Let’s face it: fast food is a HUGE deal in America. In 2000, Americans spent more than $110 BILLION FUCKING DOLLARS on fast food. McDonald’s alone serves more than 64 MILLION customers a day. These numbers, true, are more than ten years old, so just extrapolate out from there.
Thankfully, this isn’t one of those preachy articles that tell you not to eat fast food because it makes you incredibly fat, unhealthy, gassy and miserable. This is AMERICA, damnit, and that’s the way we like it. This is an educational article to make your fast food experience more satisfying.
#1: Check Yo’ Shit
More and more modern drive-thru fast food places have a little screen when you place your order. It looks something like this:
See where it says “Confirm Order Here”? That’s because you’re supposed to confirm your fucking order. If you order seven cheeseburgers and a small order of fries, and what shows up on the screen is “(2) Chicken McBullets”. say something.
“Hey, that’s not what I ordered.”
“That is not correct.”
“I don’t think you got my order right.”
Say. Something. That’s what it’s there for. Trust me, the person on the other end of the headset isn’t going to mind that you are trying to make sure it’s right, because even the laziest, stupidest fast food employee knows “Customer gets food customer wants, customer no yell.” Take the extra 30 seconds and make sure the screen says exactly what you want to stuff into your face.
#2: Check Yo’ Shit Again
When you pull up to the next window to pay, have some sort of idea what your total will be. Only ordered a drink? Chances are your bill won’t be more than a dollar or two. Ordered a family feast for all your hobo cousins? Be prepared to shell out more. That being said, pay attention to what the person at the window says to you. Most restaurants train their cashiers in the drive-thru to repeat the total to the customer, to avoid mistakes like paying for the wrong car’s order (which can set your wait times into the tens of minutes).
#3: Check Yo Shit Again, Again (Noticing a trend?)
When you receive your food, give it a quick run-through. No, you’re not offending the person who handed it to you, because there’s a chain of people (as many as 15) who were involved with: taking your order, taking your money, making your food, wrapping your food, bagging your food, making and capping your drinks, and finally handing it all out to you in a goal time of three minutes or less. It’s amazing, really. So you (as the customer) taking the 10 seconds or so to look and see that what you ordered is in the bag isn’t harming anyone. It’s a heck of a lot faster and more efficient than pulling away and driving to work only to discover you got a salad instead of your delicious GargantuBurger.
#4: When Ordering, Don’t Be A Dick
Look, we all know working in a fast food restaurant isn’t fun. Most people make minimum wage, are constantly hot, stressed, and maybe not stunningly intelligent. Most. So, when you’re ordering your food, take the time to speak clearly and slowly enough that everything can be inputted correctly. This is especially important while ordering inside the restaurant, because cashiers may have their attention split between different duties (brewing coffee, making ice cream, singing birthday songs, whatever.) The most important part of the process, though, is you realizing the order-taker ISN’T FUCKING PSYCHIC. They can’t read your mind. If they ask you a question, there’s a reason for it.
“What size?” means you should specify a size. Generally (but not always) there’s a Small, Medium and Large option. Granted, these differ and are a large part of America’s obesity epidemic (for example, the McDonald’s medium size is 22 ounces, the same as the small at Hardee’s), but that’s the option. If you have a question, ask. When patronizing Starbucks or ColdStone Creamery, you’re on your own.
“Would you like the meal?” means you should specify whether or not you’d like the “combo” or “value meal” or whatever that particular restaurant calls their sandwich, fries and soda combination. Yes, it comes with fries. Yes, it comes with a drink. Unless you’re Encino Man, you should know this.
Be patient, but order at a reasonable speed. If you’re done, say so. “That’ll be it,” or “that’s everything,” or “Order complete: Transferring motorized vehicle to next human interface device” would all work in communicating to the order taker you’re finished, rather than the pregnant pause that results from you not knowing what you want and not saying anything for ten or fifteen seconds. It’s like a bad first date. (The following conversation will be presented as thoughts)
Order taker: Is he done?
Customer: Do I want pie?
Order taker: This is taking a while, should I ask if he’s done? I’m not supposed to ask if he’s done. Is that rude? Will I get fired?
Customer: Man, I don’t know. That pie looks good.
Order taker: I need to finish this order, but I don’t want to ask if he’s done and get fired. Does he realize he’s taking this long?
Customer: You know what? I had pie for breakfast. I’m good.
(Customer then pulls forward without saying anything.)
Order taker: Is it because I’m not pretty?
All of that could have been avoided with a simple “…and that’ll be it.”
#5: If Your Shit Is Wrong, Say So
These tips are all designed to lessen the chances that your UnBelievaHugeBurger and fries get to you hot, fresh and trans-fatty, but let’s face it. Sometimes shit happens. Nobody’s perfect. If you find that your order’s wrong, say so. Don’t wait until next Tuesday to call the store and complain that your fries were cold a week ago. Frankly, they’re not going to give two teaspoons of a fuck.
If it’s wrong, they can fix it right away (see #3), or refund your money if you so desire. These things are much easier during the process than after, and it just gets harder, more aggravating and less satisfactory the longer you wait.
“But Zach,” you might be saying, “I have 9 kids and checking all their Joyful Meals takes too much time! When I get home and Little Suzy doesn’t have her dipping sauce, I can’t afford to drive back to the restaurant across town.”
Well, reader, you have a point. Again, though, shit happens. This is a chance to teach Little Suzy a life lesson about the best laid plans of mice and men, or some crap like that. Adapt and overcome. Which brings us to my last point:
#6 It’s Really Not That Fucking Important
Did you find a finger in your fries? Call the store, by all means. That’s ridiculous. Did the cashier call you a “Jew-hating bigot cocksucker?” Raise a riot! Did the fry cook toss boiling oil on your grandma? Feel free to call the corporate office. These things are valid, should-be-taken-care-of kinds of issues.
Was your $1.00 cheeseburger not so super delicious? Deal with it. Starving kids would shank you with their own rib bone for that fucking sandwich, you entitled prick.
Corporate fast food restaurants are designed, built, and run to ensure the dumbest people in the country can prepare food that doesn’t kill the general public as quickly and efficiently as possible. They should be given a fucking Nobel Prize for not systematically wiping us all off the face of the planet. Consider that the next time you whine about lukewarm fries. Yes, the food should be hot(ish) and tasty(ish), but if you’ve driven an hour from the drive-thru to your studio apartment then yeah, your food’s going to be cold, moron.
So, to wrap up:
- 1. Check your order before you pay.
- 2. Check your order when you pay.
- 3. Check your order when you get your food.
- 4. Don’t be a dick.
- 5. Don’t be a dick again.
- 6. Get over yourself.
If you follow these simple tips, I can guarantee at least a 75% increase in your “enjoyable fast food visit” ratio. Have any other tips you’d like to share? Let me know in the comments!
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- The Trick to Eating Healthy When You’re Eating Out, Beyond Common Sense (lifehacker.com)
- How This Fast Food Chain Is Eating McDonald’s Lunch in Asia (dailyfinance.com)