Site Description: Bagel Corner is a unique bagel shop located in the NorthWest part of The Bronx. It is so unique due to its employees and owners. Bagel Corner has been serving its customers for over 50 years and draws its customers in from all around the tri-state area. The store itself is in a prime location for any “fast-food” restaurant being that it is positioned in a heavily trafficked location as well as an area in which there are multiple schools and businesses. Ever since its renovation in April of 2018 the store has been even more popular resulting in more business. The large signs posted on the outside can be seen from blocks away, along with the smell of the bagels engulfing the streets surrounding it. Inside, the atmosphere is welcoming. Friendly employees greet you with kind smiles. The smart layout allows you to view bottled beverages while you wait online and although the space is tight they still managed to squeeze in a small seating area right at the window, so you can people-watch while you enjoy your food. From as early as 6 A.M. to 3 P.M. every type of person imaginable walks through their doors, they can be as different as a square and a circle but are always there for the same thing. A bagel.
Informant Description: Danny Guzman is a 26-year-old Hispanic male living in the Bronx. He has worked at Bagel Corner for about 3 years now and has seen many customers, as well as employees, come and go. Outside of work, Danny is dressed in jeans, a nice t-shirt and those expensive sneakers that many highly covet. At work, however, he wears sweat pants, an old pair of Nikes, has his long hair tucked beneath a hairnet, hidden by an unbranded cap, all covered by an apron. Danny seemed to be the perfect one for the interview because he has been working there longer than anyone else. The bakers have been at Bagel Corner for years, but they never really engage with customers and that was my focus. His years of experience with the old and new set-up in terms of layout/renovation has directly affected him and how he is able to work, but not only has it changed how he works it also changed how he views the customers and how they view him both physically and figuratively.
B: How long have you been working here?
D: About 3 years now.
B: When did the renovation take place?
D: I think in April of last year. Almost 2 years, we closed for a week for Passover [the Jewish holiday] and they completed the whole renovation in that time.
B: Do you like working here?
D: Yeah, at first it was definitely something I had to get used to. I worked at a restaurant before, it was busy, but I did the register so I never really had to deal with issues directly with customers.
B: Does it get really busy here?
D: Oh yeah! We get a line out the door a lot of the time, straight down the block. Even when we have 3 people taking orders.
B: Does the busy-ness ever affect your ability to work or have a pleasant interaction with customers?
D: Well yeah, for sure. Customers get impatient even if there are just 2 or 3 other people in front of them. They get pissy and take it out on us as if it’s our fault they wanted to come right when there is a rush. Most of the people that get mad are the people that are here multiple times a week, they come around 8 or 10 and are always so confused as to why it’s busy as if they weren’t here the past 3 days at this time wondering the same thing.
B: Do customers get out of hand often?
D: *Laughs* Here? Of course, if we don’t get at least 1 a day its a miracle
B: How do you deal with these types of customers?
D: Typically, we don’t. They get mad and we don’t feed their anger so they either just leave or they continue to complain under their breath until they’re out. either way, they come back the next day.
B: Do your bosses prepare you for these customers? Or did they tell you that you would experience these types of people when you started here?
D: No, not really.
B: Has a customer ever apologized for acting up?
D: Sometimes, sometimes they’ll come back the next day or another time and apologize, but it’s rare and if they do I never really remember the interaction in the first place. So its sort of a thing we as workers have to deal with on our own like a forgive and forget sort of situation like in the moment.
B: Have you ever taken the offenses personal?
D: Nah, usually too busy to give a shit.
B: If you were offered another job opportunity would you leave here?
D: Honestly, it would have to be a job that I could turn into a career. As of right now, you can’t beat working here. Bosses are cool, coworkers too and my schedule is pretty flexible.