So you're watching the television, and on comes a commercial for your favorite fast food joint. "Damn, that looks good," you're thinking. But before you burst out the door, appetite in hand, there are a few things you should probably know to make your burger experience more enjoyable--for you and for the folks who're there to serve you. May I present the following, some fast-food etiquette:
1. The Drive-Thru: The purpose of the fast food drive thru window is to provide quick, efficient service, not only to you, but to the little old lady behind you, and the minivan full of kids behind her. Also, we are on a timer--and *we* get yelled at if *you* take too long to order. Please be considerate. Do not sit at the speaker for 4 minutes before deciding you only want a small Diet Coke today. And for the love of God, do not spend the next 3 minutes saying, "Uh" or "Um." No fast food restaurant that I have ever seen has anything remotely resembling these things on the menu. If it is THAT difficult to decide between the onion rings or the french fries, park your damn car and COME INSIDE.
2. Speak up! Maybe our headsets are old. Maybe the person wearing the headset is hard of hearing (the volume only goes up so far). Maybe you don't talk very loud. At any rate, if we ask you to repeat yourself, this is so we can get a clearer understanding of what the hell you want. This is so--surprise! We can get your order CORRECT THE FIRST TIME. Also, please avoid ordering with your window up (if it doesn't roll down, open your door. It's ok. Really.) Or ordering from the back seat and/or passenger side of the car. Or ordering while drunk--we have no clue what the hell "larsh beeg mark an frees" is. Bonus points: If you drive a loud-ass diesel truck or like having your stereo turned way up, TURN IT THE HELL OFF BEFORE YOU START ORDERING.
3. Yes, we CAN hear you--the opposite is that, from the time you pull up and hear the greeting come out of that speaker, to the time you finish ordering and pull up to the window, we *can* hear what is going on inside of your car. So whether you are screaming at your children, or on the phone with someone, We. Can. Hear. You. Remember when you called your boyfriend while you were out there and said, "What do you want??? I'm at fucking Burger King!!" We heard that. In fact the whole store did. Or when you thought you'd be cute and make a snide remark about the person taking your order? We heard that, too. Be sure to check your food before you take a bite.
4. We love large orders. Honestly. It makes us happy to know not only you chose our restaurant, but that you chose to feed your entire family. But before you decide to order 14 roast beef sandwiches, 12 large curly fries and 10 small chocolate shakes, there's this awesome old-school technology called a 'telephone' . Call and let us know you're coming, and we can have it ready (or at least be working on it) .This goes doubly for items that are cooked-to-order (no mayo, on bottom buns, etc) This reduces the time *you* have to wait, and keeps the people behind you from being pissed off at *us* because *they* had to sit in line 20 minutes. (see item #1!) If for some reason you can't call us, at least park the car and come in to order. Have a seat and relax while we do the cooking. :)
5. PLEASE don't get cute--when we ask "can we get you anything else?", the reply of "A million dollars!" is not funny. We hear this all day. Literally. Also, I am SURE your 4 year old is ADORABLE. But PLEASE stop letting her order. That high-pitched squeal is too much for the poor person taking the order, especially at the end of the day, and ESPECIALLY after having to deal with the joker in front of you, who was the latest to request a large sum of money. Also, the voice that greets you outside at the speaker may be a different person from the one who is actually taking your order. (it may be standardized, a pre-recorded voice) So having to hear, "woah, your voice changed!" 50 times a day isn't funny, either. Another phrase to avoid: "You mean it isn't free?" No. Quit asking.
6. Move it or lose it. No, the time isn't AS important when you come in.... If you need a few minutes to check out what we have, or you're waiting on grandpa to come out from the loo before you order, that's fine.... but if there are people behind you in line who DO know what they want, step aside and let them order. This is common courtesy, and scores brownie points with the cashier, who can then do HER job.
7. We do not set the prices or the menu. Let me repeat this. WE DO NOT SET THE PRICES OR THE MENU. Do not complain about how it costs too much for a hamburger, or that the nuggets were cheaper last time. Or that something that was previously on sale isn't any longer (or that we don't have the item in question...) We have no control over this. Next time you see that commercial, pay attention at the end: chances are you'll hear or see the following: "limited time offer" "Prices and participation may vary" It's in the print ads, too, the tiny print down at the bottom of the ad. It's there for a reason, bub. And if you ask about the specials, be sure to listen carefully; they may periodically change and therefore, be different from the last time you paid us a visit.
8. Let's not get personal. Some employees are chatty, sociable and all around fun to hang with. Others just want to be left the hell alone while they're taking a break. Unless you know them personally, or they have otherwise offered up the information, do NOT ask about their family, children, what car they drive, who they're seeing, etc. Because quite frankly, it's none of your damn business. It's part of our job to be friendly. Friendly does not, however, equate with familiarity. Last time I checked, the name of the store wasn't "McDate".
9. "My order was wrong". Yes. This happens. Know why? BECAUSE THE PEOPLE BEHIND THE COUNTER ARE HUMAN FREAKIN BEINGS. Know what else? WE ARE PREFECTLY HAPPY WITH FIXING THE PROBLEM. Just tell us what the hell you want us to do--don't spend 20 minutes telling us how disappointed your grandma was her Whopper didn't have tomato on it, or that you "don't understand" why your tater tots are cold (hint: you let your tray sit on the counter because you were too busy jawing on your phone to come pick up your food) . We "aim to please", but we are not mind readers. Just tell us how you want us to resolve the problem, and let us resolve it.
10. Don't assume. Somewhat related to the above post--yes, some of us have problems. The cook may have a drug problem, and maybe the person sweeping out in the lobby is struggling with only a GED for education. But the cashier may have a college education (perhaps is in between jobs), and the manager might actually be working his way through college. Don't form judgements based solely on the uniform. We are thinking, breathing human beings, and quite frankly, if you just passed us on the street out-of uniform you'd be none the wiser that this woman is struggling to keep her food stamps (fast food rarely pays enough, yet it's often "too much" to qualify for assistance), or that that man is trying to keep life as normal as possible while his messy divorce is going on at home. We're not robots--or dogs (or children). We're certainly not stupid. We'd appreciate it if you didn't treat us as such.
Thank you for taking the time to read this long-winded (typed?) list. I hope to see you all come in at some point or other and that you let us serve you--after all, you're the reason we're here.
--Scratch (who likes to say, "The customer is always right, but not necessarily always SMART....") ;)