We have this regular who we call by the name of the city she moved to Indy from: Cleveland. She used to come in to the Starbucks where I worked, like, 5 years ago, and even now she continues to rave about how much better Cleveland was than Indianapolis. One of the first days I worked at this coffeeshop, she came in (about three years ago), wearing the same cast on her foot and hobbling on a crutch. I thought this was impossible. You would have to do some significant damage to your foot to be wearing a brace after two years. But she was. She wore it for another full year.
During that time, she would bark at us to not fill up her coffee cup, because she needed extra space so she didn’t spill it all over herself in the car. One morning she screamed that the floor was wet from the snow and salt and that she almost fell and broke her leg. Another day she yelled at Mark for making her a sandwich using the same gloves he’d had on when he pulled out the sandwich fillings. Yet another morning she freaked out on Audrey for using what Cleveland thought were “dirty tongs.” They had some icing on them from a cinnamon roll.
She’s a really difficult person to deal with. We never have what she wants, and when we do, it’s “not right.” When we make something for her, we’re doing it wrong, or something is gross, dirty, full of germs, disgusting, too hot, too cold. I don’t think she’s a germ-a-phobe; I just think she’s a bitch.
Today she asked for a blueberry muffin. Matt gave her banana nut by mistake. She called the store fifteen minutes later and had a conversation with Matt of which I was completely ignorant. He told me later that she got the wrong muffin, so he put aside our last blueberry for her to come back and get it. I answered the phone a few minutes after this conversation, and she had worked herself in to a tizzy about the nuts in the banana muffins.
I was on the bar, trying to make five drinks at a time, while she was shouting in to my ear about how she has an allergy, and how people die from allergies like this, and she demands to know exactly what kind of nut was in that muffin. I wasn’t sure, but I was pretty positive it was walnut, so I told her to hang on and I’d ask. As I started to put the phone down and yell back at Matt, I heard Cleveland screaming at me to FOCUS! FOCUS ON WHAT I’M ASKING YOU! She was barking that I was obviously distracted, and kept telling me to FOCUS. I felt I was sufficiently focused on what she was saying, so I snapped back at her “I heard what you asked, and I’m trying to find out if Matt knows what kind of nut is in the muffin.” And I said it real shitty.
She continued to tell me to stop being distracted and pay attention to her, so I said she should operate under the assumption that they are, in fact, walnuts, and not to eat the muffin. “I already took a bite, but I spit it back out!” She yelled. “I could get really sick!”
Next thing I know she’s saying we apparently need to hold a special training session at our store on how to identify the few muffins we actually sell, and she said it real shitty, so I responded, “Okay, thank you,” and I hung up on her.
I spent the better part of the morning wringing my hands, waiting for a call from the owner to tell me I’m going to get written up or something. I was pretty rude, but only after Cleveland was totally condescending. I know she was calling me and Matt stupid for not knowing what was in our pastries, and I realize she got something that she may or may not be allergic to (I’m suspicious because she didn’t mention this to Matt on the phone the first time she called; it was like an afterthought), but there was no need for her to raise her voice and call me names, or try to make me feel retarded for “not listening well enough.”
I’m prepared for the worst. If I get written up, I get written up. It would be the first time in three years, which is a lot more than I can say for most of my co-workers. I’m not thrilled to see her the next time she comes in. I can just hope she’s pissed enough not to come back. Unfortunately, based on her behavior every time I’ve ever dealt with her, she seems like the kind of person who goes through life looking for a reason to sue someplace or someone. Some people seem to live by the rule that the squeaky wheel gets the grease. She probably gets a lot of complimentary meals and gift certificates from bitching her head off.