Crowz Nest

Because it's time... as it was once before.

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Location: Port Murray, NJ

I'm a bit old to be starting out in life again, but that's where I am. Sadly. Or gladly. It's where I am. Come along. Watch the fun. Inch by inch, row by row, gonna make this garden grow.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

All I wanted was a BLT

Ordering lunch used to be a fairly uneventful process. We've recently switched food services where I work. With the change came a rash of new employees. Some of them appear to have been put on the front lines without sufficient training. What follows is what actually happened when I recently ordered a BLT.

I walk up to the sandwich counter and finally make eye contact with a young woman who clearly would have preferred to have been elsewhere. Nevertheless, I stood there bravely until she acknowledged me. Once smiles had been exchanged, I thought the worst was over. Oh, but no. Here's how it went:

I order a BLT on rye, untoasted.

She pulls out the rye bread and asks me if I want it toasted.

I say, no. Untoasted.

Then she lays the bread out on the board, in front of the fixings bar, and stands over it staring at me.

"What want you on this?"

I blink. "A BLT, please," I repeat, thinking, after the toast-no-toast confusion that perhaps she hadn't heard me. Or, at least, never heard anything but "rye."

She blinks in return. "Yes, yes. What want you on it?"

Now she has my attention. "Bacon," I say. "Lettuce, and tomato," I say, and then think to add the answer to the only remaining question that might need to be asked. "And mayo on the side, please."

With staggering indecision, she reaches for bacon, picks up one strip and holds it out to me for approval. "Yes," I say, seeing that we're about to get somewhere. "That's bacon. That'll do."

So, she folds the one strip of bacon in half and lays it on one slice of the rye bread. And looks at me, waiting. "Excuse me," I say, "I've asked for a bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich. Could you put a little more bacon on that?" Clearly, I've broken a rule, as she glances furtively over her shoulder for the presence of her supervisor, and puts one more slice on the bread. "May I have one more?" I ask. Reluctantly she complies. The bacon is now on my sandwich. And her hands are back on the sandwich board as she once more stares blankly at me.

"Yes?" I say, somewhat uncertainly, unsure of what further confusion there might be.

"What else want you?" she counters, clearly becoming exasperated with my apparent indecision.

"Um," I said. "Let's see. How about some lettuce?" I'm really getting into this now, wanting to see how far it can go.

She picks up some leaves of spinach. "No, no," I say. "Not spinach. I didn't ask for bacon, SPINACH, and tomato. Lettuce," I enunciate clearly, pointing to the romaine.

Ok. Now she's on it. We get through the lettuce part without further difficulty. And now her hands are on her hips and I need not stretch my imagination to know that her toe is tapping.

"What else?" she says. I'm encouraged. Her English is improving.

"Tomato?" I ask.

One thin slice of hot house tomato lands in the middle of the lettuce. I decide, given the styrofoam appearance of the poor thing, not to push for more. But what's this? She's now reaching for the mayo without being prompted. Some part of my original request appears to have registered. "Mayo," I'd requested, "on the side." I'm really, deeply gratified by this, until the hands go back on the hips and the exasperation in her attitude has deepened to a point where I'm actually beginning to feel at fault here.

"What?" I venture cautiously.

"Well," she says, picking up the ominously dangerous looking squirt bottle of mayo and levelling it at me. She gestures at each side of the sandwich, one with three thin slices of overcooked bacon lying forlornly upon it, and the other with a leaf of romaine, and one, sad, thin, pale slice of tomato staring up like a bloodshot eye. With a great sigh, she appears to realize how dense I truly must be.

"Well," she repeats. "Which side you want it on?"


Blogger flyingfish3 said...

So so sad... I could give you a few ideas of where she could put that squeeze bottle of mayo!

8:36 AM  
Blogger J Mii said...

I was cracking up when I read this. I read it to Kevin and he was repeatedly said, "No way!" and "Where was this?"

Of course, you make excellent points about the state of customer service and communication problems.

9:33 AM  
Anonymous catslave said...

haha. were you ready to hop over the counter to make it yourself or switch to sign language?

10:34 AM  
Blogger Robin's Reports said...

Ginny..... if you had to write 1 more paragraph, I'd be on the floor, with the kleenex box, grasping for breath while laughing and my kids wondering what is wrong w/ mommy. That was unbelieveably, hysterically funny.

PLEASE send that in for publication somewhere.

5:59 PM  
Blogger Genny said...

This had me laughing out loud at work. I couldn't help it. Uhm, which side did you tell her you wanted it on? LOL

10:10 PM  
Blogger Heather said...

This was over at the snack bar, right?

2:07 PM  
Blogger Crowzma said...

Hey, Heath! Yes, how'd you guess? One would almost think you'd had some experience with them.

2:21 PM  
Anonymous Margo said...

Oh my gosh, Gin, this is amazing and sad. I agree you should publish this somewhere...entitled the State of Customer Service...

8:40 AM  
Blogger dephal said...

Ha ha ha!! Perfect description!

She may be related to the people at the Wendy's I visited the other day. I ordered a bacon cheeseburger for 1 of the kids, ketchup only. So we get home and unwrap the thing, and it had a patty and ketchup on a bun. Period. No bacon, no cheese. I guess I'm lucky they put the patty on it, and not just ketchup and a bun.

1:33 PM  
Blogger Angela said...


I frequently order cheeseburgers at fast food places, as follows:
"Cheeseburger with ketchup and mustard only, please."

You would not BELIEVE how many people turn around and ask me if I want cheese on that. When I look bemused (or, at the drive thru, fail to respond immediately), they say, well, you did say ketchup and mustard only.

After a few rounds of that experience, I've learned to just say, cheeseburger with "CHEESE,ketchup and mustard only." It's amazingly redundant but seems to help.

We do enjoy a stunning level of customer disservice these days.

9:48 AM  

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