The customer is always right; even if they are rude, undecided


Posted: Wednesday, February 01, 2006

“Can I get a number two, large-sized, with a coke?”

This is the simple sentence that we fast food restaurant employees would like to hear. Instead, we hear things such as:

“Can I get a number two BUT without pickles, onions, and mustard? And can I get extra cheese? And I would like that large-sized and Coke to drink. Well, actually, can I change that to a number three?”

I have worked for two fast food restaurants and I have encountered many, many orders such as this. I should admit this kind of order doesn’t happen all the time. Well, I should also admit that orders are usually like the first one.

Thankfully, a lot of people know what they want to eat when they start to order. Working at a fast food restaurant is, should I say, quite the experience. I have learned a lot about customer service, work ethic, cooperation and systematic operations. Every single burger needs to be made the same way every time, the customer is always right, there are other em-ployees working for the same goal and the boss is always watching.

Working at a fast food restaurant can be stressful and tiresome at times. “Welcome to McDonalds, order whenever you’re ready,” followed by complete silence for five minutes from the person in the drive-through is a little irksome. We generally have things to clean or food to stock. It’s hard to wait for someone who won’t talk to us.

Or, how about when someone goes through the drive-through with a diesel truck, and they can’t hear us asking them to place their order. Instead of turning off the vehicle, this person will yell louder and louder, hoping that we can hear every word that they are saying. Actually this can be quite comical, as there is no way of telling these people that we cannot hear them if they can’t ever hear us talking. The only sound heard on either end is an extremely loud rumble from that beast of a truck.

Sometimes it gets incredibly busy to where everyone working seems to be running around like chickens with their heads cut off. It’s very amusing to watch someone dart from one side of the store to the other just to get some barbecue sauce that a customer wanted for their chicken strips.

It’s also entertaining to watch workers dodging one another to avoid catastrophe, all the while someone manages to trip over a paper cup and drops an ice cream cone. I’ve always wondered what the customers on the other side of the counter think about us when we drop something or trip.

In fact I’ve wondered what the customers think of us in general; we must look silly in our work attire, with our nametags, aprons and goofy hats.

I think that every person should work in a fast food restaurant before the age of — well, any age will do. Everyone should be able to endure what fast food workers have to go through on a daily basis. That way everyone will have respect, patience and understanding for what happens in these restaurants.

Not everyone understands that sometimes they might have to wait a little longer for their food, or that it is hard for an employee to deal with a stubborn or obnoxious customer.

Most people will go into a fast food restaurant at one point in their lives. So just one word of advice — when you do, please take into consideration what the employees might be going through. The workers are trying to get you what you want, even if one of them trips in the process.

Another one of my favorites is when you say to a customer, “Welcome to Dairy Queen. I will be with you in just a moment” and they just jump right in with:

“OK, I would like a number two, a small Blizzard and a medium ... .”

Lorena Whitaker is senior at Soldotna High School.

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