When you work in food service, or in retail for that matter, it’s a dead certainty that you’re going to meet and interact with (and have to be polite to) some serious wack-jobs. People say and do mean things, dumb things, crazy things, all the time (especially when coffee’s involved, I’ve learned). I’m used to it. But yesterday’s crazy takes the cake, simply because I still have no idea what the fuck happened.
It was unbelievably busy, first of all, so it wasn’t a good time for this to begin with, and there was a line about a mile long stringing into the cafe. This woman sidles up to the pastry case as I was trying to take orders ahead of time. “Can I get something started for you?” I asked her. “You ain’t got no doughnuts or nothin’?” she asked. I apologized and told her, no, we don’t have doughnuts and then I wrote down her drink order and moved on with my life.
Ten minutes later, I was on my fifteen eating a cheddar jalapeño pretzel and drinking coffee when I saw her get up from her table in the back of the cafe with an almost completely full Strawberry Banana Vivanno in her hand, and I immediately knew she was coming to complain about it. You can just tell after a while. I silently thanked God that I was on my fifteen; I just don’t have the fortitude to deal with these crazy ass customers and their nonsensical complaints. Anyway, I figured she was just going to say she didn’t like it or something normal like that.
“Excuse me,” said the crazy lady as she approached the counter. “Is this supposed to be a hot drink?”
My boss, Max, put on her gameface, her I’m-going-to-be-so-polite-it-will-kill-you face, and said: “No, ma’am. Is your drink not cold enough?” (Sometimes the customers get confused about what temperature a drink is supposed to be. I can’t tell you how many customers order mochas but what they want is a mocha frappucino. Pisses me the hell off.)
“No,” said Crazy Lady. “It’s hot inside.”
Max took the drink from Crazy Lady’s outstretched hand, felt it, and without betraying what I know she must have been thinking, replied: “. . . It feels pretty cold on the outside.” She was talking slowly, like, do I really have to explain this?
Crazy Lady didn’t miss a beat: “Yeah, on the outside, but inside it’s hot, when I drink it.” She sighed. “That’s why I asked you if it was supposed to be a hot drink.” She said this like what she was saying was normal and obvious.
“Do you want me to remake it?” asked Max.
“No, because it’ll just be hot again. It’s a hot drink. What about that strawberry frappucino thing?”
Max’s face twitched a little. I could tell she was trying to figure out a way to get through to this lady. “I can make you that, sure, but just so you know, it’s going to be the same temperature as the smoothie.” She paused. “Cold. With ice.”
Crazy Lady shook her head, oblivious to Max’s underlying meaning. “No, I’ve had it before and it’s cold. This . . .” she shook the smoothie in her hand, “is hot.”
So Max made her a strawberries and cream frappucino and she went away happy. Happy and crazy, because seriously? What the fuck. After Crazy was back in her seat, Max took the “hot” rejected smoothie and held it up to my arm. I squealed, because it was fucking COLD.
“Oh, I’m sorry,” said Max. “Did I burn you?”