Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Bad Service: A How Not To Guide

Recently, I did a show in the Bronx. It was part of Farragosto, an Italian Festival on Arthur Road. Each year, I am part of a commedia dell’arte troupe. We basically operate in ensemble style all day, and from festival start to strike we perform with a lunch break in between. Each year, we go to this market where the customer service staff is so rude but the food is so good.

The cast of characters includes a surly father, his rude, spoiled surly daughter, and a grandfather who doesn’t want to be there either. All are very old school Italian mind you. Sure, this is the way we would all like to do customer service. But if we did customer service this way, we would be fired.

Begin scene, my boss Jessica steps up to the counter to order.

Jessica: How much is a plate of broccoli raabe?

Counter Girl: How should I know?

Jessica: Well how much is it usually?

Counter Girl: I dunno, you gotta weigh it.

Jessica: How much is it typically, let’s say for a pound?

Counter Girl: You’re acting like I know. You gotta weigh it. He’s the one that’s gotta weigh it and he’s busy. You got to wait your turn.

Jessica and I exchange a glance.

The Counter Guy Enters.

Jessica: Excuse me, how much is a plate of broccoli raabe?

Counter Guy: I dunno, you gotta weigh it. And it’s her job to weigh it, but she don’t want to weigh it.

Jessica: Can you weigh it?

Counter Guy: I can, but I’m busy weighing all the food my daughter doesn’t want to weigh.

The Grandfather enters. He is tired, possibly from dealing with his idiot son and moron granddaughter. 

Grandfather: Alright, I’ll weigh it. 

Grandfather weighs it and rings Jessica up without incident. 

I am up next. The Counter Girl is having a yelling match with another customer.

Counter Girl: You gotta wait in line.

Guy: But I just wanted a slice of pizza.

Counter Guy: Yeah, but the line is over there. NEXT!

Counter Girl turns to me

Counter Girl: What do you want?

Me: Octopus salad.

Counter Girl: Okay, you gotta weigh it.

Me: How much is it usually?

Counter Girl: I said you gotta weigh it.  Didn’t you hear me? You gotta wait ten minutes too.

Me: Okay.

Stepping to the side, I see I have no choice. The Counter Girl begins fussing and swearing because she is forced to do her job. Other’s approach

Man: I want a plain pie.

Counter Guy: We don’t have a plain pie.

Man: You don’t have a plain pizza pie?

Counter Guy: What do you expect me to do, pull it out of my pocket? It’s just the three of us working here.

Man: Then I guess I will go eat somewhere else.

Counter Guy: You go do that. Look at this man, he wants everything, he wants nothing, he wants everything again. He can’t make up his mind.

Man walks away peeved. The line continues to grow.

Grandfather approaches me

Grandfather: Sweetheart, are you being helped?

Me: Yeah, just ordered. I am wondering where my ocopus salad is.

Counter Guy: We’re taking care of it.

Counter Girl: Next. Come on, step up. I got things to do.

My octopus salad arrives.

I pay.

I escape to my table. Yes, it is delicious and was (almost) worth the hassle). 

Now do these people all need fired, or do they need a medal or doing and saying what anyone and everyone with a customer service job has wanted to say.

You decide.

The End


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