Columns, Opinion

TAMOLA: Lactose Intolerant

I would like to welcome you to the world of lactose.

Before we embark on this adventure, I should probably explain a few things.

My name is Katie, and I’m a graduate student here at Boston University. My cousin, who recently graduated from BU, offered to help me get a job at her previous place of employment. She worked at a frozen yogurt shop. I needed to pay rent. I would have taken a job shaving chinchillas in Allston.

Anyway, she mentioned the most beautiful word (tips), and I was all like “Yeah, I love sweet things. I’ve also never been to this magical Harvard place, tell me more!” Then I got the job, gained 20 pounds, and an 18-year-old Harvard freshman sassed me, but alas those are stories for another day.

BU is large and in charge, so students hold about a million other part-time jobs ranging from clerical work to taking care of people in clinics to restocking shelves of $60 cream sweaters. Keep on keepin’ on, y’all.

The students – actually, anyone in general -who work in food service: my allegiance and respect lie with you.

Whenever I tell a friend about a frustrating interaction that occurred at my food-service job, his or her initial reaction is confusion.

Why would you ever blatantly sass or disrespect someone assembling something that is going into your mouth?

GOOD QUESTION. Maybe they just assume I’m not psychotic and won’t drop their malted-vanilla yogurt face down into our flytrap. I won’t…because that’s gross. But sassy girl, you don’t know me! I could be vengeful. I could be crazy. I could be BEYONCE-ON-THE-RUN-TOUR FROM THE LAW.

I’m not asking for a kidney, I’m definitely not asking for a tip (trust me, I get it—school is expensive), but dear God…could it kill you to not look like you’re disgusted to be breathing the same air as the lowly creature that is me?

So, this young woman ordered her three-ounce yogurt and asked for about eight different toppings when I committed the most egregious and most offensive act there is of all—I accidentally gave her rainbow sprinkles instead of chocolate. She then turned to her friend and called me a bitch.

First of all, I clearly did you a favor. Rainbow sprinkles are far superior; did you not graduate kindergarten? Were you that kid that cried and shoved his or herself into a cubby because the cupcakes were not what you preferred? You make me want to move to Antarctica and live under a glacier.

Secondly, I’m not a bitch. There is a long line, you’re about 18 and go to a local college; I’m four or five years older than you, AND I WANT TO KILL YOU.

This young woman stood about a foot taller than me, wearing a basketball jersey. On a normal day, she could end me. However, I had the rage of 1,000 wet cats pumping through my body. I wanted to hit her over the head with the mop and then give her colorful yogurt to someone else. This happened about a year ago, and I’m glad to see that I’m definitely over it!

This kind of interaction in food service is about one in every four or five customers. Some people just saunteron into the shop and with their actions (and sometimes words), emit the following: “I want my yogurt, and I want it now. I also find it important to note that I believe you have the IQ of a brick. Tell me I’m pretty.”

Other people, well they are undeniably pleasant and wonderful. Regulars (and non-regulars alike) can be funny, kind and generous. These are the people who make me feel lucky to have a job and who dissuade me from wanting to hide for the rest of eternity in one of the shop’s stock boxes.

Working in food service definitely has its perks as well. I get to sample the product and I get to gawk over super fine investment bankers and EMTs whenever they’re fulfilling their yogurt fix. My priorities are clearly in order.

I love what I study, and I love BU. I feel immensely lucky to be here. My part-time job is just that; it’s only a part of my life. Certain customers may treat me poorly because I am serving them food and cleaning up after them, and these instances and frustrations make me think.

No one is better than a maintenance worker, a McDonalds employee or the receptionist at a doctor’s office. I wish people would really believe that.

Apparently, this is not always a widely accepted or practiced concept.

Maybe one day. Until then, you can sass me while I swirl you an aesthetically pleasing yogurt (until 11 p.m.). I recommend the rainbow sprinkles.

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