Crumbs

“No, mom! Don’t talk to her, ask that guy over there, the NICE one.”

I am her, and at that point in my day at work, I couldn’t give less of a crap about the woman saying it. I believe I caught a glimpse of what has to be the tenth circle of hell that Dante was too scarred to write about. That circle where you’re working in a busy coffeeshop where nothing works and it never stops being 1 o’clock in the afternoon. It has to be, because it surely made me find Jesus again.

The shop I work at is located right in Center City. We have many times when we’re slammed with customers and everything is hectic. It’s to be expected. I wouldn’t work in food service if I couldn’t handle chaos. And to be honest, I kind of crave a good amount of chaos in my life; I wasn’t hugged enough as a child, sue me. But I have never felt as overwhelmed at my cafe as I was this day.

The best part of weathering a shitstorm is that by the time you’ve absolutely had enough, things finally die down and you look at the time to see that there’s only 5 minutes left in your shift. Time moves in hyperdrive when you’re too frazzled to pay attention to it.

By the time I served what seemed like about 100 customers, I look at the clock to see that only a mere thirteen minutes had passed since the last time I had checked. This is defying all rules and principles of madness. How is this happening? What cruel joke is this? Every time I desperately look at the time, none has passed me by.

It’s the worst kind of misery. Every fiber of your being wants to ball up in a corner and sob, but you know that won’t stop the gremlin-esque, caffeine-lacking customers from still needing things and yelling at you. And then you’d have a puddle of tears to mop up, and you’re already tip-toeing around the lake of spilled Half and Half nobody has been able to clean that a customer dropped earlier. So you push through. You feed the gremlins. With all the rapidly depleting energy you already don’t have. And they are blatant in their utter lack of appreciation. Somebody ordered a slice of cake.

It was the last slice of cake on display. and I plate it for the customer and start taking away the cakestand to wash it.

“Hey. Hey! EXCUSE ME!

I turn around to see who’s screaming. It’s the same guy who I just served the slice of cake to.

“I want the crumbs.”

“I’m sorry?”

I want the crumbs.”

Really, sir? Sir, whom I understand can see. With two perfectly functioning eyes that must clearly see me and my coworker drowning in the sea of demands being thrown at us by other overbearing, entitled, rude and hungry patrons, such as yourself. And upon receiving what you asked for in a timely manner, despite the horde you had to fight through to get it, you decide, You know, these poor souls just don’t seem like they hate their lives quite enough. I need the scraps off of the cakestand that they don’t have the time to return to because there are meals going cold that need to be run to tables and lattes that need to be crafted and only two pairs of more than full hands to do it all. Yes, the crumbs. Nothing is of greater importance and I must have it now. Really, sir?

I walked away. Yeah. I am only human, and I have my limits. If I didn’t ask my coworker to handle it, the situation would have gone very differently, and I would no longer have a job. Heck, I would no longer have my freedom for a while.

And I look at the time again. 1:23pm. This isn’t right. Last time I checked the time it definitely said 1:37pm.

Son of a…

 

 

This happened about a year ago and I still remember it vividly. It was possibly the worst day of my entire working life, let alone that job.

No.. I didn’t. I may have wanted to briefly, but our street was closed for construction and there wasn’t any traffic to walk into.

I’m kidding.

But if you ever ask me how things are going and I tell you, “Life is asking me for crumbs,” you’ll understand where I’m at.

 

 

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Motive is Everything

I can be a jerk sometimes. I don’t mean to be, it spawns from being paid to be nice to people, many of whom don’t deserve kindness. Customer service is taxing, is what I’m saying.

But as terrible and selfish a person I sometimes believe I am, it seems others don’t have the same view of me. It’s kinda like how people think I’m good with kids even though they creep me out and I’m mean to them…but they enjoy the abuse and love me against my wishes.

Children will always be a strange, gooey mystery to me, but I do think I’ve figured out why the disparity between my view of myself and others’ view exists.

Being a jerk is hard. You’re probably lonely or generally unliked by most, it takes a lot of anger, and a general dislike of happy things. Maybe the occasional kicking of small animals. I don’t know. And I simply don’t have the energy to deal with the consequences. But I’m still a jerk, I just make things easier for me by making others happy. Let me explain.

I work in a restaurant, similar layout to a Panera Bread or a Cosi, except we serve organic pizza. We have trash receptacles and a place to put your pizza boards after you are finished your meal, and when the boards stack up, I go out to collect them and get them washed, as well as clean the tables, check on guests, you know, general restaurant stuff. Sometimes when I see people sitting and talking, obviously finished with their pizza, I’ll usually walk up to them and ask to take their boards to the trash for them. My request is usually met with surprise and gratitude, and I often get complimented and some people say, “Oh gosh, you didn’t have to do that, thank you!” Sometimes I get tipped. Am I making that extra push of good service because I’m just nice? I mean maybe, but the real reason is I would just rather not have to go back into the dining room at a later time when they finally decide to leave. I’m only making it easier for myself.

I remember back in middle and high school, I loved making note of as many people’s birthdays as I could. I enjoy baking, and so I would bring in something like cookies or some cupcakes to my classmates on their birthdays. Sweet of me, right?

Wrong. I remember one of my friends, Dwayne, being so excited and touched by my notion, and I felt compelled to break it to him.

Granted, I love my friends. But do you know what else I love? Baked sugary goodness. Why not kill two birds with one cupcake? Or how about twelve cupcakes? Three or so of which will go to the birthday gal/guy. Where do the rest go?

To MEEEEEEEEEEEE. All of it. All your cake…are belong to me.

Some people might not view me as being a jerk, but I think I’m a jerk sometimes for sure. Did I get you questioning your friends? Seriously, motive is everything. The most satisfying thing about being bad is getting away with it, right? So to all the jerkheads out there, you can make the world a better place without changing who you are. Seriously, try it sometime. You can have your cake and eat your friend’s too! Happy things!