The clash of self-consciousness and poor customer service
By Mercedes Deutscher, Social Media Coordinator
I went to Subway last week. I’m typically not a fan of the sandwich goliath, but it was convenient at the time, I had a gift card, and I was hungry.
Having recently gone vegetarian and not being a fan of packaged, un-fresh vegetables, I opted for a triple cheese panini. They were out of panini bread. Whatever, I’m okay with a different bread. I’ve worked in food service since 2013, so I get that stuff like that happens.
The sandwich artist asked if I wanted any vegetables on my panini before she grilled it. I asked for tomato and mushrooms. When she asked what else, I declined. I’m not a fan of super-loaded paninis.
In a very condescending voice, she said, “No more vegetables?” She rolled her eyes when I quietly said “No, thank you.”
I know what I look like. I’m over 200 pounds and a size 16. I sometimes use food as a coping mechanism. Most days, I’m still confident about how I look and who I am. I typically eat healthy and exercise.
On that day, though, I felt judged for going to Subway by the very people employed there. I ate the sandwich, but I didn’t feel good about it.
When I worked at Starbucks, I’d get people who would order complicated or unhealthy drinks on a daily basis. While it may seem fun to joke about that, I have no business trying to make my customers feel bad. Maybe that frappuccino is a treat for a day of work well done. Maybe that sandwich with weird toppings is because of a dietary restriction. Or maybe it’s none of your damn business, just make the sandwich and don’t judge your customers based on what they order.
It’s a problem I see extend outside of fast food joints. It’s getting eyes rolled at me by the server when I have to track her down after sitting at a table for 20 minutes without service and I end up interrupting her whiles she’s texting. It’s the exasperated sigh when I can finally catch up to the Sephora employee.
I know these jobs suck. They don’t pay well and are overall unrewarding, nothing more than a paycheque until you can find something better. However, customers are more than just customers, they are people—maybe having a great day or a terrible day—and are just looking for a service. Unless the customer is being really rude or awful, there’s no reason to treat them badly. It doesn’t hurt to smile, or at the very least to not obviously treat them like a burden. A little positivity (or negativity) goes a long way.