How to Not Piss Off Your Local Deli Worker

deli service star

Everyone remembers their first job out of college. Some of us are fortunate enough to bypass the odd job route and get straight to the 9-to-5 gig. While I finally did get my first “big girl” job about five months after graduating, I needed a source of income until that day came. So after graduation I returned to my previous part-time job as a deli worker at a local supermarket.

I’ve worked in customer service and the food industry before as a waitress, so I had past experience dealing with food safety, rude customers, and the busy weekend shifts. However, I feel that working in a deli is the ultimate way to test your patience and ability to keep your cool. While I enjoyed many aspects of my job, including being told which celebrity I look like on a weekly basis (usually it was Julia Roberts), bringing a smile to a customer’s face and gossiping with my coworkers, there were some days when I wanted to lean over the counter and punch someone. I’ve compiled a list of things you shouldn’t do when shopping at your local deli.

Things Not to Do While Visiting a Deli

Don’t Be So Picky

I get that your son wants his meat on the thinner side, but making me cut your turkey and show you the slice 10 times for approval is ridiculous. As a side note — sometimes we don’t even make it any thinner and then we laugh to ourselves when you say “Oh that looks much better!”

Don’t Be on Your Cell Phone When Ordering

First of all, it’s rude. How would you like it if as soon as you went to order your salami, I picked up my phone and began chatting away? Second of all, I’ll usually need to ask you questions about what you’re ordering and it’s hard to do that when you’re in la-la land talking to your boyfriend.

Don’t Freak Out When I Give You 1.03 Pounds of Ham

You asked for a pound and I went .03 over. That is about a third of a slice. If you would like me to rip a piece of ham in half and take it away from you so it’s exactly 1.00, then I will, but be aware that you’re going to look like a crazy person to everyone else in line.

Don’t Come in 10 Minutes Before Closing Time

You may not realize this, but it takes a long time and a lot of cleaning to “close” the deli. All machines need to be properly sanitized, all products need to be wrapped, and the floors must be swept and mopped. Coming in at 9:50 for a quarter-pound of cheese not only makes us stay late, but also makes the department go over in allotted hours and that leads to a not-so-happy boss.

You can view the article as it was originally posted here and the rest of my articles here.


  1. Hahahah I loved reading this… especially the freaking out about going slightly over ham weight hahaha!! Gotta love work…

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