Friday, July 4, 2008

Teenage Wasteland

I went to Subway to pick up dinner for the girls and I tonight. I was going to boycott Subway based on their offensive new ad campaign, but it's the Fourth of July and my options were pretty limited. (Yeah, yeah, I could've cooked. Shut up. Who asked you?) So, I guess I'll boycott them when it's more convenient...

The point I wanted to make, though, wasn't about Subway per se, but about the teenage workforce in general. I try my best to grocery shop during the day on a weekday, when the grown ups tend to be working, because the weekend/evening teenage staff seem to have a hard time taking a break from their conversations to actually deal with the customers. More often than not I feel like I'm intruding on them when, in actuality, I'm just trying to pay for my groceries.

So I walk into Subway and I'm the only customer there. There were two teenagers behind the counter. As soon as I walked in, one of them actually walked into the back room. The other, instead of waiting on me, called back to the first and said "you've got a customer". He made his way back out and proceeded to do a little more prep work before finally looking up, acknowledging me, and asking what I'd like. He stopped a few times in the course of preparing my subs to actively continue his conversation with his coworker. (smoke breaks, who called out sick, and my favorite, "OMG, so you have to work 4 solid hours today? Gawd! You must be dying!"). After ringing me up , he bagged the three subs. He did not even OFFER to bag the two bags of chips, the pack of cookies, and the three soft drinks. He just left it all on the counter and headed to the back, where his coworker had already retreated. I stood there, brace still on my arm, trying to figure out a way to pick up all of the above and still get my car unlocked and opened. Grrrr.

In all fairness, I have worked in enough pizza/sub shops to know what a Peyton Place they are. When I first was laid up with my arm, I was practically in withdrawal from the rampant socialization that went on at the pizza shop. It's fun. But it is (and I can't stress this enough) SECONDARY to customer service. A customer should never feel like an interruption. Without the customer, you don't HAVE a workplace to be social in WHILE YOU MAKE MONEY! While I may argue the adage that the customer is always right, it is inarguable that the customer always comes first. Or should.

Now, if you'll excuse me, there are some kids on my lawn I need to shake my fist at...

P.S. Double boo, Subway


jeffatsdsu said...

We know the challenges and opportunities with a Teenage Workforce. We run a website that you might be interested in. It’s called waves for success. Google it. We are in business to help management address these issues. Maybe you can tell the local manager about us, in turn, hopefully making a better shopping experience for you.


Denise said...

Tammy -- OMG I would so be like "Hey man, do you think I could talk to your manager?" I can't believe what jackasses those kids were.

Also: SUPER kudos to Pizzeria NY. Not only did they make a superb pie, but one of the girls helped me out to my car because I had Reese in my arms + cumbersome diaper bag. That right there is service.

I heart Pizzeria NY!!