Illustration: Alanna Rizza

Ryerson employees can now tell customers off without consequences

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By Lyba Mansoor

If you’ve ever worked a retail, fast food or other miscellaneous customer service-centric job, chances are you’ve had the urge to reach over the counter and give a piece of your mind to the rude customer you are contractually obligated to serve, lest you get fired.

Under a new policy at Ryerson University, where free speech has now become really free speech, Oakham Café employees are starting to bite back (not literally, except in one case, which we aren’t legally allowed to discuss). Now employees are pretty much allowed to interact with customers however they see fit, sans consequence.

This motion for free speech started up when Ontario Premier Doug Ford began talks of revising universities’ free speech policies, allowing groups such as Men’s Rights, Anti-Choice groups and Monsters-That-Destroy-Cities Anonymous to work, meet, demonstrate and destroy cities without consequence.

“Under this new free speech policy, employees now have the total right to say whatever they want to whoever they want, and they’re definitely making use of it,” Neil Abrams, a supervisor at Oakham Café said.

Tyler Shute, an employee at Oakham Café, was elated when he discovered the free speech policy would free him of the faking kindness prison he’s been stuck in since starting his job.

“This is the greatest thing I have ever heard. I can finally tell Denise Haba that just because her pilates class tires her out every Thursday does not mean she can spit her latté onto the counter because it was steamed at 89 degrees instead of 90 degrees,” Shute said.

It was reported by security yesterday at Balzac’s that some old white lady was screaming at an employee because she believed her coffee was made with one Splenda when she had asked for two. A Barista calmly added 42 more packets of Splenda to the cup and said, “Have a Splenda-d day,” before flipping her the finger.

A group has emerged since the free speech policy began that has been relatively unaffected. Known as “decent human beings” these individuals are known to smile back at servers, tip decently and be generally unaffected if their order takes two or seven minutes.  When baristas and retail workers give deserving customers some sass back, this group can be recognized by their ability to apologize for the behaviour of whatever dick was in front of them.

Some people see retail and food service workers as lower than themselves (called “assholes” in common context) and have been extremely vocal about how free speech has affected their interactions.

Geoff Sessions, a 69-year-old politics teacher who smells slightly like ham, would not shut up about manners of servers. “Look I’m old fashioned, so if some pink-haired whippersnapper can’t make a [foul language] latte in 30 seconds or smile when I compliment their butt thinks they can just give me a piece of their mind—then I’ll give ‘em a piece of my mind.”

When the irony of such a sentence was pointed out to Sessions, he faked a heart attack and refused to make any further comments.

Suffice it to say, this new free speech policy has created a space where customer service workers can finally openly demand to be treated like human beings, and if they still aren’t, by god you’ll know how they feel.

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