customers Hot Dog Days My San Francisco Chronicles Work Diaries


Well, I guess there’s a first for everything: today was my first time serving crackhead customers. I wasn’t sure if they were homeless or not, but I was pretty sure they were on crack or some other sort of drugs. At first, I was hoping they would just peer at the cart menu and just wander off on their own. But the main, vocal woman kept saying to her friend/acquaintance, “I wanna hot dawg!” and kept eyeing the menu for which one she wanted.

This woman took her sweet time making her decision; meanwhile, there was a small line forming behind her, and I really wanted to move onto the next customer, but the crackhead was being demanding and asking for what she wanted. I told her the price immediately so she would show me her money first before I handed her her hot dog; after all, I was not sure if she even had any money on her.

“I HAVE money, thank you! Ya don’t hav’ to keep repeating the total to me,” she replied back to me. I was feeling frazzled by this point and kept dropping the hot dog buns with the tongs; I handed her one hot dog, and she took it and gave it to her friend. At this point, it looked like they were going to walk away without paying, but then the main woman ordered another hot dog for herself.

Finally, it was time to pay up, and I told her the total amount quickly and sternly. I watched her carefully while she pulled out her money; meanwhile, I had to give an apologetic look to the waiting customers since I really could not refuse the crackhead’s service, despite her being so rude to me. I did not want to go off in front of her, especially in front of young children. She finally had enough money and paid, and I handed her change back quickly.

She and her friend did not go away immediately, though. The next customer got into line and ordered her hot dog/pretzel, when suddenly the crackhead yelled loudly “BITCH I HATE YOU!” or something of the sort…not sure who she was referring to (maybe her friend?) but at this point I dropped a few more hot dog buns because it startled me and made me feel angry inside.

Luckily, the two crackheads left shortly after that outburst, and I think the subsequent customers felt sympathetic towards me since I had to endure the behavior. They ended up giving me tips, and pretty good ones at that! One guy was with his two kids and he let me keep a really big tip because his reasoning was, “You deserve it since you had to put up with those, er, ‘clients’ earlier.”

I felt like just his kindness (and the kindness of the other two customers) was enough to make my day after the crackheads left.

Actually, the main crackhead came back in the afternoon to throw away her trash…at this point, instead of feeling anger towards her, I felt a bit of pity since she seemed to be wandering alone at that point. I don’t know where her friend went, but the woman said that she had fallen asleep and that she was going to go elsewhere at that point.

Hm, the interesting life of a hot dog vendor in San Francisco….