The Whitehall Ledger - Serving Southern Jefferson County in the Great State of Montana

By Jack H. Smith
Ledger Publisher 

Column: An extra $2 for a clue


December 6, 2017

I have the utmost respect for anyone who works in the fast food industry or waits tables to make a living. I spent a great deal of my younger and skinnier years either flipping a burger or balancing a tray packed with drinks. For the most part, dealing with customers was never a big deal, but occasionally people can get a little salty when they are hungry. Of course there is the small percentage of human beings that are jerks most of the time.

Whenever I eat out somewhere, I leave a gracious tip, because I know how much wait staff gets paid an hour and it’s hard to afford anything besides a pack of ramen noodles with the paycheck. At a busy fast food restaurant, I always have a great deal of patience because I know how chaotic it can get during a rush and how easy mistakes can happen. It takes me a lot before I would ever say something that might be considered “rude” or “aggressive” to someone, but that happened last week.

Shayla is a member of the Tiernan Irish Dancers and after her recital in Butte, I decided to treat her with a frozen snack from an establishment a short drive from the venue.

When we pulled into the parking lot, it appeared to be slow, other than a line of cars in the drive thru. Once we started to order, I knew right away the cashier was new and felt bad for her. She would ask for help with the register, and the employees in the back were too busy with their own conversations as they prepared food.

After ordering, I knew it would probably take awhile because fast food places cater to the drive thru much more so than inside, so I patiently waited.

After about 15 to 20 minutes, which was starting to get a little too long, she called our number. Instead of dessert, it was some chicken strips and other food items. I explained to her what our order was and she went to investigate. Three of our four treats were waiting to be picked up, but the fourth was missing. I told them what it was and it was almost like I had dropped trou and taken a dump right in the lobby.

I started to get dirty looks from one employee who was talking rather loudly about our order. When the final treat came, another employee said, “Here, this is what they claimed to have ordered,” with a fierce attitude.

They were pretty much saying that we were trying to pull a fast one on them and I was outraged. I hate to ever say anything, but responded, “I know what I ordered, it’s not my fault someone screwed it up.”

If I thought the dirty looks were bad at first, oh boy, they got worst. I finally just left before I went on a rant in the restaurant. I hated the fact that I was pretty much being called a liar and trying to steal food.

I wouldn’t have cared if I needed to pay more, but nobody asked.

I’m sure as soon as I left, the bad mouthing did not stop.

I’m not going to run onto Yelp and leave a bad review, but I’m pretty sure nobody in that place knew what they were doing and it somehow became my fault.

I probably should have just thrown an extra $5 bill on the counter and said $3 is for the milkshake, and the other two is in the hopes that you can purchase a clue.

The following day, I had worked in a frenzy until about 1 p.m. and really needed to eat. When I got to the KFC in Whitehall, the employee could not have been nicer and it reminded me that most people are like that.

It’s kind of difficult when the jerks are the ones working on you, but it is rare. On a plus note, the treats were still plenty tasty and little Shayla did a great job dancing.


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