I went to a Firehouse Subs sandwich store yesterday for lunch. I placed my order: always a medium roast beef on wheat bread, with lettuce and cheese only, and baked chips. The young man behind the counter did not really listen, because he asked the little canned questions like "for here or to go?" after I had slowly and precisely told him that kind of thing. It's not a big deal at all--folks who work retail have to listen to customers who place orders at rapid fire, and they have enough stress without my adding to it.
I waited for my meal. I had a book about Ian Fleming and James Bond that I picked up at a Big Lots for three dollars. Since I got an e-reader, I plan to buy far fewer physical books, and far more e-books. I like to keep my e-reader at home so far, though, and thus must travel with some print in hand.
As I read my book, the sounds of a woman manager on the telephone kept punctuating the text about World War Two intelligence and English operatives working in Switzerland. She was engaged in a very lengthy apology for an order gone astray. I could only hear her side of the discussion, but the customer obviously had a bone to pick and could not let go of it. She had to repeat her apology and her "we'll make it right" over and over and over. No matter how much the caller felt unhappy, I have to believe that caller had better ways to spend his or her Sunday after the 14th apology or so.
Then my meal came out. It was a barbecue brisket. The same inexperienced cashier had typed in "brisket' instead of 'roast beef'. I told the fellow it was not the right thing. He re-took my order and they competently fixed me the right thing.
The manager came over and apologized, and gave me a free sandwich coupon. I wish I had given it back to her. I visit this store from time to time. Stores all have a bad day sometimes. The world does not revolve around sandwich orders. Maybe I'll write them a thank-you note, and send back the coupon. It's not that I'm opposed to coupons, or opposed to people getting orders right. It's just that in this world it always seems to me that everything is such a production number, and we're all out there making mistakes.