Customer service is in the toilet.

Where Grumpy Lady overlords.





I drink about a quart of coffee every morning.  It starts with a fill-up at home with whatever travel cup is on hand be it a leftover from a gas station, coffee shop or one from my wife’s fancy collection.  The day then begins with a stop at our restaurant and maybe the bank followed by trips to a wholesale club or restaurant supplier such as  the one pictured above.  I take my trusty coffee cup with me everywhere because most of these places have a complimentary coffee station which provides me with free refills all around town.  Consequently I have to pee a lot.

The other morning I’d finished shopping and needed to make a stop at the men’s room when I was abruptly stopped by Grumpy Lady. Grumpy Lady is the cleaning person for the store and rules her roost with an iron fist.  She rarely smiles (which is ok) and is never in a hurry (which is ok, sometimes).

Her: “Bathroom’s closed.”

Me: “I’ll just be a minute. Number 1, haha.”

Her: (straight faced, unmoved.) “Bathroom’s closed.  Be ready in ten or fifteen minutes.”

*brief silence*

Me: “Anybody in the women’s?”

Her: “You can’t go in there.”

Me: “Does that mean somebody’s in there?”

Her: “You can’t go in there.”

Me: “I’m the customer ma’am.”



I didn’t push the issue.  I dealt with her attitude and lack of customer service skills and left.  It wasn’t worth a stand off and I certainly wasn’t going to locate a manager and get her in trouble because she wouldn’t let me go pee-pee.  But I did think about customer service and how it’s literally in the toilet most places these days.  I’ve even talked about our own service failures in the book and how for better or worse your staff represents your brand at all times, from welcoming and serving guests to the dirty work of cleaning up their messes or relaying bad news but offering an alternative, if there is one.

No, I didn’t argue any further with Grumpy Lady or get into how I spend close to $500 a week in that establishment, or the fact that I’m a grown man and refuse to piss my pants (while it’s still an option, at least) because she has to mop the floor.  Had it been a true emergency I simply would have helped myself to the ladies room and taken care of business.  No, I don’t make it a habit of going into women’s restrooms but in an emergency a toilet is a toilet.  Had Grumpy Lady or any other lady walked in and seen me standing there with my dick in my hand, so be it. It really shouldn’t have been an issue because  number one, there were no children in the store.  And number two, I’m quite certain most adult women have seen a man standing in the bathroom with his dick in his hand at some point.

We’re in the service industry and have to deal with guests who aren’t always right and occasionally give us a hard time but we need to bend a little sometimes.  Grumpy Lady chose to sacrifice my needs and personal comfort for her convenience without giving it a second thought. Surely she could have allowed me a brief moment or offered to let me use the other bathroom – if it was unoccupied of course.

Everything in our business is about service.  Even if the service is literally in the toilet. Share some of your experiences.




Sliced Sirloin with Shallots and Chive Sauce

  • 3 T unsalted butter
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 Sirloin steak (2lbs & 2″ thick)
  • 1/2 C chopped shallots
  • 1/4 C chives, chopped
  • 1 T red wine vinegar
  • 3/4 C dry red wine
  • Salt & Pepper

Place 2 T butter and olive oil in skillet. Melt.  Add steak and cook rare to mid-rare 8-10 minutes each side.  Remove to platter. Pour off all but 2 T of liquid in the skillet.  Raise heat to med-high, add shallots and chives.  Stir and cook for 15 seconds.  Add vinegar and wine, reducing for 1 minute.  Stir in remaining butter and season to taste.  Remove from heat. Slice steak cross-wise into 1/2″ slices.  Serve with sauce.


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