February 7, 2003

Rant: Want Minimum Wage With That?

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A couple of weeks back in the trenches as a wage laborer have taught me a few things.

As a second semester senior, I’ve decided that I deserve to have the Spring Break of a sorority girl’s (or drunkard’s) dreams. As such, I have set my sights on Acapulco. After extensive research, I’ve found not a single airline that will bursar it. So, how to get the cash?

Well, I’ve taken on a second job. I work at the Pita Pit 10 to 12 hours a week for Acapulco money. Don’t get me wrong; I like my job. My co-workers are nice, I ring in people’s orders and make sandwiches. It’s not a bad way to make some change. There’s nothing wrong with asking “Do you want chips with that” for a semester in the service of a debauched dream.

But the thing I’ve learned that I’ll forever carry with me is this: sometimes, the customer is always wrong.

The customer is always wrong when she, a 92-pound girl, asks me if she can have a third baba ganoush, a third hummus and a third falafel on her sandwich. And just a little lettuce. And no pita.

He’s always wrong when he calls me asking why his 222 chicken pitas haven’t yet been delivered when he ordered over an hour ago. Has he ever made 222 chicken pitas? Does he know how long it takes to make 222 chicken pitas? Should he just smoke another bowl with his 221 buddies and relax?

Finally, the customer is especially wrong when he or she puts in an appearance as The Drunk Customer. The Drunk Customer is a unique specimen. Both sexes look the same, for the most part. They are clothed in expensive outfits which must have looked good at the beginning of the night, but are now beginning to — for lack of a better word — wilt. Gelled hair has gone limp, and has chosen to part listlessly in the middle. Mascara has smeared above and underneath the eye. Beer has been spilt, usually on or near the crotch area of the pant.

I will begin by describing my encounters with the male. Often staggering in with 48 of his closest friends, he begins his night at the Pita Pit aiming his beady, bloodshot eyes at my chest and smirkingly slurring out the words: “Whaza BLT?”

Next, he proceeds to do one of three things:

He invites everyone in the Pit to after-hours at his place.

He asks the location of the bathroom. Unable to wait for a response, he rushes outside and pees in the snow.

He asks the location of the bathroom. Unable to wait for a response, he rushes outside and pukes in the snow.

Then, if he is able, he returns and orders a pita. Or two. Or FIVE. Oh yes, The Male Drunk Customer can eat.

Let’s turn now to the female. She pays with someone else’s credit card — usually a close relative’s — which happens to have her name on it. I know this because when I say “$28.50, please,” she says, “Oh, that’ll break my father’s bank.”

One can only hope that in a mere five weeks I too will be drunk enough to say something even stupider. Possibilities include: “Green things are better than blue things,” “Why don’t birds fly inside?” and “What are you doing later?”

Archived article by Maggie Frank