Life in Progress: A weblog by Heidi Price
10/11/2006

Don't throw napkins

Saturday was a good day.

It started with lots of bacon, and proper pig bacon too, not the cardboard turkey or vegetarian.

Then we walked to the second-hand store around the corner from his house. We found a 99 cent Joseph A. Banks Clothier shirt that looked quite nice on him, a $9 LL Bean windbreaker for my mom, two books for him and a knit cap for me.

Then I left to visit my grandma at her farm outside of Carmichaels for the day.

So I had no reason, absolutely none, to snap at the girl behind the KFC counter in Waynesburg when she wouldn't make all 12 pieces of my 12-piece-chicken-order wings. The deal was something like 12 pieces of chicken for $15.99 but the bucket was supposed to be a mix of wings, legs, breasts and thighs, she explained. Because I asked for wings only, she had to ring up each piece separately.

12 wings rung up by the piece comes to nearly $25.

"Can't you please give me 12 wings for $15.99," I persisted. "It's chicken. What does it matter if its 12 wings, 12 breasts or 12 thighs?" I had $30 but I still needed to buy gas.

In a sweaty, tired voice the girl behind the counter tried once more to explain the rules of the 12-piece order; it needed to be a mix not all one kind. She turned and I could see the round hump of her belly underneath her uniform. I'm no expert but she looked to be maybe three or four months pregnant.

If there was a hidden camera, I knew I would never want to see this exchange. Me, wearing a silly knit cap, harassing a young, pregnant KFC team member over the contents of my chicken order.

"I'm sorry," I said. "I didn't mean to be rude. It's just that my grandma really loves wings. Just give me whatever you have to give me."

As she filled my bucket, she told me that I wasn't so rude compared to some customers. Some people who came in there yelled at her and someone actually threw napkins at her.

"Can you imagine?" she asked.

I told her actually no, I couldn't imagine getting so upset over my chicken order that I would want to throw napkins.
She smiled at me and handed me my bag.

"I gave you all wings," she said.

Before I left, I wrote down her name and the corporate customer service number on the door urging patrons to call with complaints or compliments. I've copied down these numbers at various establishments before. I've spent the better portion of my adult life waiting tables on weekends and mean servers really get my goat. By the same token, nice waitresses get a 25 percent tip and my vow to make a phone call on their behalf. I've never followed through with a phone call.

Yesterday, for the first time in my life, I called.

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