Evidently at some point in the seven years or so I’ve been out of town, the Wendy’s I worked at as a teen and have returned to, set up some sort of agreement with one of the local churches. The third Monday of every month is Gospel Night. The church brings in a sound system, and various singers, and they perform in the dining room for a half hour to an hour, depending.
I hate Gospel Night.
For one, I’m not a huge fan of gospel music; it was never a genre I enjoyed, even when I did identify as Christian. It’s not my cup of tea, and I don’t really want to be subjected to it while I’m working. And I especially don’t want to be subjected to it when it’s so loud I leave with a headache. Most of the people who attend Gospel Night are elderly, and thus they need the volume up, and so the entire building is positively vibrating from the speakers. (I wouldn’t even like this state if it was music I enjoyed. I am prone to headaches and loud music makes me feel anxious. Yes, even hearing about how awesome Jesus is for an hour makes me jittery.)
The thing I hate the most, though? The part that makes me the most Grinchy of all?
I hate the customers. The people who come in for Gospel Night, the ones who profess to love Jesus and be his biggest fans, are rude, demanding, cheap, and the least Christ-like they could possibly be. The music starts at 7:30, so they start coming in around 5:00 to “get their seats.” They move all the tables around in the dining room, staking out “their spots” like this was the lawn at a concert. They don’t say ‘please’ or ‘thank you’ when they talk to me; they barely bother with anything resembling pleasantries at all, because they’re in a hurry to sit and socialize with other people about how much they think Jesus is awesome. They don’t hand me money, they throw it on the counter and walk away. They argue with me about how much things cost and demand that I honor expired coupons, or that I honor their coupon AND give them their senior discount or drink. They don’t wait patiently in line; they assault me at any point along the counter, no matter what I’m trying to do. If they want a refill? I’d better get on it, no matter the 20+ people in line, and they WILL throw their cups at me if they feel I’m not going fast enough. They leave garbage on my counter, or actually throw it at me with an order to throw it out for them. They huff at me because I’m taking too long, or yell at me because I’m having trouble hearing their order because they are whispering in a packed dining room with gospel music blaring loudly enough to make fillings fall out. They are mad because I am running out of things and thus inconveniencing them somehow, because there are just SO MANY PEOPLE and the line doesn’t end, so there is no time to go get everything I need, just a mad dash here and there for the one thing I need to finish one order.
They show up at 5:00, and sit there in the dining room until 7:30 when the music starts, and don’t leave until well after the show ends at 8:30. They get dinner, and then dessert, and they do nothing but come back up for free refills on their already free senior drinks. I brew SO MUCH COFFEE. And heaven forbid I run OUT of coffee when seven people all want their cups refilled simultaneously!
I have always liked the quote, “I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. They are so unlike your Christ.” (My good friend Snopes.com says it probably wasn’t actually Ghandi, and it’s been so paraphrased and parsed, who knows where it came from at all, but still.) People like the ones who show up on Gospel Night are the same kinds of people I went to church with, to college with, who religiously abused me, and who completely turned me off to Christianity. People who are in such a perpetual hurry to show people just how much they love Jesus, that they run roughshod over everyone and everything in their path.
I hate Gospel Night.