Yeah, I AM the Manager…

Aug 19th, 2010 | By | Category: Columns


Maybe I missed something, but is it written somewhere that when I’m not satisfied with the most insignificant of things, that I’m allowed to become an outright prick? I mean, if it is, I’d like to have this document sent to me so I can create a laminated card containing the specific section, hang it around my neck, and wave it  about as I throw my tantrum. Sadly, I have a feeling that this isn’t excused behavior under any circumstances, anywhere, so I’ll just to go with the fact that this cheery disposition is reserved for the most over-privileged jerkasses imaginable.

I’m certain we’ve all been to an establishment, and received less than stellar service, it’s a fact of life. Some, if not all, of these places are staffed by high schoolers, and, if you remember how you were in high school, you wouldn’t trust YOU to do anything right either. Knowing that the problem with some service is that they’re in high school and probably have zero experience in the working world, people who have a heart tend to cut them a break, as your #3 value meal isn’t exactly God’s work. This obviously excludes those who were awesome at their job as a youngin’…I do know I find myself docking points from the person in charge of retrieving  carts, as when I held that illustrious position, my corral was always full, always. If you’re one of these folks, then you understand that:

a) You were just awesome

b) You remember how much you hated your job


c) Understand how much of a pain in the ass it was performing that task, so, you cut breaks, and, if possible, only bother an employee if you absolutely have to. Kudos to you all.

Unfortunately for most of those working in the service industry, it seems like 80% of the people who receive what they feel is poor service, immediately lash out at the person behind the counter. Chances are it’s some kid, who is either shivering in their boots afraid they’re about to lose their first job, or, thinking the second you aren’t looking, will place some type of bodily fluid in your food.

We’ve all seen this scene unfold, my most recent was at a Panera Bread, where the uppity lady inf ront of me was all in a tizzy because they stacked half a dozen bagels on her danish. By the way she reacted you’d think someone just defecated on her car seat and mushed her face in it…which would have been a distinct possibility if I had a bit more fiber in my diet. So, she notices this, and, instead of asking to repack the bag so the danish isn’t on the bottom, she flips, yelling at the young lass trying to get her taken care of so she can help the 8 other people in line behind this pea-brain. This lady continues, calling into question the girl’s mental capacity, while at the same time using that “I’m-whispering-but-I’m–doing-it-loud- enough–where-everyone- can-hear- me” whisper to trash the employee to her embarrassed mother, and to everyone in line behind her. Thankfully, for our upstanding citizen’s sake, the manager came and pulled her off to the side to further discuss her “displeasure.”

Once the person has been pulled off to the side, the situation normally cools down, and business goes back to normal, ohhh, but she was a feisty one. She just had to let the manager know that she wasn’t paying top dollar (a whopping $4) for a danish to have bagels stacked on it. We all know, if this woman was complaining to anyone else, they’d have laughed in her face and walked off, but, the manager was being a good corporate solider, and was empathizing with this woman’s devastating plight. In listening to this exchange, it was almost if she were following a guide called “The Handbook to Being a C@#%” as every line she dropped was expected. “I’ll never come here again!”…yea…I’m certain a multi-MILLION dollar business is going to be hurting when one unloving wife and mother refuses to buy bagels for her family. That line is generally followed up requesting the number to the district office so she can bring this atrocity to light and generate enough backlash for 60 Minutes to do an expose on this particular location’s poor danish stacking abilities, as the cameras rush the managers car, blurring his face out in post.

So I ask these types of people, why? What purpose is there to berate these people who are probably trying their best to accommodate you? Is your life that sad? When you were a wee child did you ask Santa for the toy of your dreams, writing him all year reminding him about what a good child you’ve been? Then Christmas morning came, knowing how well behaved you were the entire year, Santa had no choice but to grant your wish. The Big Man wouldn’t let you down, no, not the most kind and loving child to ever grace God’s green Earth. I’m sure to solidify your position on the “Nice” list, you probably let your parents sleep in until the sun rose, just to cover your bases. The family is up, all by the tree, Dad is drinking coffee, Mom is playing Santa, passing out the gifts, while you and your siblings ravish the packaging. Down to the last gift, it’s the size of what you asked for, your mother hands it to you with a smile on her face, like she knows Santa came through for you. There’s a twinkle in your eyes as you carefully remove the ribbon, slowly pull up the taped down ends, and slide the box out of the center to discover an Archeology playset, complete with brush and fake fossils. It was at that moment that your soul died, from that point on you became a bitter shell of a person, as you half-ass a smile for the Polaroid, thinking to yourself, “Everyone is going to pay for this affront to my being…”

So, we can safely assume that this emotionally scarring event is constantly replayed in your head on a nearly consistent basis. There may even be nights where you dream of being crushed by a gigantic plaster nautilus shell, and, as you wake up screaming, drenched in sweat, your partner sleepily asks “Is it the nautilus dream again?” Both the unshakable memory, and lack of sleep is enough to make anyone a complete ass, and if I were a better person, I’d forgive you, and be understanding of your problem, but I’m not…in the least.

So, how about this; the next time you’re going to throw hissy-fit in a public place, take a look at the people behind you.  If we weren’t a society of law and order, I can guarantee at least three people in the line would remove their belt, choke you out, then proceed to beat you like it was full time job. What, were you hoping? That those behind you would rise up, and join you as you take down the evil corporation? Did you think the fact your bagels were stacked on top of your danish was going to spur people into action?  Everybody in that place is hoping the second you leave the store, you get mowed down by a snow plow as your danish and broken body are spread across the street like mulch.


Chris Eatman was raised in a house where “please” and “thank-you” were the norm, and educational children’s playsets were an abomination.

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