And wait. And wait. At first, you're checking your cell-phone messages or daydreaming, and you don't really notice the delay enough to be bothered by it. But as your wait continues, you check your watch and think of other things you need to be doing, and your attention focuses on the customers at the counter, the cashiers taking the orders, the pace of action in the grill room behind the service line. Something has gone awry.
The problem is that customer at the front of the line. For a fast-food operation to work efficiently, customers must grasp the Zen of the thing and do their part to keep the deep-fried kharma flowing. When the cashier says, "May I help you?" the Good Customer speaks his order clearly, watching the cashier as she enters it, so that he doesn't speak faster than the data can be entered into the register. Be clear and concise, so that even a 19-year-old high-school dropout with a meth habit earning $8 an hour can't get your order wrong.
The customer at the counter, however, is the Bad Customer. She doesn't know what she wants, and insists on interrogating the cashier about the menu items and the pricing packages on the menu. "If I get the No. 2, can I substitute onion rings for the fries?" and "Can I get that Super Deluxe Big Burger without lettuce?"
If you had a baseball bat handy, the Bad Customer would not be long for this world. When the line is backed up, and people are waiting behind you for their turn to order, you do not do this. There will be no damned special orders at 12:42 p.m. on Wednesday, ma'am, and if you can't spot something on the menu sign that suits you -- "I would like a No. 3 to go, please" -- then why don't you stay home and eat there?
This is fast food, you idiot woman, and tonight when you go to sleep, you ought to say a prayer of thanksgiving that I didn't have a baseball bat within reach, because your empty skull would have been crushed to a bloody pulp and -- by the time I did in fact finally get to the counter to order my cheeseburger, fries and a coke -- I would have been racing north on I-81 through Pennsylvania at 110 mph hoping to make it to Canada by sundown.
Restaurant Customer in ComaThat's not a headline that we see often enough, and I hope you enjoyed your fish sandwich (ketchup, no tartar sauce), your onion rings (not fries) and your large chocolate shake, ma'am. You have no earthly idea of what extreme mercy allows your continued existence. Nor was it actually mercy toward you, but rather the concern that strangling you with my bare hands would have been time-consuming, and also an inconvenience to the people in line behind me.
After Bloody Burger Bashing
You're welcome. Have a nice day.