Retail/Service Workers during Holiday Season
Posted: December 21, 2007
It appears to me that more entry-level retail clerks and servers are not trained properly. I suppose this is because there are so many more of these types of positions available in the Chippewa Valley due the local economy's reliance on retail and service businesses. But it can be frustrating and even amusing at times when observing how front-line workers handle particular situations.
I know what I am getting into when I decide to dine at a fast food restaurant during a busy holiday weekend. I realize that the establishment is going to be busy and probably a little loud. So I always bring along a few newspapers to read to help bide the time.
The first restaurant chain I visited was overwhelmed with what looked like a 5th grade boys YMCA basketball team. Fortunately, the players and their parents were exiting when I was entering, but the experience of catering to about 15 hyped-up boys 10 days before Christmas must have taken its toll on the employees.
As I patiently waited by the sign that says,"Please Wait to Be Seated", another four or five groups of patrons came in from the cold and stood in line behind me. After a few minutes, I politely asked a waitress if it was alright for me to seat myself. Without hesitation, she shot back and said, "Sir, can't you read the sign?" I was not sure if I should laugh or leave. I chose the latter. Three others behind me followed suit.
I proceeded to another fast food restaurant nearby. As I began to order, about six or seven other customers entered the building. I could sense the nervousness from the young female clerk as she prepared for the lunch rush. I ordered my meal and stood by the counter and waited. The first customer to follow was a young father who appeared to be ordering for the family of five who waited outside in the family van. Unfortunately for the fast food clerk, she was not trained how to order some of the items without condiments. Consequently, the poor girl had to wait for at least three or four minutes before someone could show her how to make the proper food request on the register. All the while, people continued to file through the door, not yet realizing that they better not ask to "hold" any of the condiments, or they might be waiting a while for their food.
I felt really bad for the girl at the counter. It was obvious that she had not been trained properly. On the other hand, I had no patience for the girl at the other fast food restaurant. In fact, I just wanted to hit her upside the head with my newspapers.