Working in the fast food industry is unequivocally stressful. The strain of constantly turning out vaguely edible meals on an industrial scale is enough to make everyone feel the pressure. Small wonder that those on the human conveyor belt sometimes snap. However, while there are many outbursts with which any ordinary person could sympathise, fast food workers, just like the rest of us, occasionally take things too far.
Such an incident was captured on camera earlier this year by a Subway customer in North Carolina. In dramatic footage that has since become a viral internet sensation, a store manager can be seen angrily approaching the camera, before taking a swing, knocking the recording device to one side and swearing at the woman responsible. The middle-aged man is then shown retreating into a room in what must be one of the most compelling cases for more effective customer service training ever seen.
The clip, which has accrued over four million views, was captured by Tina Richardson, a resident of the city of Concord in Cabarrus County, who claims that she had returned to the store in order to claim a refund for receiving an incorrect order. Richardson, who has since stated that she visited the restaurant to purchase lunch for an elderly woman in her care, clashed with employees when she presented them with a flyer as evidence of how the item she had received had been falsely advertised. Things rapidly spiralled out of control.
Although there is no footage of what took place prior to the physical conflict itself, the main body of the video seems to be pretty damaging for the restaurant manager. Not only does he appear to punch Richardson, who has subsequently claimed that she was struck “in the head” as well as on her phone, but the camera clearly shows what looks like the squashed remnants of a sandwich on the restaurant floor - which Richardson claims was thrown there by the manager. To make matters worse, another employee is seen telling the embattled customer to “get the f*** out”.
Given this context, it should hardly come as a surprise to learn that Richardson has allegedly decided to take Kenneth Lancaster, the owner of the Concord shop, to court to the tune of $25,000. As a response to the now infamous video, Subway released a statement to Fox News on behalf of their employees, writing, “Providing an excellent guest experience is important to us and our expectation is that everyone is treated with respect. The local team has reached out to the guest to apologize on behalf of the restaurant as this incident is inconsistent with the high standards Subway® restaurants requires of its Franchise Owners. The Franchise Owner expressed his regrets for how he handled the situation.” This contrition may ultimately help his case in court. Whether it’s enough to save him from a hefty bill remains to be seen.