afraid he's gonna fire me! *starts to cry* I just can't believe what a mess my life is...I wish I'd done things differently. I have a Master's in DANCE! Can you believe that? WHY DID I DO THAT? It's useless, now!
I get her a glass of water and some tissues, because to be honest, I kind of feel bad for her. And there were no other customers anywhere in sight. After she's finished crying, she thanks me, makes sure she gets my name, and promises to remember me. Well, okay. That's cool, I guess, and I'm glad I helped her feel better. I don't see her again for a very long time.
But then, one day, she comes back. It's a much busier day, so there's some chaos, as is pretty typical. She orders a slice of cheesecake and two sandwiches, which she doesn't want us to grill or to even unwrap.
DL: I have to get back to work at Chain Furniture Store as quickly as possible. God, I hate that job so much, but I just can't find another one! I got my Master's in DANCE! Well, THAT was a mistake...
Me: Gee, um...I'm sorry.
DL: Oh, it's all right. HEY, WHAT ARE YOU DOING?
I turn around, and see a CW unwrapping her sandwiches. He hadn't heard her request. Oh shiz.
DL: I told you NOT to unwrap them! GOD, I'M GONNA BE LATE IF YOU DO THAT, AND HE'LL FIRE ME, I JUST KNOW IT!
Me: Oh, uh, we can just re-wrap them, it's not a prob...
DL: NO, NO, NO THAT'LL TAKE TOO LONG!
CW, who is startled, drops one of the sandwiches on the floor. Oh shiz!
DL: NOW YOU WASTED IT! Oh my god! Oh my god, just nevermind! JUST NEVERMIND I DON'T CARE! Oh my god, I'm gonna get fired if I don't get back there in time! Just take that one off! No, don't get another one, I just won't buy it! OH MY GOD OH MY GOD!
Me: *trying to be sweet as hell to avoid her wrath* It's okay, you'll get there in time! Are you sure you don't want us to grab another sandwich? It'll only take a second.
DL: *suddenly extremely calm and nice* Oh no, that's okay. Don't worry about it. You're so nice. I'm gonna tell the managers about how nice you are.
Me: Oh, okay, thanks... *hastily cashes her out*
We then proceed to watch her as she leisurely browses through the bargain bin on the bookfloor. She had freaked out over getting back to work on time -- yet she spends another 45 minutes, at least, in the store.
She returns the following Sunday. It's dead, as usual, but when she comes up, there are two of us there. Now, CW starts tidying up in the dining area, because he recognizes her and doesn't want to deal with her. I, meanwhile, fret over getting caught in another conversation about her personal woe. She orders tea and a slice of cheesecake; I see this as an opportunity to avoid further time alone with her.
Me: Hey, CW! Can you get this slice of cheesecake for me?
CW: *gives me a look, but starts to come over*
DL: *suddenly and frighteningly angry* Why can't you
get it? You're right here!
Me: *stunned* I...well... *trying to think of things to say that will calm her down* I guess I could
get it. Yes, you're right. I...was just being lazy.
CW: *reaches the pastry case and pulls out the cheesecake*
Me: *making a big show of things* Oh, CW, that's okay! I can get it! I'm sorry I called you!
DL: *calm and sweet again* No no, I'm sorry. That's okay. I'm sorry. I was just wondering, that's all.
CW presents the slice, casts me a quick glance, then walks briskly toward the back room. I attempt to cash out DL, but she wants to talk more about the doom of Chain Furniture Store, and I can't think of what to say to stop her. Out of the corner of my eye, I can see CW looking at me through the porthole in one of the double doors that leads to the back. I turn to look at him, and he's making this silly, twisted face that screams, "CUCKOO!" In spite of myself, I laugh. OH SHIZ!
DL: *angry and scary again* Is he laughing at me? Are you
laughing at me?
Me: Uh...no! No, I... *thinking as quickly as possible*I just saw him slip and almost fall in the back. I'm laughing at that. I...guess I'm a terrible person. Um, anyway, this is your total.
I cashed her out, but before she left...
DL: I just want to let you know that I'm sorry about the other day, with the sandwiches. I just don't want to get fired, and he WOULD fire me. I need a new job. Why did I get my Master's in Dance?
Before I left that job, I saw her once more -- in the New Age section of the blookfloor. She stopped me and tried to talk to me about my chakras. Go figure.