Jenny was a notorious customer in her neighborhood. From store to store, she was well known for giving attendants and managers alike a tough time whenever she was present. Grace knew that she had enough of the nagging woman.
So when Jenny came in that Saturday afternoon, things didn’t go how they usually did...
A Day In The Life Of Grace
A day in the life of the average person working in the service industry isn’t easy. It was even harder for individuals working in the fast food business where customers were always in a hurry and workers needed to be on their toes to meet their ever-urgent requests.
Grace was one of the many workers in the fast-food business, but unlike many, she somehow never let the pressure get to her.
Performing Her Job With a Smile
She always performed her job with a smile, not only wearing it when she served her customers but all through her shift. She would smile when taking orders, smile when doing the dishes, and even smile at practically anyone who came her way.
She was a jovial person by all accounts, and everyone loved her for it.
It Was All About Her Mindset
It was all about Grace's mindset. She was a naturally positive person, so she tended to see things from a positive perspective.
Where most other service workers looked at the impatient looks on the faces of their customers, she looked at the smiles on their faces when they received their others. Where most saw the fact that they were earning just a little over minimum wage, she was glad she was earning enough to take care of herself and her little siblings.
Though There Were Often Challenges
Sure there were often challenges; customers who were particularly nasty. Sometimes, these were simply people who had a terrible day and were, as such, very irritable. Other times, they were just people who weren’t very respectful.
It didn’t matter much though, whoever they were, their dark mood was never a match for Grace’s happy disposition.
She Had a Smile Like an Angel
Usually, she’d simply smile at them sincerely, and all their frustration and irritability would just disappear. Even the toughest of customers couldn’t help but smile back at least a little bit when she threw them a smile.
She was a vibrant person, and her energy was always contagious.
How It Has Always Been
This was how things had always been where Grace worked. However, she was the friendly waitress everyone wanted to be served by. She was also the one assigned to serve the toughest customers in the hopes that her disarming attitude will neutralize any impending hostility.
She had never disappointed until that fateful day.
How It All Started
The day was like any other; the store was packed with plenty of hungry customers. Grace was going around taking orders, her usual smile on her face.
One of the customers named Jenny had requested some quesadillas, and she had quickly penned down her order. Moreover, she noticed the woman was a bit rude about it, but didn’t let it get to her. 'She was just probably having a bad day,’ Grace thought. ‘Better not make things worse’.
It Arrived Really Quickly
It didn’t take long for the customer’s order to arrive, brought over by some other staff. Grace had been waiting at another table at the time when she had the cry of outrage.
Rushing to the table to de-escalate the situation, Grace found the customer from earlier berating the other staff, waving a piece of quesadillas in the air.
“What is this?!” Jenny was screaming at the Grace. “How do you feed this trash to people? You call these quesadillas? This is trash!”
Other customers were already staring now, and Grace could see that if this continued, many customers would start to leave. Sighing to herself, Grace stepped in to try and solve the issue.
Trying To Salvage The Situation
The other staff who was being berated looked on the verge of losing her cool but didn’t do anything. Grace sent her a look just in case; the customer is always right, and she seemed to be saying without using any words.
Offering To Help
Jenny, an older woman who looked to be in her late 30s or early 40s, explained what the problem was to Grace—saying the quesadillas weren’t fresh.
Grace looked at the plate of quesadillas sitting on the table, the steam rising from it an obvious indication that it was actually freshly made. However, she didn’t tell the customer that though. Smiling, she simply apologized and told the customer she would be back with fresh plates as she took the old ones away to be replaced.
It Was Usually The Rich
This wasn’t the first time Grace had had to step in to de-escalate matters like this. Usually, it was mostly with the rich— or at least individuals who thought themselves so—seeing the average working-class citizen as beneath them.
Truth be told, Grace never really liked such people. But it was her policy to be nice to everybody, so she was that way to them too.
But this time it wasn’t
Thinking back on the scene from just a few minutes ago, Grace decided the woman wasn’t rich; she didn’t have an air of wealth around her. Instead, it seemed more like she was looking for a fight.
Grace sighed at that. They had customers like that once in a while; people who had a bad day and were well-bent on ruining the days of others. She sighed again. It’s people like this she disliked the most. They made it hard for her to keep her.
Putting In a Conscious Effort
Steeling her resolve, Grace promised herself she wouldn’t let the woman get under her skin, no matter what.
Explaining what had happened to the cook, and having to do quite a bit of work to appease his anger at hearing how his food was belittled, she finally gets him to make another set of quesadillas.
The New Plate Arrives
On getting the new plate, Jenny seemed to be pleased with what she got. Digging into her meal, she seemed satisfied with the taste, despite the fact that there was no change made to the recipe or the method the cook had used to prepare this plate.
Grateful that there was apparently no further issues, Gift decided to get back to serving other customers. Little did she know that this was just the start of the day’s drama.
The Customer Loved It
It didn’t take long for the customer to finish the meal, and from the look on her face, she was pleased. Whether it was at the meal or at being able to get her way, Grace wasn’t quite sure.
But that didn’t matter much to Grace anyway. She had been able to avoid a huge scene, and that was all she cared about at the moment.
Getting the Bill
Grace saw Jenny call for another attendant to bring the bill over. Trying to avoid another scene, she decided to go handle it herself.
Getting over to the customer, she passed the bill over to her with the best smile she could muster, hoping that doing so would ease whatever frustrations or negative emotions the woman carried around.
It Wasn’t Over Yet
The moment Jenny set her eyes on the total amount, her expression did a complete 180.
“What the hell is this?” She asked, practically throwing the bill across the table back at Grace. The angry customer from earlier was back again, and this time, Grace was fairly certain she wouldn’t be appeased so easily.
It Was Way Too Expensive!
“I don’t understand what you mean,” Grace replied. And she really didn’t. Looking through the bill, she couldn’t find anything out of place.
“$10? For that?” Jenny asked, pointing at her empty plate. Now Grace was beginning to see the picture being painted here. She sighed inwardly. ‘Here we go again.’
The Price Was Clearly Written On The Menu
Again, Grace puts on her best smile. “Yes, that’s the price. It was written clearly on the menu. Didn’t you see it before you picked it?”
Grace knew she shouldn’t have uttered that last part of her response, but she was starting to get tired of the entire situation. It was starting to get ridiculous.
She was starting to make a scene
“You’ve got to be kidding me,” the customer shouted, slamming her hands on the table before getting off her seat. She was a moderately tall woman, but Grace was taller.
Other customers were starting to turn their attention to the scene now, a few people stopping in the middle of their meal to stare at the scene starting to unfold.
The Prices Reflect The Quality Of The Meal
Grace tried to explain to the angry Jenny that the prices of each dish reflected the quality of the establishment. Were their meals a bit more expensive than that of other stores? Yes. But that was because theirs were healthier, more nutritious, and tastier. That was why, despite the price, people kept patronizing them.
Moreover, the fact remains that the price was written clearly on the menu. If she hadn’t liked it, she shouldn’t have placed her order in the first place.
She Wasn’t Having It
Trying to explain all of that to Jenny wasn’t getting her anywhere. Her disarming smile which had diffused so many disputes in the past seemed to have lost its magic here.
The woman kept causing a scene, her voice getting louder by the minute. The ruckus became so loud, everyone was staring at the two now.
The Manager Gets Involved
The fuss soon caught the attention of the manager, bringing him out of the back rooms to try to solve the dispute.
Finding the customer screaming at Grace at the top of her lungs, he was a bit shocked. Grace was his most well-behaved attendant. Seeing her involved, he immediately knew something was wrong.
He Used To Be a Waiter Himself
The manager himself used to be a waiter himself, so he knew there were a few customers who were always looking for trouble.
Watching the woman screaming at the top of her lungs while Grace just stood there smiling, he was starting to believe this particular customer was one of those kinds of customers.
She Kept Her Smile On Through Out
The manager decided to watch the scene play out from afar for a bit before stepping in. From the little he had seen, he was fairly sure he knew what was going on, but he didn’t want to jump to any conclusion.
Watching the scene from afar, he was quite impressed with Grace. Throughout the confrontation with the angry customer, her smile never left her face.
After watching from afar for a few seconds, the manager decided he had seen enough and it was time to step in.
Walking over to the customer who was currently tossing the menu in Grace’s face, he tried to be as respectful as possible, asking what the problem was. Hardly had he even asked the question when, to his surprise, the customer started crying.
An Unbelievable Story
The manager was impressed. The woman was definitely a good actress.
“Your waitress. She insulted me. All because I wouldn’t be extorted by her.” the customer replied with tears rolling down her face. It took the manager a few minutes to process what he was seeing and hearing. This woman who he had seen raging just a few seconds ago was practically shedding serious tears right now. Seeing the amused look on Grace's face, he knew he wasn’t seeing things.
For a second, the manager was taken aback. He was unsure how to handle such a blatant lie. He had quickly composed himself, however. Many of the other customers looked ready to abandon the establishment, regardless of whether or not they got their meals.
Despite knowing she was obviously telling a lie, the manager apologized to her, inviting her to his office to trash out the issue. He called Grace along as well. After all, he wasn’t sure how much of a lie this woman was capable of telling.
A Compelling Story
Once in the manager’s office, Jenny didn’t waste time getting into details about how Gift was such a terrible waitress. She spoke about how condescending Grace has been all day. How she had been passively aggressive but hiding behind her face mask.
According to Jenny, Grace had been trying to bully her all day, and after failing at that, tried to extort her.
Contemplating The Matter
The manager couldn’t believe his ears. From the display he saw before he invited the woman into his office, he already knew this woman could tell lies. But this? This was a whole different thing.
He turned to Grace to hear what she had to say about the accusation being levied against her. The waitress simply said all of it was not true.
On hearing Grace’s answer, Jenny started to cry. She was the victim here, she claimed.
She was the one who had been insulted, been served subpar food, been extorted, and had her time wasted. She had been the victim here, so why was the manager taking the waitress’s side?
The manager tried calming her down. He wasn’t taking anyone’s side he told her, he was simply trying to get to the bottom of the matter.
“What else is there to investigate?” Jenny said, cleaning her tears. “Your waitress is rude and offensive. She should be fired! She should never have gotten a job in such a fine establishment in the first place.”
The manager stared at Grace to gauge her reaction to the Jenny words. Again, the waitress just had that pleasant smile on her face, seemingly unbordered that someone was trying to get her fired from her job.
Instead of trying to defend herself, Grace turned to the customer and apologized. “I’m sorry you feel that way about my service,” she simply said. That only seemed to rile the woman up more.
Even More Anger
“You see! You see what I mean?!” She said to the manager. “That condescending nature of hers! No customer would ever put up with it!”
That was when the manager truly realised her ploy. Jenny really was expecting him to fire the waitress. She was one of those customers who thought simply because they paid a few dollars to an establishment they can dictate how that establishment is run. He felt disgusted.
“I’d have you know that Grace is one of the best waitresses we have on our staff,” the manager said.
“And she is beloved by all our customers too. If you have an issue with her, she apologized recently, and I would love to work on solving it. But I will not be firing one of my best staff and taking away her livelihood simply because you, or any other customer, says so.”
Remembering Issues In The Past
The manager remembered similar situations in the past where customers had tried to get him fired. He had once been fired from a restaurant because a customer had claimed he was making unwanted advances on her while he was just doing his job. His then-employer had known it was a lie, but to please the woman, he had been fired nonetheless.
He didn’t want to be an employer like that.
Seeing that she wouldn’t be getting her way, Jenny decides to take things a step further.
“I’d let everyone know what a terrible establishment this is,” she says, staring right into the manager’s eyes. “I’d make sure your restaurant is closed down. I’m a food blogger with a large following. One bad review from me and your business is done!”
Calling Her Bluff
”With all due respect lady, we’re the no. fast food place in the state. I’d like to see you try,” the manager states staring her right in the face. The two were locked in a staring contest for a little while, until finally Jenny breaks eye contact, pulls out her phone and typed something in.
“You will be hearing from me soon,” she says, walking out of the office.
Calling Her Back
“Oh, not before you pay for your meal though.” The manager called out before she could leave the room. He had a sneaking suspicion that that was what this was really about.
“I am not paying for that piece of trash you call a meal. Especially not after the disrespect and insults I have suffered today,” she replied.
Involving The Police
“Lady, we have people like you come around this establishment every now and then,” the manager says. “We have a policy in place for dealing with situations like this; the police. And we have them on speed dial. So what’s it going to be?”
Raging, Jenny looked for a retort but couldn’t come up with any. She had been cornered, and she knew it.
Trying To Escape
“I am not paying $10 for that excuse of a meal,” she finally said as she tries to fish for some change from her bag.
“Good,” the manager said. “Because now the mean is $20. The extra 10 is for wasting our time. Please pay up or I’d be calling the police.”
She Can’t Afford It
As it turned out, she was unable to afford the $20 requested. She didn’t even have up to the original $10 for the meal. All the commotion she had caused earlier that day had been for that entire reason.
With no other option, the manager had to call the police.
Finding Out Her Identity
On getting to the police station, the manager’s suspicion was confirmed to be accurate. Jenny was notorious across the community for carrying out such petty fraud.
Posing as a food critique, she’d go to small restaurants and try to bully attendants into giving her free meals. Usually, she was successful. But not today.