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An Order That’s Not Just Wrong, It’s Passive-Aggressive

, , , , , | Working | November 20, 2020

I like [Local Chicken Franchise] and have been going there for many years, usually either mid-day on a weekend or late in the evening on a weekday. On this occasion, it’s Friday, I have the day off, and I go through the drive-thru at 5:00 pm, which I haven’t done before. I’m worried about a rush, but the parking lot is empty. There’s a giant sign on the drive-thru order board advertising the current special, a buffalo ranch tender combo meal for about $3 less than the standard tender combo.

Employee: “What do you want?”

Me: “I’ll have the five-piece buffalo ranch tender combo.”

Employee: “We don’t sell those here.”

I pause. I really don’t want to be that customer.

Me: “Uh. I was here last week and I got that combo, and I’m staring at a giant sign out here advertising them.”

Employee: “I don’t know what to tell you. We don’t sell those here.”

This is not worth escalating, there’s no way I’m going to win, and I don’t care that much, so I give up. Maybe the employee means they’re out of them and is wording it badly.

Me: “Okay, I’ll have the regular five-piece combo, without the drink.”

Employee: “Okay, pull around.”

Me: “Wait, don’t you need to know whether I want the spicy or mild tenders, and what side I want?”

The employee heaves an incredibly loud, exaggerated, teenager-on-a-sitcom sigh and then pauses.

Employee: “Spicy or mild.”

Me: “Spicy, please.”

Employee: “What’s your drink? What’s your side?”

Me: “Fries for the side, no drink.”

Employee: “The combo comes with a drink.”

Me: “I don’t want the drink. Usually, if I ask for it without the drink, you take a dollar off and don’t give me a drink I don’t want.”

Employee: *Very obviously exasperated* “You want the dinner. The combo comes with a drink. The dinner doesn’t have a drink. They’re different prices.”

There is nothing on the menu board about a “dinner” combo with no drink and no posted price for it. I’ve been going to [Franchise] for twenty years and no one’s ever tried to tell me that my standard combo-without-a-drink order is called something different. It’s still not worth fighting over, but I do hate it when employees use their condescending “We’ve always done it this way, idiot” voices for something they’ve never done that way before.

Me: “Fine, I guess that means I want the five-piece spicy dinner. With fries.”

Employee: “Pull around.”

Me: “I’d also like an order of extra-large fries to go with that.”

Employee:Pull around.

I do. It’s a long wait, but someone eventually comes to the revolving drive-thru window to take my credit card. They say, “Three-piece with fries and an extra fries,” and turn away from me toward the register.

Me: “Excuse me, I wanted a five-piece.”

The employee keeps keying in the order.

Me: “Excuse me, hello?”

Employee *Long-suffering look* “What is it now?”

Me: “I asked for a five-piece.”

The employee just stares at me like I’ve demanded a dead cat. Then, they turn around and walk up to a much older employee who I assume is the shift manager and start talking to them, gesturing back at me in a frustrated way. Finally, they come back to the window, obviously annoyed.

Employee: “Five-piece and fries with an extra order of fries.”

They ring it in. Through the scratched-up drive-thru window, I can see them tossing things into a bag in an agitated way. About fifteen seconds later, they shove a bag into the drive-thru airlock and stalk away. I take the bag and briefly check it, but it more or less looks like what I ordered.

When I got home, I found out I’d gotten four chicken tenders, a small order of fries in a large box, and none of the usual extras — dipping sauce, ketchup, napkins, etc. I still have no idea why that employee was so angry. Also, to leave the parking lot, I had to drive past the giant [Franchise] marquee sign that read, “BUFFALO RANCH TENDER COMBO MEAL: [price $3 less than what I paid].” Guess I know what shift to avoid from now on.

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