"…and fries and a medium Coke, please." I finished my order at the drive-thru window feeling guilty about the loss of devotion to my diet, but I’m starving like a rabbit in a forgotten trap. My emotions on the matter were mixed, at least. After all, I’d ordered the medium Coke instead of the 58-ounce gut buster this time. That had to count for something, right?
"Sir, you know that the medium Coke is $1.09 but our Gut Buster is on sale for just 89′? It would save you some money."
"It is? Okay, thanks!" So there goes the rest of the diet.
"No problem. Your total is $5.86, please pull around to the first drive-thru window."
Huh? "No problem?" What is that, anyway … some sort of excuse for a cooled-down version of a formally gracious acceptance of gratitude? "No problem." As though I would have expected that the pimply-faced pubescent genius actually ran across the Serengetti to locate the Top Secret McDonald’s pricing guide in a remote cave just so that he could save me 20′ on my order? He felt the need to reassure me that it was contrary to what I was obviously thinking at the moment actually "no problem" for him to provide me with the valuable information? What the hell ever happened to the good ol’ fashioned "you’re welcome"? I mean, would that have been so wrong? It’s not like I expected him to develop an English butler accent and say, "Most certainly, Master William." Just a simple "you’re welcome" would have been sufficient.
I pulled to the first drive-up window while I was stewing over the seemingly intentional impersonality of the young employee’s reply, in my mind secretly envisioning what I thought the kid would look like. A mop of shaggy, Bo Duke long hair curling up around the corners of his McDonald’s ball cap, which would likely be pulled down low to hide the upper half of his eyes. He would likely have to tilt his head back, (read as: put his nose up), just to make eye contact, assuming that he looked my way at all.
"That’s $5.86, man." He said in a crackly, Bobby Brady voice when I pulled to the window. I selected six bucks from my wallet and turned to find an outstretched hand wagging its annoyance from the window as the perfect duplication of my mind’s eye stood inside, not looking at me, but chatting to the next guy at the box via a small headset that obviously made him feel like Garth Brooks on stage. I dropped the bills in his waiting palm and he pulled them inside, automatically reaching back with change that was thirty-cents too much. I took the coins, then held a quarter and nickel back out toward him, waiting for his attention. Finally, he looked at me with puzzlement and then snapped back to reality by saying, "Oh, sorry dude. Did you give me a ten?" I didn’t reply. Instead, I simply placed the coins on the ledge and moved forward to the multiple-pierced, heavy-set girl at the next window who seemed to have a personal liking for black makeup and clothing. Needless to say, she was equally as personable.
I wolfed my grease burger on the way back to the dealership, wondering how the fast food organizations got away with hiring such brain-dead employees. I wondered whether they ever took the time to train them anymore, or if they just checked for a pulse before each shift. I wondered how many times one of these poor, confused creatures were hurt trying to bob for fries in the grease vats. What was this country coming to? Is it so hard to screen your employees and provide a bit of training?
It seems to me that the mega-corporations of the country have gotten so far away from the reality of what it takes to be successful in a business, and this is detrimental to our society since many of the first jobs our teenagers have are at the McDonald’s counter. They carry what they see and learn with them as examples of acceptable behavior in the business world. After all, if I made these types of mistake, hiring those who did not leave a favorable impression on the customer my business would certainly be hurt.
I walked into the dealership, still fuming over the display of incompetence and nursing a watery Gut Buster. As I passed by the counter, Parts Guy looked up and yelled to me, "Hey, you’ve got some messages here." I mindlessly took the pile of pink phone slips from him and started to leaf through as I headed for my office.
"Thanks" I said.
"No problem" came his reply. I didn’t bother to stop.