The main dining room was clean, bathrooms were pristine, all the condiments were filled, including a bin overflowing with packages of butter medallions. The soda fountain percolated with fresh carbonation canisters and the ice machine was filled to the brim. They were ready. Ready for battle.
As the first few hungry customers filtered in, Ryan leaned over to Val and whispered he hoped the lunch crowd would only take condiments they needed. He oversaw refilling them and witnessed customers leave piles of ketchup packets or butter on the table every…single…day. It infuriated Ryan because he would have to throw out unused packages merely because they had been removed from the bin. He thought it was a huge waste.
Kristi, the manager, stood gallantly off to the side, watching her strategically placed staff as they began to service more hungry patrons. Jake and Ryan took their stance at the cash registers while Dave and Val worked feverishly in the back fulfilling orders.
Within an hour, the crew was inundated and The Greasy Burger was filled to capacity. Kristi noticed they were busier than usual but her staff seemed amped and ready to go. Dave and Val were bouncing on the balls of their feet as if about to perform a tag-team wrestling match on WWE.
Beads of sweat dripped from Jake’s pulsating temples. Kristi spoke into her intercom, directing Dave to swap positions with Jake. Dave jumped up, smacked his hands together with over-enthusiastic excitement and tapped Jake on the shoulder, signaling he was ready to take over.
People stood shoulder-to-shoulder as the lines became longer and tighter. Customer complaints that began as a whisper intensified into a rumbling moan. A large man at the center yelled as he was nearly hit in the face by another man who was fervently waving a piece of paper around in the air. The paper-waving man hollered back. A woman behind him passively told him to “shut up,” while others began to push their way forward, shoving and shoulder checking one another like a mosh pit. When the paper-flailing man finally reached the front of Ryan’s line, his eyes scowled like a beast about to pounce on his prey. He slammed his receipt onto the counter.
Ryan leaned in to listen to the man’s complaint over the mob. The receipt wielding man’s accent was so thick, Ryan could barely make out his complaint about receiving a wrong order. He diligently reviewed the receipt and remembered entering it into the system. Ryan tried to explain he had given him exactly what he ordered, but the man’s rage boiled over as he shouted and pounded his fists on the counter, making it harder for Ryan to decipher the man’s words. Ryan’s chest heaved with each quickened explanation, his voice becoming louder as his impatience grew.
Kristi walked over to Ryan’s cash register to gauge the situation. Another customer began to shout about empty condiments. Ryan’s eyes twitched. Jake bounced over like he was on a springy mat and tapped Ryan on the shoulder. Ryan clapped his hands together and swiped them out like a blackjack dealer walking away with clean hands and made his way to refill the condiments.
Across from the order counter, as he was filling condiments, Ryan heard Kristi shout for him to return to the register. She seemed angry.
“Do you want me on condiments or on the register?” he snipped at her.
Ryan quickly filled what condiments he could, then squeezed his way back through the crowd and stood next to Jake still working with the same disgruntled customer.
Ryan waved his hands in the air, “Look! I can’t understand what you’re saying!”
Before Kristi could intervene, Ryan reached into his apron pocket, grabbed a handful of packets he had left from refiling the condiment bin, tossed them at the man and said “Here! Have some butter!”
Sleep tight for me!