5 Jokes That Make Customer Service People Hate You (Pt. 2)
Last month, I wrote a column about all the good men and women working service industry jobs and suffering under the tired "jokes" of customers who don't have the vaguest conception of either comedy or things employees enjoy hearing while working. The column did pretty well, and I slept soundly that night, knowing hundreds of thousands of earnest workers had found a new hero.
Did I mention I dreamed hundreds of thousands of earnest workers called me a hero?
But some were not so pleased. Some said it is a small, bad man who takes offense to customers cracking harmless jokes. How could I suggest murdering such customers, they asked, and then they explained how they lived their lives like Zen masters, undeterred by the passing indignities of manual labor. In response, I did the only thing I could:
I had a dream where those mean commenters were processed into hamburger and eaten by an angry giant
Then I woke up and wrote this sequel. Here are five more horrible, cliched jokes that workers have to hear every day, and how I think those workers should be allowed to react in a just world.
Saying "It's Good. I Printed It This Morning" to a Cashier Checking Large-Denomination Bills
Even in today's world of automatic debits and swiping money chips lodged in your urethra (I'm beta-testing that right now), people still pay for things in cash. And sometimes that cash comes in large denominations: $20s, $50s, and even $100s. Now, I'm not sure if you know this, but if you're a cashier and your drawer doesn't add up at the end of your shift, some employers take the difference out of your pay. Other employers fire you. That's why accepting a counterfeit $100 in place of a real one would be a bit problematic for cashiers. And beyond that, some businesses have trained their employees to always check for the various official markings of higher-denomination bills, so cashiers do it because, y'know, it's their job.
"Yes, a picture of Nicolas Cage giving Benjamin Franklin a reach-around ... this one's good!"
But don't let that stop you from making a great joke! If you're an exceptionally funny person, when this happens to you, you'll wait until the moment the cashier inspects your bill and say ...
"Don't worry. It's good. I printed it this morning!"
Get it? No, he's not saying he works for the United States Treasury Department; he means it's fake. It's a counterfeit bill. So actually when he's saying "don't worry," if it were true, the cashier should totally be worrying. So it's funny because it's true. Wait, I mean it's funny because it's not true. Wait a minute. It's not in any way funny, and if you do it, I hope that cashier drops the bill in alarm and instantly has security restrain you while she calls the police, advising that she caught the fake-$50 bandit and obtained a full confession.
Telling Your Server, "Oh, That's Just What I Wanted!" After Being Informed What the Restaurant Is Out Of
So have you ever gone to a restaurant and, instead of getting the specials, the server tells you what they actually don't have? Yeah, it's a bit of a drag, but I think that's a pretty stand-up policy. Better than letting you get your hopes up. But y'know, whether it's a good policy or not, your server sure as hell is not the one who made it. He or she just works for a place that says "Tell the customers up front when the kitchen has taken some things off the menu."
But again, a good consumer is always on the lookout for the perfect opportunity to deliver a top quality zinger out of a mundane situation. So once your server says, "Sorry, but we're not serving pork chops today," the perfect thing for you to say is ...
"Oh, great! That's just what I was gonna order!"
"Get it? You're a huge disappointment to me!"
This punchline is a little more subtle than our first one. See, the joke here is: "Feel like a dick, you shitty server. You've let me down!" Yeah, when you write it out, it kind of doesn't seem that hilarious, and yet that's the joke. This is not to be mistaken for when you actually were going to order an item they're out of and you mumble something like "Oh, that's what I was going to order, I think I need another minute." That's just a normal thing to say. This is just, man, I don't know, but it happens. So if your server replies, "Really? But I think you'd better order a sense of humor or, I don't know, functional genitalia," then you kind of had it coming.
Ordering a "Tall Blonde" at Starbucks and Then Adding ... Anything
Have you been to Starbucks? Of course you have. No one's strong enough to resist their subliminal advertising messages encoded into the Norah Jones and Arcade Fire CDs. So as you well know, Starbucks does this thing where they call a "small" a "tall." This shouldn't be too surprising to you because they also call a cup of "charred, burned axle grease" a cup of "coffee."
Starts your morning right and helps the gears in your industrial generator fire smoothly!
What you might not know about Starbucks, though, is that they make a coffee referred to as a "blonde." You can see where this is going. All over this great land of ours, there are men craving an overpriced and decidedly mellow small cup of coffee who can't wait to proclaim ...
"Give me a tall blonde!!!"
And then they wink or say "hubba hubba" or do absolutely anything to indicate they're talking about a sexy lady!
This isn't funny. It will never be funny. If you think this is funny, there's an excellent chance no woman will ever want to talk to you, tall, short, blonde, or otherwise. Say "tall blonde, please," and nothing else, or learn to drink a stronger coffee instead of one made from the tears of dewinged fairies.
Saying "Hey, I Didn't Order This!" When Your Check Comes
The fun thing about this list is that if you are a very talented "restaurant comic," you can conceivably use two of these jokes on the same person. So let's set the scene: You started your meal with entry #4, where you made your server feel silly for telling you they were out of pork chops. Then what? Well, I'm guessing you spent the next 40 minutes using the ketchup to make some great blood-based joke or arranged your food in the shape of a face and made it talk while you did silly voices. You were a pretty cool customer, but unfortunately your server really missed some of your best material. Fear not, because even if your server is desperately avoiding you while shivering from third degree douche chills in the kitchen, he or she has to come back to you at least one more time. That's right. They have to give you the check. And when they do, you can say ...
"What? I didn't order this!"
And be sure to make the appropriately horrified face so you can really sell it.
If you're this customer's server, may I suggest you pull up a chair and explain in detail that he has entered an establishment where food is exchanged for money.
"No, no, I know," he'll say.
"But then why are you talking about 'ordering' something that comes as evidence of the amount you owe for what you've already ordered?"
"Well, it was a joke," he'll say.
"A joke? Oh, I see. So in your 'joke' you're playing a pretend game where the check is also like a food item you could order?"
"I guess ..."
"And you're saying you didn't order this, because you don't want to pay it."
"OK," you'll say. "Thank you for explaining that joke to me. I get it now, because it was a check and not food, but you pretended it was sort of like food and, therefore, should have only been brought to you if you had ordered it. OK. Very good."
And that is how you deliver the old reverse douche chill!
Asking for Awesome Absurd Items When Asked "Anything Else I Can Get You?"
Very often, when you're dealing with a considerate employee, they will do more than the bare minimum. That's why, after they answer your question or bring you your check or provide the service you requested, they'll ask, "Can I get you anything else?" But just because they're being polite and considerate, don't let that stop you from making a shitty joke. It's just too good, y'know? I mean, you can reply ...
"Yeah, a million dollars!" or
"How about a date with a Playboy playmate!" or
"Some functional genitalia!" (if they're Cracked's Felix Clay)
And of course, if a hot waitress is asking the question, then how can you not say ...
"Yeah, how about your phone number."....this joke is actually so overdone that I stuck it in my forthcoming novel just as an example of a character's cringeworthy behavior.
And then you can watch a little more of her life essence slip away.
It might be tempting to make an easy joke, but you should find a way to make new things sound tempting. Things like not being a humorless clod wasting everyone's time. And don't give me that "Oh, I'm just trying to brighten their day" bullshit. If you really wanted to do that, you'd say, "Nope. I'm all good here. Thank you very much." That works much better.
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