Faces of McDonald's

November 30, 2008
Faces of McDonald’s

Big Mac. Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese. Egg McMuffin. It’s the universal language. After being in employment at McDonald’s for a few months, I encountered pretty much every type of customer who eats there. Almost everyone who dines at McDonald’s can fall into one of these categories, from the crazy, psychotic ones to the huge family groups that make a mess. As long as McDonald’s is open, there will be patrons willing to eat there. Through some careful observations, I have placed these consumers into five different sets- grouchy, like to eat, everyday users, large families, and the perfect client.

“How hard is it to get this simple order right?! This is the worst service I have ever experienced!” For this type of customer, every little aspect of their food and service has to perfect. I do not blame them for acting like this, since they paid good money for it, but when we make a mistake they take their complaints too far. The worst part is that their complaint is usually something trivial like one too many onions or not enough ketchup. First, they have to make a big scene in the restaurant or the drive through and hold up the line, which in turn irritates the people behind them. They demand to see the manager and they chew the supervisor’s ear off about how there was too much lettuce on their Big Mac. Next, the customer walks or drives off in disgust, claiming how this McDonald’s is the worst one they have ever been to and they vow never to come back again, yet I usually see this person again in a week or so. Finally, the manager is angry, and he yells at the team members for making an error. I’ll be honest, we do make mistakes at McDonald’s but we will fix it free of charge so there is no reason to cause uproar over it. These grumpy customers who cause all of this do no good for anyone and just need to calm down. It is not the end of the world if we at McDonald’s accidentally have a small slip-up.

“I’d like three Big Macs, two large fries, a Double Quarter Pounder With Cheese, three double cheeseburgers, two Hot’n’Spicy McChickens, four hamburgers, a cheeseburger, a ranch chicken wrap, an extra large Coke, a bag of ice, two Caesar salads, three ice cream cones, and an apple pie to top it all off.” This is the customer who must really enjoy McDonald’s food since they buy so much. It seems as if they order everything on the menu. Twice. Then when they are waiting for their food, most of them nonchalantly ask what is taking so long, as if they are oblivious to the fact that they just asked us to make to the largest order of food we have ever received. They hold up the rest of the line and they ruin the flow of McDonald’s and our main goal: to be quick and efficient. It is difficult to be quick and efficient in this scenario since it takes pretty much everyone who is working just to focus on this person. Finally, what seems like an eternity later, their long list of goods is finally ready and it takes at least roughly ten bags and a four man team just to get their food out safely. The customer rushes out or drives off without even thinking of mentioning a “thank you”.

“Hey! How are you Scott? Long time, no see! I’ll just have the usual. How’s the family doing? How are the other employees doing?” Every day, I see this same person or same couple of people. Every day, they come in at the same time and leave at the same time. Every day, they order the exact same thing from the menu. Every day, they sit in the same spot and eat their meal in the same order. Before this person even opens the door, I usually spot them in the distance and I can start ringing up want they want. Even sometimes in the drive through, I can recognize their car and have their order rung up when they pull up. They know how much it costs and are always ready with that amount of money when they pay. We make small talk about anything just to pass the time. The day would feel awkward and off if this person did not come in at their usual time. I would start to get worried if they did not come in after a couple of days. I would probably even call the police after a week or so of no visits and report them as a missing person. The most surprising thing out of all of this is that this clientele are usually fit and not overweight, which still confuses me since I do not understand how one can eat at McDonald’s every day and still keep a reasonable pant size. Even after I was working there for a couple of weeks, I started to notice that I was packing the pounds on after all of the free food.

“Okay you guys can go into the play place. Mommy and Daddy will order all of the food. Be sure not to make a mess!” I always cringe when I see the huge family of two parents and roughly 13 kids walking up to the restaurant. The kids are loud and excited to be at McDonald’s, but to be honest, pretty much any kid who isn’t excited to be at McDonald’s should be checked out by a doctor. I know when I was a kid; going to McDonald’s was like going to heaven. These kids are usually running around, spilling their drinks every where they go, stuffing their face with fries, and arguing about whose toy is better. I look at the parents and see them trying to keep their children in order, but the chaos is inevitable. After awhile, they just give up and try to relax, since this is probably one of their only chances to relax for a long time. Whenever I look into the play place after they leave, it looks as if a stampede had been through there. Every where I look, I see trays, half-eaten hamburgers, ketchup smeared all over the tables and walls, chicken nuggets on the slide, and happy meal bags on the floor. All I can do I is pray that I’m not the one cleaning the play area that night, but I usually end up doing it anyway.

“Hi! I’ll just have a simple order that is easy to make. Have a great day!” Every employee loves running into this person. Their order is not complex at all and they are in a good mood. They are very polite and if we do happen to make a blunder, they are extremely understanding about it and just shrug it off, mentioning that “it happens every now and then so don’t worry about”. When they leave, they usually say to have a good day. This customer comes back every now and then, always ready to be very courteous and share a laugh or two. This is the model patron of McDonald’s and they are always appreciated.

If someone was to write a handbook on how to be a customer at McDonald’s, they would base the perfect example on the last type of person. Unfortunately, as long as McDonald’s is open, there will always be the less favorable type of clients getting food there. It is up to the employees to deal with them in the best way possible and try to make the experience as pleasant as possible. Over time, maybe people will learn that yelling and complaining really does nothing and if they were civil, they would probably accomplish more but until then, we will have to make do.

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