No one deserves to be treated poorly, especially when they are doing their job and no mistakes are being made. However, some people love the sound of their own voice so much they have to let everyone have it as much as they can. Even if this means making a scene in public, embarrassing their spouse, and attacking young service industry workers.
I’m sure you have a picture in your mind already of the kind of person I’m talking about. And unfortunately, “Krista” has plenty of experience in the subject. She knew it was going to be a lousy holiday season working at “the “small corporate chain restaurant” she’s been at for seven years. She knew all about who to watch out for, who to play it cool, with and who to keep your head down around. Most of the time she kept to herself even though she had a “pretty good relationship with management.” This holiday season was different though. The place was understaffed and it was as busy as ever. And this combination meant the workers had their fair share of dramatics to deal with. “Mr. Loud Mouth” is the prime example.
At The Drop Of A Hat
Each person who has worked in the service industry has their own harboring tales of terrible customers. If they all weren’t such awful people it would probably be comical and some workers do cope with humor. It’s almost like collectors cards. Two Karens, a Chad, a party of 11 or more, etc. It’s not hard to rack them up when people only seem to get worse and worse. And then to make matters even tougher, management does little to nothing in an effort to help their team. Krista watches people “quit at the drop of the hat” and knows it’s for the best and says, “good for them.”
Krista knows they’ve lost a good amount of employees due to the terrible treatment from the public, but also the managerial neglect. There is a “general lack of spine and support from most of the management.”
And they almost lost another great worker when Mr. Loud Mouth came into the restaurant.
It wasn’t just him though; it was also his family, his wife, and their son. They came in one afternoon and expected quick service, just like anyone else. However, with the restaurant being understaffed, they had closed off a few sections and would go on a wait if there were no available tables in the open sections. They only had one host and four servers on this day, when they really needed seven to run the restaurant.
“The man pitched a fit about being put on a wait and demanded to be sat at a table in a closed section.” He obviously lacked any human decency or patience. People need to understand businesses are an ecosystem. This man acted like he owned the place.
The spineless manager came up to see what the commotion was. Unfortunately, usually, managers choose to appeal to the customer over holding to rules in place to protect the staff. So “Kyle” “directed the host go ahead and seat them in a closed section and for a server to pick them up.”
Not only was he enabling this man’s outburst and attitude, but he was also enforcing a standard in the restaurant.
Kyle was basically shouting, “Be a bully and we will give you prompt and perfect service!”
There was already so much wrong with the situation, but the host, “Cora” didn’t argue and quietly did her job. She was a meek little thing, very shy, but good at what she did. She went to wipe off the table for Mr. Loud Mouth and his family. But he began to throw a fit once more.
Now he started shouting about waiting to be sat. As if they weren’t already bending the rules for him. Nothing was good enough or fast enough for this man. I wonder if he has ever worked in customer service before. I have a feeling the answer is no.
He didn’t stop there though. After they had been sat at the table, Mr. Loud Mouth had a bone to pick with Cora. “He took issue with the fact she didn’t go out of her way to be ‘conversational’ with him, and she just took them to the table, set down menus and silverware, and walked back to the host stand.” She did exactly what she was supposed to do. Mr. Loud Mouth had no reason to be upset. However, some people get irrational when they aren’t acknowledged in a way they feel they ought to be.
Mr. Loud Mouth felt disrespected because Cora didn’t go out of her way to make conversation as she walked them 10 feet to their table after he had thrown two tantrums in front of her. Almost no one would have blamed her if she had refused to seat him at all. But she did what he said to do. Look where it got her.
Mr. Loud Mouth wasn’t done with Cora. Instead of asking for Kyle the manager again though, he decided to harass her directly. He was cussing the girl out, walking to and from the table to the host stand to antagonize her, and at one point called her names and said it was “for being rude, having an attitude, and being bad at her job.”
Cora was actually superb at her job, albeit a little shy. She is “a very sweet girl and has never had any complaints against her.” So, Mr. Loud Mouth was completely unfounded, and also completely out of line. Who treats another person this way? Let alone, a girl working as a host in a restaurant?
Cora’s walls were starting to come down and she was now visibly upset.
Mr. Loud Mouth noticed, sneered, and said, “Happy holidays, get the frick over it.”
But you know, more R-rated.
What the heck was this guy thinking?
Guess Which One
Part of me wonders if this is a serial thing. Maybe Mr. Loud Mouth does this a lot. He has no feelings, empathy, or remorse. And no respect for other humans, especially service industry workers. He must think they are all there to singularly please him.
Sadly, due to the poor management conflict resolution, Cora didn’t feel safe enough to report what was happening to Kyle. She felt like it was pointless. So she just went quiet again and remained at her post. However, one of the other tables had overheard the entire outburst and spoke up to their server, Krista. They described what they had heard and seen and told her it disturbed them. Krista went to Kyle to detail it to him. The woman at the table worked in service and hated to see the way Cora was being treated.
Kyle “promised to take care of it.” But when Krista went to see what had been done, she saw the family ordering their entrees as if nothing had happened.
Krista wanted an answer from Kyle. What was going on with them?
He said “he talked to them and it was all just a misunderstanding.”
A misunderstanding? How can you misunderstand harassing someone?
This made Krista angry. She told him to his face he was wrong. He should have kicked them out.
If a place requires its workers to uphold certain standards then the patrons should as well right?
Krista knew the difference between a rude customer and someone who needed to be kicked out. Guess which one Mr. Loud Mouth is.
How could he let the family stay when they were sitting 10 feet away from the hostess stand, still glaring and making remarkets at Cora’s expense.
When the foul family’s food was ready, Krista volunteered to bring it to their table.
When she got to the table, Krista set their food down and then looked at Mr. Loud Mouth “dead in the eyes with a sickly sweet smile.” And since they were in the south, she pulled out her best “ bless your heart tone,” and said, “Happy holidays! Enjoy.”
Then she walked away, feeling happy she had done what she could to bite back.
But Mr. Loud Mouth did not take kindly to her words sweet with sarcasm. He jumped up, flush with anger. He started yelling and shouting, getting red in the face as he spit out nasty words. Krista turned around with a smile on her face and looked him in his eyes. This was his last straw. He threatened Krista and began shouting he could be “a lot meaner and a lot uglier, believe me!”
Krista was unfazed and said, “Go ahead, honey.”
He continued his threats, so she said again, her voice flat, “ Go. Ahead. Honey.”
The scene was a disaster. Mr. Loud Mouth was shouting, nearly blowing a vein, while his wife was sobbing at the table, “pleading with him to sit down and to be quiet.”
This all happened within a matter of minutes. Kyle ran up as soon as he heard the man’s shouting. He told Mr. Loud Mouth it was time to go. Remarkably he left some money on the table as he left.
Although Krista was satisfied with how she had handled the situation now the man was gone, she knew there would be consequences for engaging with him in this way.
She went to the managers’ office after things settled down.
Krista walked in hoping for the best but was prepared for the worst. She asked what was going to happen now, what a write-up means, and “if [she] needed to collect [her] things and clock out.” She expected to basically be fired on the spot, at least written up, and need a talk-to.
She wasn’t expecting Kyle’s response. He said appreciated her actions as a person. As her manager, he was shocked and appalled, but personally, he appreciated what just happened. Kyle told Krista she should just leave the office and get away before she would upset him again. She was thoroughly confused. This entire experience had thrown her for a loop.
The next day Krista was still geared up for the worst. However, when she came in, Kyle started joking about Krista being a “bouncer” for the restaurant. Like I said, humor to cope.
Krista knew even if she had been fired she would have regretted nothing. She knew she had to do something and she did what she could. Kyle’s attitude afterward proved he was not reliable in a situation of conflict and urgency. He could not see it didn’t matter if the person was a customer, those actions should never be tolerated. “If management had taken appropriate action, to begin with, the whole scene could have been avoided.”
It is time businesses treat their employees better. They are people just as the managers are and the customers. All of us have the same fundamental rights. It is sad to see how many workers are treated so poorly not only by the public but also by their managers. The superiors are supposed to support and protect their employees. However, the power goes to their head and they lose focus.
Your employees are your foundation. Treat them well. And don’t forget the Golden Rule: Treat Others As You Want To Be Treated.