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I'm Lovin' It
May 29, 2009 10:43 AM   Subscribe

"It's true that McD's hiring process and training is essentially getting you to breathe on a mirror, and, if it fogs up, you're in... but that doesn't mean we're all bad. Just that we're a mixed bag. A lot of the time, McDonalds is the only place that will hire teenagers or immigrants, regardless of their skills, especially in todays climate." McDonald's Talk

"How the heck do you tell customers you can't take their trash through the window? I tried the health violation thing, but they don't seem to care. I usually say, we're not supposed to, and there's a trashcan around the corner (hard to see if you're in the drive-thru). I've recently added on why we can't (health vio), as I just found out. Some chick got really uppity with me over it last week because I wouldn't throw her Hardee's crap out. Um, hello, honey, do I look like a trashcan (or a bank, for that matter)? I have problems with the cops who come through too (quote, "Yeah, what am I gonna put in it?"), who think they're damned special. Still, rules apply to them too. Anyway, ranting aside, original question, what's a good way to turn these folks down? I hardly seem rude when I tell them but they just don't get it, I guess. :/"
posted by netbros (92 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
just a quick perusal reminds me why I don't work in the service industry, and I suddenly like my job a little more.
posted by selenized at 10:47 AM on May 29, 2009 [5 favorites]


Whenever I order a Big Mac meal, I tend to eat the french fries first, and only after they are finished, I take the first bite off my burger. However, I noticed that most people eat their burgers first, or eat the fries and the burger together. Maybe there is a proper etiquette of eating the meal #1, but I am have never heard of it.

Overthinking a plate of beans Big Mac meal.
posted by amro at 10:53 AM on May 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


They'll all be replaced by robots within 10 years.
posted by delmoi at 10:54 AM on May 29, 2009


It's all a bad dream.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:56 AM on May 29, 2009


Developmentally Disabled Burger King Employee Only Competent Worker
posted by The Card Cheat at 10:56 AM on May 29, 2009 [7 favorites]


Whenever I order a Big Mac meal, I tend to eat the french fries first, and only after they are finished, I take the first bite off my burger. However, I noticed that most people eat their burgers first, or eat the fries and the burger together. Maybe there is a proper etiquette of eating the meal #1, but I am have never heard of it.

The proper thing to do is to eat the fries as quickly as possible, because nothing goes from tasty to gross as quickly as a hot McDonalds french fry. Once the fries are done, the proper thing to do is throw the Big Mac in the trash.
posted by Bookhouse at 10:59 AM on May 29, 2009 [15 favorites]


There's (still) a labour shortage where I live, so the overall quality of McD's staff has gone waaaaay down since I worked at one about 20 years ago, probably because the majority of the staff is about 14 years old. However, since the labour market, at least for entry-level positions has (slightly) cooled, I've noticed several fellows who are obviously immigrants, perhaps from Nigeria or Ghana working at several franchises around town (when KokuRyu Jr wants a cheeseburger, he gets a cheeseburger) owned by the same entrepreneur.

These guys are always cheerful, kind, considerate, attentive... kind of the ideal McD's worker. It's a shame their drive and work ethic is being wasted at a minimum wage job that has absolutely no benefit at all to society.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:06 AM on May 29, 2009


Now I'm reading in hopes that a post will explain:

1. Why their ice-cream machine is always broken or "being cleaned" regardless of what city I'm in or what time of day I go, and
2. Why they will only accept cash after hours at several locations regardless of what city I'm in.

I'm not even being snarky. I just don't understand and, having had to work in food service before, I know there's usually a good reason.

But I also sort of don't want to know, because then it quits being inexplicably funny to balance out its being irritating. I fear that if I know the reasons, I'll just be left with nothing but disappointment when these things happen... hm.
posted by Nattie at 11:07 AM on May 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


One of the more fascinating parts about Fast Food Nation was the revelation that fast food corporations take federal money for employee training programs ... then turn around and institute "zero training" systems engineering.

"We'll give you money if you train your employees and make them better citizens."
"Wonderful. OK, gotta go, I'm meeting with the guy that makes our cash register easier to use so we don't have to train anyone to use it."
"What?"
"Nothing."
"I missed that last part. Sounded like you said you weren't training anyone to do anything."
"I didn't say anything. More Coke?"
"Sure, thanks."
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:13 AM on May 29, 2009 [13 favorites]


If anyone wants to read about a restaurant that makes its employees wish they worked at McDonalds, here's my sad tale (courtesy of The Wayback Machine) of working at Lick's (for you non-Canadians, it's like McDonalds with an ice cream bar, an attempt at an old-timey ambiance, and singing employees).
posted by The Card Cheat at 11:15 AM on May 29, 2009 [4 favorites]


Got anything else besides a link to a LJ shop talk rant?
posted by futureisunwritten at 11:16 AM on May 29, 2009


Speaking of fast food, I'm curious to know the indoctrination process used by Chik-Fil-A corporate trainers. The employees there are always smiling, cheerful, helpful, and competent. They're also slightly glassy-eyed and exuding a whiff of desperation -- it's like every Chik-Fil-A is a little Baptist Potemkin village designed to convince patrons of the righteousness of their cause. And the huge murals in the back with the smiling children... it's creepy.

But they make tasty chicken sammiches. And, hey, peach milkshakes. Nom.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 11:18 AM on May 29, 2009 [6 favorites]


breathe on a mirror, and, if it fogs up, you're in

So... no vampires then?

Racists.
posted by LordSludge at 11:19 AM on May 29, 2009 [6 favorites]


They'll all be replaced by robots within 10 years.
Oh no! That how it will begin!
posted by ddaavviidd at 11:20 AM on May 29, 2009 [5 favorites]


I did 4 ½ years at Burger King as a teenager. I used to dream of working behind a desk in front of a computer. It would be the greatest thing in the world. I’d never have any problems, nothing to complain about. Life would be good. I would be surrounded by smart people and we would all live in an environment based on mutual respect.

I sure do miss Burger King.

“This is my shake machine. There are many like it, but this one is mine…”
posted by bondcliff at 11:24 AM on May 29, 2009 [26 favorites]


Got anything else besides a link to a LJ shop talk rant?

One evening a family brings their frail, elderly mother to a nursing home and leaves her, hoping she will be well cared for. The next morning, the nurses bathe her, feed her a tasty breakfast, and set her in a chair at a window overlooking a lovely flower garden.

She seems ok, but after a while she slowly starts to lean over sideways in her chair. Two attentive nurses immediately rush up to catch her and straighten her up. Again she seems OK, but after a while she starts to tilt to the other side. The nurses rush back and once more bring her back upright. This goes on all morning. Later the family arrives to see how the old woman is adjusting to her new home. "So Ma, how is it here? Are they treating you all right?" they ask.

"It's pretty nice," she replies. "Except they won't let you fart."
posted by netbros at 11:24 AM on May 29, 2009 [34 favorites]


BitterOldPunk: I've been told Chik-fil-a screens for devout Christians by asking every potential employee the following trick question during the application process: "Would you be willing to work on Sundays?"

(The counter-intuitively correct answer in this case being "No, I won't work on Sundays," of course.)

That may be why you're picking up on a peculiar commingling of superficial missionary zeal and underlying desperation.
posted by saulgoodman at 11:25 AM on May 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


Speaking of fast food, I'm curious to know the indoctrination process used by Chik-Fil-A corporate trainers. The employees there are always smiling, cheerful, helpful, and competent. They're also slightly glassy-eyed and exuding a whiff of desperation -- it's like every Chik-Fil-A is a little Baptist Potemkin village designed to convince patrons of the righteousness of their cause. And the huge murals in the back with the smiling children... it's creepy.

This is true also of In'N'Out, and the Baptist vibe is reinforced by the Bible verse code that they print on the bottom of all of their disposable soft drink cups and burger wrappers.
posted by blucevalo at 11:27 AM on May 29, 2009


Card Cheat, you graduated two years after I did and your parents' basement is in the same town as mine... do I know you? Bizarre. Also, Lick's is OK. But the singing is indeed forced - to the extent that if scorn could spoil food the expressions on every Lick's employee would render the meal inedible every time those poor bastards sing.
posted by GuyZero at 11:29 AM on May 29, 2009


I know, I post alot, but this one is not entirely about renos!

We have this new girl, and we get a long pretty well. It was pretty boring last night, so I gave her a tour of downstairs. I showed her the boys changerooms where the spare parts cupboard is, and also a door which has a sign saying "DO NOT ENTER! DANGEROUS" For the first time in 6 years, I noticed that the padlock wasn't attached properly.

I had always thought there was electrical stuff behind the door, but it was like a SECRET PASSAGE! The floor of the passage was half a metre below the floor of the changerooms. The passage was narrow, dark and obviously hadnt been cleaned in a long, long time. We crept along the passage, turned a corner, and it kept on going.


I was so excited. We are going to explore a bit more next time we work together but bring a phone and a drink in case we get locked in. BTW I dont actually think the passage is that dangerous, but they dont want people going down there.



Fascinating.
posted by Tapioca at 11:31 AM on May 29, 2009


I've been told Chik-fil-a screens for devout Christians by asking every potential employee the following trick question during the application process: "Would you be willing to work on Sundays?"

That's effing brilliant. Especially since Chick-fil-A is closed on Sundays anyway.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 11:34 AM on May 29, 2009 [3 favorites]


bondcliff wrote: I’d never have any problems, nothing to complain about. Life would be good. I would be surrounded by smart people and we would all live in an environment based on mutual respect.

I sure do miss Burger King.


A friend of mine is pastor of a small church. A couple of years ago, during a financial crunch, her salary was cut. She made up some of the difference by taking a job at a liquor store. She said it was oddly pleasant to do a job where each task was repetitive and simple, and where once she clocked out, she knew she really was done for the day; nothing to take home, nothing even to think about really, because the next day's tasks would be the same: simple, immediate, repetitive. It was restful after nearly 20 years in various responsible professional positions--especially pastoring, which is a boundary-less kind of job.
posted by not that girl at 11:35 AM on May 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


netbros: Cool. I try to do the old cheek lift on the sly myself.

The Card Cheat: I've never heard of Lick's but good lord, it's like they were thinking "Hmmm, how can we make this even MORE degrading for the minimum wage employees?" I never worked in fast food but I've waited enough tables and sung happy birthday insincerely enough times to make my lazy ass go back to university.
posted by futureisunwritten at 11:35 AM on May 29, 2009


"This is true also of In'N'Out, and the Baptist vibe is reinforced by the Bible verse code that they print on the bottom of all of their disposable soft drink cups and burger wrappers."

Maybe, but they treat and pay their employees better than just about any other fast food place. I don't think the religion of the cups and wrappers has any effect on hiring.
posted by krinklyfig at 11:38 AM on May 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


Speaking of fast food, I'm curious to know the indoctrination process used by Chik-Fil-A corporate trainers.

That's a two-parter:

1. Chick-Fil-A Leadership Scholarship
2. The Christian values that power the place trickle down, according to my SO's brother who worked there, from CEO to night-shifter. Everyone's super duper positive, they don't have to work crap hours, and everyone gets Sunday off.

Plus, I imagine there's some joy to be had at the prospect of making fast food that's actually good, and not good as far as fast food is concerned.
posted by SpiffyRob at 11:40 AM on May 29, 2009


> The Card Cheat: I've never heard of Lick's but good lord it's like they were thinking "Hmmm, how can we make this even MORE degrading for the minimum wage employees?"

Check it out (singing at 1:34). After I quit my job at Lick's I moved over to Subway, which felt like a Workers' Paradise by comparison (until I got fired, but that's another story).
posted by The Card Cheat at 11:41 AM on May 29, 2009


If anyone wants to read about a restaurant that makes its employees wish they worked at McDonalds, here's my sad tale (courtesy of The Wayback Machine) of working at Lick's (for you non-Canadians, it's like McDonalds with an ice cream bar, an attempt at an old-timey ambiance, and singing employees).
posted by The Card Cheat at 1:15 PM on May 29 [1 favorite +] [!]


But man is the food good there. I would kill one hundred kittens with a pair of yard shears if it meant they would open one in Winnipeg. It's the best veggieburger I have ever eaten, anywhere.
posted by WinnipegDragon at 11:42 AM on May 29, 2009


Wait wait, wait. Wait. Hold on a minute, here. Peach milkshakes? Peach? BitterOldPunk, do you visit a Chick-fil-a on the corner of AWESOME and SERIOUSLY AWESOME? I live in Houston and I love me some Chick-fil-a and I have never seen such a thing as a peach milkshake. Sounds like, I don't know, unicorn nuggets or salad-made-with-actual-ambrosia.


Damn it, I never even knew I was missing out on peach milkshakes, and now I won't be happy till I get one. From Chick-fil-a.



Also, speaking of indoctrination, I've heard that Chick-fil-a employees are required to respond with, "It's my pleasure" any time someone thanks them for anything. And I've noticed they always, always do. I've heard they get fired if they don't say "It's my pleasure." Is this true? If so, I'm kind of delighted and terrified.

On an unrelated note my nephew calls it "Chickful Play," which is wonderful.
posted by Neofelis at 11:43 AM on May 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


This is true also of In'N'Out, and the Baptist vibe is reinforced by the Bible verse code that they print on the bottom of all of their disposable soft drink cups and burger wrappers.

What? the only indoctrination In N Out does to their employees is the "We're paying you a lot more money than the burger joint down the street, please work your ass off accordingly" sort.

Those bible verses are so hidden and tiny they really don't count.
posted by sideshow at 11:43 AM on May 29, 2009


And he is most certainly not a devout Christian, though I wouldn't put it past him to have fooled them into thinking he was.
posted by SpiffyRob at 11:44 AM on May 29, 2009


They'll all be replaced by robots within 10 years.

Teleoperated (possibly humanoid) robots, I'll bet. Check out Monty serves coffee and Monty does the dishes, work in progress by Trevor Blackwell and Anybots.
posted by zippy at 11:45 AM on May 29, 2009


How the heck do you tell customers you can't take their trash through the window? I tried the health violation thing, but they don't seem to care. I usually say, we're not supposed to, and there's a trashcan around the corner

Sheesh, FINALLY I have a place and excuse to vent about something my ex did all the time. I hated, hated, hated that she would ask drive-up people to take her trash. I would never think to do such a thing. I didn't think it was that common, but I guess it is. Gross.

But that explains why a nearby McD has a trash can, complete with reach-the-car-window chute, right at the end of the drive through. I wondered if people were actually eating their meals in the time between the pickup window and the end of the driveway.

Also, I just had lunch and am in the third stage of a Big Mac meal: regret.

Stage 1: craving. 2: eating.
posted by The Deej at 11:46 AM on May 29, 2009


Lick's has tasty burgers, but it is so awkward waiting in line, besieged by all that awful, unenthusiastic and off-key singing droning, that I prefer to use the drive-through window.
posted by cardboard at 11:53 AM on May 29, 2009


Between Chik Fil A and In n Out, I guess the religious know something about making fast food.
posted by Bookhouse at 11:54 AM on May 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


Wait wait, wait. Wait. Hold on a minute, here. Peach milkshakes? Peach? BitterOldPunk, do you visit a Chick-fil-a on the corner of AWESOME and SERIOUSLY AWESOME?

You should visit North Carolina and go to a Cook-Out. It's kind of hard to read, but here's their menu... milkshakes are on the right. The list itself is impressive, but what's even cooler is that each milkshake actually contains its name. That is, a banana fudge milkshake has actual bananas and hot fudge in it. A blueberry cheesecake milkshake has a slice of blueberry cheesecake ground up in it. Peach cobbler milkshakes have bits of peach AND bits of "cobble" in them. Heaven in a cup. And they're $2.19 a shake... or just an extra dollar to replace your drink in one of their enormous sub-$5 combos.

Leaving Cook-Out behind may be the worst thing about moving out of NC.
posted by musicinmybrain at 11:59 AM on May 29, 2009 [5 favorites]


Yeah, I don't think it's Jesus making In-N-Out burgers so damn good. High quality ingredients, limited menu, and $10-an-hour-to-start makes it good. Go into a McDonalds if you want to see immigrants scraping by at minimum wage with flash-frozen food. Go into an In-N-Out to see scrubbed, shining white kids flipping good burgers you can actually taste.

Now if we could just mix and match these variables, we'd actually have something...
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 12:01 PM on May 29, 2009


I worked at McDonald's when I was 16. It was awesome: free fresh McRibbs and hot-from-the-fryer fries!

I haven't eaten at a McDonalds since. It's been about 25 years. I guess I had enough.
posted by Cookiebastard at 12:02 PM on May 29, 2009


I worked at McDonald's when I was 16, and it was beyond any doubt the worst job that I have ever had. The manager regularly required me to work later than my work permit allowed, and covered his ass against having it discovered by simply not paying me for the extra hours worked. One of my co-workers decided that it would be funny to bump my elbow as I was pouring coffee, causing the coffee (you might recall that this would be the same coffee for which a large burn lawsuit was eventually filed and won) to pour all over my left arm, causing massive painful blisters. My manager responded by refusing to send me home of discipline my co-worker. It was a shit job working with shit people for a shit company.

With that out of the way, I'd like to relate a story told by a friend of a friend that I think you'll enjoy. I'm going to try to recreate it verbatim below:

I hadn't eaten McDonald's in something like ten years. One day I was really hungry and I had an inexplicable craving for it, so I stopped by the local franchise and had a Chicken McNugget meal. It was kind of gross, but it totally satisfied the craving, and I went on with my day. Later that night, I took a dump and my shit smelled like McDonald's food. God help me, that smell made me hungry for more.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 12:13 PM on May 29, 2009 [11 favorites]


> Lick's has tasty burgers, but it is so awkward waiting in line, besieged by all that awful, unenthusiastic and off-key singing droning, that I prefer to use the drive-through window.

Insider tip; if you specifically ask them to not sing when you place your order they will (happily, I'm sure) honour your request. Of course, it won't do you much good if there are people ahead of or behind you in line...
posted by The Card Cheat at 12:18 PM on May 29, 2009


Ever since McDonald's introduced their version of the Chik-Fil-A sandwich, I've been a little worried about Chik-Fil-A. McD's is obviously gunning for them. And if I get a craving for a Chik-Fil-A sandwich on a Sunday, I'm not above going to McDonald's for a "southern chicken" sandwich (complete with the pickle, which I must discard). Although I have to say that I wouldn't be sad if it put just enough pressure on them to make them be open on Sundays. But I'd hate to see them go away.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 12:27 PM on May 29, 2009


My understanding is that each Chick-fil-A is independently owned and operated, and that getting franchise rights is actually fairly difficult. While the nearest Burger King is on the cusp of going under, and the owner is quietly looking for offers on the building, and the managers are charging people for things they didn't want and often didn't even order in an effort to bring up the bottom line, the Chick-fil-A is doing well, and according to the managers, the business has been great, even with the shaky economy. For me, personally, it is really the only fast food I care to eat, and while I try not to eat it often, baring an emergency, it is the only fast food I do eat.

That said, lately they have started having the counter staff bring the tray of food to the customer as his or her table, as well as going around frequently to offer to bring refills, and even busing used trays, if people want to sit and chat after they eat. I don't know if this is all Chick-fil-A locations, or most, or only the one here, but it makes me very uncomfortable; they have enough work without being wait-staff on top of it all.

I try to wait for the tray, and take it to my own table, because I am certainly more than capable, but when I do I get a nervousness from the employees that makes me wonder if they might get in trouble for not serving me, which puts me in an awkward limbo.
posted by paisley henosis at 12:38 PM on May 29, 2009


I've been told Chik-fil-a screens for devout Christians by asking every potential employee the following trick question during the application process: "Would you be willing to work on Sundays?"

Jack Chick-Fil-A?

It'd be a hell of a tract outlining how the fast-food joint across the street is part of the homosexual agenda.
posted by sloe at 12:39 PM on May 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


You should visit North Carolina and go to a Cook-Out.

Plus you can combine any three milkshakes into one and have your banana fudge/blueberry cheesecake/peach cobbler milkshake! Brings a whole new level to the notion of a "suicide" shake.
posted by marxchivist at 12:42 PM on May 29, 2009


I simply can't stand Mcdonald's- their burgers are like greasy lumps and I'm not convinced their buns are made out of grain. Burger King is acceptable, the meat's better, and they toast the buns. I wish there In-n-Out was on the East Coast, I keep hearing stories but, like Trader Joe's, they're not in Maine.
Having staff sing at me in a restaurant would make me really, really uncomfortable and never go there again.

Oh, and I found out some more about Chick-fil-A's Christian values here on the Wikipedia.
posted by dunkadunc at 12:52 PM on May 29, 2009


I worked at McD's from 16-20. Still eat there occasionally, always wait for new fries with no salt, and then salt them myself.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 12:55 PM on May 29, 2009


These guys are always cheerful, kind, considerate, attentive... kind of the ideal McD's worker. It's a shame their drive and work ethic is being wasted at a minimum wage job that has absolutely no benefit at all to society.

I'd be careful to say what they do has "absolutely no benefit". Clearly, they made a positive impression on you. If people who work in higher tier fields see cheerful people working hard at the bottom, it just may have a spillover effect.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:57 PM on May 29, 2009


I did two and a half years at McD's in high school and it was a surprisingly positive experience overall. Good management I guess. Here is my favourite story:

I worked in the kitchen in the back and was often the shift leader, which involved assigning people to stations and making sure we had enough product (food ingredients, sandwich wrappers, etc) at the stations to last us through the rush. If you run out of something, you need to send a worker to the back storerooms to get more, which can be a pain if you're busy because you'll start to fall behind.

One very busy weekend lunch shift, we ran out of chicken for the McWraps. I sent one of the guys, call him "W", to go get some more. Unfortunately they were stored in the big walk-in freezer in the parking lot, so he had to go outside and hunt around for them. I knew he would be a while so I got someone to cover his station and we all got back to work. A few minutes pass... then a few more minutes... but the shift was so frantic that I kind of forgot about him. About forty minutes later one of the managers came back and said "where's W? Isn't he working today" Oh shit -- he's in the freezer!

The manager ran out and came back a minute later with a very cold and shivering W. His nose was running and his ears were bright red. He was triumphantly holding a bag of McWrap chicken. The door had slammed shut and the interior handle was broken. Wow.

About a year and a half later, W was fired for missing a shift. We were all sad to see him go, because he'd been popular and a hard worker, and only missed his shift because he lived far away and had trouble with his ride. But a week later, he was back as if nothing had happened. Turned out his dad called up the managers and threatened to sue for locking his kid in the freezer. They freaked out and gave him his job back. A happy ending for all.
posted by PercussivePaul at 1:04 PM on May 29, 2009 [15 favorites]


If anyone wants to read about a restaurant that makes its employees wish they worked at McDonalds, here's my sad tale (courtesy of The Wayback Machine) of working at Lick's (for you non-Canadians, it's like McDonalds with an ice cream bar, an attempt at an old-timey ambiance, and singing employees).

Aw, I loved Lick's. I guess I was always there on payday or something because the singing actually seemed pretty cheery and fun. Plus best fast burgers in T.O.
posted by Shepherd at 1:07 PM on May 29, 2009


That's it. I'm getting Chick-fil-a on the way home. It's payday, dammit.





(Although now I must visit North Carolina and eat all their tasty shakes too. I'm starting to realize how much my life is shaped by milkshakes. Hm.)
posted by Neofelis at 1:28 PM on May 29, 2009


Neofelis: here's the news about peach milkshakes. I guess they were test-marketing them at the store near me, because they had them the last time I was there, and then today when I stopped by (prompted by this thread, of course) I was told they'd be back in a week or so.

So I settled for a lemonade and salvation through Christ. (Hey, the combo's only 49¢ extra!)
posted by BitterOldPunk at 1:45 PM on May 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


Another McDonald's worker here (9 months when I was 16). I used to volunteer for the birthday parties because they were an easy way to kill a couple hours.

I also remember one day when the manager on duty got all wound up into a foul mood, and happened to come out of her office and survey the kitchen. And she saw a couple things that displeased her, because she started off on this full-bore rant at everyone -- "Doug, I TOLD you you need to stay on top of cleaning that ice cream machine! Don't stand there doing nothing, scrub that thing! And Lisa, keep an eye on the fries, they're getting burnt! And Sam, you have to wear a hat when you make the salads, I've told you thousands of times! And -- oh God, look at these napkin trays -- Bonnie, you're not doing anything, you should be staying on top of this! Go get napkins and fill these things! And Phil --"

And here, she had turned to Phil, who was stationed at the grill, putting a bunch of burgers together. Except -- when she turned to him, she saw that he actually wasn't doing anything wrong. He just looked back at her, startled, and there was a pause as we all waited to see what she'd say.

She blinked a few times, then took a deep breath, and with as much dignity as she could muster, she scolded him: "Phil, your pickles aren't straight!" And then she spun on her heel, went back into the office, and hid from us all for a few hours.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:07 PM on May 29, 2009 [6 favorites]


I always feel so guilty eating at Chik-fil-a, because of their connections with Focus on the Family, which among other things, runs an ex-gay ministry.

It's damn hard to avoid the temptation of the Chick-fil-a by my house, but I feel terrible every time I devour one of their tasty, tasty sandwiches, knowing full well that I'm going to use all those calories to go do so many gay things.

I think I'm going to start apologizing to them for it when I order.
posted by zylocomotion at 2:12 PM on May 29, 2009 [16 favorites]


I can tell you that the Chik-Fil-A employees at my university are the same brow-beaten gang-tattooed urban poor who could care less about providing good service and are just trying to make it through their day without killing a customer as you will find in the McDonald's, Wendy's, and BK. Subway on campus is a little better though for some reason. I'm not sure why.
posted by mrmojoflying at 2:25 PM on May 29, 2009


Graveyard shift at a Hardees in Utah that was the closest food source to the student dorms @ Weber State. I worked my way through my first year of college doing that 6 days a week with classes 6 days a week. Also, I'm not LDS. I view that time in my life as proper motivation to find something I was good at other than handing out free food to my friends at 3am on a Saturday morning.

It's no goddamn wonder I hated college.
posted by iamabot at 2:26 PM on May 29, 2009


I never even knew I was missing out on peach milkshakes, and now I won't be happy till I get one. From Chick-fil-a.

People, please.

Tasty milkshake recipe: good quality vanilla ice cream + part of container of frozen juice concentrate and milk to thin. Blend.

Peach? Lime? Orange? Lemon? Pomegranite? It’s all do-able. Anything they make a juice concentrate of. So next time you’re in the supermarket juice concentrate section, consider you have dozens of milkshake possibilities in front of you – most of them quite good.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 2:30 PM on May 29, 2009 [4 favorites]


I'm all for a Chick-Tract-Fil-A. "Depart from me, tasty nuggets, into the eternal hot oil which has been prepared for the customers!" The cartoons would be awesome.
posted by crapmatic at 2:39 PM on May 29, 2009 [7 favorites]


I'm all for a Chick-Tract-Fil-A. "Depart from me, tasty nuggets, into the eternal hot oil which has been prepared for the customers!" The cartoons would be awesome.

Yes yes yes a thousand times yes! Can we get someone with artistic talent over at MeFi Projects to get started on this? Please!
posted by barnacles at 2:42 PM on May 29, 2009


We have this new girl, and we get a long pretty well. It was pretty boring last night, so I gave her a tour of downstairs.
...
We are going to explore a bit more next time we work together but bring a phone and a drink in case we get locked in. BTW I dont actually think the passage is that dangerous, but they dont want people going down there.


Worst.
Penthouse Letter.
Ever.
posted by drjimmy11 at 2:47 PM on May 29, 2009 [3 favorites]


Also, who works at Chick-Fil-A on Sunday then?
posted by drjimmy11 at 2:48 PM on May 29, 2009


After hearing so much about them for so long, I finally tried an In-N-Out Burger a few months ago. It wasn't very good. The fries were soggy and the burger was cool. Both seemed just like normal fast food food, served badly (but with a smile!).

What was I missing? I know there are phrases people say at In-N-Out to get the toppings they want; is there some term for "I'd like my food hot, please"?
posted by The corpse in the library at 2:58 PM on May 29, 2009


No, I won't work on Sundays

Sweet, I never knew wanting to get drunk and watch football all day would pay off on a job application.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:10 PM on May 29, 2009


Durn Bronzefist: "Peach? Lime? Orange? Lemon? Pomegranite? It’s all do-able. Anything they make a juice concentrate of. So next time you’re in the supermarket juice concentrate section, consider you have dozens of milkshake possibilities in front of you – most of them quite good."

I wonder how the sauerkraut juice my local SPAR sells would go.

I keed, I keed.
posted by dunkadunc at 3:24 PM on May 29, 2009


Also, who works at Chick-Fil-A on Sunday then?
No one. (pdf link)
posted by The Esteemed Doctor Bunsen Honeydew at 3:31 PM on May 29, 2009


It's a popular misconception that McDonalds will hire anyone. I applied for a summer job when in university, and was turned down, told "you're overqualified to work here".
posted by Bugbread at 3:42 PM on May 29, 2009


I wonder if the Chick-fil-a associates at Paramus Park share the same positive attitude as those I saw in Virginia....
posted by mikelieman at 4:16 PM on May 29, 2009


delmoi: "They'll all be replaced by robots within 10 years."

Hell, sooner than that. It was over a decade ago that I went to a Hardee's at night and there was no visible human presence at all. A machine accepted money and a tray provided food. I am not kidding. I think it was a failed experiment though; that particular Hardee's location doesn't even exist now.
posted by JHarris at 4:53 PM on May 29, 2009


What was I missing? I know there are phrases people say at In-N-Out to get the toppings they want; is there some term for "I'd like my food hot, please"?

First, let us discuss the fries. In-N-Out fries are not your normal fast food fries, and they tend to be a lot less crisp than, say, McDonald's or Burger King's fries. That said, they shouldn't be soggy. Also, they actually taste like potatoes. Some people simply do not like them, and some people have to have them once or twice to get used to them. I, personally, like them.

As for your burger.. Something must have gone wrong. Seriously, seriously wrong. I have never had a cool burger at In-N-Out. In fact, most of the time, the burger is so piping hot that it's uncomfortable to eat the first one or two bites.

On behalf of California, Nevada, Arizona, and any other In-N-Out-containing states I've missed, I offer a humble apology for your cold burger and soggy fries.
posted by Ms. Saint at 5:20 PM on May 29, 2009


I worked at Taco Bell for two years in high school.

Worst. Job. Ever.

I had to deep fry taco shells and anything crispy that you eat there for four hour shifts. Well, I had to do the entire days worth (about 6 hours of work) in four hours. Or I didn't get paid extra. Standing over a deep fat fryer, hot sweaty and gross, smelly, filling up racks upon racks with corn tortillas and flour salad bowls, flipping them out faster than you could safely do it, I still have burn marks on my hands. You could not go fast enough if you wore two big gross greasy slippery gloves so you tried to get by on one and the other hand was always getting burned. Then you had to empty out all the grease at the end of the shift through a strainer and it went into this huge pot that probably weighed 70 lbs. when full of steaming hot grease, and lift the slippery thing up and dump it back in the fryer. I feared serious injury every time I did that. Another girl who did it did slip and fall and got serious burns and was rushed to the hospital.

The funny thing was, because I was under 18, I couldn't shred the lettuce or the cheese, because those machines were too dangerous for children. Running that machine would have been a piece of cake compared to the frying job. Twenty years later and I still have to explain to people from time to time why I have parallel line burn scars on my hand.
posted by Bueller at 7:32 PM on May 29, 2009


Also, speaking of indoctrination, I've heard that Chick-fil-a employees are required to respond with, "It's my pleasure" any time someone thanks them for anything. And I've noticed they always, always do. I've heard they get fired if they don't say "It's my pleasure." Is this true? If so, I'm kind of delighted and terrified.
Ex-Chick-fil-A employee here. It is in fact company policy that everyone should respond "my pleasure" when thanked. That said, I made it a point to say "You're welcome" instead, because I am not a freaking robot. It drives me nuts when I hear the Chick-fil-A employees saying "my pleasure." It's like encountering a cult member or a willing victim of mind control.
posted by JDHarper at 8:09 PM on May 29, 2009


drjimmy11: "Also, who works at Chick-Fil-A on Sunday then?"

Satan.
posted by Kadin2048 at 8:52 PM on May 29, 2009 [4 favorites]


It is in fact company policy that everyone should respond "my pleasure" when thanked

Next time I'm at a Chick-fil-A, should I say to the worker "thank you, and could you name one thing that is more important to you than the common good?"
posted by zippy at 8:53 PM on May 29, 2009 [5 favorites]


Between Chik Fil A and In n Out, I guess the religious know something about making fast food.

there's a chain of fried chicken take out stands in the upper midwest called chicken coop - they have religious stuff on their buckets, too - and their fried chicken is fantastic

they don't have chick-fil-a where i live - i went down to ft wayne and tried them out - very good, but - chicken coop is better - really
posted by pyramid termite at 9:08 PM on May 29, 2009


Between Chik Fil A and In n Out, I guess the religious know something about making fast food.

It all started with that loaves and fishes incident.
posted by Violet Hour at 9:28 PM on May 29, 2009 [10 favorites]


delmoi: They'll all be replaced by robots within 10 years.

The revolution is coming. The drive-through I went to last night had a little machine that automatically dropped the cup, passed it to the correct a nozzle, poured the drink, shake, or sundae you'd ordered, then put the corresponding lid on it.

I know this, because I sat and watched in fascination as it made a fudge sundae and strawberry sundae. Which, as it turned out, was its interpretation of the large strawberry shake and large OJ that I'd actually ordered. I'm guessing that somewhere in back was a similar machine that translated my order for a Big Mac into a Fillet'O'Fish. The fries, however, were correct.

I can only conclude, from the 15 minute wait from time of ordering to time of delivery of my incorrect order, that the computing horsepower involved in fucking things up that badly must be right at the limit of current CPU technology.

They still need humans, however, as the spatio-laminar calculations involved in putting the basket of fries in the bag upside-down remains too complex for mere robots to handle...
posted by Pinback at 10:14 PM on May 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


This thread has some of the best Snark I've ever seen on this site. Good job people.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:40 PM on May 29, 2009


My first job was at an I Can't Believe It's Yogurt.

Man, we had zero corporate oversight. It was like the anti-Mcdonald's. No wonder they went out of business. I was made manager at the tender age of 16 since I was the only employee who was fluent in English.

You haven't lived until you've tried to have sex with a co-worker in a walk-in freezer.
posted by bardic at 10:48 PM on May 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


My first job was at an I Can't Believe It's Yogurt.

Business really picked up after they changed the name from the original "Bullshit! This Ain't Yogurt."
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 3:07 AM on May 30, 2009 [6 favorites]


bardic, don't hold out on us with the awesome I Can't Believe It's Yogurt stories. Really.
posted by dunkadunc at 3:32 AM on May 30, 2009


About 10 years ago I did a freelance project for the owner of multiple locations of a major fast food franchise involving the creation of a training manual.

The most fascinating thing I learned was that due to the fear that a disgruntled employee might sabotage the food, every single product in the building was edible without the consumer suffering any long term health issues.

This included scouring pads, the mops used to clean floors, and all of the cleaning solutions.
posted by imjustsaying at 4:39 AM on May 30, 2009 [3 favorites]


mikelieman :I wonder if the Chick-fil-a associates at Paramus Park share the same positive attitude as those I saw in Virginia....

When the CFA bug bites, I'll trek with some friends from LI to Woodbridge Center. Is Paramus Park worth checking out?

As a devout agnostic, CFA chicken sandwiches are the only sliver of proof that there may possibly be a God.
posted by dr_dank at 8:08 AM on May 30, 2009


You haven't lived until you've tried to have sex with a co-worker in a walk-in freezer.

Tried?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:10 AM on May 30, 2009


>Chik-Fil-A ... employees ... are always smiling, cheerful, helpful, and competent.

I've noticed this too, though I've never picked up on any kind of Christian vibe. (Then again, I've only been to Chik-Fil-A a couple of times.) I just assumed they treated/compensated their employees well.

>here's my sad tale (courtesy of The Wayback Machine) of working at Lick's

I've been lucky; I've never worked food service. I hear tales like this, and I can't begin to fathom the people who manage these places. Don't they ever stop for a second to put themselves in the shoes of their employees? Don't they see how degrading it is? Flipping burgers for minimum wage for ungrateful customers is bad enough; what on earth is the point of subjecting your employees to ritual humiliation? Do they really think that forcing people to sing idiotic songs is going to improve staff morale, or that customers really want to hear that in the first place? Don't they see the astronomical turnover and think they might be doing something wrong?

>They'll all be replaced by robots within 10 years.

Seriously, I'm waiting for this to happen. Frozen food manufacture is almost entirely automated; why can't the same be done (on a smaller scale) for, say, take-out subs? There are already French-fry vending machines that cook your fries to order. Seems like it couldn't be too hard to build a machine with hoppers full of ingredients and reservoirs full of condiments, which builds a sandwich to order.

Then again, I guess a few minimum-wage employees are cheaper than a complicated robot. Let's just skip the robot and go straight to replicators.

(But a robotic bartender would be totally boss, and a lot easier to build.)
posted by ixohoxi at 12:09 PM on May 30, 2009


When the CFA bug bites, I'll trek with some friends from LI to Woodbridge Center. Is Paramus Park worth checking out?

I wouldn't know. I'm up in Albany, NY -- and the computer says Paramus is closest.

Woodbridge, huh? That's a maybe.... I have to roll to Staten Island in a few weeks...
posted by mikelieman at 12:46 PM on May 30, 2009


2. Why they will only accept cash after hours at several locations regardless of what city I'm in.

Classic waitron scam. Don't ring it in, say 'cash only', pocket the cash and attribute the inventory shortfall to wastage.

Go into a McDonalds if you want to see immigrants scraping by at minimum wage with flash-frozen food. Go into an In-N-Out to see scrubbed, shining white kids flipping good burgers you can actually taste.

Wow. Uhh.. emphasis added to point out how incredibly awful that comment was.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 1:23 PM on May 30, 2009


I worked at McDonald's for a summer when I was nineteen. I usually worked the opening shift, and one of my responsibilities was to rehydrate the dehydrated onion flakes for the hamburgers. The smell of the leftover water when the rehydration was complete still haunts me.
posted by tits mcgee at 6:40 PM on May 30, 2009


The smell of the leftover water when the rehydration was complete still haunts me.

Hah, I'll second that. And I'll raise you the Jaws-theme 'dun-un.... dun-un... dun-un... boop, boop,boop' sound of the grill when a run of hamburger patties is complete. When you're the guy flipping burgers that sound means stop what you're doing and get the meat off the grill before it burns. You hear it once a minute for your entire four hour shift. I would hallucinate hearing it in the shower when I got home after. I would smell the grease coming off me in the shower as well which didn't exactly help. Ah, memories.
posted by PercussivePaul at 11:33 PM on May 30, 2009


There's something about fast food in general that seems to expose the worst in both our society and in human nature–scumbag soulless corporate greed meeting greedy, soulless scumbag consumers. Despite the best intentions, something that most people on either side of the counter/drivethru window don't have, there is something unnatural about the fast food industry that turns you petty, impatient, vindictive, and cynical (I would recommend everyone work in fast food for half a year or a year to understand what that world is like, but not too long, to avoid any kind of permanent damage to your inner self).
posted by blue shadows at 1:36 AM on May 31, 2009


I would smell the grease coming off me in the shower as well which didn't exactly help. Ah, memories.

During the summer of my senior year of high school I worked at McDonald's before going to college. I had bad counter-service tendencies so I was on grill the entire time. Fels Naptha soap was the only thing I found that could completely cut burger grease. Sure, it also *burns* but that's not as bad as the smelly taint of grease tinged sweat weeping from your pores.
posted by mrmojoflying at 5:13 AM on May 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


I worked at a pizzeria/wings/subs place in high school, and for some reason we had plastic buckets that were originally used for McDonald's pickle slices, according to the label. We used those buckets to change the grease in our fryers. I was there for nearly four years, and I don't know how long we had those buckets before that, but they NEVER lost their pickle smell. There's something evil in McDonald's pickles.
posted by mzanatta at 7:10 AM on June 1, 2009


So then, burning question for haunted former employees: do these experiences keep you from fast food today?

My "never get the stink off" job involved doughnuts, and it took me years to get to the point where I could enjoy one again, but I now do.

Are the lot of you anti-fast food now? Just curious.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 10:27 AM on June 1, 2009


Are the lot of you anti-fast food now?

For the most part, yes, but not necessarily because of any real militant omg corporate fast food is evil militancy, or because of any hangovers from working there. I eat it rarely because, for the most part, it is expensive and it is crappy. If I want a burger, and I'm going to be shelling out upwards of $7 for my meal, I'm gonna go to a local place and get me a real burger.

Every so often I will still get something if I'm in a hurry and I'm hungry and I just need to eat something and don't really care. But that's once in a blue moon only.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:40 AM on June 1, 2009


Are the lot of you anti-fast food now? Just curious.

I worked late shifts as a dish washer at Po Folks one summer in high school. One especially hectic night, we ended up with an extra hand, a new hire, in the dish room and this guy was one of the mast amazing workers we'd ever seen, easily moving twice as many dishes as the rest of us could on our best days.

As busy as it was that night, the dish room didn't have enough work for all of us. So the kitchen manager put me on garbage duty. Before the garbage could go out back to the dumpster, the other guy on duty that night and I were required to do silverware check. This meant sifting through the garbage by hand as we transferred it from one container to another that was mounted with a special magnetic trap on its lid for catching stray pieces of silverware that had accidentally been discarded along with the food. It was, as you can imagine, not pleasant work.

But it wasn't nearly as disgusting as what came later that shift. Just as we were wrapping up garbage duty, the manager showed up at the back door and hustled us back to the kitchen in a rush to prep more chicken for the fryer. There must have been a pretty urgent shortage, because neither of us normally did this kind of prep work. And here's the disgusting part: he was so insistent we get started right away, he wouldn't even let us stop to wash our hands.

Still, much as I try to avoid the stuff, I do eat fast food fairly regularly. But I'm probably much more wary of specific restaurants that seem to show signs of having poorly managed kitchens than I would be if I'd never worked in fast food restaurants myself.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:25 PM on June 1, 2009


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