When Fast Food Workers Snap

, , , , | Right | January 16, 2020

(This happens shortly before I put in my two-week notice. I’m a closing manager, and it’s felt like the store manager has had it out for me for a long time. Friday nights, our busiest night, I’m stuck with only one employee from 8:00 pm until we close at 2:00 am. I’ve complained about this many times after she complained about my speed of service. Eventually, she gave me someone else until 11:00, except he’s never been trained and slows things even more. Most of the orders this late are small items off the value menu, and I’ve been running $200 hours since 9:00 pm. I agree that times were ridiculous, often reaching twenty minutes. My cashier calls for me over our headsets, telling me the customer at the windows is upset, so I go over to help.)

Me: *genuinely hoping to help the customer* “I was told that you have a problem?”

Customer #1: “Yes, I’ve been waiting for half an hour for my order!”

(We have a monitor next to the window that shows how long customers have been there.)

Me: “I apologize for the wait—”

Customer #1: “You bet you are! I’m calling corporate!”

(At this point, I don’t care about professionalism. I’m quitting soon and it’s been a rough night.)

Me: “My timer says it’s only been seven minutes since you pulled up. Your order is being made fresh right now.”

Customer #1: “It had better be fresh!”

(She only ordered a ten-piece nugget. It takes about three minutes to cook, and of course, this makes her angrier.)

Me: “Sorry again about the wait. It won’t be much longer.”

Customer #1: “It had better be fresh.”

Me: “I just told you it will be; that’s why you’re still waiting.”

(When the nuggets are almost done cooking, I wash my hands, put on gloves, and bag the nuggets myself. I give her a little extra sauce to try to make her content.)

Customer #1: “These aren’t hot; I waited for them to be cooked fresh!”

Me: “They’re hot. I pulled them out of the fryer myself. They literally cannot be any fresher; you’ll burn your mouth if you eat them right now.”

Customer #1: “No, they’re cold. You made me wait this long for cold nuggets.”

(I’m getting really frustrated at this point, but I finish the transaction. She knocks on the window to get my attention again.)

Customer #1: “I want these for free. Give me back my money.”

Me: “What?”

Customer #1: “I said I want these for free! And give me a milkshake for my trouble!”

Me: “No. I’m not even allowed to give out shakes for free. And you’re keeping either your nuggets or your money.”

Customer #1: “You made me wait for so long for cold nuggets!”

(At this point, she’s been in my drive-thru for close to twenty minutes. I’m more than annoyed with her and don’t want to let her win. If she was civil about it, I would have thrown in a value fry or charged her for a ten-piece.)

Me: “Look, I’m not giving you anything for your wait. You could have driven off at any time; it’s not our fault you decided to wait here for so long. We’re right next to another fast food place that is actually staffed and could have gotten your nuggets much sooner.”

(I close the window and lock it before she can say anything else. She honks and yells at us for a few minutes after that, until she finally drives off. To make things worse, the next customer wasn’t much better.)

Customer #2: “What is taking so long? I’ve been waiting for a long time!”

Me: “I’m really sorry about the wait. We’ve been really backed up and the customer ahead of you wasn’t happy about waiting for her order to be fresh. Your order is fresh, too. It just finished cooking.”

(Usually, people are happy to hear their food is fresh and ready for them when they pull up. Not this guy.)

Customer #2: “I want my entire order for free!”

(It’s an order close to $20.)

Me: “You know what? You won’t be paying anything tonight. You have a good night.”

(I locked my window again. Everyone behind him had pulled off, much to my relief. It was after 11:00 pm by then, so it was just me and my cashier. It was really petty of me, but I took over order taking and told customers we were unable to take any orders because equipment was malfunctioning, so we could catch up on closing procedures so we could hopefully get out somewhat close to on time.)

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