The ultimate in customer service; silly games

My wife and I went out to dinner yesterday, and it was nice. There was a bonus in the fact that the establishment did not have any grenadine syrup, which is one of the three ingredients in a Tequila Sunrise, which was the drink that my wife ordered. So the guy who was tending the restaurant’s bar (who actually runs the joint) gave her the unfinished tequila sunrise (which was just O.J. and tequila) and a different drink that he thought she might like, which was just coconut rum with pineapple juice, at no charge. Aside from the that the food was quite good, as always, the service was great, it usually is, and I likely gained three pounds by eating all the food.

The reason that I bring up the dinner story is that I wanted to talk a bit about Mario. I am not sure who technically owns that restaurant at this point, but I do know that Mario is the guy that handles all of the day to day operations of the place. In addition to that he also runs a bar at the other end of town, again handling everything on a day to day basis. Can you imagine how many hours a week he must spend at one place or the other? That must be a tremendous amount of work and stress, I don’t know how he does it. When I say that he is running the place I don’t mean like a supervisor, he actually does whatever needs to be done. Last night he was tending bar while also dealing with customer complaints and the such. That is a level of dedication that I don’t think a lot of people really ever have, though it is true that the more money the places make the more money he makes, but at some point you would think that he would just get tired of being there eighty hours a week.

His dedication to both of the establishments is probably a huge factor in why they both remain busy all year while other restaurants and bars end up going out of business the first slow season (which is now). I am sure that like any good P.R. Guy he knows just how to talk to each customer to make them feel like whatever problem there may have been it had been completely resolved. To the point that they will not only leave happy, but recommend the place to friends even after a potentially bad experience that was taken care of. Whatever good fortune comes his way it is going to be based 100% on his dedication and understanding of the customer. I know that I could never do that.

There was a particular incident where I am working now that would prove that, or at least it did at the time, though I have gotten a lot better at keeping a level head when people are being belligerent since then. Without going into too much detail I will just say that there was a guy who was screaming like we had shot his wife when he was overcharged by six cents for something. He would not accept the six cents in return, he would not accept a full refund for the item as a courtesy for our mistake, he just wanted to yell about the damn six cents. He wouldn’t leave the store, there were a lot of people watching, I was barely 21 I didn’t really know how to handle it. I explained to him that all I could do was refund his money, he would not take it, he just wanted to yell. After ten minutes or so of this I told him I was going to call the police to have him escorted from the property.

This was the exact moment that I got really, really pissed off. When I went for the phone to call the police, the man in question made a very quick, very quiet exit. In fact when he saw me reach for the phone, he ran out the door. I proceeded to NOT call the police, I gave my name tag and apron to the cashier, reminded her that I was not actually on the clock (which was true, I came over since the boss was on vacation and someone needed to make this guy go away,) and chased after him. When I confronted him out front he seemed a lot more agreeable than he had been while he was inside the store and for some reason that just pissed me off even more…

The actual details get a bit vague at this point. I remember a bit of very stern dialogue, I remember giving him five dollars, I remember punching him in the face so hard that it probably ruptured his appendix, beyond that I remember nothing. He apparently never called the police on me (I thought he wouldn’t since he bolted when I tried to make the call from inside the store, that was likely why I did what I did) and I never heard another word about the entire thing again. Well, truthfully the cashier did ask what happened when I went back into the store and I told her what happened, but I never said anything to the owners, nor has anyone come around looking for the guy that punched the guy in the parking lot all of those years ago. I never saw that guy again either, which was unfortunate since I really would like to have apologized for what I had done, either that or I really wanted to see how bad a shiner he had, I mean I hit him hard.

Now that I am a bit older I know that I would not have handled that situation the way that I did then. When you work in customer service or retail for any amount of time you simply learn to mask your emotions with a happy smile, while you are thinking about doing something like that. I guess it takes a lot of years to develop sufficient patience to handle people like the guy that I dealt with that day, but I would also think that no matter how patient you are there has got to be a limit. Fortunately I have not found occasion to actually bring a fist against anyone since then, though I have really wanted to a few times.

For the record, that story was just that, a story. There are only two people in the entire world that know the outcome of that particular altercation, if you happen to find the other guy, please kick his ass, he deserves it.

• There is a game that I have been playing a lot of recently, it is called “Phlinx”. It is one of the games on I think that you have to be a “club pogo” member to play it, but as I recall there is a free trial period for the club if you really want to give it a try. The game is very similar to Snood. It is also very similar to Dynomite. I am not sure why I have such an obsession with this one, but it probably is due to having high scores by the hour and by twenty-four hours that you can check after every completed level (a level being four games).

The graphics and sounds in Phlinx are a lot better than the ones in Snood, while it doesn’t have an actual puzzle mode like Dynomite. Also the different difficulty levels in the game actually make a difference in your ability to solve it, as opposed to just having more blocks to start with. You can not necessarily ever “win” the game since it will just load up and start over, but you can marvel at getting ever higher scores, particularly when you set it on expert mode, to see how many of the day’s high scores you can get.

The game certainly isn’t for everyone, yet for some reason I play it a couple of times before I actually get into playing any of the actual games that I have installed on my system. Why? I guess to just make sure that I can still at least get on the top 5 high scores in the last 24 hours. I know that is a pretty empty goal, but it is all mine.

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