When the Focus is Not On Customers

I had the wonderful privilege of going to Six Flags Over Georgia last weekend. As much as I wished we weren’t rained out in Atlanta, I know that things worked out as best as they could have. Sarah and I got to Atlanta and back safely, and we even got to ride some groovy coasters. During my Six Flags post, I talked about how we ate at a Papa Johns vendor. I wish to elaborate on that experience.

Life As a Fast Food Worker

The Papa Johns hut that we visited was probably either a pentagon or hexagon shape if viewed from above. There were two windows where people could take your order. The windows weren’t actually windows; the windows were screens that were probably meant to keep bugs out of the facility. Once I approached the “window”, I immediately felt the immense heat that the workers had to put up with. There were ovens, heat lamps, and more ovens all around the workers. There was a door open to let some of the heat dissipate, but I imagine that wasn’t enough. There was likely no air conditioning, so these workers were probably very hot.

The worker who took my order had probably seen countless customers already — many who were very cranky due to the heat. The worker probably had been standing since the park opened with minimal breaks and little chance to cool down.

Life as a Customer

I had just got done riding a very disappointing Batman – The Ride. After being out in the heat for over two hours, Sarah and I finally got done with the ride and went to find something to eat. We waited ten minutes in line at one place and didn’t even advance one position. Fed up, we left and looked for a faster (and cheaper) place to get our food. We decided to go to Papa Johns since Sarah likes the pizza.

After waiting in line for more than fifteen minutes, I finally arrived at the window for the lady to take my order. She never greeted me, and never even looked up at me. I was confused because I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to get her attention or something. Finally, she looked up at me with an annoyed look in her eyes. Still no greeting, I hesitantly gave her my order. Since the drinks were four dollars each (I thought drinks at movies were ridiculous), we only ordered one. She repeated back to me that I only wanted one drink. Those were the only words she spoke directly to me.

I then proceeded to hear a regretful sidebar conversation. She and another worker (also one who took customers’ orders) were complaining about how many people there were in line. She then started complaining how there were many places to eat and that we (customers) should go somewhere else.

Life as a Manager

I wish I had gone to the manager and complained how rude the woman was, but I didn’t. Sarah told me it wasn’t worth it. What was I really going to solve by complaining anyway? However, a customer is the lifeblood of any business. Without customers, a business such as Papa Johns would not exist. Furthermore, without the Six Flags there, it is very likely that the Papa Johns (and the worker’s Papa Johns job) wouldn’t exist.

A worker of a place like Papa Johns should care about his or her customers. The amount of customers waiting in line should be a blessing. Think of how many small businesses there are out there that wish they had a line of customers outside their doors.


I need not ramble on about how service is important. We all know good service is important. I tried to show all sides, yet I still think that the customer is number one. I have worked in retail before (not fast food thank God) and know how hard it is to please every customer. However, to take customers for granted is not to be taken lightly.

5 thoughts on “When the Focus is Not On Customers”

  1. Yes, customers/guests are number one priority but that is no excuse to dehumanize employees (in general), which some people feel as "paying" customers/guest can do. Also, for every customer/guest an establishment loses, there are five more to replace them. Customers/guests as a whole are number one, but a customer/a guest will not make or break an establishment. Also, there are employees who don't care but there are also customers/guests who are wanting to be unhappy. As well as employees who do care and guests who can empathize. It's not as simple as black vs. white.

    But sorry to hear you guys were rained out! Maybe a better time on your next trip :-).

  2. It is black and white.. Those employees get paid minimum wage or close to it… Of course they dont care.. They work hard and some one higher up reeps the benefits.. If they made better wages It would translate into better service!

  3. When I said, "It’s not as simple as black vs. white," I was referring to customer/guest service jobs in general and not just fast food-type establishments. Some customer/guest service related jobs are way above minimum wage.

  4. That is an aspect that big guns like Papa Johns couldn’t overolook at! As you said, a customer is the lifeblood of any business and a good service to them is a never-ending process after all.

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