I've worked at a bakery for over a year; before that I worked 3 years at The Oaks restaurant in Ogden canyon. I feel I have a pretty good sampling of employment in the food industry and by far the absolute customer's that I've ever had have been...
It all started with the Red Hat Society, a social club of senior women who dress in purple clothing and red hats and "support" local businesses in droves. Once a year they would make their way up the picturesque Ogden Canyon to enjoy some good food, good company, and a good opportunity to absolutely terrorize high-school and college aged restaurant employees. Red Hat day was the most infamous and ominous day of the year. It was marked on the calender with a sharp stinging red pen.
Most socialites understand that if you show up at an establishment with a group of 60-80 people you will naturally incur a degree of complications in regards to your orders, timeliness of serving, and overall accuracy of the staff. Most patrons would take these hiccups in stride, and a good number will actually see themselves as the burden and apologize to their servants for the inconvenience.
The Red Hats are not most people.
The Red Hats are evil.
Every minutia, from incorrect salad dressing to a delay in drink refilling was met systematically with the most stinging criticisms and rebukes ever heard inside the Oaks' doors. Never mind that we had to essentially close the restaurant to all other customers for the near 2 1/2 hours that the Red Hats consumed, that their menu selections were, in a word, frugal (they weren't eating steaks after all), that the servers were laboring harder than they ever had in their lives, and that their wages would be determined by the generosity of these patrons who, aside from their bedside manner, belong to a generation that is not neccesarily celebrated for it's caliber of gratuity.
Every waitress we had on staff cried; they wept openly at the side of their tables as orders were hurled at them like scraps to dogs.
Thank you for your kind support of local business Red Hat Society.
After graduating I swore that I would never wait tables again, due in large part to that particular sorority.
Now I find myself back in the food business. I don't serve tables, but food is purchased and consumed on-site and off and thus I am an employee of the food and beverage industry. Customers good and bad exist in all age ranges, during all seasons of the year; but as Logan's student population switches to the more aged Summer Citizens all sorts of new challenges and old emotions enter my workplace.
I love a lot of our more elderly regulars, but at the same time you can notice an utter breakdown in the usually smooth flow of transactions. People but in line, oblivious to the customer's around them, grab at items, oblivious to basic rules of workplace hygene, hoot and hollar in the face of minor inconveniences (sadly enough when your in the business of baked goods, things run out sometimes) and generally place their needs, often confused, above those of everyone around them; be it employees, other customers, or even members of their own party. So far none of the girls at work have cried, then again we're paid by the hour.
I suppose they've earned it. At their age and after all you've been through you can be as cranky as you want; but it honestly scares the pants off me when I think of my own future. 50 years from now am I going to be Old Man Wood who yells at the kids to keep off his lawn while he sits in his rocking chair polishing his 20 guage? Will my wife be a Red Hat? Maybe, maybe not; it absolutely terrifies me to think about.
Well, except for the part with the gun.