Goading the ‘We’ People

“How are we today?” Silvia asked the customer.

“I can’t speak on behalf of anyone else, but I’m fine, thanks,” he replied.

Silvia forced a smile, wondering what he was talking about. 

Idiot, she thought.

“What can we get you today?” she asked.

As Silvia was the only person at the counter, her customer assumed others would be preparing his order also, and they must be out the back. Yesterday he had some problems with his meal but had failed to tell her as she was in a mood. Today, she appeared a little calmer. He ordered a toasted cheese sandwich and a black coffee.

“Could you ask them to make sure the bread is not burnt, like yesterday?”

That didn’t sit well with Silvia. She was the only one there, and he was accusing her of burning the toast. She rarely burned the toast—anyway, that was yesterday. The toaster was a good brand and normally released the bread at the programmed time. 

“You should have told us that yesterday and we could have fixed it on the spot?”

“I thought of that, but one doesn’t want to cause problems for the staff. I could see the shop was busy.”

What an idiot, Silvia thought. I am the only one here. Can’t he see that?

“Well, we’ll make sure your order is right today.”

Thanks, also please ask them to make the coffee without sugar. Yesterday they added sugar without my asking. One doesn’t want sugar if one doesn’t like sugar.

Silvia looked at the man, knowing he was ‘trouble’. She would not have added sugar unless asked. Yes, he was a troublemaker, probably trying to get something for free.

“We don’t give refunds for past orders. That’s company policy. You need to tell us there and then.”

Silvia gave him the evil eye as the customer explained he didn’t want a refund. He was only hoping to get his order made correctly. Then a whiff of smoke drifted towards him.

“Excuse me, they have let the toast burn.”

She was not stupid, and could see that the toast was smouldering a tad but the machine had not finished its job. The toast eventually popped out and there was no way Silvia was going to re-do the order and waste two slices of bread. It was his fault for interrupting her normal work processes. She didn’t speak but her actions did as she added force to every movement. Slamming, stomping, kicking—she found it an effective way of letting the customer know when they’re wrong.

“Please don’t get angry. They said to tell if there was a problem and they would fix it on the spot.”

“Who said that?”

“They did.”

Moron, she thought as she scraped off the burnt layer on the toast. I am the owner, the worker, and the manager—can’t the idiot see that? 

Poor Silvia was having another of those days. Why did these idiots come into her shop?

Another customer walked into the store just as she was slamming a layer of cheese onto the freshly scraped toast. She let the meal rest as she attended to the new customer.

“How are we today?”

The customer looked at her a tad confused, wondering if he had been chosen as the spokesperson for the customer collective. Noticing the only other customer was the man waiting at the counter he approached him.

“Excuse me, how are you today, Sir?”

“I’m fine, thanks,” the toasted cheese customer replied. 

With that information, he looked back at Silvia and spoke on behalf of all the customers.

“We’re fine thanks.”

Silvia was not good at confrontation unless she was winning. And before she could take the new customer’s order, the toasted cheese customer interrupted. 

“Excuse me, could you ask them to finish my order, please?”

Silvia had had enough. She picked up his half prepared toasted cheese sandwich and hurled it over the counter at him. 

Silva shouted at both of them. 

“Get out of ‘my’ shop.”

To her disgust, they embraced each other and started dancing a waltz in her cafe. They even performed a pirouette and bowed. 

“Get out, of ‘my’ shop now,” she bellowed again.

“Yes,” they both roared, as their hands slapped a high five.

Once outside, the toasted cheese customer took out his notebook and crossed ‘Silvia’s Coffee’ off the list. With his duty done, he sat on a nearby bench and prepared himself as his friend visited the next shop on the list.

He walked into the pharmacy.

“How are we today?” The pharmacist asked.