Posts Tagged ‘customers’

My recent speech impediments

Recently, I’ve developed a few odd speech impediments. I’m not sure where they’ve come from or whether it’s just a result of working in a busier environment with customers and so I’m talking more.

The first one is definitely a talking-more thing. When people say thank you for something, I always say, “No problem.” It’s a bit nonsensical anyway because why would there be a problem with them saying thank you? And surely it’s for them to say ‘no problem’ because I’ve done something correctly when they asked me for it. Or maybe it means, “There’s no problem in getting it for you.” In which case, it is me who needs to say it.

Anyway, whatever the reason, I usually say ‘no problem.’ But because there are lots of customers, I’m trying to speak quickly so I can serve the next customer and I keep saying, “No ploblem.”

I’m not sure if they’ve noticed but it’s happening 50% of the time now. When I open my mouth to say, “No problem,” I’ve no guarantee whether I’ll say problem or ploblem.

The second one is something I imagine a grandma might often say. I keep telling people I’ll just “pop and” get them something.

Sample conversation in which I say “pop and.”

“Hello, how can I help you?”

“I’d just like a pot of tea please.”

“Ok, great, that’s going to be £1.75 please.”

“Can I pay by card?”

“Yes, that’s fine. If you just put your card into the machine and it will give you the instructions. I’ll just pop and make your tea while you’re doing that.”

I’m sorry? Pop AND make your tea? Why not just say “I’ll make your cup of tea while you’re doing that”? Am I implying that I shall pop before doing the pot of tea? And what on earth might this ‘pop’ consist of?

People say, “I’m just popping to the shops” or “Pop the kettle on.” The ‘pop’ in itself is kind of a byword for the word that should have been there. So what does my ‘pop’ mean? It’s totally superfluous to the sentence. I’ve already said, “I’ll make your cup of tea” so the “pop and” is simply in there for show.

And now I’ve noticed it and become conscious of it, I’ve been saying it for loads of stuff. It’s got out of control.

“I’ll pop and get you some bread for your soup.”

“If you sit down, I’ll pop and bring you the scones when they’re ready.”

“That’s £3.20, thank you. I’ll pop and get your change for you now.”

“I’ll just pop and get you a wine glass for your drink.”

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“PAPRIKA LAMB!”

Yesterday I was at work. My colleague and I were just hanging around looking for things to do as it was a bit quiet. We had a little look in the fridge of homemade food and saw a stew of some sort. We didn’t know for definite what it was, as the paprika lamb and the pork goulash often look quite similar. There was only one thing for it – the taste test (I sometimes have to do this on the cake, purely in the interests of the customer, you understand..). It tasted like pork. So we put a label on it and got on with other stuff.

Then the world arrived and wanted a sandwich. And they wanted things heated up and they wanted coffees and they wanted to buy this and that. So we woke ourselves up a little and got into ‘military mode.’ I was heating, wrapping, toasting and washing dishes in the kitchen. My colleague was making coffee, taking payments, taking orders and bagging things up in front of the shop. Due to this intensity of action, there was less time for niceties.

I would tear out of kitchen at 100 miles an hour, yelling “CALIFORNIAN CLUB SANDWICH!”  and thrust it at the first person who looked up. “THANKS! HAVE A GOOD DAY!” I would yell, with equal ferocity, before disappearing back into the kitchen to deal with the next order. I’m not sure whether they felt I really meant that last statement…

Anyway, there were pans on hobs all over the place, heating soups and stews and whatever else found its way to me. At one point, I noticed something on a hob which had finished heating. I whipped out the rice, which was also finished and got it ready for take-out. I picked it up and raced out into the shop. I had forgotten how hot it was. My fingers started noticing the heat. Ignore it, I thought. Get the food out now, nurse the cuts and burns later.

I rushed into the shop at some speed, given the finger-burning situation and shouted, “PAPRIKA LAMB!”

…. There was no reaction. What was wrong with these people? My fingers are burning here, OW OW! Pay attention. It must be someone’s.

“PAPRIKA LAMB!” shouted the crazy kitchen lady, again.

Again, no reaction. Some people were talking in the corner and I presumed it must be one of them. Why aren’t they listening out for their food? I thought, impatiently.

“DID ANYONE ORDER A PAPRIKA LAMB WITH RICE TO TAKE AWAY?!” I yelled, raising my voice to get their attention. They all looked briefly at me, shook their heads, then went back to their conversation.

My patience was running low by this point. I needed to get back into the kitchen, I was busy and important, couldn’t these people tell?! Someone needs to take this paprika lamb from me. I tried again.

“PAPRIKA LAMB!”

Nothing. I turned to my colleague, who was making a coffee, and asked her, “Do you know who’s paprika lamb this is?”

(Has anyone else spotted the mistake yet?)

She said (wait for it…..), she said, “O, is that the pork goulash?”

Yes. Yes, it is. Because we don’t have paprika lamb, do we….

A pause. I figure out how to deal with the situation.

“Is anyone waiting for pork goulash?” I said, voice lowered significantly.

The man in front of me stepped forward, thanked me and took his pork goulash…..

Crazy kitchen lady returned to her kitchen cave at the back of the shop and quietly got on with the next order…..

The worst date ever? (and more getting excited)

This isn’t really about the actual date, although it was pretty bad. It’s more about my reaction to the date.

When this gentleman asked me out to dinner, it was one of those out-of-the-blue, I-don’t-really-know-you-very-well, this-is-a-surprise things. I thought he might be nice so I said yes and he immediately gave me his phone number on a piece of paper. He’d obviously planned ahead.

On designated Dinner Day, I turned up and we walked to the restaurant. Not a lot of chat going on but I thought we’d get talking when we sat down. We got to the Japanese restaurant and got menus. The waitress came over pretty quickly and he said he was ready to order food. He ordered a bunch of stuff and then the waitress left so I realised he must have ordered for both of us. I was a vegan at the time and just knew he wouldn’t have ordered anything suitable. Anyway, when the food arrived, I managed to nibble on a vine leaf or something. This was all happening relatively quickly and the food was a good topic of conversation so I didn’t notice the main problem until we went for a little drink at the pub. We got a drink each and sat down at the table…. And I started up a few conversations… And nothing… Nothing! He had nothing to say! Disaster!

Now I’m quite a chatty girl. The type you have to shush if you want a turn at saying something. I can find something to say about most stuff. But this was ridiculous. I was expected to conduct the entire evening like a monologue because he didn’t have a thing to say!

Sample conversation:

Me: “So where did you grow up?”
Man: “Alaska.”
Me: “O that’s interesting! What’s it like there?”
Man: “Nice.”
Me: “…Um. So when did you move here?”
Man: “Two years ago.”
Me: “… Um. I grew up in Liverpool. It’s really nice there, yeh. I moved here a few years ago, to go to uni. I really like it….. etc etc…”

One word answers. And no conversation starters. Every time I asked a question, just a single word answer and no return questions. I ended up just asking myself questions and then answering them, for the sake of there being some conversation. He told me one thing, about a scene in The Simpsons where they made a joke about a computer and emailing. He really laughed. That was the high point of his conversation offerings for the night.

Suffice to say, I scarpered as soon as possible and ignored his ‘I miss you’ text sent the next day. ‘Of course you do,’ I thought, ‘You live in a world of silence. Of course you miss someone who’s talking to you.’

So I forgot about it and moved on… Until one day I was at work. I worked in a little coffee place in a train station. The customers could see inside most of it but there was a part just out of sight where the stock room was. As I was leaving the stock room to come around to the front, I looked up and saw The Man From The Date approaching. Like a rabbit caught in the headlights, I stopped dead and ducked down. There was a bin next to where I was standing so I crouched behind it. It wasn’t a very big bin, mind you. If he had looked over, he would definitely have seen me. After he left, my colleagues were looking at me strangely. I pretended to be searching around for something.

It happened the next day as well. I was standing next to the coffee machine, in full view and I saw him approaching from the left. So I just ducked down and stayed still. Ridiculous. When the other person on shift saw that I hadn’t made the drink, she came over to make it, so I had to move out of the way. I crawled (that’s right, crawled) across the open space into the stock room to hide. It was a pretty open-plan place. All he had to do was look slightly to his left and he would have seen me crawling across the floor. How stupid is that?

Why didn’t I just stay standing up and say something normal like, ‘Hi’. I could have done it in a detached way, to let him know I was just being polite and not inviting any interaction. Not that he knew how to do that anyway. But for some reason, I just kept hiding from him. It happened one more time, and I leapt over to the bin to hide again. I then didn’t see him for a while until he arrived a few months later, with a girl in tow so I stopped hiding behind bins then. How silly.

The moral of this story is = don’t say yes to a date before you’ve ascertained whether it’s possible to converse with the asker.

On a completely different note – in my quest to get more excited about stuff, it’s my friend’s birthday today. She’s Filipino so I’m going to embrace everything Philippines for the day. Their flag is red and blue mainly (I’ll whip out the jumper and coat I wore to get excited about the Jubilee) and the Spanish were there so I’m going to say ‘Hola’ instead of hello to everyone today (yes, I’m aware that they don’t say hola, they say ‘Kamusta’ but people won’t know what I’m going on about if I say that). I’m also going to have fish for dinner because I remember eating a lot of fish when I was in the Philippines. I’ll report back tomorrow.

What runs through my head when I’m working in the kitchen

Ok, 8am, we’re open. I’m in the kitchen. Great. I love working in the kitchen. All the food! Right, get set up, chopping board, knives, tongs, ready to go. Come on, where are the orders, the customers? Come on, come on! I’m ready! Let’s do this!

Ermmm… what should I do now? I guess I’ll wash a few dishes. La lala. Wash, wash, wash. A plate, some mugs, a spoon. Done. What now? O! Ok! There’s an order! I can hear someone making an order. Great. I’m ready. Let’s go.

It’s a full breakfast. Woop! Hob on, bacon in pan, crack two eggs in another. Sausages, tomato and mushrooms in oven. Heat the plate a little. Toast in. Which toast? White! Ok, it’s in. We’re on. Check the eggs. Turn the bacon.

O wait a minute, another order just came in. Scrambled eggs and bacon. Two more peices of bacon in the bacon pan. Another peice of bread in the toaster. Crack some eggs into another. Bit of cream. Salt. Pepper. Whisk whisk whisk. And on the heat. Keep whisking, don’t let it stick to the bottom. O wait, the sausages and tomatoes and mushrooms are ready for the first breakfast. But the toast hasn’t popped up yet! It ages from being done. And the fried eggs still aren’t ready to go. Ok, swish the oil around a bit to cook the top of them. The bacon is done. O man, half the first breakfast is done. Ok, no probs. Keep everything hot. O wait, stop swishing the fried egg oil! The scrambled eggs need whisking so they don’t stick. One hand doing that, the other hand doing everything else which needs doing.

Can I hear someone else making an order at the till? What?! No! O no, it’s a bacon sandwich to go! I haven’t any hobs left and no space in the bacon pan! Why? Why couldn’t they just get a croissant or something?! O my goodness! Why are they all here? I don’t understand why they can’t just time themselves so there’s a little space in between?

Ok, eggs done, toast done. Get plate with free hand. Everything on the plate for the full breakfast. Need to take it out. But can’t leave the scrambled egg pan! O wait, everything’s ready for that one. On plate, quickly, butter toast, cut in half. On plate. Both breakfasts done. Go go go!

Back to kitchen. Bacon in pan. Sizzle sizzle sizzle. Bread out. Butter, HP. Bacon on bread. Cut in half. Wrap up. Give to customer. Phew! Breathe out. Done. Clean up a little bit. And now I’m ready to go again. So where are the customers now? Stare around a little bit and look for things to do. Done everything. Where are they? I wish the customers would come back. It’s good when there’s lots of them. It makes time go faster and keeps me busy.

Is that one?! Is it?! No, they just want coffee. O…. I miss the customers.