A Bad Gig
Working in customer service can be a bad gig. Many people really dislike their time working with the public and they often have tales to tell. However, even the people who do enjoy working in customer service have stories. And they are just as good.
It doesn’t take much to be rude and entitled at a restaurant, but there is such a thing as too much. And some people take things way too far. Here we have a man who loves his job, but he was pushed too far. One too many straws on the camel’s back and he broke and decided malicious compliance was his only choice. Sometimes you have to fight fire with fire. Or in this case, when someone doesn’t want to do their job, you decided if it’s worth doing yours.
He had to stand up for himself when he was taken advantage of and told he was in the wrong. However, the story has more than a happy ending. And everyone got what they deserved and Jared learned his worth.
He had to go through a nasty few weeks though. And this would open the eyes of the higher-ups. It’s always worth knowing your worth and making sure you are being treated right. Just sometimes you have to go about it in interesting ways.
“Jared” worked for a UK restaurant chain as a barman. He was ridiculously good at his job. He was just one of those people persons. And eventually, he was promoted because of his incredible hospitality skills. He was now at a new location as assistant manager.
Even though Jared had IT experience and qualifications, he was happily working in customer service. He had worked in IT before and was not in the food industry happily. He was a rare bird. So he took the assistant manager position, even though it would pay so low. Soon he was settled into his position.
Because of his people skills, he was soon “the head of dealing with complaints.” It wasn’t a part of his job, so he shouldn’t have had to deal with them, but he was a star at it and so it became his task to take.
In most restaurants, if the customer complains the first thing to do is issue a refund. This was not Jared’s way. He was able to talk to people and clear the air of the problem at hand. So when he would receive emails from the corporate office, he makes sure to “identify the issue and explain what [he] would do to resolve it as opposed to the usual; just comping them.”
It wasn’t long until he became manager, running the restaurant. It was going well. He was doing well. Until a table of ten came in.
This table was like any other at first. They had ten or more people and the server was competent, so there was nothing to worry about. Jared wanted to make sure her tip was secure so he made sure to check in on the table frequently. She was doing a great job, this would just ensure top-quality service for this large group.
Everything was going just fine until one person walked in. Late. He was walking in as the rest of the group already had their entrées. “Jim,” let’s call him, demanded service immediately. He “ordered a rump steak med well.”
This was no problem and Jared went to the kitchen to give the order on the fly. Basically, he told them to rush the meal.
Jared treated his staff well, even the kitchen staff, so they were able to get the meal out in no time. Jared brought it to the table himself and before he could set it down Jim made eye contact and said, “This steak isn’t cooked med-rare and is overcooked.”
How would he know how it was cooked? He hadn’t actually even seen the steak.
“Okay sir,” Jared said, “I’ll have a replacement out straight away.”
Jared went ahead and took the steak back to the chefs. He explained the situation and while I’m sure everyone rolled their eyes, they made a new, fresh steak. Jared took this new steak to Jim, expecting the worst.
When he sets down the plate Jim actually “looks satisfied and eats everything.” The whole table was having a great time, they even had desserts and more drinks. Jared was feeling good about how everything was handled. However, this was not the case at all. Everything was not fine.
When it came time for the table to pay, one of the group came up to Jared. He requested to pay for everything, the whole table. This guy said he knew people would start arguing over who was paying for what. This would be much easier. This was a relief, the table had had a good time and now it would all be on one bill. Perfect.
Not perfect. Jim came rushing up to the two while they were talking. He claimed he was not happy. Jim said there was no way they should charge him for his meal. He complained he had to eat after everyone else had already finished.
In what world did this make sense. He was late, of course, he had to eat after.
And Jared told the man this. He explained he came in late and refused his first meal, which set him back even further.
Jim was throwing a fit at this point, as Jared continued to explain just exactly why he would not be comping the meal off the bill. There was no way he would take it off just because Jim was late and still ate the whole meal. The customer is not always right. And in this case, Jim had no case!
While the whole table watched, Jared “confidently explained to him he ate the meal and [he] was not willing to comp it for his lateness and the fact he hadn’t even checked the first meal just barked it wasn’t good enough and wanted a new one which we served and he ate.”
Jim was shocked, but he still “insisted, they wouldn’t be charged.”
Jim was what Jared called a “professional complainer.” He was not going to deal with this any longer.
It’s Your Choice
Jared worked too hard and too much to have to deal with people like Jim. He had had enough of his attitude. He had dealt with enough people like Jim to know exactly how to shut them down.
“NO, you pay or I’ll call the police and report you for theft, IT’S YOUR CHOICE,” Jared said in his manager voice.
Finally, this seemed to break through the wall. The men figured out the bill, they backed down and paid, and they even tipped the waitress generously.
Finally the crazy was over. This could go behind them and never be thought of again.
Wrong. This was not the end of the story, unfortunately.
Jared got an email from corporate several days later. Then a call from his Area Manager. Basically, they were saying, “WHY didn’t you just comp him, he’s complained to corporate and now they’re comping the WHOLE BILL? Why would you do that for the cost of a rump steak dinner?”
I guess since they weren’t there how would they know the reasoning, but they should trust Jared with these decisions. He was already working way too hard for them, even doing tasks, not in his job description.
Jared told them the whole ordeal and explained the situation and said, “look I’m in the right here back me up please.”
You would think after his explanation they would know he was in the right. But no, he was now in trouble. And “this is where malicious compliance comes in.” And there’s even a happy twist.
Jared decided his time was worth more than what they were paying him and what they were asking him to do. And so for the next three weeks, if there was any complaint at all, Jared would comp the whole table. He had no discretion over how many people or how high the bill was. This went on for a whole three weeks.
He also stopped handling the complaints from corporate. It wasn’t a part of his job and the Area Manager really should be taking care of them since he had an issue with the way Jared handled things.
Soon he got the call from his Area Manager. He was begging him to stop comping tables, “ as refunds were through the roof.”
There was an ultimatum. He would stop if they let him handle things as he saw fit.
They gave in.
However, the best part is Jared eventually left the chain for another company. He went to visit the place and the new manager approached him while he was drinking with his friends. She basically begged for him to return. He was needed.
Jared said they couldn’t afford him. She said to name his price. He did and also some other parameters about hours and such. She said deal.
And so there is the story of how a restaurant manager took matters into his own hands when he was being taken advantage of.
Oh and one more note. There was a waitress there at the beginning of the story and they’ve been together for more than 16 years now and have eight kids.
This just goes to show if you do your job and do it well you can accomplish everything you need to become happy.
I, for one, and proud of Jared for taking a stand. And I am happy he found love in all the madness.