An App-allingly Inefficient Way To Purchase

, , , , , , | Right | August 13, 2019

(It’s the morning shift of a stocking day, so I usually have to put away the contents of a truck while simultaneously attending to any customers my coworkers are too busy to help. My coworkers at this time of day usually include only my manager, maybe one additional crew member, and a cook. As the early morning turns to a few hours until noon, we start getting more and more customers all at once, forcing my manager and additional crew member to call for my help to handle them all. I head to the front of the store to take out a few orders. Before I deliver to this one woman, my manager tells me that she wants to pay with her credit card. I can see more customers coming in and I know my coworkers are going to need my help with them, too, so I don’t really give it much thought. I just take it out.)

Me: *places her order on her table* “Here we are, ma’am. That’ll be $8.78.”

Woman: “I wanted to pay with my card, but it wouldn’t work. Something’s wrong with your machine. I have money on my card.”

(Our booths are installed with a card scanner that allows customers to pay for their orders before they arrive, but because we prioritize speed at our restaurant, we often stop the clock on orders before they’re ready, which causes the machine to think the order is on its way to the customer before it actually is.)

Me: “If I had to guess, the machine probably didn’t have a chance to actually do anything with your card. Let’s try again.”

(I enter in a code that lets me pull up her order and allow it to be paid for — assuming it wasn’t already paid for — and then attempt to run the card.)

Machine: *declines card*

Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am, but your card is being declined.”

Woman: “I know I have money on it; it must be the machine.”

Me: “Well, let’s try another one, then.”

(I take the card to another machine, enter the code, and swipe the card on her order, only to get the same message.)

Me: “I’m… sorry, ma’am. While I won’t claim to know what the problem is, I can say with relative certainty that it’s not an issue with our scanners. These machines have been working on the vast majority of cards perfectly fine since yesterday.”

Woman: *accepts her card back and pulls out her phone* “Fine. I don’t carry cash on me, so I’ll pay with the app.”

Me: “Let me just get the app payment code for your order.”

(I go just behind the see-through employees-only door to pull up the information on a system-tablet. I return and gives her the number.)

Woman: “What do I do with that?”

Me: *comes to the conclusion this is her first time using the app* “You enter it into the app and the order gets paid for.”

(She spends several minutes fiddling with her phone. All the while, I can see customers pouring in. Likewise, I set up the tablet on the other side of the see-through door with the screen showing that the order hasn’t been paid yet.)

Me: “Is there a problem, ma’am?”

Woman: “My phone’s just taking a few minutes to download the app.”

(I was flabbergasted. The app pays by means of prepaid amounts put into a personal account. I was going to have to wait here while she downloaded the app, set up an account, and put $10 on said account before she could pay; all the while, my coworkers were scrambling, trying to juggle the influx of new customers without me. I couldn’t just leave, lest I be held responsible for anything that happened. She took twelve minutes. Anyone who works in the fast food industry knows how long twelve minutes is to coworkers and waiting customers!)

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