Tips from the In N Out trenches: Soccer moms should not drive Escalades

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Okay, so here’s the thing. I really want to blog tonight but I’m too lazy to put in the effort for one of the really good blog posts I’ve got milling around in my head (they involve pictures, some cleverly placed jokes, and a little bit of research). So instead, I’m going to retell a story some of you may have heard before. It happened a few years ago, when I was working at my favorite place ever, In N Out.

I worked a total of 6 years with the Golden Arrow and worked at 3 different stores. The most interesting store I worked at was in Costa Mesa, on 19th street. That story had some seriously crazy customers. It is located on the border of Costa Mesa and Newport Beach, which means you get the unstable transients from Costa Mesa and the psychotic rich people from Newport Beach. This story is about one of the psychotic rich people.

So, okay, this white woman pulls up in a pearl white Escalade. Seriously, soccer moms in Escalades look ridiculous. Anyways, as she is pulling up to my window there was a loud popping noise. She freaks out. ” Did you hear that? What was that? My car better not be ruined, its brand new. Is my car ruined? What was that?”

I had no idea what the popping noise was. But I knew there was nothing in the lane that could have ruined her car, so I told her it was a ketchup packet (those things are actually pretty loud when you  run over them). She didn’t believe me.

“There is no way that was just a ketchup packet, that was so loud. I think it was something big. Is there something on the front of the car?”

I leaned out the window…waaaayyy out the window…and looked at the front of her car.

“Ma’am I don’t see anything. I’m sure your car is fine. Here is your food”

Well this lady would not SHUT UP about her stupid car. So finally, I used a little tactic I like to call “overreacting to an overreaction.” Often, if a customer is over reacting, you can make a riduculous offer to do something outrageous to resolve the problem. Usually, the offer itself is enough to calm them down. They don’t want you to have to go to such extremes, they realize they are over reacting, and they walk off. My overreaction was to offer to go outside and do a full check of that woman’s car for her. She accepted without hesitation.

What. The. Heck.

So I go outside and check the front of her car, the side and under her car. Then she tells me to stand at the front of her car while she backs up, that way I could see the full rotation of the tire and make sure nothing was in the tires. There was nothing. No damage, no scratches, no ketchup packet. Her gangster Escalade was perfectly fine.

“Well that noise was so loud I don’t believe that it didn’t damage my car. I’m going to have my husband look at it when I get home and if he finds something, I’m calling customer service and demanding that In N Out pays for the damage.”

And all I could thing was “Good grief, someone married this woman? That poor poor man.” Every time I tell this story I say a prayer for that guy.

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