Friday, August 5, 2011

Shorter Fuse, My Butt

As pleasant as my days are, meeting Susan for lunch is often the most pleasant part of my day. Today, we met for lunch downtown and decided to walk through the bright sunshine to Dagwoods to eat a couple of submarine sandwiches. There was a line-up when we got there and it progressed well until the man directly in front of us ordered ten sandwiches.

Yank the hand brake.

Part way through the extensive slicing, one of the employees looked at Susan and offered, "It won't be long." I muttered to Susan, "It's already been too long." She agreed. I think fast food outlets should, especially during the lunch rush, delay inordinately time-consuming orders until there's a lull. Again, Susan agreed, but insisted the delay was not the fault of the employees.

To cut and lay out the proper bread, to slice and lay out the multiple varieties of meats, to garnish each sandwich with the proper toppings, to package all the subs, cookies and chip bags took close to fifteen minutes! By that point, the woman behind me in the line-up had grumbled twice in French about the delay. Susan grumbled about the delay.

Finally, we were asked for our orders. We gave them.

Then, there was a problem with the cash! The cashier came over to the employee who was slicing meat and told him that she had apparently overcharged the guy with the big order. The meat slicer promptly went over to the cash and began assertively pressing buttons and discussing with the customer, until the problem was solved.

He came back and, again, after all that waiting, asked about our orders.

I snapped. I demanded he change the plastic gloves he was wearing and suggested that after poking away at the cash register, the dirtied gloves were no longer fit to handle food and, more precisely, my food! I told him that was the whole point of the gloves, to make sure the handling of food is done as cleanly as possible. We glared at each other and he changed the gloves.

He began slicing and assembling our sandwiches.

After making us wait close to twenty minutes now, the cashier suddenly seemed to be in a huge hurry, impatiently waiting for Susan to pay for her completed order. My sub was not yet completed and I was about to choose my toppings. I looked at the cashier and said, "The orders are together, give me a minute, I'm almost done." I chose my toppings and got to the cash, where I explained that I didn't appreciate having to spend such a huge chunk of my limited lunch time waiting to be served!

We sat down to eat, at which point Susan suggested I had gone too far. I pointed out I am normally quite reasonable and the wait we'd endured was anything but reasonable. I also admitted that I'm fed-up of restaurant employees who wear plastic gloves while wiping counters with rags, opening stove doors, opening refrigerators, food bags, filling condiment containers and poking at cash registers.

If you're going to do all those things while wearing plastic gloves, you might as well take them off, just so you know I know wearing them is no more sanitary than not wearing them at all. Let's just end the charade!

I argued the employees should know when to change the gloves and stop insulting the intelligence of customers. Susan then suggested the employees may be suffering from diminished intelligence, or drastic indifference.

She ended today's lunch by declaring my fuse shorter than ever. Her consternation may be warranted but, in my defense, your honor, how is a reasonable human expected to respond to the growing lack of consideration to which we are subjected?

I maintain the whole wonderfully perfect concept of reasonableness allows for unreasonable responses by reasonable people to unreasonable situations.

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