July 15th 2015
Today I read someone’s mind. Well, technically I read their voice. Okay, the tone of their voice.
Bear with me if this sounds ridiculous but when I’m at work, because I’ve been there so long, it’s very easy to predict what people are going to say. I use this joke every time I write about work but in case you didn’t know I work as a waiter at this small family run rustic Italian restaurant called ‘Pizza Hut’, so, as it happens, customers often order pizza.
And when they do that they have to clarify
1) the size
2) the dough/base
3) any changes to it
The first two are pretty easy to guess just by reading the person(s), a small lady will have an individual thin, a larger man will have a sharing deep pan to himself, a couple will have a sharing one with stuffed crust. That’s usually pretty easy to read for the first two points but the third one is about listening.
This is weird, and I don’t really know how to explain it, but when someone wants to make a change to a pizza you can usually hear the word “but” about two seconds before they actually say it. There is just something in the sound of their voice, or the wording of the order, or something that tells me that they’re about to say “but…”
I feel daft writing this but here’s an example. I’ll put it as a transcript.
Customer: can I please have a BBQ Americano. (This pizza is chicken bacon and sweet corn)
Customer: how did you know there was going to be a but?
Me: I’ve been doing this job a long time, you can tell…
Customer: but can I not have sweet corn?
Me: sure, is that large pan? (He was a big guy)
Customer: yes please.
So that’s what I mean when I say that I can tell what’s coming. I can tell when people are going to pay extra for stuffed crust, I can tell when people are just going to have water to drink, I can usually guess what someone will order before they do it.
Sometimes I’ll write the order down half a second before they say it and more often than you’d expect I am right.
What I’m also good at is persuading people to buy more than they want.
A stuffed crust is £2.50 extra, right? So instead of asking “what base do you want?” And letting them choose, I’ll say “is that stuffed crust?” And because you’ve implanted the idea of it into their head, they’ll often say “yes”.
If someone orders a glass of wine I won’t ask what size they want, I’ll just say “large one?” As if there’s no other choice. And they’ll say yes.
Instead of saying “can I get you anything else?” I’ll say “anything else guys, starters, sides, garlic bread, fries?” And then they’re thinking about fries, so they’ll want fries.
All of this sounds like I’m some sort of Derren Brown psychic magician, but really it’s just reading voices and choosing your words cleverly.
Until tomorrow, how did you know there was a but?