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Danner: People who serve the public shouldn't have to deal with rude customers

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By Jerome Danner


Recently I stopped by the Zaxby's here in town (Douglas, Georgia) for a meal to fill my stomach not prepared by my wife's hand.  As I pulled up, the line in the drive-thru appeared to be quite long, so I made a quick decision to go inside and try my luck at getting in and out.

Well, my luck was out this night.  But I wasn't all that mad since I don't really believe in luck anyhow.

Everybody that was inside waiting on their food must have had the same idea as me: it is typically quicker to get food on the inside if you're not in the mood to wait on the outside.  You know that great minds think alike.  However, we were all wrong that night because it was as slow on the inside as it was on the outside.  I, myself, was not deterred from getting that Wings-N-Things plate however and so I decided to wait (as many others were clearly doing).

I was not waiting long until one gentleman....excuse me, one "man," this "man" did not and does not deserve to be labelled a gentleman, for his actions and his speech were not gentlemanly.  This man came in and went right up to the corner and asked to speak with the manager. I thought that this probably was not going to be good.  The manager comes up and this man comes out cursing about his order being messed up.  Apparently, he was not happy, especially since he had come quite a distance, like Fitzgerald or somewhere.

The manager did her best to be kind and respectful, but he kept on and on about his order being messed up.  The young lady apologized to him (as he kept yelling), she gave him a card to call in a few days, he started walking off still cursing, and she even apologized to those of us in line.

I felt sorry for her.

Honestly, we all make mistakes and when you're going fast to get out orders as quickly as possible, it is bound to happen.  Now, of course, nobody wants to have their meal messed up, but there is still a way of handling it.  You do not have to berate and tear workers down when they do something wrong.  Most of us do not like the feeling that comes with being criticized; add to the criticism the fact that it is in front of others and you are embarrassed and feel devalued to some degree.

The thought crossed my mind to tell the manager and the young lady (who was the cashier that might have messed up the order) that I am sorry that he treated them as he had done.  But I said nothing.  I am a tenderhearted individual anyway, but if that was my daughter, I would have had this guy's head rolling on the floor, and I can't fight.  I may have did a hit and run though.  Of course, fighting someone who is being disrespectful doesn't really solve anything obviously, but I would feel better, if I won and if I walked away with no bruises.

What I am trying to say (in my comical way) is that this kind of behavior is not called for.  All of us need to remember that imperfect customer service does not call for inappropriate behavior.  We all are imperfect people dealing with other imperfect people.  You know I honestly believe that if we all thought about living lives in love and kindness and peace, we would have communities so vibrant and healthy we wouldn't know what to do with ourselves.

So, my apologies to the girls (and guys) in Zaxby's (or any other restaurant) that have to deal with rude behavior from time to time.  You do not deserve disrespect, even if you are being slow and not on top of your game when you touch every bag.  I mean, let's be honest here: fast-food restaurants have not truly been fast in decades, and if you want something fresh, it is going to take a little more time.

For customers (of any establishment): check your mood at the door of the place where you hope to buy something.  If you are in a sour mood, stay your behind at home and gnaw on what is in the refrigerator.  It is cheaper anyway and the Zaxby's employees may get through the night with a little less stress on their heads.

(For other writings and commentary by Jerome Danner and to check out his Thinking It Through with Jerome Danner podcast, please visit https://jeromedanner.net/.)

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