Allow me to start off by saying that I have a great deal of respect for those who work in the fast food industry. Thank you for putting up with all of us who have ever ordered a combo. I know it is not easy. I have heard the stories. I have seen the difficult customers with own eyes.
Heck, a few weeks ago, I was at an ice cream establishment and witnessed what I would define as a “difficult customer”.
They were there with their family. Five of them. All huddling around – and leaning on – the counter as one person ordered. I’ll call them the spokesperson, aka the difficult customer.
First off, we’re in a pandemic. Back yourselves up. Give the worker some space. Second, even if we weren’t in a pandemic and the words “social distancing” weren’t tattooed to our brains, can you not treat the counter like it’s a throw pillow.
That’s just rude. The kids in this family weren’t even kids kids. They were old enough to know better.
And I know I’m getting old because I’m about to say this, but it has to be said: this restaurant isn’t your house. Stop leaning, stop crowding, back up.
So, that rubbed me the wrong way.
But then, they spent no less than five minutes ordering.
Listen up, children. Before you step up to the counter to order at a fast food restaurant, you better know what you want. Am I the only one who does a quick read-through of my order in my head?
I get it, if you have questions about combos or whatnot, ask your questions. However, do not step up to the counter with no idea of what you’re ordering. If you want to make things up on the fly, go join The Second City.
Not only did this family improvise their order, they were full of questions and specific customizations.
Hey, customize away! We all have our preferences. Just come prepared. Don’t do it on the fly.
And here’s why.
The worker brought out the first two orders and before even reaching the counter, the spokesperson told them they didn’t order vanilla. They ordered chocolate. And then they went on, “Remember? I said I wanted chocolate (of this) and vanilla (of that).”
There’s a right way and a wrong way to tell a worker that they messed up your order. I don’t think a patronizing tone is the way.
Finally, the family had been served, but before they all walked away the spokesperson said, “What, does this not come with a lid?” They were referring to their ice cream in a cup, which that had already started eating.
The worker handed them a lid and they left. I didn’t hear a “thank you”.
It was my turn to approach the counter and I was this close to saying how sorry I was that they had to put up with that. The worker looked like they needed a hug and a hefty raise.
Dealing with hungry people, who can’t make up their mind, is exhausting. And when these workers are criticized, they just have to put on a brave face and take it.
It’s not easy.
Now, I say all that to say this.
I think we’ve all experienced an order – food or otherwise – go awry. It’s not ideal. It’s not what we signed up for.
And I know social media has made it cool to criticize, but I’m also aware that the moment you criticize a restaurant for messing up your order, someone will jump to the defence of the workers and what they have to put up with.
At some point, though, we should be allowed to respectfully comment on the fact that we didn’t receive what we paid for. We are allowed to be upset. I am allowed to be upset!
This is my time to respectfully comment.
Again, I come in peace. I am not criticizing to be cool.
I’m tagging this post as “humour”, so if you think any of my comments are harsh, just laugh and it’ll be fine.
A plain cheeseburger.
Last week, I ordered a plain cheeseburger at a fast food restaurant. I don’t need to name the place, just know that their cheeseburgers are called a different name – as is the case at most places – and come with an assortment of condiments as the default option.
What they believe belongs on a cheeseburger does not coincide with what I enjoy on a cheeseburger. That’s fine. I’ll make it easy on them. I’ll order a plain cheeseburger.
All I got was the burger between the buns. No cheese. Nothing else.
The receipt said. “Cheeseburger – Plain”. The sticker on the box said, “Cheeseburger – Plain”. Where was the confusion? The person taking the order knew what I wanted.
What did the chef in the back see that made them think, “Just the patty on this one!”?
I’m used to it, though.
At this point in my life, if I’m going the plain cheeseburger route at this restaurant, I know that I better order a second, smaller item from the menu, just so my stomach
, mind, and soul is satisfied if/when they mess up my order.
I hedge my burger bets. I shouldn’t have to, but I do.
I’m an understanding person. I get it. Maybe the chef in the back is moving so fast, they forgot to read the “plain” part.
As an aside, the best way to remove items like mustard and ketchup from a bun is with a small spoon. It will still leave small traces, but only small.
Sometimes, I wonder if people even know what a plain cheeseburger is.
I’ve developed a theory that when I say, “plain cheeseburger”, they think the “plain” cancels out the “cheese” part and so you’re just left with the burger.
It’s like a math rule, but for food.
I don’t know how else to explain it. It defies the laws of Burgery (a strand of Science). Because how could a chef look at the order on the screen, see “cheeseburger”, and not throw cheese on the burger? It makes no sense, unless they think “plain” overrides it.
Is there a burger version of the “I before E, except after C” rule, that I don’t know about?
“C on B except when P.”
Many years ago, I ordered a plain cheeseburger and the worker said to me, “So, no seasoning on the burger patty, either?”
I will never forget that.
NO SEASONING? IS THAT WHAT THEY THINK “PLAIN” MEANS?
To this day, I am baffled.
The fact that they said “either”, tells me they knew I didn’t want condiments and they took it about 80 steps further and asked about the seasoning.
It makes me wonder if this boils down to a lack of training. Were they not properly prepared to deal with all the customizations and terms like, “plain cheeseburger”, that customers will throw at them?
There has to be a reason why a plain cheeseburger confuses people all across the fast food industry.
Is it in my delivery? Am I the common denominidiot?
Sometimes, I’ll say “plain cheeseburger…just cheese” as if I’m reinforcing my thesis statement.
And I know some of you must be screaming at your screen, “Geeze Paul, just order the burger with the default condiments and suck it up and eat it.”
Again, what they put on a burger is not what I’d put on a burger.
OH! This reminds me of another order mishap from many years ago.
A family member was out and picked up a simple combo for me. A chicken sandwich, fries, and a drink.
Simple. SIMPLE. S-I-M-P-L-E.
They get home and the fries were in a salad container with warm cheese poured on top of them.
Honestly, my reaction would make the Top 5 list of angriest moments of my life. I was fuming. Not only can I not stand liquid cheese, but only about five fries were salvageable. The rest had been sullied.
On top of that, I was mad at how an order that was so simple could be messed up so badly.
I wasn’t mad at my family member, I was mad at the restaurant.
So, we call them up and what do they say?
“OH, THAT’S WEIRD. WE DON’T EVEN OFFER FRIES WITH CHEESE ON THE MENU.”
My body temperature just went up about five degrees as I wrote that. I’m getting mad all over again.
You don’t even offer this atrocity? So then why did you give it to me? WHY? WHY WAS THERE LIQUID CHEESE ON STANDBY?
I don’t care if some of you are saying that sounds delicious. Not to me.
Nothing is ever perfect, my friends. Nothing. What even is trust?
This is why I always liked to be the one to put together group projects in school. I trust myself to edit. I trust myself to print it out. I trust myself to put a staple in the top left corner. I trust myself to get it to the classroom without getting wrinkled.
Okay, my body temperature has gone back to normal. I’m breathing heavily, though. Huffing and puffing like Thomas the Tank Engine over here.
Is this where I briefly mention the time I ordered pizza with friends at school and out of the three pizzas that were delivered, mine was the only one they didn’t cut into slices?
I sat there with a butter knife, dissecting the pizza into slices.
“Everybody makes mistakes, everybody has those days.” – Hannah Montana.
It would be nice if those mistakes didn’t seem to happen so often, especially to me. I know they say, “if God brings you to it, He will bring you through it”, but I’d like to stop being Customer 0 for every mistaken food order.
I just want a plain cheeseburger. That’s it.
There, I’ve gotten it off my chest. I’m good.
But why the cheese on the fries? WHY?? If it’s not even on the menu…WHY???
I’m good, really.
Let me know about all of your food order mishaps! The comments section is a safe space.