SOUP.....SALAD.....WITH A SIDE OF AWKWARDNESS

For my deviant act I chose to make a typical fast food dining experience a little bit awkward for the customer. I work at the Panera on route 30 and wolf road in Frankfort. When you order your food there you have a seat and wait until your name is called to grab your food when it is done. That is where I took the opportunity to make the typical dining experience a little bit uncomfortable for some of our customers. Typically when a customer comes to grab their food you say “have a nice day” or “thanks for coming in” and that’s it; but I took that thanks to the customer to the next level. Instead of the generic “have a nice day” to the customer I would say something along the lines of “have a super duper wonderful splendid fantastic day sir” and have a big ole smile on my face when I made the statement. The purpose was to take the normal role expectation of the fast food employee and customer interaction and spin it.Over the course of the night I did the response to ten customers and I would only do the response once every 30 minutes to make sure that each customer was completely not prepared for my response. I also tried to vary the age and gender of the people I did the response to. I was not sure how people were going to respond to my overly excited response, but the responses I did get were priceless.

The lucky first customer I pulled the prank on was a middle aged man who had no idea what was coming. He seemed like the perfect candidate to pull the stunt on, he didn’t have to wait long for his food and he seemed like he would be a good sport about it. There was also a small crowd of people waiting for their food as well so it was good to see their reaction too. I called the man’s name and as I handed him his food I proceeded with “have a wonderful super duper fantastic time on this super day sir.” After I spit out the extra long response the man’s reaction for about two seconds was nothing in the shock of my statement. After those silent seconds the man finally responded with simply “you to” and proceeded to leave the store. The man’s simple but awkward reaction to my response was the result of me acting out of the social norm .The small crowd’s reaction was pretty similar they seemed baffled that I said that and even a couple people were covering the mouth to hide their laughter. It was a pretty good start but I wanted more of a reaction out my response.

I continued to do my prank on the customers but got a similar response on as the first one on the next three people plain and somewhat awkward. On the fifth try I finally got a decent response. The fifth person I pranked was a little old lady probably in her 70’s that I figured would take my response well. This time around there was no crowd to observe. I proceeded to say the same thing as I did in the first try to the lady as she grabbed her food. The woman’s response was much different than the previous responses. She immediately smiled and said thank you so much and have a wonderful day yourself. As she was walking away she turned around and stated to me that I was the nicest employee she has ever dealt with at Panera. It was great to see that someone was able to not react awkwardly when someone is being nice to them and in return be nice back. What made the prank even better was a couple days later when I came into work my manager pulled me aside telling me that I got a positive customer comment from our website (my first and probably last by the way). I don’t know for sure if it was that lady but I couldn’t really imagine who else it would be. The irony is the prank made me look good.

Finally I got a response out of someone to make the prank worthwhile but I still continued to do it on a couple more unsuspecting customers. By far this next response was the best .This time I chose to pull the prank on a girl between 17 and 20 because I figured I would get some type of response out of her. There was a small crowd to observe this one. I repeated the same process and got a response I was not expecting. After I made my comment she gave me a weird look and responded with “oooookkk” in a sarcastic tone and then she asked me if “there was something wrong with me”. I couldn’t really believe she asked me if there was something wrong with me; she caught me off guard with that one. The crowd seemed to react in the same way stunned as I was. As much as I wanted to react in a negative way towards her I realized I was at my place of business and swallowed my tongue and said “no I’m alright now you have a super duper wonderful fantastic day.” After the second time I pulled it on her she just casually walked out of the store surprised that I said it again.

I chose to do this prank because it is occasionally funny to see how people react when they are brought out of their comfort zone into a socially awkward moment. My theory was that people when brought in the situation would react in a face saving way and just kind of high tail it out of there to avoid the moment. That theory proved to be true for about 60% of the experiment. It seems to be almost a social law to not even act out a little bit different in such a small interaction as in the experiment and could really bring people put of their comfort zone.