This past weekend, I was craving a smoothie in a really profound way. Sometimes I get very specific food urges that must be heeded immediately; for example, a couple weeks ago I said to my boyfriend, “I think I’m really depressed because I haven’t been eating enough beets!” so obviously we had roasted beets for dinner and I instantly felt much better emotionally.
So anyway, I really wanted a smoothie. And I didn’t even want to make my own smoothie using the fruits and veggies in my fridge — I specifically wanted to pay someone else to make me a giant smoothie. On Sunday, I couldn’t take it anymore, so I stopped into a local Smoothie King (Why not? I thought. This place is the king of smoothies!) and started perusing the large, confusing menu. A young woman appeared at the counter, sighed, and said, “Ready to order?” in a tone that indicated I was taking way too long. There was no one in line behind me and the menu took up an entire wall and included a number of made-up words, so I smiled and told her I needed a bit more time, thanks.
This is when she rolled her eyes at me, left the counter, and went to talk to a guy in the lobby.
Unfortunately, my smoothie craving was more powerful than the logical voice in my head telling me to walk out, so I stayed. A couple minutes later, I decided on the flavor I wanted, and looked around for the angry smoothie lady. She had her back to me as she talked to the guy in the lobby, who was maybe her boyfriend. They seemed to be having a serious discussion, so I waited a couple minutes for them to wrap it up, but they didn’t. I made eye contact with the guy more than once and nodded to indicate my existence and that I was ready to order. He ignored me too. I just stood there at the counter for five minutes, thinking about how quickly sub-par service at a Smoothie King can make you feel like a sad, invisible person.
Finally another employee emerged from the back room, playing with his phone. He sat down on a chair behind the counter and didn’t see me. “Hi!” I said to get his attention (in a nice voice, I swear!). He was shocked to see me there and ran up to the register to help me. “Sorry,” he said, his volume escalating as he glared at his oblivious coworker in the lobby, “I thought because there was SOMEONE WORKING THE FRONT that they would help you.” She continued to ignore us both. In the end, I got my giant smoothie, but it was marred by the taste of resentment (and possibly a few cups of artificially flavored corn syrup).
When I left, I decided that this little interaction had earned a coveted spot in my personal Worst Customer Service Hall of Fame. It wasn’t quite as bad as the time a guy at the Verizon store banged his head against the wall repeatedly when I asked him a question, or the time a vintage store owner wouldn’t let me try on a dress because I might “pop the seams,” but still, I might not ever forget the scornful look that Smoothie Queen gave me for daring to, umm, buy a smoothie.
I’m kind of laughing about the whole thing now, and it made me wonder about other ridiculously bad customer service experiences. Care to share yours in the comments? Have you encountered blatant snobbery at upscale clothing stores? Bitter baristas? Supremely rude phone convos with your cable provider? Let’s commiserate.
[Photo of customer service bell via Shutterstock]