Feb 242009
Authors: Brian Lancaster

Ladies and gentlemen, I have, for the last few months or so, been working at a restaurant-ish type place, and I have to admit, I actually really like it.

It’s just barely above minimum wage, but honestly, I have not enjoyed an hourly job more than when I work at this place.

And yet, people still seem to find a way to make working – and this is at any hourly job, really – a nightmare, at times. A lot of people, who I will call “customers,” just so we have a handy word of reference, seem to find ways of making my life miserable.

Not all of these people are awful, and in fact, a good majority of the customers I deal with are quite friendly and personable. But there are still those certain customers who cause such feelings to stir within my breast that I honestly just cannot deal with them past a certain point.

The best part about these troublesome consumers is that they all usually fall within a couple categories. The rest of this column is going to be a catalogue — or a handy guide — to these classifications of awful customers.

I hope that you can use this to determine if you are one of these customers and take the proper steps to remedy the situation. Indefinite solitary confinement springs to mind.

The Cellphone Abuser

This obviously had to be the first on my list. Nothing irks me more than someone who is too self-important and rude to even think about hanging up their precious cell phone.

Heaven forbid this person think about the world around them for just long enough to realize that they are showing their cashier or whoever is trying to help them a decent amount of respect.

It makes sense, considering that cashiers and retail workers usually make just above minimum wage and are, therefore, scum of the earth (sarcasm).

Seriously, have some decency people. Hang up the damn phone. Nothing is that important. And if, by some freak chance, you do get a phone call when you’re about to order, and it’s actually an important phone call, do you know where you should go?

Straight out of the line until you hang up.

Really, I think this is a fairly simple concept, but some people are just too hung up on their own self-importance to hang up the phone.

How sad.

The Indecisive One

This person is really a problem in food establishments, especially if there is a line or a central place where you order your food, rather than a wait-staff to help you. This person doesn’t know what they want – except they do know they were next in line.

I often use the phrase “I can help whoever is ready” when I am available, but it usually doesn’t matter. I might as well substitute the word “next” for ready.

And don’t think I can’t tell that you’re not ready. You’re looking at the menu intently, casually chewing on the samples that we leave by the door, and you’re taking your time moving toward me, saying the words “I’m gonna need .” and letting it hang, as if you know what you want, but you’re just double-checking the menu — it’s not fooling anyone.

It’s as if you don’t know that the time you spend waiting in line could be used for making a decision. Weird.

These people make me hate my job, and they reinforce my personal belief that everyone should spend at least a year of their life with a job in the retail or food industries. Maybe then I would be a happier, nicer person.

But probably not.

Brian Lancaster is a senior English major. His column appears Wednesdays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

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