The Chronicle Herald (Metro)
Time to chill, rude patrons
You and a friend are having lunch at a popular pub.
It’s a sunny day and the place is hopping, with patrons seated indoors and outside on the patio and wait staff briskly serving customers.
You place your orders: two chicken taco specials with side salads.
You settle back to enjoy a cold drink. Half an hour later, the food arrives. One of the plates has a side of fries.
What do you do? a) Enjoy the unexpected indulgence and have the fries.
b) Ask to have the fries swapped out for the salad you ordered.
c) Tear a strip off the server — and the manager, for good measure — for getting your order wrong.
If you picked option C, you need to take a deep breath.
The COVID-19 pandemic has left a lot of people with their teeth on edge. There’s a new variant causing concern even as more of us are being vaccinated. And now, as things slowly open up in our communities and people are getting out more, perhaps some of us have forgotten how to interact civilly with one another.
One teen, whose multiple jobs this summer include working at an ice cream place in P.E.I., posted on Facebook recently that it’s demoralizing when customers are overly critical.
“There was no need for you to call me down to my lowest and make a remark about how I should smile after you’ve screamed in my face twice,” she said, describing a customer’s reaction after being told there was an hour’s wait. “Thank you to the customers who understand that the person behind the counter is someone’s son or daughter, and is human, just as we all are.”
It’s good advice.
Anyone working in the tourism or food service industry knows a company’s reputation and potential for success can rely heavily on the quality of service they provide. It’s often tiring, hectic work and sometimes mistakes get made.
Most of us have witnessed patrons overreacting and letting their tempers get the best of them in dealing with food service employees.
It’s completely inappropriate, and businesses should adopt a zero-tolerance rule when it comes to the abuse of their employees.
If we’re truly all in this together, we have to remember that the employee we’re berating has also been through the pandemic, in a job where they had no choice but to interact with the public.
A woman who visited a St. John’s eatery with her family posted on social media this week that the server and her manager were on eggshells when they apologized because the parents’ fish and chips didn’t arrive until after the kids were already finished their meals.
“Have we not learned in the last year or so what truly matters in life and what truly doesn’t?!” she wrote.
Indeed. Let’s try to be kind.