[Bobby wants plain toast, which isn’t on the menu]
Bobby: I’d like an omelet, plain, and a chicken salad sandwich on wheat toast, no mayonnaise, no butter, no lettuce. And a cup of coffee.
Waitress: A #2, chicken salad sand. Hold the butter, the lettuce, the mayonnaise, and a cup of coffee. Anything else?
Bobby: Yeah, now all you have to do is hold the chicken, bring me the toast, give me a check for the chicken salad sandwich, and you haven’t broken any rules.

– “Five Easy Pieces”

My morning began with a craving for home fries, a particular kind of home fries made by a chain cafe near my office. I honestly wanted them enough to venture back out into 20-something degree weather. Here’s the catch: they don’t sell individual sides on the menu. Once before, I made the attempt to order home fries, bacon and toast (three separate sides), only to be given enough food to feed my entire office. There had to be an easier way.

I looked over the menu and saw an option for “three eggs any style, home fries, bacon and toast” for $5.25. Perfect. I ordered the “#7” and asked her to not include the eggs.

She looked at me blankly.

“I’m allergic to eggs,” I replied, “I just want home fries, bacon and toast.”

She stares at me, more intently, and then looks down at the register. No verbal acknowledgment.

“I just want the three sides, not the eggs,” I repeat, hopefully that would offer some clarity to the situation.

“We can’t do that. A number seven is a number seven. They’ll get confused in the kitchen.” Mind you, there is no one else on line. Business isn’t exactly overwhelming at this point.

I then ask her if she can ring the three sides separately. I honestly don’t care what it costs. I was more than willing to pay the full amount and not take the eggs. She pauses and starts ringing – I see the first item light up on the register “Platter of bacon” – $4.28.

“No,” I interrupt, “I don’t need nine pieces of bacon. I’m one person. All I want is a side of bacon, a side of home fries and toast. Can you please just ring the #7 and tell them ‘no eggs’?”

Now she is visibly annoyed. Clearly, I’ve requested a service far outside the boundaries of her job description.

She acquiesces and rolls her eyes at me. I watch (and half listen) as she and the other employees talk trash about me in Spanish. My Spanish skills aren’t that strong – I mostly can read ads for divorce attorneys on the subway. I could definitely tell this lady didn’t like me, though.

I have had a number of customer service jobs in my lifetime (waitress, hostess, store manager, low level store lackey …) and have yet to figure out when the concept of polite customer service went by the wayside.

On Saturday, I was walking through Roosevelt Field Mall when I spotted a cute shirt in the window of Hollister. I do realize, before I even relay this story, that perhaps I’m too old for Hollister. Perhaps once you hit size 6, you shouldn’t consider buying clothes in Hollister. I swear, there are shorts in that store that could possibly fit my calves (triple-zero, anyone?)

Regardless, I found the shirt and waited behind a gaggle of high school kids to try it on. Upon buttoning the shirt, I realized that the anti-theft sensor was inside the shirt. The inch or so of plastic was pressing against my ribcage and jutting out sideways – just enough to make me question whether or not the shirt was buttoning properly.

I asked the salesgirl if she could remove the sensor – no offense, but I don’t fit the profile of “shop thief” at Roosevelt Field Mall. She came back with the shirt and told me that she wasn’t allowed to.

I pointed out the location of the sensor to her and asked her if she could at least move the sensor to the outside of the shirt. She, again, walked away with the shirt and returned momentarily with an even more unsatisfactory response.

“My manager said she can’t move the sensor. She also said that the shirt probably doesn’t fit you and you should just try a bigger size.”

Thanks, Hollister staff, for saving me $55.

On a brighter note, the Silo sushi man and I are back on speaking terms …

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