Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Where's the UHT milk of human kindness?

Readers! Can I tell you about the wrong milk and how frustrated it made me? Yes? Okay, so I'm doing my wee voluntary shift in the hospital cafe. The clientele are mostly day patients, relatives of patients and, occasionally, thin men in dressing gowns. Today, an an elderly, smiley woman came to the counter and asked for a cup of milk.

The dinky-sized milk cartons in the fridge cabinet had sold out, so I thought I'd improvise and get her a cup of behind-the-counter-milk, used for coffees. I apologized that it wouldn't be chilled: it's UHT from a cupboard (where cartons of it are stacked like bricks in polythene).

Apparently this action was verging on a crime. At very least, it was a spanner in the works of a well oiled machine. Two fingers to order and authority! Everyone started flapping slightly and the supervisor said, we don't serve that milk. That milk is for coffees.

I felt bad for the customer - when I'm a customer myself I hate being made to feel as if I am a problem. Reluctantly the boss poured the wrong milk into a polystyrene cup and handed it over. Someone suggested 30 pence and I rang it through the till under miscellaneous.

I tried to apologise to the boss, but I was still narked, so I'm sure my 'apology' wasn't giving off the best vibes. I asked what I should do in future. She shrugged and said, I suppose you can sell it like that, but it's really for the coffees and we don't want to sell it all like that.

I replied that I was asked for no more than 1 or 2 cups of milk per shift -usually for a child. (I am not selling bathloads of the stuff!) She shrugged. We couldn't look each other in the eye. I bet she was mad at me. I am semi-mad at myself, for taking the blogger's way out rushing home to tell ye all.

I know it's a wee thing. It's not George Bush versus Iraq. I just always want to be one of these people who do their best for the customers, even if it means bending rules. Maybe especially if it means bending rules. I have never been good with authority.

Afterwards the husband of the woman who bought the wrong milk spilled his tea. I got him a new one without a second's hesitation. I told him he deserved it.

Ah well, it's the glamorous, tabard uniform that keeps me in the job. So far.


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