What's Wrong With Fast Food Employees?
By Johnny Betts
Question: What does a liberal arts graduate say to an
Answer: Would you like fries with that?
Don't get mad at me, folks, I didn't make up the joke. I did use it in college
a few times though. My fellow engineering majors and I would use this joke to
taunt the Art and English majors. That's right, we bad.
But behind this harmless little joke lies what needs to become a reality -
fast food chains need to shell out a little extra dough to hire some better-educated
workers. Wouldn't that make life easier on all of us?
McDonald's. Steph and I roll in to take advantage of their $0.99 double
cheeseburger special. We didn't count on what would happen next. I've had to
deal with a lot of stuff at fast food places before, but I believe this was perhaps
the worst experience yet. Here is my story.
Johnny: I'd like a double cheeseburger with no mayonnaise
or ketchup. But I would like mustard.
Here was my first mistake - whenever you start making condiment requests, the typical
fast food employee goes into anaphylactic shock. Personally, I prefer mayonnaise, but
Stephanie insists on mustard. You don't know how many times people have messed up my
order based on condiment requests alone. For some reason a "mustard only" request
results in "mayo only" about half the time.
Johnny: And I'd like two double cheeseburgers with
Worker: Wait, so that's one double cheeseburger with no
mayo and no pickle, one with no mayo...
At this point I knew the process was gonna last a lot longer than I wanted it to.
I have no idea where she came up with the "no pickle" stuff, because I never
mentioned anything about pickles. And pickles aren't a condiment. And why did
she single out pickles?
Johnny: No, I never said I didn't want pickles. I want one
double cheeseburger with no mayo or ketchup and two double cheeseburgers with
At this point the chick started to feverishly rub her head as if someone was
holding a gun to her and telling her she had 20 seconds to name the capitals
of all 50 states in alphabetical order or she'd die. For the life of me I couldn't
figure out why she was looking so stressed out. So she just stared at the register
for a few seconds trying to think of something to say. I glanced over at
Stephanie and she looked as bewildered as I.
Worker: Wait, what do you want again?
At this point I started to speak slowly. Stephanie couldn't bear to watch so she
went to get straws and ketchup and napkins and all that good stuff.
Johnny: I want one double cheeseburger with no mayo and no
ketchup and two just regular.
Worker: Wait, you want two regular cheeseburgers in addition
to the three double cheeseburgers?
ARRRRRRRRRRRRRRGH!!!!! DO YOU NEED A DIAGRAM?!?!?!
Johnny: No, no. By "regular" I mean I just want the double
cheeseburgers as they come.
For some reason the girl continued to rub her head feverishly and stared at the
register as if she was looking at a "Johnny Betts on Spring Break" web page. I
couldn't take it anymore, and I figured it'd be best to just start over.
Johnny: Look, just erase the order and let's start over.
Worker: No, it's not that easy. I can't do that. Once the
order is punched in it's already sent to the grill. We can't work around this.
Um, what? What in the world is this chick talking about? We can't work around
this? Oh we're gonna work around this. I'm not about to pay for 10 cheeseburgers
that I didn't order. Come on, nobody's ever changed an order? "I'd like a Big Mac
and fries please. Wait, make it a Quarter Pounder." "Sorry, I punched in Big Mac,
you can't change your order like that." Absolutely ridiculous.
Johnny: I'm sure there's a way to work around it.
I was perfectly ready to say, "Tell you how I'm gonna work around it - I'm gonna
walk out to my car, open the door, start the engine, and drive down to Burger King
and give THEM my business. That'll be a pretty good work-around, what do you
Ms. Genius was starting to get nervous and called the manager over there, "Do you
know how to work around this?"
The woman manager flashed me a dirty look as if I had tried to get her employee
to prove the quadratic formula while taking my order. She punched a few buttons
and asked me what I wanted.
Johnny: I want three double cheeseburgers, one with no mayo
Before I could order fries or a drink the manager venomously shouts, "$3.22" and
storms off. I was left with Ms. Genius, and believe me, I was concerned.
Johnny: I wasn't finished with my order. I wanted fries
and a coke also.
The girl just sat there looking dumbfounded. You'd have thought someone had just
told her that Matt Damon and Ben Affleck were heterosexuals.
Johnny: Can I do that?
Johnny: All right, well I'd like a large order of fries, a
small drink, and a water please.
And finally, the nightmare was over. Stephanie and I were just flabbergasted by
the whole ordeal. Steph said the problem was that I gave her too much information,
and that she just couldn't process all of it. But I don't see how I could've
given her any LESS information. Stephanie once ordered a "mustard whopper" from
Burger King and all she got was meat and mustard - no pickles, no onions, no
tomatoes, nothing. So you've gotta spell it out the best you can. But this, man,
I just have no idea what went wrong. That's why I can't help but ask WHAT'S WRONG