I spent some of my high school life as a waitress in a small restaurant. We didn’t have sections or a hostess. And we had a limited menu, deli sandwiches, fries, onion rings, and burgers. That was it.
I personally hated the burgers, my boss made his own seasoning and he used a touch of ginger in it and I’m not a fan of ginger. However, we had lots of people that loved our burgers.
Recently, I’ve thought a lot about that job because my niece is working as a hostess at a local chain restaurant. One afternoon I had a woman come in with kids. She was not a regular and insisted the kids would order for themselves, one was maybe ten and the other was much younger, maybe five or so. The younger one didn’t have a great grasp on language, but I was kind of used to that as one of my nephews was three at the time and was a talker.
She ordered a double bacon cheeseburger for herself with fries. The older kid ordered a ham sandwich with stuff on it. I was surprised by this because most kids when they ordered a sandwich didn’t want anything on it, just meat, cheese, and bread, they rarely even wanted a dressing on it like mayonnaise or mustard, let alone vegetables.
The younger one ordered a cheeseburger and fries, ketchup only. Easy enough. We did in fact cook our burgers to order. It really doesn’t take long to cook up a cheeseburger to order. I remember it was an odd time of day, because it was me, the cook, and the manager. We only ran on that kind of crew during off times.
While the cook fixed the burgers, I whipped up the deli sandwich. Carefully double checking which toppings the kid wanted, I didn’t want to get it wrong, especially since the kid had ordered onions, which was rarer than lettuce even. I get the sandwich made, the burgers come up a few moments later. Sandwiches were served cold, so it was put on a plate to await the rest of the order. I took it out and served the plates.
I asked if they needed anything else, and the woman informed me both her and the younger kid’s orders were wrong, they had ordered cheeseburgers. I assured her they were cheeseburgers and encouraged her to remove the buns and examine them.
She asked me why they were both covered in mustard, they hadn’t ordered it with mustard. I peered closely, not seeing mustard on the burgers. She pointed at the yellow stuff on the bun and informed me it was mustard. I told her it was melted cheese.
She demanded we remake them. Okay. Annoying but fine. I went back. The cook of course had heard this since we were dead except this woman and her kids. He was already cooking new burgers. I took them out a second time with the same result.
At that point, she started yelling at me about the mustard and lack of cheese. I just could not convince her that the “yellow stuff” was melted cheese, not mustard. The younger kid was hungry and told mom they’d try it with mustard. Took a bite and said it tasted like cheese. To prove the point, he pulled the top bun off their remade cheeseburger and took a bite out of the middle where the “mustard” was the thickest and told her it tasted like cheese. She told him not to be ridiculous, grabbed the deli sandwich of the oldest, yanked off the cheese and told the kid that was what cheese looked like.
Um, what? The manager who was also the owner of the store, came out. She reassured the woman the both burgers would be remade to her specifications and ushered me to the kitchen. The manager told me not to worry. She took over making the burgers. She did not put cheese on them after they cooked. She put the burgers on the bun, put the rest of the toppings on them, then put a slice of cheese next to each one. She then took the burgers out. She was wearing gloves and then set the burgers on the table and added the cheese slices at the table in front of the woman and asked her how she’d managed to become an adult without knowing that cheese melts when it’s heated up.
The younger kid ate both the second cheeseburger and the third. No clue how since they weren’t tiny burgers like you’d get from the Value Menu at McDonald’s, we hand patted our burgers at the restaurant every morning, it was part of the opening duties.
As she paid her bill and prepared to leave, she told me the waitress that had replaced me was the rudest waitress she had ever met and she hoped she got fired. The manager told me the woman called the store later that day to complain about the horribly rude waitress that put cheese on the burgers at the table.
She tipped me a quarter, telling me her daughter had loved her sandwich, but the lack of cheese on the first two cheeseburgers was disappointing and she didn’t understand how we could screw them up, since they were one of the main items on the menu.
Sadly, she was not the dumbest customer I ever had to deal with. That honor goes to the man that complained because the onion rings were hot. With the help of another waitress, we finally figured out he wanted just slices of onions, the rings of the slice of onion, not the appetizer type onion rings that are breaded and deep fried and could be substituted for fries. The worst part was that he wanted a specific size of sliced onions. I ended up just taking him out a plate of three slices of onion, then I had to stand there and seperate the rings from within the sliced form and give him just the size he wanted. He didn’t want the others left on his table, it was very odd and I grew up in a house where my father would slice an onion and eat the slices on ice cream or cottage cheese, I didn’t think you could do anything odder with an onion than that… Oh so he wanted these “onion rings” to eat while he drank coffee. That was literally the only thing he ordered, slices of onions separated and sized out, and a cup of coffee.