It seems self-evident to say this, but you don’t go to McDonald’s for the service. Nor do you go there for great-tasting food. #obvious
Wait a minute. Why the fuck do you go there?
Oh yeah. Now I remember. Because you’re in a hurry and you need to cram something barely edible in your fucking eat hole because you think you’re hungry. (Even though that’s a sensation you’ve never really experienced.) Yeah, it all comes back to me now.
I’ve been vegetarian for over eight months now, so I seldom go to McDonald’s. However, they are still an option for breakfast.
A meal consisting of an egg, a slice of American cheese, an English muffin, butter, hash brown and a coffee is mostly harmless. Like an idiot, for most of the past eight months, I ordered the #1 breakfast combo, the “Egg McMuffin” meal, and said, “No Canadian bacon.” They happily charged me $3.99 per visit and never bothered to tell me a cheaper option was available. Not once.
At McDonald’s the concept of “let the buyer beware” is very much motherfucking in play.
Why should a business give a flying fuck about the customer of all people?
Recently I became aware (from a source other than McDonald’s) that you can order a “egg and cheese biscuit meal” and it’s only $2.50. This includes the sandwich, hash brown and small coffee. I actually think this is a fair deal. As such, you won’t find it on the fucking menu. I vastly prefer an English muffin to their shitty biscuits, but at that price, I don’t quibble over the kibble.
In other words, all those times I ordered the #1 without Canadian bacon I was financially slitting my own throat to the tune of $1.49 per visit. Call it the McDonald’s “We Shit On Our Customers” tax.
Since I ate breakfast there about a thousand times during the last eight months I figure McDonald’s owes me a rebate of about $1,490. I won’t hold my breath.
As a vegetarian, I’m used to being charged full prices when forced (due to a lack of vegetarian options on the menu) to order something and say, “No meat.” You think, in the name of good customer relations, they would automatically lower the price a bit (still in their favor) or allow you to make a simple substitution.
“Instead of two pounds of solid sausage could I get extra mushrooms?”
But that’s not my beef with McDonald’s that prompted this post.
Sometime during these last eight months I became aware of a disturbing aspect of the drive thru process. During the part of the process where you provide payment (pit stop #1) you are unable to engage in the act of actual conversation with the human being because they have been transformed into a part of the machinery. It’s part Death Star and part pod ala The Matrix.
The human being is even adorned with pieces of technology. (The communication headset.) This aspect is more like the Borg and serves to make them impersonal and unapproachable. The McDonald’s approach to customer service in the drive thru emphasizes the concept: “NO TALKING!”
This is reinforced by the fact that during the entire time you are interacting with this drone employee, they are engaged in the act of talking to someone else. Namely, the person in the car behind you.
The entire interaction is designed to prevent you, the person handing over money, from being allowed the basic human right of speech.
Actually, I have to marvel at the system they have come up with. I tip my hat to you, McDonald’s. It is fiendishly elegant in simplicity and in the depths of evil.
I came up against this phenomenon the other day when I ordered off-the menu to get my little vegetarian breakfast. (Eggs don’t count since I practice ovo-lacto vegetarianism.) The order taker seemed confused and the little computer display said $2.69 when she ordered me to pull up to the next window.
I was concerned. I wanted to make sure she had taken my order correctly. So I needed to ask her a question. Gasp! She was busy chatting away with someone more important than me so I wasn’t allowed to speak. So I waited patiently. Thank you, Ghandi, for teaching me the trick of passive resistance.
Finally after enough time had passed she realized something was amiss. There was a stuck cog on the assembly line. She turned to me with a look of extreme irritation and asked, “Is there a problem?”
I merely wanted to ask a question. Who said anything about a “problem?”
She read back the litany of items that would become, at some point in my immediate future, a gross approximation of “breakfast.” The list was correct.
“That’s odd,” I said. “Last week it was $2.50. Have the prices changed?”
My curiosity was rewarded with the verbal equivalent of a sneer. “I wouldn’t know,” she said. “Prices change all the time around here.” Ah, yes. I see. This must be one of the helpful people who didn’t bother to mention how I was being ripped off the last eight months.
The rest of her helpful response was implied. “Look, I’m just a monkey. I like bananas. You say what you want. I push the button on the machine that has the matching picture. Somehow it worky. Then you give me a plastic card. I do the magic thing with the plastic card. The green light goes on and I give it back to you. Then you leave. Then I get my banana.”
By the way, another point of this story is inflation. Yes, my waistline. But also the prices at McDonald’s. A jump from $2.50 to $2.69 turns out to be a whopper (heh!) of an increase. 7.6 percent. That’s not too shabby in a shaky (heh!) economy, eh?
They ought to print “let the buyer beware” on their straws, napkins, wrappers and cups because I’m sure as hell not lovin’ it. For price increases like that you’d think they’d roll out the red carpet rather than shit on you.