The Customers (The McDonald’s Story – Part 4)

We had plenty of experiences with interesting customers. There were the “regulars”, mostly older people who would order the same thing each time they came in. One guy ordered a cup of hot water with a slice of lemon. That’s all. We ran out of trays once and he threatened me that he’d sue the restaurant if he got burned while carrying his cup back to his seat. We got him a tray, he was happy. Nice guy, though, usually.

There was also a kind-hearted fellow who wore a faded baseball cap, had a pleasant smile and would order at lunchtime; one small Coke, one regular hamburger and one small fry. He thought I was a genius once when I brought the order to him before he even told the girl what he wanted. This was after the tenth time he had ordered the same meal.

There was also the seemingly crabby apple that would come in and bond with the equally crabby woman that I mentioned before. He softened up eventually. Looked like a cross between Walter Matthau and Bella Lugosi.

One day while I was suffering with laryngitis and a bad cough, I was still assigned to take drive-thru orders. I actually liked that part of the job. If it was really busy and we had enough people. One of us would be assigned to just take orders in drive-thru and get the drinks. Once I got the hang of the headset, I really liked talking through it to the customers. Anyway, while I had laryngitis, I remarked to yet another coworker, T2 (the one who casually proposed to me in the break room), that I sounded like Marge Simpson. He laughed which made me laugh but it was while I was taking an order in drive thru. The lady gave me her order, got the right food, went home and called to complain to my manager that I was laughing too hard and she couldn’t understand me. Obviously she understood me enough, she got her dang quesa dillah.

While there were temperamental, trying customers, we also had some who weren’t shy of praising us. A construction worker came in once and ordered a bunch of stuff while I was on duty. I was on that day, my memory was in tact. The grill was in tact too, and I could gather everything for him quickly. He watched in amazement and then asked if I could help him take everything to his truck. It was a nice break. I saw him again during another rush but I wasn’t waiting on him. He pointed to me and said to his cashier, “That girl is good!” It was a boost to my day, getting a compliment from a customer. He wasn’t trashing the girl who was helping him, but he recognized me from before.

Then there was another guy who would come in and flirt with me. On his way out the door, once, he gave me his number. A girl who was working nearby waited till he was gone and said, “Eww, throw that number away!” I didn’t, I called the guy but he turned out to be an obnoxious ass. He had me on speaker phone and some of his buddies were around laughing and giggling. I cut the conversation short (and it wasn’t much of one because he was giving me an audio tour of his roommate’s house over the phone). Lesson learned there. I threw his number out.

Another customer would come in and roll out one bad pun after another but it made us laugh. I caught him one day concentrating on my name tag. He asked, “Did you know that your name spelled backwards is ARAT?” I had never thought of it like that before so I said that to him. He must’ve forgot that he mentioned that to me, because the next time he came in he mentioned it again.

One guy came in and ordered a small fry, drink and a fish sandwich. He gave me the money for it but he was off by a few cents, so I told him. “Sir, you just owe three more ce…” He interrupted haughtily, “I don’t owe you anything.” We went back and forth like this a few times until either I sought out a manager or she noticed the interaction. I told her the situation and she recounted the money he gave me. To my relief, she confirmed it and said, “Okay, sir, you need to give us three more cents.” With that, he put the three cents down and while I put the money in the drawer he took his tray of food, threw it all out and left the restaurant. Um, yeah, I guess he showed us?

There was an animal hospital near the restaurant and my mom and I would take our pets to it when we lived in the area. I wish I had more nerves back then, but there was a guy who worked there that I liked. He came to the restaurant once during a lunch rush. We recognized each other and chatted all too briefly before we were both distracted by either a customer or the order taker. He got his order and disappeared into the crowd. The next time my mom and I had to go to that hospital, he wasn’t there anymore. I asked about him and they said he quit to become a paramedic. Double dog dangit. Part of me at the time felt embarrassed that he saw me in my McDonald’s outfit though, but I still think about him on occasion. Hope he’s doing well!

Ah lord, I almost forgot about the queen of all customers that came in one day! I even wrote a story about her for my writing class. It was a calm, sunny day, we were calming down from a lunch rush, and through the doors walked this lady in a bridal dress. The dress was beautiful, she was pretty, but her manners sucked. And guess who was the lucky one to take her order? Ack. Long story short, she was the first customer I served who asked for cheeseburgers without meat and with special onions. We only have one type and it wasn’t what she wanted. The veggie burgers were sent back three times, making her angrier. She finally got her order and flew off on her broom. I think she was the first of only a few customers who drove me to tears. Seems silly now, I would’ve handled it differently and probably wouldn’t have gotten so upset. But who the hell knows the inner workings of Tara’s mysterious world of magical moods.

I will end this post on a happy story! A woman came through drive-thru once, paid for her food and then paid for the person behind her in the next car. She didn’t know them at all. She then gave the cashier two angel pins. One for the cashier, another for the person she had just bought lunch for, and told my coworker “Tell them to pass it on.” We all thought that was really cool.

Anyway, a few more stories linger in my head from Mickey D’s, but they’re random and can wait till tomorrow. Until then, here’s another photo I took one night while we were closing up. This was another one of my favorite managers because she was so funny. Here she’s seen carrying a leftover salad in a special salad bag.



8 thoughts on “The Customers (The McDonald’s Story – Part 4)

  1. I luv your stories! That’s so cool about the construction worker and the angel pin lady. They make it worthwhile! That’s funny about the 3 cents though. Seriously, why get all huffy over a small meal dude? That horrible lady probably had a miserable life. People like that are always unhappy and I’ve learned to ignore them. It drives them crazy when they see you happy. So be happy!

    That’s so nice of you get your regular customers their regular orders. Less waiting! Great job!

  2. I worked at McDonald’s way back when I was in high school and a little after. I have only a few interesting stories including the bomb scare story that I posted on my old site. I’ve been reading this series and thinking back to my days under the golden arches. Thanks for sharing and keep it up.

  3. I had an interview at a McDonalds but I ended up cancelling because I was too scared of ending up smelling like French fries. I know…

    Sounds like you had a good time working at one. I suppose it has a lot to do with the colleagues.

  4. When I read stories like this or think over my own experiences and see how much people remember -good and bad, from even the most passing interaction it really makes me want to remember to praise people for their good service whenever I can.

  5. Eros: The guy who threw out his food after being proven wrong about the money has probably never been argued with in his life. I didn’t see the sense in him rebelling by throwing out his food. Silly.

    AlienCG: Wow, you had a bomb scare? Never had that in our restaurant (not that I know of). Our restaurant was struck by lightening once, but it was minor. I’m kind of wishing I had worked at McDonald’s while in high school.

    Tim: Well it wasn’t really on the menu, we just had to adapt. We had lemons for iced tea and I think we just gave the guy a slice with his hot water.

    Cyberpete: Well yes there is the smell of fries that sticks to our clothing, and then it morphs into just one smell of grease. Yeah I did have a good time there and didn’t stay there three years for the customers. It was the fun we had working there.

    Laura B.: Yes, it certainly made me think about how I interact with people who wait on me. Being difficult won’t make anyone’s day or moment any easier.

  6. If I was working register and the person was short a couple of cents I’d just let him go. A lot of times if a person got a few cents back they’d just leave the change so you’d have come out even regardless.

  7. Silver: I didn’t know at the time that I could do that, I was just fixed on the fact that, since he was giving me exact change, he should’ve given me exact change. But looking at it the other way, it was just three cents.

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