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Do you want insults with that?


project
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In my last visit to a fast food restaurant, a Wendy's, my order went:

Me: "I want two singles with five things on them. The five things are lettuce, tomato ..."

Employee: "Do you want cheese on that? ..."

Me: "... pickle, onion, and mustard. Also I would like a Biggie Diet. To go. That's all."

Employee: "Was that a Biggie Fry?".

So, I have to repeat the order, explicitly decline cheese and French fries or the order process stops.

The interruption to ask about cheese was bad enough. The refusal to execute the order before I repeated myself and explicitly declined items was worse.

Another case, at McDonald's, went:

Me: "I would like three hamburgers, a large diet, to go. That's all."

Employee: "Where those hamburgers without cheese?"

Me: "Ma'am, I am only ordering from your menu. Nowhere on your menu does the phrase 'without cheese' appear."

Gee, maybe it's a man-woman thing: Women like to engage in extended conversations for no directly practical reason! So, maybe the woman employees believe that they are just being friendly!

Due to this process, I try to avoid fast food places.

Am I the only one that finds this process irritating?

Here are some candidate responses:

"I won't change the order."

"You can include anything you want when you are paying for it."

"Please get the order, now!"

"Get the order or get the manager."

What are some good ways to handle this situation without doing their dance?

What would be the right food and wine to go with

R. Strauss's 'Ein Heldenleben'?

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I believe the normal procedure in such places (not that I go to them) is to point to the pictures and grunt. The pictures are helpfully provided for the majority of their customer's normal forms of communication...

OTOH what would a kosher restaurant be without the repartee...

"I want chicken soup mit Knaidlach, and a kind word"

"Here's the soup"

"And the kind word?"

"Don't eat the knaidlach!"

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Am I the only one that finds this process irritating?

Here are some candidate responses:

"I won't change the order."

"You can include anything you want when you are paying for it."

"Please get the order, now!"

"Get the order or get the manager."

What are some good ways to handle this situation without doing their dance?

Actually, I find the way you ordered to be very irritating.

For future reference, the registers are designed to specifically omit things, so " A biggie single without tomatoes" might be the ticket here. Or perhaps the old "walk a mile in their shoes" therapy.

Anyway, I don't think there are many people who would label it "back talk" or insuting.

Edited by Kim WB (log)
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And then there was the time that we stopped at McDonald's in Cook, MN. One of the items we ordered was a cheeseburger without the burger. Clerk "Can't do that." Me "But a person can omit the pickle, ketchup, mustard so certainly I can omit the burger." Manager walks over and cheerfully reminds the clerk that although they can't recall a cheeseburger ordered without the burger, they are happy to accomodate our order, and they even put extra cheese on it.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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Agreed that before you get all worked up, you should analyze their processes and attempt to tailor your order in such a way that it causes them the lest hassle. Did you consider that asking "without cheese" may have been a stalling tactic while trying to determine if there are buttons on the register for "bare burger" and to add toppings rather than subtract them?

You may have been locking horns with their process engineers who figured that everybody wants a burger with everything EXCEPT x y or z, rather than a bare burger with x, y and z. If the buttons are set up to subtract rather than add, your method would, of course, flummox the order taker.

Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

Learn to brew beer with my eGCI course

Chris Holst, Attorney-at-Lunch

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I think there are generally three kinds of fast food employees.

The first one is the 16-year-old who's working at his/her first job. (This was me, quite a few years ago.) This person probably has not been trained well, or at all, and will require some patience and understanding. Fast food is shitty work, especially if you're a teenager and they're not nice to you.

Two, surly people. They don't want to be there, but probably have to be. You can't really blame them for being pissy because who wouldn't rather work somewhere else? I think their pissiness is excusable to some degree, but not wholly. Use judgment.

And finally, all the others.

Yeah, you should always get good customer service, but cut them some slack. You'd probably hate your job too if you worked at one of those places.

amanda

Googlista

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Tommy is absolutely right.  That said, I don't understand how you were insulted in any way. 

Probably you should indeed avoid fast food places.

i've reconsidered. it's definitely a male-female thing, what with women always droning on about tangential nonsense. :biggrin::wink:

i sometimes try to make a game out of situations like these. i lump calls to customer service lines in as well. i try to say exactly what i mean in a way that the other person completely understands. once you get people confused, they tend to get nasty, and you might as well drive right out of the drive-through and head to the next one.

Edited by tommy (log)
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Tommy is absolutely right.  That said, I don't understand how you were insulted in any way. 

i sometimes try to make a game out of situations like these. i lump calls to customer service lines in as well. i try to say exactly what i mean in a way that the other person completely understands. once you get people confused, they tend to get nasty, and you might as well drive right out of the drive-through and head to the next one.

Tommy,

As someone who runs a very large customer service and sales center I can tell you that you are exactly correct. The people answering the phone are very often the same people that you might meet behind a fast food counter and are usually pretty limited in not only what they can do for you to help, but in their actual knowledge about the subject of your call. They are glad to help you if they can, but do not want to be confused or talked to in a condescending way. The best thing to do with these kinds of situations is to get to the point and do not try to play any kind of word games with them.

Confusion breeds contempt and contempt breeds bad service. THis is true with virtually any service situation.

I don't believe anything is to be gained by trying to show your intelligence and good breeding when all you really wanted was a half assed hamburger anyway.

Do you really feel better after you have given a couple of snappy comebacks to a high school kid who knows his job is lame but also knows that he needs the dough? :hmmm:

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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When headed through the drive-through I do generally try to keep things as simple and straightforward as possible. Think of it as programming a computer. The computer expects certain things in a certain order. That's just the way it's wired. So you think your way through the problem and give the computer what it wants in the order that it wants them, and everybody walks away happy.

I actually made a game of it for a while -- working out, without seeing the touchpads, how the POS system was set up just by the questions asked by the burger jockey. Turns out most of them are pretty similar. You give the standard order (by number, most of the time), mention any deletions, then any additions, and the drink. Then (and only then) do you add the SuperSize/Biggie Size addendum. It's a single button, and apparently the system isn't designed to handle it in the midst of everything else, so the order-taker has to remember. Or ask you again :rolleyes:.

I've been on the other side of that drive-through. A lot of customers are assholes. So are a lot of fast food employees. Add to that the fact that fast food employees are generally not encouraged to think creatively -- or even think at all. They have little buttons for everything. Sometimes with pictures. And the systems aren't very flexible. So you're stuck with a disgruntled 16-year-old -- dealing with a mind-numbing ordering system -- who can't figure out how to add Thousand Island to your Mackerel Snackerel without starting a major electrical fire. It pays to keep things simple.

In my opinion, the desire of franchises to make things as simple as possible has instead made them rigid and inflexible.

Chad

Chad Ward

An Edge in the Kitchen

William Morrow Cookbooks

www.chadwrites.com

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Gee, people, my real take is different, it's all 'suggestive selling': So the employees are told to force the customer to decline explicitly both cheese and French fries. Curious that others do not see the cheese and French fry questions in this way.

The last time at a local Burger King, the guy asked the usual cheese and French fry questions, I winced, and he explained "We are supposed to ask these questions."

jackal10:

Brilliant!

Engage in extended grunting, mumbling, and gesticulating! Scratching is permitted, even expected. Or

"When you get the order, I will quit picking my feet on the counter."

Kim WB:

"Actually, I find the way you ordered to be very irritating.

For future reference, the registers are designed to specifically omit things, so ' A biggie single without tomatoes' might be the ticket here. Or perhaps the old 'walk a mile in their shoes' therapy."

What did you find irritating?

Years ago I got the impression that the registers had a key for 'with everything' and then some keys for subtractions.

Of course the menu just has the base item and no item 'with everything'.

However recently in my area I've gotten the impression that the terminals have a key for the base item and one key for each topping to be added.

tommy:

"you just gotta go easy with these folks. they hate talking to you as much as you hate having to deal with them."

My closest McDonald's is in a relatively low traffic area in a relatively well to do neighborhood, and the place is staffed with many very well behaved very pretty high school girls with excellent social skills, sensitivities, and 'presentation of themselves before the public' to borrow from Irving Goffman!

So, the worst situation was when I had been working in the yard for about six hours on a hot day, was very hungry, was too tired to cook, and it was already late for supper, so went to that McDonald's. I was totally in no mood for back talk. Of course, the management was forcing the girls to ask about cheese and French fries and, thus, to engage in interactions of a kind they would normally do only to someone they really hated if then. So, with me and their management, they were between the rock and the hard place. The result was that a manger came to the window and executed the order and the high school girl retired in tears.

Thus, you are fully correct!

Also, eventually that McDonald's quit the rude practice. I have to guess that some of the girls or their parents told the management that enough's enough, that if they want really nice girls as employees, then the management will have to let them act in reasonably nice ways and not be forced into behavior they would never do otherwise.

So, now at that McDonald's, I can give an order and have it executed, quickly, pleasantly, no questions or back talk!

Andrew Fenton:

"Tommy is absolutely right. That said, I don't understand how you were insulted in any way."

I was insulted because of the interruption and the refusal to execute a clearly given order until I explicitly declined cheese and French fries.

The instance showed that they actually were able to receive and execute the order as I gave it. In that instance, I did get the manager to come over and repeated the order exactly. There were no interruptions, questions, errors, or delays. They weren't happy about it, but they did it.

Mayhew Man:

"I don't believe anything is to be gained by trying to show your intelligence and good breeding when all you really wanted was a half assed hamburger anyway.

Do you really feel better after you have given a couple of snappy comebacks to a high school kid who knows his job is lame but also knows that he needs the dough?"

No, I'm not happy about it, which is why I started this thread.

My real objection is with the owners that insist that their shift supervisors insist that the employees require customers to explicitly decline cheese and French fries or refuse to execute the order.

Chad:

"I've been on the other side of that drive-through. A lot of customers are assholes. So are a lot of fast food employees. Add to that the fact that fast food employees are generally not encouraged to think creatively -- or even think at all."

I believe that the employees are nearly always fine. I have little or no complaint with the employees. My complaint is with the owners that insist that customers decline cheese and French fries.

At one local Wendy's, the policy seems to be just to take an explicit order as given, no questions. They say so little I have to ask for a confirmation! But they are terrific: They just get the order correct the first time, reliably!

In the beginning at McDonald's, there was a radically different 'sociology' to the order process. Then nearly all the order takers, nearly all the junior employees, were teenage boys, and the atmosphere was borrowed from competitive athletics. The employees took pride in getting the order correct on one hearing, filling the sack quickly, and adding the amount while filling the sack -- no questions at all.

My guess has been that some 'social psychologists' advised McDonald's management that this process was 'socially stressful' to some customers and that the order process should be more like two women having a back fence conversation, lots of interruptions, lots of back and forth.

The people actually can take an order as given; it is just that somehow, on both sides of the counter, the 'social norms' are for a long iterative process.

Did wonder what others thought!

What would be the right food and wine to go with

R. Strauss's 'Ein Heldenleben'?

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chad's approach is similar to mine, i suppose. all of that 'computer' stuff.

back in the day, when you called 411, it was clear that they required a city first. in fact, the prerecorded message to this day says "city and listing please". having some experience with computers, i can only assume that the city is the first data entry screen on their computer. this assumption, for me, came very quickly, and i've always given the city first, and then the name (not the address, as they're not entering that. at the very least, they don't enter it intially).

to this day i cringe when i hear someone make a 411 call and say "can i have the number for Babbo on Waverly place in manhattan". you can almost see the 411 operator's face glazing over until he hears "manhattan", at which point you'll most likely get "what listing?" after they type it in. the "waverly place" bit is just noise adding to the confusion.

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Like when I go to the drive-thru at the credit union to get some cash, write myself a check, put it in the carrier and hit send.

Five minutes passes, and the voice comes out, "Just cashing today?"

I'm always tempted to say back, "No, after you cash that check, I want you to deposit it right back in the account." But I never have.

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Edit: Never mind. It's not worth it.

Edited by MsRamsey (log)

"Save Donald Duck and Fuck Wolfgang Puck."

-- State Senator John Burton, joking about

how the bill to ban production of foie gras in

California was summarized for signing by

Gov. Schwarzenegger.

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Project, you're headed for a heart attack getting this worked up over fast food joints. MacDee's ain't exactly the French Laundry.

I agree completely. Maybe you should stick to vending machines. :smile:

I know a man who gave up smoking, drinking, sex, and rich food. He was healthy right up to the day he killed himself. - Johnny Carson
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Project, you're headed for a heart attack getting this worked up over fast food joints. MacDee's ain't exactly the French Laundry.

I agree completely. Maybe you should stick to vending machines. :smile:

Or see "Supersize Me" when it comes out, about the guy who ate McDonalds for a month, gained 24 lbs. and pretty much ruined his health - but made a very funny movie.

We need to find courage, overcome

Inaction is a weapon of mass destruction

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Anyone here ever order a burger "medium rare" at a fast food place?

I worked at McDonald's for 5 (count 'em, 5) weeks, and actually had several requests for burgers cooked to a desired doneness. This was back in the 80s though. If you're wondering, essentially the doneness was determined by how long the grill press was allowed to rest on the burger.

Also had a guy come through the drive through right before closing once and order a burger "with a lot of mustard...and I mean a lot of mustard." I was 15 and you know I didn't let an opportunity like that pass me up.

Really, I wouldn't get surly with the workers at a fast food restaurant, esp. if they're teenagers. Aside from my propensity to overdo any order for extra condiments, I never did anything nasty, but then I was only there for 5 weeks and quit before it got to be a case of serious hatred for me.

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a guy i knew ordered his Quarter Pounder well done. he was a mean little fella, who also happened to manage a McDonalds. i don't have to tell you how pissed he'd get when the useless cashier would just grab a plain ol' burger from the bin. and i can assure you that his insistence that the burger was not well-done went right over the workers' heads.

edit: i'm just going to give up on spelling altogether. it's clearly getting worse as the years go on.

Edited by tommy (log)
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Oh, c'mon! I don't even get an Honorable Mention for "Mackerel Snackerel?''

Chad

Just so you know, although I failed to post sooner - Mackerel Snackerel had me in tears of laughter at my desk. In fact, one of my co-workers came in and asked what the hell was the matter with me, I sounded positively insane. After I was able to sit upright, I read them that portion of your post and they too, left my office holding their sides with laughter.

Too damn funny!

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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