Austin’s grandparents had come for a visit, and we wanted to show them the new casinos in Tunica. (It’s just what you do.) We found a small Taco Bell inside The Grand, so we placed our orders and slid over to the pick-up counter. One by one, everyone picked up their trays and headed to a table. I was last. I gave her $6 for my and Austin’s orders and headed to the pick-up counter like everyone before me.
I waited. And waited. And waited some more. No tray. No questions. And even though, I never took my eyes off of her, she never so much as glanced anywhere in my direction. Finally, I asked her about my order.
“I don’t has no oh-der foh you.”
“I just placed it with you less than two minutes ago. I paid $6. I’ve been standing here waiting on it.”
“I don’t has it.”
And she walked off to the back of the kitchen.
I called to her to come back. “May I have my money back then?”
No response. I yelled again. “Can you check the register for it?” She was exasperated already, but she did check – she glanced at the screen on the register and said, “It ain’dare.” And walked away again.
I called after her, “Well, what are we going to do?
She shrugged. “I looks foh ma man-ger’s phonumba.”
“Okay, thank you.”
Then, she got on the phone. And I waited some more. I motioned to the table for them not to wait on me. Someone gave Austin a taco. She hung up and walked over to talk to her co-worker. I thought they might be discussing my plight, but they talked and laughed and the co-worker rubbed her bulging belly. They were talking babies!!!
I think I yelled. “Did you get in touch with your manager?
She looked at me like she couldn’t believe I was still there. “She don’t ansuh hu’pho.”
“Where is she?”
“Is there nobody here who can get my money or my order?”
“No.” And she turned back around to talk to her friend again.
I gave up and went to get the security guard who sits at a stand at the front of the casino. I explained the situation to him, and he walked back to the Taco Bell with me.
“I don’t has no oh-der foh huh.”
He looked as though he was giving consideration to the idea that I might be lying. I pointed to my family, here from out-of-town, and asked him why I might put myself through all this trouble for the mere pleasure of interacting with her.
Then, I did it. I said, “Tunica will never get repeat customers until these people learn how to work at customer service jobs.”
(What I MEANT was that while I couldn’t be happier that Tunica hires local and rural people from around Tunica who desperately need jobs, they can be uneducated, unintelligible, generally angry and put-out, and, as a result, untrained in handling customers.)
He grabbed the back of my suddenly criminal arm, and shouted, “Alright, that’s enough. We don’t tolerate that here.”
It took me just a second. “That wasn’t what I meant. THAT WASN’T WHAT I MEANT!!!!!!!!”
He started pushing me towards the exit.
“Unless I see my $6, I’m calling the police as soon as I get outside.”
So he stopped, pulled out his wallet, gave me $6 and proceeded to escort me from the building while my family and 9-year-old son watched. Lesson learned. I’ll never say “these people” in Tunica, Mississippi, again. And even better, I’ll never be in Tunica, Mississippi, again. Not that they'd let me in.