Seriously?! I Can’t Believe I Saw This at an Arizona Fast-Food Restaurant
I get it. Working fast food is a thankless job. You're on your feet for hours, dealing with a manager who's used to herding cats (and disinterested teenagers), while constantly re-evaluating their life choices.
My first job was at a Carl's Jr. in a busy mall, back when food courts had restaurants. The difference between then and now, it seems, is that there were rules, expectations, and managers like Carol Fisher, who had certain expectations of her employees.
Greet customers with a smile. Be polite. Wipe things down or restock if you're not busy. And always include napkins and condiments in the bag - don't make the customer ask for them.
Where's the Customer Service At? Where are the Jobs?
It seems like customer service has completely flown out the drive-thru window, as it were. I've heard endless theories about why customer service is so abysmal right now. Businesses claim they're short-staffed and that no one wants to work.
Potential workers claim businesses don't call anyone back after the interview. That is if an interview is ever even scheduled. And if they do manage to get a job, they only get a few hours or don't make it on the schedule at all.
So, what's really happening?
The Truth is Out There.
I figure, like most things, the truth is somewhere in between.
My daughter's first job was at a local fast-food chain. Even in the pre-covid era, you could tell things were a hot mess from the top down.
The overworked manager hated her life. She favored certain employees based on some arbitrary rules she'd made up in her head.
She had inconsistent rules and found promotion loopholes, essentially ruining some of her best employees by giving them lead and manager responsibilities, but without the extra pay. Oh, but with all of the blame.
All of this made for a pretty miserable work culture. As I said, I get it. Things have been a hot mess for a long time. But things are perceptibly worse these days.
I Can't Believe I Saw This at a Fast Food Restaurant
I try hard to avoid fast food, but sometimes I just have to make an exception in the interest of time and efficiency.
The other day, I needed a quick bite before going to an appointment. I got in line at the very fast-food restaurant where my kid spent her high school years.
There were no cars in the drive-thru, so I figured it would be a quick, easy solution. Boy, was I wrong.
I ordered two tacos. That's it. The total cost was less than two bucks and I had cash ready to go.
I know the drive-thru has a timer and the workers are expected to get cars through and orders out in a specific amount of time. So, I always try to make sure I'm efficient. I have my cash or card ready by the time I reach the window.
Why You Mad, Bro?
When I got to the window, the cashier seemed mad. He opened the window and said, curtly, "We're counting out the cash drawer. You came in the middle of a shift change. It's gonna take a while."
I was surprised - I wasn't complaining, yet his tone implied that I was the one who was angry and annoyed. I hadn't said a word.
I tried to say that I had cash, didn't need change, and didn't mind waiting, but all that came out was, "I've got ca--," and before I could finish, the window was unceremoniously closed in my face and he walked away.
Through the window, I could see the worker standing a few feet away, stewing.
The manager was just beyond him. At the front counter. COUNTING THE MONEY IN THE DRAWER!!
The Ghost of Carol Fisher began screaming in my head. "You NEVER count money at the counter!! And why aren't you wiping or restocking something!!?? And why is that customer in the drive thru making obscene gestures at you?"
Okay, that last thing wasn't happening, probably because I didn't think of it in my utter shock. And also because I wouldn't do that, but if ever there was a time for it.
But I digress.
Here's Your Food, Now Leave
When the drawer was finally returned to the register, the Window Worker snarled at me again, saying, "Well, you came in the middle of a shift change."
Again, I never complained (or spoke), and only held out my two dollars. He looked confused, as though he'd never seen cash before, and struggled to figure out the 3 cents he owed me for change.
He finally turned, grabbed my food bag, and shoved it through the window where I reached for it.
As I was peering into the bag to make sure I had napkins, I realized there were none. I lifted my head to ask for some, as he slammed the window closed and walked away, only to disappear, never to be seen again.