Thursday, June 23, 2005

Meetings with Jason

There was a Dunkin’ Donuts on campus that The Doktah and I used to frequent. Oh, how I miss having a Dunkin’ Donuts within reasonable walking distance from work. Yes, there are approximately 37 Dunkin’ Donuts within a 5 minute drive from work, but not a one that I can pop out to for a quick coffee break. But that’s not the point. The point is that this particular Dunkin’ Donuts was managed by an extremely high strung woman, and was set up in the absolutely least efficient way possible.

First of all, you could always tell when it was your turn to order, because the manager would scream, “WHO’S NEXT!” She would scream it in a panicky, desperate way, no matter how many people were in line, and no matter how calmly we were waiting. It was as though she were hallucinating a store full of jostling, shouting people demanding to be served immediately. The Doktah and I thought she probably needed to lay off the coffee.

Considering how desperately the manager seemed to want orderly service and short wait times, the store was remarkably poorly laid out. The store was very small. There were two cash registers but only one hot coffee station, and it was on the other side from the iced coffee station. There were always so many people behind the counter that they were tripping over each other on trips back and forth from the iced coffee to the hot coffee to the toaster and back again. Why did they have to make so many trips? Well, I’m glad you asked. Instead of one person asking what you wanted and then waiting to find out, the procedure for ordering something in this Dunkin’ Donuts was as follows:

Manager: WHO’S NEXT!
Customer: Yeah, I’d like an small iced coffee with ski–
Manager (to service person #1): SMALL ICED COFFEE! (to customer) Cream or sugar?
Customer: Yes, skim milk and two su–
Manager: SKIM MILK! Any sugar?
Customer: Yes, two sugars. And I’d like–
Manager: TWO SUGARS! Is that all?
Customer: Yes, I’d like a toasted plain bagel wi–
Manager (to service person #2): TOASTED PLAIN BAGEL! (to customer) Cream cheese?
Customer: Yes.
Manager: CREAM CHEESE!

If you wanted an iced coffee to bring back to someone, the manager would recruit a third service person. And any random person behind the counter would ring up the order, which required another round of explaining what you got.

The employees did this tag team style of ordering whether the manager was there or not, so I think it was the official policy. It was very very confusing, because none of the service people knew whose order they were working on, and none of the customers knew which person was working on their order. And oftentimes, the orders were wrong. Just for kicks, I once placed my order via The Doktah, who relayed it to the manager so she could pass it along to the various service people. No one noticed.

Alone among the incompetence at the campus Dunkin’ Donuts shone Jason. Jason was the only employee at that Dunkin’ Donuts who wasn’t an idiot. He calmly and correctly filled orders, and he made the best iced coffee. I don’t know what he did differently; he probably didn’t overload it with milk or something. But whatever the case, The Doktah and I always tried to place our orders with Jason when he was working. In fact, we started referring to our coffee runs as “Meetings with Jason.” As in, “Mo, I’m really sorry to interrupt you and The P.I. as you discuss serious science, but did you forget that we have an important meeting with Jason at 3:00?” And then I could leave!

1 comment:

EditorKit said...

I think the confusing ordering system is official DD policy. Since I am height-challenged, when they scream "Next!" I have to sort of jump up so they can see me over the heads of the people in front of me who haven't stepped away from the counter quickly enough to suit the workers.

I am convinced that each shift spent working there siphons IQ points. Once, I ordered a half dozen donuts. The first donut I wanted was a chocolate frosted with colored jimmies, which they call Sprinkles. She put her hand in front of the Sprinkles donuts--directly above the label "Sprinkles"--but then moved to to take a strawberry frosted one with colored jimmies, even though it was labeled Strawberry. I said, "No. Sprinkles. The one with the chocolate frosting." "No problem," she said and started to take a regular chocolate frosted donut. "No, SPRINKLES," I said. "Right there," and I pointed. She looked at me, confused, then back at the display, back at me, back at the display, then started moving her hand across each row of donuts in an attempt to be orderly in her search. She slowly moved past the Sprinkles, settled on a glazed, popped it in the box and looked at me for my next choice.

Ordering tea instead of coffee is a challenge also. I don't like a ton of milk in my tea, but they can't translate "dark" and "light" to tea. So I ask for half as much milk as they usually put in. And she put in twice as much. "No, I want HALF as much," I said. "Oh, sorry," she said, then filled the cup halfway up with milk. "No! No! I want LESS milk! Less than you usually put in. Like coffee dark." "Oh, I'm sorry. You wanted coffee?"