Today, while I was having this lovely, quiet lunch by myself at Bertucci’s, I heard a voice behind me, complaining to her lunch mate: “I don’t want to have a roll with my sandwich, I want it now, before my sandwich.” Then she proceeded to loudly flag down 2 or 3 different employees, one at a time and repeat the same thing to each of them: “Why don’t we have rolls? Everyone else has rolls. I just saw someone leave with two bags of rolls.” I felt horribly for the waitresses, who were clearly stressed by this woman’s behavior and how it was effecting others around her. It certainly made my lunch break less pleasant. So forgive me, but in my own private catty moment, without turning around, I was pretty sure that she should have been having a salad anyway, let alone a sandwich, and definitely not a roll with the sandwich. The woman then asked to see a manager, who came over and quietly apologized, said the rolls were in the oven, and in just a few minutes she could have fresh hot rolls. Now, I’m sure many people go to Bertucci’s for the rolls; I love them myself. But the question here is, how important is it? Is it important enough to make 4 employees feel bad? Is the bread important enough to disturb the lunch of surrounding customers? And what are you so miserable about in your personal life, that your projecting it onto the importance of a roll?
When I was in Italy with my family, I admired their level of customer service. It was efficient, but there were no apologies if they were 5 minutes late with something. In Italy, everything is beautiful to look at: the ceilings, the floors, all of the surroundings. You could certainly find something refreshing to focus on while you waited for whatever it was you were waiting for. I saw a few impatient Americans on our trip, but the Italians will not be pushed around in this way. Life is too short to get pissy about rolls.
I feel fortunate to be able to go out for lunch, on my lunch break from my really cool job. I feel blessed to have a little compassion when things aren’t going someone’s way, like today for the employees at Bertucci’s. And I feel lucky to have this attitude and not the one of the unfortunate woman in the restaurant.