Saturday it happened again. This time Jelly Guy said “Now this is the last time I’m going to ask you people about this.” And that’s the way he said, real smarmy, too. “You people,” like it was him against us and we were presenting an impenetrable front of non-jelly-having.
I’d already asked Sarah if I had permission to bring in a jar and dump it on his head the next time he asked about and she said yes. I bought a container of it last week but forgot to bring it with me Saturday. He wasn’t there the weekend before Christmas so I didn’t know if he was out of town. I really wish I had thought to take it with me. I don’t know what I would have done with it. I want to squeeze an entire bottle in his face, punch him, kick him in the shins and call him nasty names, but I probably would have just handed it to him and said “Here. Are you happy now?” But I know he wouldn’t be because he’d say he wanted his own packets, or he didn’t like grape. Or then he’d say he wants jam, not cheap jelly.
Audrey was on the register and he started in on her about how this was the last time he was going to ask. He then said “You really should provide this simple service to your loyal customers – people like me who spend over five hundred dollars a year here. I really, really like jelly on my bagels.” Audrey’s face started to get a little red and she said “To be completely honest, sir, you are the only person in the three years I’ve worked here who has ever asked for jelly.”
I walked up behind her and said very sarcastically in a super-chipper voice, “You know, on Wednesday I went to Target and got a squeeze bottle of name brand Smuckers for only a dollar and twelve cents! And that’s good for me because I only make seven dollars an hour.” I said that because he’s a physician, just like his other physician friends who come in and use our free wireless and take up tables for three hours on Saturday mornings not playing chess and usually not buying much of anything. And because he made the point about how much money he spends at the store.
Jelly Guy just said “Well,” turned around, and went back to his table. He sat there for another ten minutes or so before getting up walking determinedly towards Sarah who was stuck talking to our resident crazy old pervert. He stood patiently behind her for another five or so minutes, holding his plate. When she got away from the perv, Jelly Guy pulled her aside and spoke quietly to her for a while, occasionally nodding or pointing toward me and Audrey who started to get really pissed off because we didn’t think we were all that rude. I wanted to say lots of other things.
When he left an agonizing half an hour after that, Sarah finally told us he wasn’t complaining about me and Audrey being rude. In fact, she said, he was so focused on convincing her to buy jelly packets for the store that she was coming up with a price list to show him how expensive it would be. Their conversation went something like this:
Jelly Guy: You know, I’ve been coming here for quite some time and I think it’s really sad that you won’t provide me with the jelly I need. I really like jelly on my bagel and I don’t like eating them without it.
Sarah: You are more than welcome to bring in your own.
JG: That’s not the point. The point is that I spend well over five hundred dollars here annually and I think it’s a small cost for you guys to pay to keep my business.
S: I understand, but it wouldn’t really be cost-effective for us. We’d have to buy it by the case from one of our suppliers and since you are the only person asking for it, the rest of the case would be wasted.
JG: Well, what’s a case cost?
S: I’m not sure.
JG: You should look it up. What do you think it costs? Like fifty bucks? Don’t you think spending fifty bucks is worth it to make five hundred off me? I don’t want to have to start shopping around for other coffeeshops, because I will.
S: I can run it past my owner but I can’t promise you that she’ll approve a purchase like that.
JG: You do that and let her know I’m the one who was asking about it and how much I spend here every year.
We broke out the calculator after he left and discovered he spends about two hundred dollars every year, and that’s overestimating – assuming he came in each Saturday for 52 weeks a year, which he doesn’t. Thank god. Sometimes he doesn’t buy anything, like I said, and just uses the wireless. He and his three friends spend a combined total every weekend of about eight dollars, none of them tip, they take up three or four tables, spread out two different chess boards, and sit for two, three, four hours. Several other paying customers could be in and out in that span of time, and still have a chance to enjoy their coffee at a table.
I am so effing sick of this guy and his petty behavior. At this point it’s clearly a game to him. He just wants to see how far he can push us. I considered putting a jar of jelly on the counter and labeling it “Employee Use Only.” But he would only complain about me to the owners. I can’t dump it on him or I’ll get fired. I can’t swear or scream at him. I just told Sarah that it’s a good thing I’m not the manager and that I don’t have to worry about percentages, numbers, costs, and whatnot, because I want to tell the guy to walk his happy jelly-loving ass to Starbucks and stay the hell out of our store.