I often laugh when I think back to that old Wendy’s commercial in the late 70’s/early 80’s. That little old lady screaming “Where’s the Beef!”
At the little hole in the wall where I’ve spent the last twenty years working, we serve coleslaw. It’s good, don’t get me wrong, but it’s coleslaw. But every single night of the week, people go crazy if they don’t get the slaw within seconds of sitting down at the table.
Last week, I walked up to a table to say hello and noticed that the hostess had seated the party even before the table had been properly set up; meaning that they didn’t even have silverware or napkins. As I started to speak, the older woman at the table yelled, yes she actually yelled, “are we ever going to get our coleslaw?”
I felt liked I’d been slapped. I literally snapped my head back in shock. The tone and anger in her voice really threw me for a loop. It was one of those moments that I’m grateful that I have the ability to take a beat, gather my thoughts, and process out which would be my best response. Because, trust me, if my inside voice had made it’s way out, things wouldn’t have ended well!
So after taking a deep breath, and in the calmest voice I had, I very politely said, “Hi, how are you? I will be more than happy to have the busboy bring over your coleslaw, but first we’re going to get you silverware. Then I’m going to get your drink order, and then I’m going to take your dinner order. Once the menu’s are out of the way, my busboy will be more than happy to bring the slaw over.”
Her response was, “Well, I’m ready to order.”
I just exhaled, and grabbed my pen and said, “Sure, what can I get for you?” Because, at the end of the day, the faster I take the order, the faster I can get them out, and it’s not really worth any kind of verbal sparring that I could try to engage in.
But seriously? What is wrong with people? Why do they have to be so rude? It’s just fucking cabbage!