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4/5/09

Uphill both ways

Yesterday I pulled up to the McDonald's to order the boys some lunch. They both wanted Happy Meals, but one wanted a cheeseburger with only pickles and sweet tea; the other wanted a plain cheeseburger and Dr. Pepper to drink.

Two separate orders are not a new thing, but I have never perfected a smooth ordering system. In the past I have tried the, "I'll have two Happy Meals, one plain and one with ketchup only," yet the person on the other end would huff and puff and inevitably get it wrong.

Back to yesterday, I pull up to the speaker and once I was given clearance to make the order, I ask for each meal one at a time. On the second one, the girl on the other end asked what I wanted to drink. I repeated it, all the while I am watching the screen as the items are popping up. But when the first meal disappeared, I panicked for a moment, thinking that I'd have to start over. Suddenly all the meals popped up and the girl said, "Is everything on the screen correct?"

I give the screen a quick scan and said, "Uh. Yeah. Looks like it."

You know story doesn't end here.

Both hamburgers ended up being plain. We didn't go back and complain mostly because that seems par for the course of most McDonald's these days. I'd quit going altogether but the boys still like them.

(I have so much more to teach them.)

At the peak of my teenage career in the food service industry, I worked at Hardee's, in the drive-thru. I can assure you that every order was repeated for accuracy. It was rare that someone came back in the store because we'd given them the wrong thing. On peak weekends, I would stand at the corner just beyond the ordering sign, and take the customer's money so that the food could be delievered at the window and the line would move faster. I was the only one that did this because I could make change. I am sad to think how many teenagers today couldn't make change if the computer didn't work.

The only thing I really got in trouble for at my job was not doing the upsells. You know..."Would you like fries/hot apple pie/a shake with that?"

I HATED that.

I still don't like being asked either.

I suppose it is just the normal progression of things for the older generation to look on the younger generation and say, "Back in my day we worked harder/longer/was more respectful."

But honestly, how hard is it to get a food order correct?

5 comments:

Fiona said...

Maybe this makes me hopelessly snooty, but I really, really hate McDonald's. I just don't go there. And it doesn't surprise me that they can't get it right - the working conditions are bad and everything about that job is designed to prevent thinking. At some point, I figure those kids have to check out, mentally, to deal with the boredom.

Meanwhile, over at Chic-fil-A, the staff is unfailingly polite, the order is always correct (we're easy, though, I'll give you that), and they smile and thank you. It's like night and day.

Funny you posted this just now - about 20 minutes ago I was in Iain's room reading Alexander's Terrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.

Sara said...

I started ordering everything plain and just adding my stuff at home. Some how, no pickles is too hard a concept to master!

Bridgett said...

We haven't eaten at McD's since Parker started his diet...but prior to that, I don't think we EVER got an order that was actually correct.

Sadly, it's like that at most places.

But H, you and I are so much alike. I'm so ANAL about stuff like that. I could NEVER send out an incorrect order. LOL

XOXO

Rachel said...

I worked at Hardee's too! I really loved it, mostly because my manager would let us eat all the curly fries we wanted. Recently I came upon the handbook that I saved in a memory box. It's F-U-N-N-Y.

Courtney said...

As a former Starbucks employee, and a current coffeeshop worker, I am constantly surprised when I go to any other coffee place and they get my order wrong. There's not much I ask for (sometimes a mocha with light chocolate and vanilla syrup, sometimes an americano with vanilla), and yet, hardly anyone ever gets it right. I prefer to get skim milk and no whipped cream, but I've stopped asking for that because no one seems to hear it, anyway. I wonder how they manage to keep their jobs when their attention to detail is so incredibly slight. It's the only thing you have to do while you're at work - make drinks and make them correctly!

One of my co-workers and I were just discussing yesterday how important it is to "act like you care" about your job right now, because even at a McDonald's you may be facing some serious competition.

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