Ever walk into a business at or after the time they are suppose to close? You probably got a dirty look or glare from one of the employees, but maybe you didn't understand why. Let me enlighten you.
Yes, customers are important to us and most likely we will still serve you and not mention the fact that you are delaying our closing process. Yes, you heard that right, there is a process to closing. No, we don't just get to flip a sign and walk out the door.
Depending on how big the establishment is, the amount of time it takes to close varies. I work at a small business and it takes us about half an hour to an hour to close after we've flipped the sign and locked the doors.
Why so long? Well, we have to wipe down and sanitize every table and surface, wash every dish, including all serving equipment that may or may not have been used, put up all the chairs, count and put away the money in the register, take out all the trash, restock behind the counters, and sweep and mop the entire floor (behind and in front of the counters included).
So as you can imagine, when you come in at or after closing time or linger after, you are only adding extra time on to the time we have to stay after to clean up after you.
Maybe that doesn't seem like a big deal to you. After all, we get paid by the hour, right? Yes, we may get paid by the hour, but usually at minimum or just above minimum wage. So the few extra dollars we might make for staying longer aren't going to do much for us, other than rob us of precious studying or sleeping time (because most of us are college or high school students).
Yes we are here to serve you, but that does not mean we deserve to be treated as subservient or less intelligent. Just because we are working at a restaurant, bakery, or café does not mean we are less intelligent than you or should be treated as such. Like I said earlier, most of us are in school, and this is just a part time job, not our life career, so be kind.
Ultimately, it is an issue of respect. We treat our customers with respect and expect them to in turn respect us, by respecting our hours and posted closing time. Yes, we understand that maybe you only see us as means to an end, but we are human too, and we deserve the same amount of respect that you expect from us.