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September 13, 2008

Customer Service McDonalds Style: Burger Joint Etiquette?

I have no idea who teaches the kiddies at Maccas customer service skills, but it really raises the question of 'which moron is behind it all?' These poor kids are taught to abandon common sense early on, which is why I would never allow my son to work at McDonalds, and in so doing, they inadvertently irritate customers anyway, which defeats the point of customer service to begin with.

In Melbourne, a manager was beaten by a customer with a broom because he wasn't happy with his burger. There aren't more details on this story, other than the customer being unhappy, for an argument to erupt and the manager to cop it with a broom. There are many instances when ordering food can be a pain in the ass in these places. For example, you order a meal combo (with a standard burger, fries and drink) to see the operator losing their concentration midway. How hard is it to remember 'Medium Big Mac Meal?' Then there is the other annoying thing that these corporations force: the 'upsize' request, or the up-sell. Would you like an apple pie with that? Do you want to upsize your order? And you think (or I think), 'for fuck's sake, I just ordered my food and if I wanted a jumbo meal, I'd order it. Do you think I'm stupid or something?' Well that's what I think each time I'm asked if I want to up-size something. And I have to keep in mind that it's not the kids' fault, they're told to do this by corporate twats.

I've never upsized a meal in my life. No one has been able to convince me to do that. It's not because I'm a stingy bitch or anything, but if I'm not that hungry,then what's the point? Why should I give McDonald's an extra fifty or eighty cents? And that's what they want. They're greedy, like 99.9% of every corporation out there, and that's understandable, they have huge ad campaigns, staff and have had a global store renovation program, and they do also support charitable organisations, which is a good thing, but I don't know if their 'teachings' are great for teenagers working there.

I feel for the beaten manager, but I can also see the customer's side as well.

A few years ago, I broke my little toe. I didn't realize it the day I did it. I raced for the phone, slammed my foot against the corner of the sofa, leapt like a monkey for a few minutes, swore like a sailor, and put it down to shit luck, thinking that I'd be all right in a few hours. That wasn't to be. The next morning, after spending fifteen minutes hobbling to the medical centre (that is less than two minutes away from me), I made my way to the X-Ray centre via bus (the next suburb to me), and after the X-Ray was taken, I had to wait an hour. I also wanted a coffee, not having one first thing in the morning, so my next stop was the pharmacy (for pain killers - at this point I was in agony), and then I spent (no joke) twenty minutes limping toward Marrickville McDonalds (which has since closed down - not enough business I guess) for a coffee at an outside table. It took me five minutes to get to the counter, I ordered, and it took me another five minutes to reach the outside table. I parked my butt, opened the box of Panadol, swallowed two capsules without liquid (the coffee was too hot).

Well wouldn't you know? Some smart twat took a rubbish bin from the store and put it outside. I had a manager nag me about my cigarette. Now, I'm the only customer right? I'm sitting outside, right?

"It's not allowed," he said, pointing toward the 'no smoking' sticker on the bin. I told him that the bin was relocated from the store, emphasizing that I was sitting outside (like, 'hello!?'). Well, then he went on about the local council 'not permitting it' and I thought (inside myself) 'fuck you,' because every other outdoor cafe in the area was fine with outdoor smoking, so it wasn't the council.
"You'll have to put it out," he said, and I wanted to laugh. I was angry, but saw the humor of it all. There is an eighteen year old telling me that I'd have to put it out.
"Excuse me?" I asked, in partial disbelief.
"You'll have to put the cigarette out," he said. I thought many things. I thought about how these little shits in the store saw me hobbling in agony, and how ignorant and stupid some of them were, further asking myself if the company made them more stupid or eradicated all common sense. I glanced upward, and met his eyes (he was a little nervous, because I didn't obey like a Pavlov dog).
"How about you make me?" I asked.
"Beg your pardon?" he asked, quite unaccustomed to the question.
"Make me put it out. GO ON, MAKE ME!"
"B-but..."
"But nothing," I began, "you'll physically have to make me and if you touch me, then you'll have a case to answer."
At this point, I'd call it delayed anger, but I did enter the dark place and I was holding a hot cup of coffee. If you factor in the painful broken little toe, my cramping calf muscle (on the same leg) and the fact that the pain killers were yet to kick in, then we have a volatile situation. He was lucky he walked away without pressing the issue because -to this day - I wouldn't know what I would have done if he pressed the issue. That was a few years ago. I don't -as a rule- visit cafes that have no smoking policies outdoors. But back then, there were no such rules, just prejudice. But even so, prejudice still exists and no, I don't care about what anti-smokers think because at the end of the day cigarettes are legal and smokers do have democratic rights as well and don't deserve to be treated like a subhuman species when they pay considerable revenue that governments use to their advantage. At the end of the day it is my addiction, not 'theirs'. I don't buy faux altruism. It's all about social control to me each time a smoking Nazi starts the gesticulations. One time, I butted out in a bin near a bus stop, copped a hairy eyeball from an old woman, but the teenage girl who dumped her McDonald's wrappers on the ground (littered) before she entered the bus didn't cop a lecture. I call that hypocrisy.

We don't have a law against outdoor smoking at most coffee shops with outdoor areas, but many coffee shops (especially in the city) think that they can overcome it by not providing ashtrays, and then they complain if you butt out on the ground. If you ask the waiter/waitress for an ashtray their face undergoes various shades of discontent, but I ask them anyway. Maybe to annoy them. Maybe to make them realize that my patronage pays their weekly wages. And that's what it's about at the end of the day, not pushing a customer's goodwill. How much does it cost McDonald's to produce a burger wholesale? Not a lot. Would it have killed the Melbourne McDonald's manager to just take what the customer said, or replace the burger? Not really, but in certain circumstances, being obstinate or rigid, can (ironically) get a person killed or maimed, or in the call centre service world, verbally abused, but corporations don't care about what their employees endure as long as they make an extra buck. Isn't that so? I believe that to be the case each and every time.

Would you enter McDonalds for a burger if you had to pass a security guard? I wouldn't. But it looks like this will be a development at this Melbourne McDonalds. If the customer complains about a burger, give him a new burger. I mean, they dump their burgers after a certain time interval anyway (due to health regulations) and replenish burgers.

I actually don't like the customer service of these burger joints, and no, I don't care if the 'burgers are better at Burger King,' that's another store I can write tombs about. What the hell is it with the way they round off prices and their 'waving' counter staff? Yeah, I can see you, you don't have to wave at me, and how about you give me a fucking chance to look at the menu before I order before asking me if you can help me (I'm not an imbecile).





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Comments

Yes indeed. "The times they are a changin'"

McDonalds has changed over the years. I had friends in high school that worked at McDonalds and they found it a positive experience, teaching them about the wider world of work, but if I venture in the city now, McDonalds is quite different, has a different approach to what it did years ago. Years ago you'd get 'would you like fries with that' (before the meal deals), and now it's become more American with, 'would you like to up-size your order,' and it doesn't really fit in with Australian culture. I was surprised, in recent years, to see several McDonald's franchises in the inner west, close their doors. In the Blue Mountains area of Sydney, residents successfully petitioned against the proposed development of a McDonald's outlet.

One of my sons worked a year or two for Maccas, after school. Gave him a great grounding in working, value of money, time management, customer service, etc., which served him well later on. He is now a successful finance broker running his own business, and a writer of moderate success so far. He writes fiction, and fantasy. I think that this was better than him roaming the streets and maybe getting into trouble. So the experience is not always bad. This was some twenty tears ago, though.

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