Guest Columnist: A fast food rant


Melissa Norris, Copy Editor

“He wants a latte, but he wants chocolate in it,” the customer said.

“Lattes don’t get chocolate, but mochas do,” I offer helpfully.

“Okay, but he also wants caramel in it.”

“So he wants a caramel mocha,” I tell her, rather than ask.

“Does that get chocolate?”

“Mochas get chocolate,” I repeat politely.

“Okay, I didn’t know.”

Except I just told you five seconds ago—I think, but do not say.

The intelligence of fast food customers often leaves something to be desired.

Not that I’m not saying that if I ordered a coffee at Starbucks I wouldn’t be equally as confused.

Why have your medium and large sizes in Italian? To confuse Spanish speakers who assume grande is the larger size, since it means large? And then suddenly name the next size up venti because that means “20?” Why do we have to name cup sizes after the amount of ounces they have anyway?

Are they just trying to be impressive and fancy? If so, they’re failing, because I for one feel self-conscious going over to Jitters and butchering perfectly simple Italian words—just to get a venti vanilla iced latte.

However, coffee sizes are not the topic of my rant today.

What is?

Fast-food customers.

I’ve worked in fast food for almost 6 years now and I have heard nearly every stupid comment humanity has to offer.

I’ve heard old men ask an African American girl what tribe she came from. I’ve heard idiotic high-school boys ask for diet water more times than I can count. I have been ice-cream coned in drive-thru by an entire sorority for their pledge.

I have answered too many well-off jerk’s questions about the whole 30 cents difference from their meal price and the price on the sign. Hello, tax. Do you know any other restaurant that puts tax on their menu board? No, so shut up.

Or when drinks went back to their original prices after the summer “$1 any size” special was over and the receipts had a “.19 cents upcharge” for a medium, and every other customer had to ask why there was an upcharge.

But, honestly guys, I have zero control over it. Complaining to me will not change things, nor will it make your life suck any less.

— Melissa Norris

Do you know how many hundreds of times I had to explain that they weren’t being charged any more than the normal price, the system had just not caught up with the price change from $1 to $1.19, and that our next computer update would fix it, but in the meantime, it was going to say upcharge about the normal price?

Hundreds. I lost count. I have no idea. But 19 cents? Really?

Maybe this is because I’ve worked in the food service industry so long, but I have never in my life gone up to some poor, tired, done-with-this-shit employee and complained about anything less than a dollar.

Not once.

And if anyone should be complaining about a few extra cents, it should be me, not them, with their gas-guzzling 2015 Chevy Tahoe. If you can afford a brand new $46,000 vehicle, and afford to drive it, should you really be squabbling with me over a few cents? Did you have a bad day? Will crabbing at me fix it?
Sad thing is, it might.

Sometimes when people come in because their order was made wrong, or they didn’t like their food and want fresh food, and they are so irrationally fuming and cussing and behaving like a total asshole to me, a complete stranger, I know that they just need to.

Sometimes the only way they can make their shitty day better is if they can come in and bitch at someone they have no real connection to.

And I’m okay with that, usually—because I’ve been doing this so long—I don’t take it personally.

No, I do not have some intense company loyalty that allows me to spout out company mantra every time someone goes off about the whack menu changes, or the constant increase in the price of a dollar (ahem—value) menu sandwich—I know that sucks.

But, honestly guys, I have zero control over it. Complaining to me will not change things, nor will it make your life suck any less.

Oh, and tip for the wise?

If you’re polite, come in and calmly explain the situation to me the next time your order is made wrong, or you don’t think the quality of your fries are up to snuff, I promise I’ll be nicer too, and you’re still get the same result—your food remade, fresh and just what you asked for.

There really is no need to shout.