If you've ever worked in a service job, you'll know it is absolutely no joke. You're often rushed off your feet for hours at a time, operating at the highest of stress levels, usually for very little in the way of monetary rewards. And the thing that can take a service job from tricky to damn near impossible? An unpleasant customer.
Unkind customers were causing such a problem at Massachusetts restaurant Apt Cape Cod that the owners decided to take serious action this week. Owners Brandi Felt Castellano and her wife Regina Felt Castellano shared a shocking message on their Facebook page.
"Apt Cape Cod will be closed for breakfast this morning. We will be opening for dinner at 5 pm. As many of our guests and patrons treat us with kindness and understanding, there has been an astronomical influx daily of those that do not, swearing at us, threatening to sue, arguing, and yelling at my staff, making team members cry. This is an unacceptable way to treat any human. So Chef Regina and I have decided to take the day and give the staff time deep clean the restaurant, train, and treat my staff to a day of kindness. We will be open again for breakfast tomorrow. Please remember that many of my staff are young, this is their first job or summer job to help pay for college. We have had to make adjustments due to the increase in business volume, size of the kitchen, product availability, and staffing availability, we are not trying to ruin anyone's vacation or day off."
The small restaurant runs on the motto, "Come as Strangers, Leave as Friends," but it seems customers have been ignoring this message over the past months. Following the day of kindness, Apt Cape Code reopened as usual - and are hoping for a new and improved vibe.
Many commenters spoke out in support of the restaurant's decision. "Shame on those customers. Thank you for taking care of your staff. Can't wait to come by and be nice at breakfast," wrote one. "Regina and Brandi, I am so sorry. Your staff has always been so polite and caring. Please let them know at least how much I respect them and wish I was still on the cape and could support you and the team," another agreed.
The owners believe the pandemic has had a hugely negative impact on how customers treat service workers. "I would say that it is its own epidemic," Brandi Felt Castellano told The New York Times, saying she hadn't seen treatment this poor in twenty years in the industry.
In times of struggle (and honestly, in times of happiness, too) there's nothing quite so important as being kind. Especially to restaurant workers. They're doing more than you know.