Panera Dream. What?

I must be still dealing with manager shift anxieties.


Some unshaven guy with a sloppy old t-shirt and a gross pony tail came to the back door of Panera (the alarmed, no-entry one) and asked if he could come in and use our panini press for his homemade sandwiches he kept in a plastic bag. I said I couldn’t let him in that way, and I didn’t feel comfortable putting elements on my press that I wasn’t fully aware of their content in case of food allergens that might transfer to the customers. He started threatening to throw out all the bread he found in the dumpster. I was like, “Well, sir, it was in the dumpster because we already threw it out, so what you do with it is your business.” Then he got mad and tried to shoulder his way in, but I said, “Hang on. Let me run this by one of my superiors; I’ll see what we can do for you.” And I closed the door on him yelling about my supposed rudeness. I went to Lauren and explained the situation, and she said, “Are you serious? Let me deal with this guy.” So she went and told him basically the same thing I did, but with a little more force. He refused to budge, but we locked him out.

A little while later, I went through the dining room and this girl in a pink mini skirt, stockings, and a sparkly headband (very ShinWa High) called me over to her table and knocked over her soda in front of me, then said I shouldn’t be so clumsy and to clean it up. I said, “I’m sorry, Miss. Is there a problem?” She said yes, she couldn’t believe how judgmental and uncaring I was not to let that man in, when all he wanted was a hot sandwich. I said, “What are you? That guy’s fan?” She was like, “Actually, I am.” When I tried to placate her, she stood up and slapped me in the face. HARD. Then when I tried to block the next blow, she grabbed my hair and slapped me again. Apparently that was enough to satisfy her and she sat back down with her arms crossed.

On my way back to the registers (and my face was bright red and my cheek was bruised and my bottom lip swollen) I ran into Mike who scolded me for not saying yes to a customer and then fighting with another one. He said: it’s Panera policy to break any rule for a customer, and I wasn’t following that train of thought, and HE let the guy in to make his hot sandwiches on our press. “Now. Having heard all that, do you think you might have acted differently in the past hour?”

I was so close to stamping my foot, but I settled for a definite, “No.” I explained that I felt allowing that man in was a possible threat to our other customers’ safety, I didn’t know if he was clean enough to be using our equipment, and I would do the exact same thing if it happened again. Mike kind of sighed, but didn’t say anything else, so I left, cradling my cheek and about ready to punch someone.

Lauren met me halfway to the hand washing station in the BOH and said, “Whoa. What happened to your face?” When I told her, she got super mad and was like, “That’s it. I’m gonna kick that girl’s ass. I don’t care what Mike says. That’s not okay.” So she totally went Korean drama and dragged me along to confront the crazy girl. She said she had better leave before she ended up getting beat to death with a sparkly flower (Lauren really has a heavy sparkly flower on her keychain she threatens people with) and she’d ship her body to North Korea, because it just wasn’t possible that someone like her was South Korean.  She ran away, fast.

Unfortunately, we still couldn’t get rid of Panini guy, who was in the back, now using OUR ingredients to create his own sandwiches and grill them. So I went to glare at him for good measure, and he’d taken off his “disguise” and turned out he was Russell Crowe, and the crazy schoolgirl was his rabid fan. So I just said, “I wouldn’t have treated you any different if I had known, except I would have demanded an autograph before I sent you away. I hate that you’re here right now, defiling my work station and getting in our employees way during lunch hour.” He chuckled and continued adding basil to his made-up Panini.

I’m super disappointed in Russell Crowe right now. I mean, really? Go buy yourself a huge kitchen with a personal Panini press. It’s not like you can’t afford it. So rude.


7 thoughts on “Panera Dream. What?

      1. It was a dream! But the weird thing is how realistic everyone’s reactions were. I mean, our boss, Mike, wouldn’t be like that about safety concerns, but if I had actually done something wrong, he would use very similar lines.

        And oh my word, Lauren IS awesome! She’s the manager that introduced me to Kdramas, and takes me to the Asian market, and she had her last day yesterday which I’m about to publish a post about because I’m so upset. :(

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