I was waiting in line at the drivethrough of the local Happy Burger and it was taking longer than usual. Much, much longer. So long that I considered just getting out of line. It wasn’t that the food was taking a really long time because I saw the woman place the sacks by the window right when the car pulled up. It didn’t matter if the person was paying with cash or a credit card, it was taking forever. I asked myself “What the heck could be taking so long?”

I ordered a Grilled Chicken Sandwich with cheese and no tomatoes. No combo, no drink.

When I drove up, the woman behind the counter asked me what kind of drink I had asked for. I told her that I didn’t want a drink, I just wanted the sandwich. She said “okay” and then read me off the cost of the combo, which was $2 higher than the figure she had given me before I pulled up to the window. I told her that I didn’t want the combo and that I didn’t want to pay for the combo. She then cancelled my order and then retyped it all in.

“Here’s your credit card, sir.”

“I didn’t pay with a credit card,” I informed her. “I gave you a $20.” I watched as the car that was in front of me pulled on to the freeway and I was sure that they were leaving their credit card behind.

Then she said, “Oh, wait! This is my credit card!” and she put it back in her pocket.

“Okay, so what did you pay with?”

“A $20 bill.”

She gave me a twenty dollar bill. “What did you want to drink?”

“A Coke”

She handed me the Coke and I drove off with my combo meal.


Category: Market

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7 Responses to Question Answered With A Free Combo Meal

  1. Peter says:

    The only drivethrough I’ve used recently is at my local Burger King. A conversation such as you recounted would be utterly impossible there, as the workers scarcely speak any English.

  2. Webmaster says:

    The eateries around where I work, you have to talk Jive to get them to understand the order.

  3. Abel says:

    Funny! The only bad expereince I’ve had at a fast food place was when the power went out. They were clueless.

  4. Webmaster says:

    Abel,

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6IfH6dYZLzE

    I think I’ve met a few people like this. It’s actually pretty sad, but it does explain a lot about how a simple order can get screwed up in a hurry.

    What’s really bizarre is that back about a decade ago, I was given a simple piece of advice: if you order a burger at a fast-food place, order it plain or with something missing (no onions, for example). That way, they’d have to make it fresh rather than potentially giving you one that had been under a heat lamp for hours.

    Now, every time I do that, they manage to screw up the order.

  5. trumwill says:

    There used to be a Burger King across from the Southern Tech campus where it was impossible to get your order in under half an hour. It didn’t matter whether you had people in front of you or not. It was amazing just to watch.

    On the upshot, you knew the food wasn’t cooked hours ago.

    I don’t know about other places, but McDonald’s rarely “makes” a burger before you order it anymore, if they do at all, so it doesn’t do as much good to special order anything stuff. Either way, the individual parts were cooked some time ago and they’ll construct it as you like it. The only real exception is when they’re running some special, like 49-cent hamburger day or something, they’ll have those waiting for you.

    That being said, it was always a real pain in the posterior when people would special order something. It messed with the groove. For the most part I take out my own tomatoes.

  6. trumwill says:

    For what it’s worth, the clerk was as white as white can be. Not a clueless teenager and not mentally handicapped, either.

  7. Webmaster says:

    Will,

    I’m not commenting on race; indeed, no matter where you are, the genesis of who’s hired for fast-food jobs at a particular place is more a function of who’s in walking distance of the place than of race (though depending on historical segregation or self-segregation factors, that may happen anyways).

    The question of education and/or lack thereof, or possibly ambition and lack thereof, in the fast food industry is quite remarkable.

    Also fun to note is that I’ve never had a teenager screw up my order, but plenty of 30+ year old career fast-food employees do so regularly.

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