When The Menu Changes, So Does Everyone’s Mood

, , , , | Right | August 13, 2019

(I work at a “Mexican-Inspired Fast Food” chain. This is the day after they cycled from one Limited-Time Offer that was featured in four different ways — $1 side, $2.50 platter, $3.50 platter, and a $5 meal — to another featured in three different ways — $1 burrito, $1 nachos, and $5 burrito meal. All of the signage from the previous one has been pulled and replaced with signs promoting the new one. In addition, the manager has replaced all of the menu boards, inside and out, to show the new items. I am working in the drive-thru when a customer pulls up to the speaker box. In addition to the main LTO item changing, a popular $5 meal has had one of its items replaced for another.)

Me: “Hello! Welcome to [Restaurant]. What can I get started for you?”

Customer: “Yeah, I’d like three orders of the [old $1 LTO] and an [old $3.50 LTO].”

Me: “I do apologize, but the [old LTO] has been discontinued and will be brought back some time in the summer. However, if you would like, you can try the [new LTO]; it has [ingredients].”

Customer: “What?! I just got some yesterday!”

Me: “We changed our specials today. Instead of the [old LTO], we have the [new LTO].”

Customer: “Well… that’s all I wanted. Are you sure you can’t make the [old LTO] right now?”

Me: “Yes, we don’t have the old LTO in stock anymore; we sold out of it last night.”

Customer: *exaggerated sigh* “Well, then, can I get a [popular $5 meal], instead?”

Me: “Sure, but just to let you know, it now has [new item in meal] as opposed to the [old item in meal].”

Customer: “Well, f*** this, then!”

(The customer pulls away from the menu, zooming past the windows. I shrug to my coworkers on the line before another car approaches the speaker box.)

Me: “Hello! Welcome to [Restaurant]. What can I get started for you?”

Customer #2: “Yes, I would like the [old LTO] and a—”

Me: “I am sorry, but we are no longer doing the [old LTO], and instead we have the [new LTO].”

Customer #2: “Oh, that’s all I wanted. Thanks, anyway.”

(The second car backs out of the drive-thru, leaving a “phantom car” on our timer and running it up until my manager clears it out just as a third car pulls up. This time, I try to catch the customer before they order anything.)

Me: “Hello! Welcome to [Restaurant]. Just to let you know, our specials have changed; we are no longer doing [old LTO] and are promoting our [new LTO], instead.”

Customer #3: “I was wondering what was different about the menu, but it’s no biggie. However, I’d like a [popular $5 meal], but I see it has an [new meal item]; what’s in it?”

Me: “The [new meal item] has [ingredients] and is pretty good.”

Customer #3: “All right, I’ll have that with a large [slush drink].”

Me: “Not a problem. That’ll be [total] at the second window.”

([Customer #3] pulls up to the window and pays. Since my coworkers on the line are having to wait on something, I decide to have a conversation with the customer.)

Me: “So, how are you doing today?”

Customer #3: “Not too bad. Why did they change the menu?”

Me: “I’m not su—”

(Just then, a customer in the lobby begins to shout at a new Hispanic coworker working at the counter.)

Lobby Customer: “I WANT SOME GODD*** MOTHERF****** [OLD LTO ITEMS]! I SAW THEM ON TV TWO WEEKS AGO! I CANNOT BELIEVE THAT [RESTAURANT] WOULD SHOW THEM ON THE TV AND NOT HAVE THEM!”

Counter Cashier: *voice shaking* “Sir, please don’t raise your voice or curse; there are chi—”

Lobby Customer: “NO! DON’T YOU F****** TELL ME TO F****** CALM DOWN, YOU LITTLE [RACIAL SLUR]! I WANT TO SPEAK TO YOUR F****** MANAGER RIGHT NOW!”

(Everyone in the kitchen and the lobby is looking at the man raising a fuss over the menu changing when the manager comes to the counter. At this point, my customer’s food is ready; I try to hand it out while the manager and lobby customer start to have an argument. My customer shakes her head and pulls off only, much to my shock, to walk into the lobby about 30 seconds later.)

Customer #3: “Hasn’t anybody ever taught you manners and that the world doesn’t revolve around you? I cannot believe that I could hear you all the way out in the drive-thru! You should be ashamed of yourself; everywhere has menus that change every once in a while, and besides, I’m sure they will bring back the [old LTO] sometime soon. Besides if you want them so badly, maybe you should have gotten them when you first supposedly saw them on the TV two weeks ago! Now, why don’t you apologize not only to the workers but also to everyone else here?!”

Lobby Customer: “OH, YEAH?! WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO F***–“

(Just then, [Customer #3] pulls out her wallet and shows something to the lobby customer, who meekly apologizes and leaves.)

Manager: “What did you show him?”

([Customer #3] showed the manager her ID and I caught a glimpse of it; she was the wife of the county sheriff.)

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