Cinco de Mayo Was Bad. Be Nice to Restaurant Workers. [OPINION]
I was really, REALLY disappointed with the human race last night.
Let's point out the obvious: holidays are going to be weird this year. We've already been through St. Patrick's Day without parades and open bars; we've been through Easter without egg hunts and family gatherings. We do what we can with what we've got right now, which is a global pandemic.
Last night, I placed an order to the El Potrero on Fenton Road in Flint. Of course, like most humans, I don't need Cinco de Mayo to come around as an excuse to order Mexican food, but yesterday was also Taco Tuesday, so it felt appropriate.
I placed my order at 3:30 to be picked up at 6 PM. I anticipated a busy restaurant, which is why I ordered early. When I got there at 6, the line for pickup was out the door (people were wearing masks & staying distant from each other, which was fantastic) and the drive-thru line was spilling onto Fenton Road.
It was jarring at first but, honestly, it didn't bother me. People needed an excuse to get out of the house and do something different, and ordering carryout from El Potrero was their opportunity.
I parked my car and stood in line for an hour. Yes, an hour.
It wasn't the hour-long wait that ticked me off - it was some of the people that were in line with me.
I'm not talking about a couple of "how long is this going to take" comments - I'm talking about people on their phones, complaining on speaker to anybody who would listen about how "ridiculous" this was. How this was "bullsh**." How they were "forced" to wait outside for part of the time (it was 51 degrees at the time - I checked).
And then, the poor restaurant workers who were walking through with orders became the target. "I don't want my food under a heat lamp while I wait but if it's cold, I'm gonna be p*ssed."
"You guys need to figure out a better system. This is ridiculous."
"I called my order in three hours ago so I wouldn't have to wait in line."
These were some of the more cordial things that were said; I heard one woman in the drive-thru, cursing out one of the employees with language that would make Gordon Ramsey blush.
Their complaining was making the room tense and awkward and putting everybody in a bad mood, and the employees were nothing but nice and helpful.
I started talking to the woman in front of me and we were complaining about the people who were complaining. We just couldn't understand it. They had to know that it was going to be busy. They had to know that this was going to be a learning curve for the employees, the customers, etc. None of us have ever been through a pandemic before.
I totally get it - we're all mentally exhausted. We're stressed; adults have been laid off or had to learn how to work from home, parents have become teachers, etc. This is a traumatic experience that we're living through.
For the love of all that's holy, though, please...don't take it out on others.
These restaurant workers don't get paid much, and they're at work because they have to pay their bills, not because YOU want tacos on Cinco de Mayo. And they definitely don't get paid enough to be cursed out over a carryout order.
To quote my friend Steven on Facebook:
"I'm seeing MULTIPLE posts about people getting angry and yelling at Mexican restaurant workers tonight because the line is so long. My dudes...it's Cinco de Mayo. Seriously, what were you expecting? And why be rude about it? You cannot control how long it takes to get your tacos but you absolutely CAN control whether or not you are a d**k about it. In the words of Bill & Ted, 'be excellent to each other.'"
If you didn't want to wait, you should've made dinner at home. The wait was no big deal; I played games on my phone. And when I got home, the food was worth the wait.
We are ALL going through the same thing right now on different levels. It's okay to be stressed and exhausted; it's NOT okay to take it out on others. Please be kind; it's not that hard. Or make your Cinco de Mayo enchiladas at home next time.