The Daily Dump

A place where everyone (me) is welcomed to express their opinions openly and honestly. I encourage free thinking, free wheeling, off-the-cuff banter and monetary donations.

Monday, June 19

McDonald’s Has Trouble Expressing Itself


While doing our classic “hung-over brunch / aimlessly wander around town buying things we don’t need to do our part in fostering consumerism in America” thing this past Sunday, The Girlfriend and I found ourselves outside a McDonald’s on 57th St. Normally we wouldn’t even think about going inside, because while I’ll gladly eat their food when I’m on a road trip and it’s the only restaurant for miles, I’m far too judgmental and swayed by popular opinion to eat it under normal circumstances. But this time, The Girlfriend saw a sign in the window for Premium Iced Coffee. And seeing as how she had only ingested about 24 ounces of coffee thus far, and you know it being “premium” and all, she had to get one.

We walk inside and there are four registers open, all with lines eight people deep. We eye one another and know what to do: we each pick a different line and take our place at the end. In my estimation this is one of the most valuable parts of being in a long-term relationship – being able to stand on different lines and the person who gets to the head of the line first (or the “winner”) being joined by the other person (the “loser”) to complete the transaction. In new relationships you can’t possibly get away with this because, obviously, if the two of you are together you MUST be engaged in some sort of conversation or physical contact. Luckily, with “love” comes “convenience,” except when that “love” turns to “boiling hatred and resentment,” in which case the ensuing heartbreak and loneliness, which is often too much to bear, can be decidedly “inconvenient.” (Good luck, kids!)

Just before I get to the head of the line first (winner), I motion to The Girlfriend (the loser) to a sign plastered above the registers. It reads:

SMILE GUARANTEE

If we do not SMILE before you pay,
you get a FREE Small French Fry or Hash Brown.
PLEASE PLAY! . . . TRY TO CATCH US!

I have noticed that up to this point several customers in front of me have been complaining about their orders and stomped away huffing with indignation, which was confusing because we’re in a McDonald’s and everyone knows there’s no dignity within the walls of a McDonald’s. Moreover, none of these customers received a smile nor did they subsequently demand a small order of French fries for the transgression. In any event, I knew that my order would be easy. I approach the register and confidently say, “One large iced coffee,” in a tone that suggests, “You’re welcome for giving you such an easy order. We can all use a break sometimes.”

What transpires in beyond ludicrous. I’ve decided to formulate a multiple choice quiz to let you, the reader, guess what did or did not happen. Here we go:

After I say, “One large iced coffee,” the middle-aged woman behind the counter:

a) fills a large cup with iced coffee.
b) does nothing.
c) tells me to drink my coffee hot, like a man.
d) licks the palm of her hand and fixes her hair.

Answer: b. She stares past me, as though contemplating the enormity of the outside world, or trying to remember the next line in that Shakira song.

When she asks me for my order again, and I again tell her “One large iced coffee,” she:

a) fills a large cup with iced coffee.
b) gets me a hamburger and fries.
c) begins filling a cup with banana syrup.
d) says, “Oh, that’s right. Shakira, Shakira . . .”

Answer: c. The Girlfriend and I watch, confused, as she combines banana syrup and coffee with no ice. As she brings it back to us, The Girlfriend says, “We actually didn’t want any syrup in it. Just iced coffee. A large, iced coffee,” deliberately separating the adjectives to perhaps explain what we wanted in a different way, that it was a coffee that is both large and iced.

After another employee comes over to help sort out the order on the computer screen (?) the original cashier:

a) fills a large cup with iced coffee.
b) quits on the spot.
c) walks to the work station and pours the banana coffee from one large cup to another.
d) offers me an apple pie.

Answer: c. We again watch dumbfounded as she pours the concoction from one cup to another and begins adding ice. We say, almost in unison, “What the . . .?” I shout over the counter, “No, we didn’t want the banana coffee. Whichever cup it’s in.”

At this point, the woman:

a) finally understands and fills a large cup with iced coffee.
b) says, “But bananas are good for you,” and takes a sip of the coffee.
c) short-circuits and breaks down, revealing that she is actually a robot.
d) tries to convince me that what she is holding is not, in fact, the same banana coffee.

Answer: d. I explain that I watched her, from 10 feet away, pour the drink from one cup to another. Again, another employee comes over and asks what the problem is. I ask the new employee if they could please get our large iced coffee for us.

The new employee then:

a) fills a large cup with iced coffee.
b) explains to me that that’s not how McDonald’s works.
c) says, “I’m sorry, she’s new here.”
d) says, “And by ‘here’ I mean ‘the world.’”

Answer: a. Three cheers for employee #2! She places the iced coffee on the counter in front of us and The Girlfriend asks if it is sweetened. Employee #2 answers, “If I didn’t put any sugar in then it is not sweetened.” Cryptic. The Girlfriend then asks if they have Splenda.

Employee #2:

a) says “yes” and gets some Splenda.
b) says “yes” and does nothing.
c) says “no” and does nothing.
d) says “I can’t believe it’s taken us 10 minutes to get you an iced coffee.”

Answer: b. Employee #2 stood there motionless as though she were hypnotized and we had failed to register the correct trigger word. After a solid ten seconds, The Girlfriend says, “Can I have some?”

What happens next is:

a) Employee #2 again says “yes” and does nothing.
b) Employee #2 says “no.”
c) Employee #2 is suddenly inflicted with the miraculous stigmata.
d) A unicorn flies through the open door and places a large iced coffee at the feet of The Girlfriend.

Answer: a. It’s like talking to a coat rack in a McDonald’s uniform. Finally, after another ten seconds of emotionless, vacant staring, Employee #2 says, “How many?” The Girlfriend says, “Two,” and as Employee #2 hands over the packets she says, “I thought you wanted the whole box!”

The Girlfriend and I glance around and slowly back away from the counter. I have Century 21 flashbacks. We hurry over to leave and as The Girlfriend raises the drink to her mouth I notice out of the corner of my eye that she has suddenly stopped with the drink inches from her face.

I glance over wide eyed at:

a) a hamburger floating in the iced coffee.
b) a tongue depressor sticking out of the top of the iced coffee.
c) “HELP ME” written in blood on the side of the cup.
d) The Girlfriend, because she is beautiful.

Answer: b. I didn’t even know McDonald’s had tongue depressors, besides the fact that I’m pretty sure tongue depressors have been obsolete for decades, except for building replica log cabins.

As we exit the McDonald’s and The Girlfriend enjoys her hard fought iced coffee I can only think one thing: What the hell would have happened had I enforced the Smile Guarantee? Because I can assure you that at no time in the 10 minute long interpretive drama we enacted was there ever a smile or even the suggestion that a smile was possible. The thing is, I know that I could never be the guy who, after he was handed his change, said, “Gotcha! You never smiled! I’ll take, hmm, fries or hash browns, fries or hash browns . . . I’ll take the fries. This is awesome, I thought at the end there you were going to smile and I was going to lose it, but then you were like ‘Here’s your change,’ with a straight face and I was like, ‘Yes!’” Maybe if I was drunk, or if someone removed the gland that regulates my response to emotion, but never during the ordinary course of events could I tell a MCDONALD’S EMPLOYEE that because they didn’t smile while serving her 75th Big Mac of the day that I was cashing in on their despair.

HOWEVER, I have to say that on Sunday, June 18th, I toed the line of being the kind of guy who could do that. Maybe it was situation specific, maybe I’ve been wrong and mimosas really do have alcohol in them. Whatever it was, I almost demanded a free small French fries from a deadpan woman who could not even fill a large cup with iced coffee. And I’m not proud of that, but at the same time I understand that a higher intuition was in play when I walked away from the situation.

Because I’m pretty sure if I had stood there and tried to explain the Smile Guarantee to that woman, I would:

a) be on the lam for murder.
b) still be there, correcting them when they hand me a container filled with ketchup.
c) still be there, sitting in a circle on the floor with the employees reading a children’s book to them.
d) wake up in a mental institution muttering over and over, “Why couldn’t she just smile?”

64 Comments:

Sweet baby Jesus--what the fuck is banana coffee?!?

By Anonymous jeci, at 2:30 PM  

That was genuinely, laugh-out-loud funny.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:32 PM  

BI:
Maybe the McDonalds you visited wasn't really located in this dimensional reality, but in some kind of a time/space vortex.

Banana coffee??? WTF??

By Blogger Leezer, at 2:35 PM  

Now THAT was funny. Good job.

By Blogger T., at 2:44 PM  

Sounds like our Taco Bell people. Those people will wear you out and make you want to slap them into oblivion. In fact there are several places I am not allowed to go due to the fact that I do tell these people that they are in fact stupid and dont deserve to work any where better than Taco Bell or said restaraunt. Yes in fact I do do that. I know they prolly dont understand some of the big words that I am yelling like, "Taco, NO, Sourcream, no lettuce, beef" things like that that can get confusing. So my sister goes most places for me now, so that we can get food that hasnt been spit in.

By Blogger Softball Slut, at 3:04 PM  

You're so hilarious, man. I wish I were half as funny as you are. Either that, or I wish that I had ridiculously ludicrous encounters with other people. Either that, or I wish I had a million dollars. Yeah, probably a million dollars.

By Blogger Analyst Catalyst, at 3:22 PM  

This is scary. It reminds me of the time I got two flat tires on the car I bought. I had to take it to the dealer because the guy I bought the car from had neglected to give me the keys for the wheel locks. (apparently he thought if I had driven carefully, those tires would last me forever) ANd only Honda has the master keys, so the only way to get those tires off is to deal with Honda, no matter how incompetent they are.

So I buy four wheel nuts (without locks) from the braintrust at Honda, and give them to the mechanic. He fixes the flat, puts the tires back on (with the locks I don't have the keys for) and hands me back the nuts I just bought because I was apparently confused since I didn't need them because "you weren't missing any nuts".

By Blogger HomeImprovementNinja, at 3:22 PM  

I think the option with the unicorn involved almost made me have to go into lie-down-on-the-floor-in-order-to-try-to-stop-laughing mode, man. I had to call the Twin to tell her to read it, and then I sent her the link to make SURE she reads it, and then I dictated half of it to her anyway!

I really, really, really needed that laugh.

And did this happen in April or was it just this past weekend? Are you aware that you're living one month behind? :P

By Blogger Faith, at 3:41 PM  

one month..more like 2 months behind...

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:46 PM  

Yes, thank you for bringing that error to my attention. Here's the sad part: Not only do I not know what month it is, but when I looked up at the calendar to see what month it is, my calendar said "April." Because I haven't been motivated to change my calendar since . . . April.

By Blogger the belligerent intellectual, at 3:57 PM  

What did that tire story mean? It went right over my head.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:10 PM  

I think the last one is b. Or c. Yep.

By Blogger ❉ pixie ❉, at 4:14 PM  

I just clawed my own eyes out over that story. Which of course made it more difficult to read.

See, that's another great moment to have in a relationship. You had each other there to savor it. Yes, that really did just happen. A built-in witness...

By Blogger MonkeyPants, at 4:24 PM  

anon, if I didn't have the keys for the wheel locks (which is why I had to go to the dealer to take the tires off) then I didn't need the locks put back on when they finished fixing the tires. That's why I bought 4 nuts (one for each tire) so that when they took the locks off, they could replace them with the nuts that I wouldn't need a key for.

After he fixed the tires, he put the locks (that I didn't have the keys for) back on the tires, then gave me back the wheel nuts that they had sold me a half hour before.

Anyway, there's more to the story, but the rest of it isn't as interesting as this wasn't so I won't go into it.

By Blogger HomeImprovementNinja, at 4:25 PM  

That was beautiful. I cheated on the multiple choice questions, though. I hope that's okay.

By Blogger the next great genius, at 4:30 PM  

And thanks to Anonymous's comment after mine, we know that you aren't alone in your "what month is it?" challenged state-'o-mind.

Perhaps your mom is right...maybe we do need to worry about how much we drink after all. Sheit.

But this is what I appreciate about your blog, man. Not only do you make me laugh so hard, I almost pee my pants, you also give me the freedom to find mistakes in your post and correct you on them. From one former English major to another, I salute thee on the fact that you ain't perfect, either. Thank GOD...

By Blogger Faith, at 4:33 PM  

OK, a tongue depressor?! HOLY SHIT! And TG still drank it? That is one dedicated woman! I mean, I don't think it's standard equipment at McD, which can only mean it came from an outside source! eeek.
Oh, and I too was hoping for the unicorn (maybe singing Shakira Shakira! DAMN.

By Blogger lena, at 5:13 PM  

I have been reading your blog for a while now, so I thought I'd leave a comment as a symbol of my enjoyment.

On the subject of poor fast food restaurant service, my boyfriend and I actually have a little experiment in progress concerning a local fast food restaurant (that will remain un-named) and its employees' uncanny ability to screw up our salsa request. We are recording our results in a spreadsheet. So far, our only reliable finding is that if you want no salsa packets to be placed in your take-out bag, ask for extra salsa.

By Blogger Frug, at 6:04 PM  

Nice. I almost burst out laughing in my mind-numbing temp training. Then I remembered I was supposed to be caring about "customer service." Oh well.

By Anonymous Vadim, at 6:43 PM  

This is so funny I started crying at work. that never happens. thanks.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:12 PM  

Every time I take a girl to McDonalds, she never wants to see me again. Think there's a connection?

By Anonymous slinkybender, at 7:14 PM  

Actually, this sounds like excellent service, when compared with the McDonald's transactions I've had in my life. Sounds like you got premium customer service that day in addition to the premium coffee. Which I'm betting tasted like premium sugared sewage.

By Blogger karla, at 7:33 PM  

I don't know what I would have done in that situation.

McDonalds is the most horrible restaurant ever. Not only does the meat there make me throw up, but when I was 6 I bit into a hamburger that wasn't cooked. Like blood was collecting in the center. This happened twice. Another time there was a really long hair in my burger. I don't eat at McDonalds anymore.

You are such a wonderful person for not laughing.

By Blogger FlippingChipmunk, at 7:41 PM  

this sounds like it could have been one of those MASTERCARD commercials...PRICELESS

By Blogger Shopaholic KitKatWoman, at 7:43 PM  

I read this to my family and my sister was almost crying she was laughing so hard. Probably your best post ever. I also had the (mis)fortune to come across this while at work and I think I pissed off my boss because I would stop chuckling and muttering things like "bannana coffee, priceless". Fan-friggin-tastic.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:39 PM  

I think they are trying to pull a Starbucks with that banana + coffee bullshit. Bananas and coffee go together like Ann Coulter and a back alley abortion performed with a hanger. Okay well actually I kinda wish Ann Coulter had been aborted using a hanger in a back alley, but I don't think bananas and coffee go together.

In any case, this is your funniest post in a long time. I am watching Lewis Black on HBO and was laughing at that but then realized I was laughing louder at this post. You are funnier than Lewis Black. You should have your own comedy special.

*smile*

By Blogger Carrie Broadshoulders, at 10:56 PM  

Gah! (and yet I love their fries & hash browns)

By Blogger shirley, at 11:01 PM  

Oh...my....god.....I work in retail, and my store is currently having some kind of refresher course in customer service. I think I'm going to print this out and post it in our stockroom. I hope you don't mind. You'll be even MORE famous. Take that - fellow reunion-goers!!!

But no matter what, that's soooo bad....I would have gone nuts after the second cup was handed to me. You were so patient!

By Blogger Mollypalooza, at 11:03 PM  

That's reminiscent of my jaunt into a discount department store in the mall where I'm gainfully employed.

They new guy's cash register froze up and he called for assistance, and every single person who came by (there were 5 in total) simply looked at the screen futzed with the key a bit and then blankly stated that "Peggy should be called"

Then there was a lot of wringing of hands and stnading around when it occured to everyone that Peggy was predisposed.

Finally the fat one decided that the problem could be remedied by simply rebooting the computer. I was on the tail end of my half-hour long break buying mix and gatorade for what was going to be an awesome night, so I calmly asked her how long it would be before evrything was up and running again because I work on the other side of "the world's biggest mall" and the woman responds by looking down and blowing her bangs out of her eyes while shrugging.

I'm getting annoyed at this point so I ask at her to "ballpark it" and she responds 2 minutes, was that so hard.

Like, I get that your job sucks, but suck it up, you know?

By Blogger team gingerbread, at 11:39 PM  

BI: I think the answer to the final set of questions is (b) -- simply because it is absurd and I can totally seeing it happen!

Carls Jr has a knack for screwing up orders. I always order my Six dollar burger with NO CHEESE, which I say at least twice to make sure they heard me -- and of course, it's on the order screen "- AMER CHEESE" -- and they even repeat the order back. Apparently, once it leaves the order taker, it doesn't matter what you ordered or what Order Taker confirmed because it invariably ends up "+ AMER CHEESE" instead.

And what the heck is up with banana syrup in coffee? And at McD's, no less?!!?


Bird Girl

By Blogger Bird Girl, at 11:48 PM  

Friggin funny blog! I don't know if they've got the "smile guarantee" here in Canada, but when/if they do, I'm gonna write about what happens when I try to enforce it.

I don't get the tongue depressor part though...your GF still drank from it???

By Blogger Allegria_du_soleil, at 11:54 PM  

You should really write a complaint letter to McDonald's. I am sure they wouldn't condone their employees behaving that way.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:10 AM  

I like multiple choice posts, kinda like those books that allows you to choose your own ending.

Anyway, "TONGUE DEPRESSER?!!" WTF? That would have been it for me, right after I saw that it would have gone straight into the Mc Trash.

By Blogger Jenni, at 9:28 AM  

Wow, you should have attempted to enforce the guarantee...although, yes, you'd probably still be there...

great story as always

By Blogger djmetronome, at 9:53 AM  

Seriously, though, what the hell do you expect when you go and order something like "Premium Iced Coffee" at McDonald's? Why not get that at a place that sells Iced Coffee? Is it just so you can get some material for your blog? I can't wait to hear about how difficult it is to get a cheeseburger at Starbucks.

Has The Girlfriend ever been to McDonalds and/or New York before? Asking for something like Splenda could be grounds for justifiable homicide for either the counter staff or the line of people waiting behind you to get understandable menu items like McGriddles.

By Anonymous Clancy, at 10:04 AM  

Just so everyone doesn't think that The Girlfriend is a depraved lunatic, we later reasoned that the tongue depressor was meant to be used as a stirrer. It was simply confusing to see it sticking out from where a straw ought to be. Also confusing was that it was an indication that an employee thought ahead and tried to convenience us.

By Blogger the belligerent intellectual, at 10:25 AM  

oh my god - im astounded by the braindead-ness of it all!

By Blogger AMS, at 10:56 AM  

i'm amazed at your persistence and the fact that you didn't just go bonkers after that!

By Blogger Sub Girl, at 11:08 AM  

Gawker.com loves you.

You were cited to again!

By Blogger verbald, at 11:18 AM  

Wow. Clancy must have a tongue depressor up his/her ass. It was FUNNY, you troll.

By Blogger Faith, at 11:29 AM  

I'm lovin' it. really I am.

By Blogger Pink Lemonade Diva, at 11:30 AM  

This was the hardest multiple choice test I've ever taken. I only got, like, 1 out of 9!

By Anonymous Mark, at 11:52 AM  

Wow. That is horrible.

I give you and the gf kudos for sticking it out. I would have left before they got it right.

And thanks for giving me a flashback to my childhood. Your post read like a "Choose Your Own Adventure" book.

By Blogger hanmee, at 1:24 PM  

You should have accidentally spilled the banana coffee on the counter and then asked for a new coffee.

You repeat until they get it right.

McDonalds is not housebroken, apparently.

By Anonymous Jorge, at 1:45 PM  

one of your funniest posts. oh my fucking god. banana coffee.

By Blogger Vesper, at 1:48 PM  

I'm experiencing a bit of a blog draught myself so I went to McDonald's today hoping the lousy service would inspire me. Instead I found the lousy service uninspiring. They can't even get that right.

By Blogger Cupcake, at 2:50 PM  

I am leaving you this comment from beyond the grave, because this post? Fucking killed me.

By Blogger Fraulein N, at 3:00 PM  

that is unbelievably funny. so so true. the hapless victims of the least common denominator...there are some total IDIOTS in this world.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:57 PM  

This was the funniest thing I think you've ever written. Right up there with the whole organic deoderant thing. Brilliant.

By Blogger Heather B., at 4:43 PM  

Dayum, boy. I'm trying to get caught up with your blog, but you just keep writing and it keeps getting funnier and funnier.

I'm going to have to check out this incredible "smile guarantee" for myself.

By Blogger p_is_for_payj, at 4:59 PM  

Thank God... I'm not the only one this happens to.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:03 PM  

Ahh, yes, is this the same McDonalds that, when I asked for Spelnda, they gave me a packet of ketchup and BBQ sauce? And I had ordered only ketchup, nothing to so much as imply to necessitate BBQ sauce.

By Blogger Anna, at 12:58 AM  

A riot! You rock.

By Anonymous babyoog, at 11:08 AM  

hysterical.
i think i know the mcdonald's. 57th & 6th.

not that i've ever eaten their food.

in the past 10 minutes.

By Blogger ionca, at 2:34 PM  

I pick B! Wow, I can't believe the stupidity of some people, it's really quite shocking - you should write a book. I'll definitely buy it.

By Blogger Beechball, at 6:04 PM  

Unbelievable! I had no idea there were people out there so brain-dead -- even among those working at McDonald's. And I'm going to have to side with everyone else here... banana coffee? Sick!

By Blogger Nicole, at 6:20 PM  

That was totally stoopid and lame.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:27 PM  

I was stunned by the stupidity but had to stifle so many guffaws at work that I was literally in tears! This single post actually made me fall in love with you. Nothing sexual, although you are a cutie, but just more of a "big-boy crush." So, no worries. lol

By Blogger Dwight, at 11:23 AM  

ICE COFFEE at Micky "D"s? What the hell, we dont have that in Cali. I'm e-mailing them this minute!

By Blogger Brandi Love, at 2:32 PM  

Can I have a banana coffee please?

By Blogger Brookelina, at 10:49 PM  

The tongue depresser was the little wooden stick we use to stir the coffee to mix in the cream and sugar and stuff. It's not really a tongue depresser. And I feel your pain. I work at McDonalds during to summer and I've worked with some pretty brain-dead people over the years. Not everyone there is stupid, though. I sometimes want to wear a sign that says "I only work here to pay off the part of my tuition that my 13,000 dollar a year academic scholarship doesn't cover." Maybe then the customers would treat me like an intelligent human being instead of some lower life-form. Customers can be so snooty and stuck-up sometimes... Not always, but probably about 1 in 5.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:58 AM  

I so enjoyed reading this entry from the beginning to the end. This is good. Very good. Thanks for the post!

By Blogger Mandy, at 4:25 PM  

Had a similar incident. I ordered a large and a medium. The large was only as full as the mdeium. They refused to fill up the cup. Unbeleievebale.
So I asked for an igredient list just to find out what was in it. Don't have it. The mcdonald's site doesn't list it. They must be afraid of the ingredients as the stores, nor the mcdonalds corporate office will divulge the ingredients, must be another really BAD FOR you product. Based on their secrecy I will stop purchasing from them anbd I think everyone else should as well.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:48 PM  

I will not be mean to you, Mr. "COOL GUY" but I do hope you understand the saying, what goes around comes around or the definition of the word karma..........so when the days comes when you would like some compassion, now matter how small or insignificant the situation, i hope for your sake you will have to deal with someone as heartless and ignorant as you obviously are.
WOW!!!!!!!!!!

By Anonymous Nicole, at 11:20 AM  

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