Saturday, April 28, 2012

"Is She An Employee?" ...Should Be A Simple Question

   This time the laugh is on me, or it would be on me if the man wasn't serious.
   I work (as I've mentioned before) as a greeter at one of the largest restaurants in the United States. I welcome folks to the place, help them find a dining room, and answer questions. Sometimes people will ask me if I know where the bathrooms are, and I take pleasure in answering just what they asked.
   It looks like this, in dialog form:
   Guest: "Do you know where the bathrooms are?"
   Me: "Yes."
The Story
   The lobby was crowded this afternoon. I stood by the host station in the lobby, answering questions and directing people to areas where we had open seating. I enjoy the job quite a bit. I get to meet people, and be a small part of what I hope is a pleasant part of their day.
   A man came up the stairs from the shops. He had a scruffy beard, more salt than pepper, and was wearing a baseball cap screwed tightly on his head. His dark gray t-shirt had a silk screened design on it that had seen better days, and his blue-gray sweatpants had holes in them. He took a seat in a chair by the big front windows, and crossed his legs at the ankles.
   I didn't pay much attention to him. People wait for other people in the lobby often, and there was a lot of people around. I was busy.
    After about an hour, the man walked up to me. He said, "Can you page someone for me?"
   We can page people if they work in a non-public part of the building, but we don't have speakers in our dining rooms.
   "Are you looking for a guest?" I asked.
   He didn't answer my question. "I don't know where she is."
   "Is she an employee?" I asked.
   "Yes," he answered.
   "What department does she work in?" I was going to call that department, rather than use the overhead page. If we're busy, sometimes people don't hear overhead pages.
   "Same department as me," he said.
   I had never seen the man before in my life. "What department do you work in?"
   He got huffy. "We don't work here!" he shouted.

Oh. Uh...

   I directed him to the other big lobby in the restaurant. Sometimes one part of a group will wait there for the other part of their group, while the other part of their group waits in the lobby I was in. Happens a lot.
   He came back a few minutes later. "She wasn't there," he said. He sat down again and waited. After a while, he left. I didn't see where he went because I was busy, but he was gone.

   Shortly after that, our manager walked up to me. There was a woman downstairs, waiting for the man she was supposed to meet. She'd been sitting there for quite a while, and he never came. He was wearing a gray t-shirt, and sweat pants...
   I said, "I don't know where he went...but he's not an employee here..."

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