Tuesday, June 3, 2014

How To Be A Jerk When Visiting A Fast-Food Restaurant

 This post is not meant to imply that I have animosity toward "customers" in general. No, I enjoy the day-to-day of work and interacting with people, for the most part. I'm certainly not bitter or resentful toward the people who sign my paycheck. Instead, what I'm offering here is a bit of humor, and also education. I myself have learned a lot of 'small things' about how my actions can affect others, by being on the receiving end of the behavior of thoughtless individuals from time to time. It's made me more conscious of self. Self-aware. I'm definitely going to do things very differently in the future whenever I visit restaurants, be they fast-food or sit-down ones, and for that matter anywhere I go that has to do with customer service. Here is some of what I've learned. In most cases, the stuff below can more or less happen to anyone, and it doesn't mean that they're being a jerk or mean; it's just an accident. But suppose you were to do it intentionally, or out of purposed carelessness--now you're getting into jerk territory. So you can read this as a "what not to do" or as a "how to" article, depending on what you'd rather do. That's your character, and you're the one who has to sleep with it at night. So just be mindful.

If you want to know of ways to be a thoughtful customer, you can read this post and just ensure that you avoid doing things that could be problematic for those who work hard to make you oblivious to the difficulty. All you really need to do is to think first. You'll be well appreciated for it.
If you didn't know how to cause trouble for employees but wanted to, rest assured, when you have finished reading this primer, you will know all you need, and you too can be a jerk!
  • Look like you’re ordering, and then wait. You can sit in the car for a few minutes before coming in, you can walk in and go to the bathroom for five minutes before ordering, or for max efficiency, stand a few feet behind the register looking at the menu board for a few minutes, especially if the register operator is standing there waiting for you.
  • Leave your wallet in the car.
  • Don’t bring enough money for what you order. Subcategory: order with an overdrawn credit card.
  • Order LARGE orders (more than two combos) in the drive through. Most places are timed to get orders put out quickly, about 1:30 or 3:00 minutes, depending on the place, and if you take that long just to place your order, you’re a jerk.
  • Drive off in the drive through. This will keep the timer counting but it won’t stop, so the crew members will either have to “delete the car” in the system or get a metallic object to trigger the magnetic sensor so the counter by the pick-up window stops.
  • Say “give me a minute” or “I don’t know what I want” in the drive-through, or in the restaurant with a line behind you, and mean it. A minute is a lot of time when the average time to make a sandwich is 30 seconds and the order is supposed to be ready for you as soon as you’ve paid for it.
  • Order the wrong item and then ask them to fix your mistake. They have to, and you just wasted product.
  • Eat half your food, (for max jerkiness do this with fries, which cool off quickly) and then come back, say it’s cold, and get a whole new item to eat again.
  • Ask why it costs so much. No one there sets the prices, much less decides what you have to order, so displaying an attitude that punishes them for things outside of their control is the epitome of jerk.
  • Bring your kids through the drivethrough and ask them, while you’re sitting there, what they want.
  • Ask if they have X item for Y $, and when they say no, walk out.
  • Ask for the register operator to describe an item for you, then buy a completely different item in the next breath.
  • Change your $30+ order to “to go” after everything’s been handed to you on trays. Especially if there’s a line of 20 people behind you that you’re keeping the reg. op. from serving by making them bag all your food.
  • Pop the lid and tell them to “top off” your drink that’s full to within ¼“ from the top.
  • Try to pay for a $2 order within a half hour of store open with a $50 or $100 bill. Registers usually start with just $50 to $100 in them, total, in $5 and $1 bills only.

  • Lie. They’re not allowed to argue with you. Correcting a customer who’s wrong is considered gross misconduct because it’s ‘rude.’ Whatever nonsense you claim, they have to apologize to you. While crew members usually don’t have the authority, managers will often offer you the food for free, or a full refund to keep you from making a formal complaint.
  • Because if you do make a formal complaint, not only does it hurt that store’s customer service reputation with upper management, but upper management will usually mail you a coupon—which identifies you to crewmembers as someone who complained about service—to be redeemed for a free meal at any store.
  • Make up complaints. What can they do to you? No one can call your bs if you say you felt rushed or the crewmember was rude, or you’re in a rush and had to wait 30 seconds to get your 5 large fries in drive through. Jerk level Pro achieved.
  • Remove [i.e. eat] part of your sandwich, go and complain that it’s missing, and get them to “fix” your order.
  • Claim you were missing a nugget and get them to give you the order again. Now you got twice as many for the price of one. Jerk-tastic.
  • Ask for more items, which you neglected to order, after you’ve got all your food when there’s a line behind you.
  • BONUS: ask for multiple things, all one at a time, to keep the register operator from serving other guests for as long as possible. Don’t say how much sauce you need, just keep asking for more. EXTRA BONUS: make sure to say “no” when they ask you during the order if you want sauce.
  • Ask for any item to be “made fresh” in drive through. You’ve just killed their chance to get the time under the goal, because no matter how much just came out of the fryer or off the grill or out of the oven, they’re going to have to wait for a new one to finish cooking, which can take a minimum of 2 minutes (the industry minimum for fries) to 15 minutes (the industry maximum for boneless grilled chicken breasts). Someone will likely have to run out of the store with the food, to bring it to where you parked, since they can’t let you sit at the window holding up the line for that long. While that person is out of the store, that’s one less person working inside, and if they’re short-staffed, you’re damaging the service to other customers and royally stressing out the crewmembers. Jerk.
  • Be rude. Act like the people across the counter from you are beneath you. Scowl and refuse eye contact. Grumble about how you don’t think the food’s going to be good and how bad the service was last time, and how high you think the prices are.
  • Do store surveys, which most restaurants promote with offers of free food items or discounts, but give terrible ratings on all counts and then go and redeem the offer for your discount or free item. Salting the wound. And nobody will know you did it. If you want to be secretly smug, this is your best way to do it.
  • Claim you didn’t get an item that you totally did. The cost to the business of theft is outweighed by the cost to the business of bad publicity, so the management will tolerate people stealing food to a certain extent. What’s $5 compared to the $300 loss when your group of 6 regulars chooses not to visit your store for the rest of the year?
  • Make a mess in the dining room and leave it. If the crew is short-staffed, the register operator is the one with the responsibility, but as long as they have guests, they have to be at the register taking orders, so this is bound to stress them out.
  • Bonus jerk points: while there’s a line of 10+ people, remark to the reg. op. how messy you think the dining room is.
  • Asking for fresh items or “no salt” items is totally fine. But because it requires it to be cooked start to finish, so that it doesn’t pick up salt from where the other items are normally put (e.g. the fry bin), it’s a jerk move to make the request in drive through.
  • Sit at the window in the drive through and look through your order. The timer will keep ticking.
  • Sit at the window in the drive through and start eating your order. Yum, delicious, savory jerkiness.
  • When you’ve already made your order, and the lone reg. op. is beginning to clean the dining room, go up to the register so that they have to interrupt themselves to go take your order. Bonus: ask for something anyone could give you, like a drink refill. Then you wasted their time for no reason. Jerk level Gold achieved.
  • Modify sandwiches with what you’d like to add or leave off, after you’ve already paid for your order. Your sandwiches will already be made, and there are rules against crewmembers eating it or giving out free food, so the incorrect orders will need to be thrown in the trash. Congratulations. Jerk level Max Pro achieved.
  • Epic Jerk level: do this in the drive through, with more than 4 large items. And sit there waiting for them to give you the sandwich “the way you want it.”
  • Come in from outside and complain that ice cream is runny in 90-degree weather.
  • Bring salt and ketchup or sugar over to the counter and add it to your food while you stand there, and then leave straw wrappers, coffee creamer cups, and opened salt and sugar bags or ketchup sitting on the counter when you walk away. This really demonstrates how low your view is of the people who serve you.
  • Insult the people who serve you the food. Remember, they can’t fight back with you or risk being fired. Make sure to let them know how contemptible you consider their minimum-wage occupation and sneeringly prophecy that you think they’ll stay there for a long time.
  • Speak quietly and then act upset when you’re asked what you said. Bonus jerk points: accuse the reg. op. of being rude for trying to understand you. Assert that they were only pretending not to hear what you were saying. You are in the right. You are the customer. And a true jerk knows that others are always being rude to them, because that’s what they are like toward others. The concept of politeness has no bearing here.
  • Ask for promotional offers that are not offered at this chain restaurant, this store location, or at this time of year. Then get upset when you’re told that they’re not offered. Perhaps the manager will okay the transaction in order to keep your business.
  • Order what you don’t want. Especially true with “small medium large” cup sizes. If you order small, and are upset that it’s small, that’s just…… jerktrocious.
  • Ask for "extra" of an item that carries an upcharge, after paying for your order. They'll either have to ring you in for it, perhaps cutting you in in front of other customers, or give it to you for free, or risk you complaining if you decide you don't need it. Either way, you've got them between a rock and a hard place.
  • Many, many more examples. But with this primer, now you too can be a jerk, and jerk with the best of them!

~ Rak Chazak

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