"Back in 2006 I took my first food-service job at a fast-food place. My management experience got me a post as an assistant manager at Mr. Hero, a sort of Quiznos-type hot sandwich joint.
"It wasn't a hard job to learn, as we only served like six types of sandwiches plus fries. My co-workers were decent, if quirky, and most of the customers ranged from the bland and generic to fun. I found, after a week or two of settling in, that I really liked it.
"That said, there was one lady that was such a huge problem that she was universally known among the staff as 'the Witch.' Nothing was ever good enough for the Witch: everything we did was wrong, slow, we were morons not worthy to touch her food, and she made a call to our corporate complaint line every time she ordered (I know this for a fact, as I'd get a call from corporate asking about her the day after every one of her visits). She tortured the staff for about six months straight, coming in about every four days.
"The last straw came on July 3rd. July 3rd in our area was a crazy-busy kind of night. The local Little League field was a block away and that was the night of its All-Star game. Lots of families put in orders, and evening shift on July 3rd was always likely to do about three times as much food as any other full day of the year. Well, this night we did at LEAST that; a normal shift did about $1,000 in food, and we did almost $3,700 for that shift. We were BEAT when the rush was over, despite having two extra people on staff for the anticipated load (bringing the staff up to five, including myself). So much so that, with about 15 minutes left in the shift, I took a good look at my staff and called the owner to give him a heads-up and ask if we could possibly close early or leave some cleanup for the morning crew.
"Mid-call my register person, Jeanette, came into the office. She was clearly upset, tears starting to fall, and said, 'Nathan, I can't… the Witch just walked in. I can't deal, not with her, not after the rush. Can you…?' I knew how she felt, being in not much better a state, but it's what I was there for, so I passed the phone off to her and took over the register.
"'Good evening, ma'am,' I said. 'Welcome to Mr. Hero. What can we do for you tonight?'
"She ordered the worst thing on the menu, from the grill's perspective: Family Pack. This is eight 6" hot sandwiches, four large fries, four drinks, and sauce sides. I punched it all in, read it all back, and asked if I had taken her order correctly. That's where we hit the first snag.
"'I ordered four large Cokes, not four large Pepsis.'
"'Ma'am, I'm sorry, but we only serve Pepsi products,' I replied.
"'Since when? I was in here last week and got Coke.'
"'I'm sorry, ma'am, but in the eight months I've worked here we've ONLY had Pepsi. Perhaps you're thinking of another restaurant?'
"'Fine, give me the damn Cokes then, if you're too incompetent to do it right.'
"I gritted my teeth behind what was probably a VERY fake-looking smile, rang out the order, and told her the total.
"'That will be $24.95.'
"'You're trying to cheat me! The sign says it's $19.99!'
"'Yes, ma'am, the Family Pack is $19.99. You upgraded from medium drinks to large and ordered four sides of cheese sauce for the fries. That increases the price.'
"'That's false advertising! You're cheating me! You always do this. You people hate me and scam me every time I come in! I want to talk to the manager!’
"I explained that I was the manager, we didn't dislike any of our customers (an outright lie, in her case), and that the computer system doesn't allow me to alter prices in any way, shape, or form, regardless. Needless to say, the Witch didn't settle down. In fact, she became MORE angry.
"Now, I need to break here to explain our register system. It was BIG. Like, 1985 desktop-computer big. It had a large frame, a heavy cash drawer securely bolted in it (we were in a bit of an ugly neighborhood, and robbery after closing happened about five or six times a year), and the keyboard and monitor were in a heavy shell. Underneath it was probably the dirtiest place in the store: We couldn't clean underneath it because it was bolted to the counter.
"Or so we thought.
"Despite my absolute best attempts to be mild, unassuming, polite, and helpful, the Witch decided it was time to go Super Saiyan. She literally picked up the register -- remember, something so hard to move that a grown man used to manual labor had thought it bolted down! -- and THREW it over the counter at me. I dodged and she stormed out, proceeding to stand in the parking lot screaming the vilest things I've ever heard come out of someone’s mouth.
"Thankfully, karma decided to be impatient that night. Less than a minute after she stormed out into the parking lot, no less than FOUR police cars arrived and she was arrested. It turns out that when she threw the register, something in the drawer (likely the pen for checking currency) hit the panic button that set off the silent alarms and called the police.
"We gave statements, turned over the security footage, called it in to the owner, closed up, and went to the bar a few doors down for some hard-won and much-deserved drinks -- the first round of which were on the owner, who authorized me to take $300 out of petty cash with direct orders to 'Get 'em legless, y'all have earned it!'" -- Nathan Talisien