The Sweetie Chronicles

Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart. ~William Wordsworth

Mall Food Court Nightmare

Semi-last-minute Christmas shopping brought G and I to the Crabtree Mall last night in search of gifts for the last few people on our list this year. After stopping in the Hello Kitty Sanrio store of all things happy, we smelled the food coming from the food court and decided to grab a bite to eat. Now, there are somewhere around 12 different places to eat in this mall's food court, so there is a good variety. G chose Moe's, which is like a tex-mex grill sort of place, and got a "Joey Bag of Doughnuts" Burrito, chips and queso, and a drink. He was treated nicely, served quickly, and overall pleased with his choice. I, on the other hand, chose poorly.

I decided to go for pizza, which is my choice in food courts about 95% of the time. As is common in a lot of mall food courts, SBARRO was the only pizza choice, so I made my way over to the counter. Maybe I should have read more into the fact that G got into line at Moe's behind eight people... while no one was waiting in line at Sbarro. The pizza looked pretty good, so I ordered a slice of cheese pizza, a breadstick and a drink. There were four people working behind the counter. One guy seemed to be keeping to himself, taking the pizza in and out of the oven. One of the girls was in charge of putting your pizza onto the plate and passing it over to the customers. Then, there were two girls working the register. Or at least they were both standing at a register together talking.

When I walked up to pay for my meal, I stood patiently for a moment until I heard "hey, you want a drink?" which I thought was a little short, but okay. I ordered a drink, presented my debit card and waited. By this time, a few people had come up behind me. They were not there to buy pizza, but rather to chit-chat with the girls behind the counter. The group was talking very loudly, crowding around me and talking over me, which already had me feeling a little bit aggravated. I just wanted to go sit down with G and have a nice meal.

I grabbed a couple of napkins and looked for a straw. I couldn't see one anywhere. I politely asked one of the girls, "Excuse me, do you have any straws?". This question went unanswered, because the girls were both much more interested in the people behind me. I looked around again, still not seeing a straw, so I asked again. "I'm sorry, can I have a straw please?" Now, at this point, one of the girls started to hand a piece of paper out towards me, so I instinctively reached out, thinking it was a receipt or something. She snatched the paper back and rolled her eyes, saying "Excuse you!" and passed the paper over my head to the boy behind me. I still did not have a straw and was getting more than a little bit frustrated.

I guess at this point, I should have taken my food, grabbed a straw at any one of the 12 restaurants, and sat down. Like I said, I made some poor choices last night. Instead of walking away, I asked again, only this time a little bit louder. "Can I have a straw please?" The girl at the register pointed over to the right side of the counter and said snappily, "They are over there in that can." I picked up the can, looked inside and saw only trash, and I told her as much. "There are no straws in here, do you have any in the back?" I asked. Apparently, me as a customer wanting a straw was just getting in the way of her conversation too much, and she angrily said "Damn! Let me get you a straw." I almost lost it. Honestly, in my mind's eye, I could see myself lifting my tray up and throwing that pizza at her. I almost did it.

Instead, though, I just demanded my money back. When I handed her my debit card again, she said "We can't put it back on your card." I asked to see the manager, who turned out to be some guy in the back with an apron on who didn't speak much english. After a couple minutes of him figuring out how to give me a refund, and me meanwhile standing there tolerating the girls' eyes rolling back in her head and her mumbling things I couldn't quite catch, I was almost in tears. I eventually got cash back, the pizza was thrown in the trash, and I sat with G trying to calm down while he ate his Joey Bag Burrito. (G was, by the way, extremely sweet and supportive, and had me feeling better in no time.)

I don't understand that kind of attitude and behavior. Someone who is working a job where their only real responsibility is to be NICE to their customers, should never be allowed to treat someone the way she treated me. First of all, to use profanity towards or in front of a customer should be an automatic firing, in my opinion. Her manager, however, didn't seem to care why I wanted my money back. I probably ended up making myself more upset by sticking around and waiting for the cash while she mumbled, but it was a matter of principle for me, and not wanting to patronize an establishment where I was treated like crap.

The sad thing is, I know that last night, in shopping malls all over the country and perhaps even the world, too many people felt like me because of too many people working in customer service like her. Merry Christmas, huh?

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Sarra Cannon

Young Adult Indie Author

I always secretly wanted to be a cheerleader. And a witch. Now, I write about both. The first five novels in my Peachville High Demons Young Adult Paranormal series are available now in ebook!

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