Most of you know that I started working a few months ago. It's just a part-time job at a local fast food restaurant. It's not really a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but I actually do enjoy it and it gets me out of the house a few days each week. But since I've started working there, I've run into some interesting situations and I thought that I would share those - some of them are funny and some of them are just things that I never thought of before until I was in this position.
Most (if not all) of these will pertain to the drive-thru, as that's where I've been spending most of my time lately.
1. If you're going to go through the drive-thru anywhere, please be fully clothed. We are usually higher than your car, and we can look down into your lap, ok? Seriously. I am not joking about this one at all.
2. I understand that you like to bring Fido with you wherever you go. However, when he barks the entire time you're placing your order, it makes it hard for me to hear what you want. And if he tries to bite me when I reach out to get your money, it's not going to make me very happy. Please - keep your animals under control for everyone's safety.
3. Turn your radio down - or off - before you try to order. It might not seem loud to you, but we can hear it because of the way that the headphones work. We can also hear every conversation that is happening in the car, even if it's in the backseat. If your passengers are quiet, we might actually hear your order on the first try. Also, if you have a diesel engine, turn it off if you can. You have no idea how loud those things are to us.
4. You see that nifty headset that I'm wearing? That's not just so that I can listen to you. It's also so that I can listen to the guy on grill, the girl at the second window who is gathering your food to give to you, the store manager, and various other employees - and chances are that they are all playing a part in getting your food to you. There's also a good chance that more than one of them is talking to me at the same time as I am talking to you, so if I don't stand and chat with you, that's why.
5. All of those people in #4 who are talking to me? They can also hear every word that you're saying. You might want to keep that in mind before you make a smart comment about the store manager while you're ordering.
6. "Would you like to upsize your fries?" "Would you like cheese on your burger?" "Can I get you anything else with that today?" We know you hate all of the questions - but it goes back to the headset. We have to ask you. The store manager - and sometimes her boss, or on days like today, her boss's boss - is listening to every word that we say, and if we don't ask, we get told about it - and not always very nicely. I asked some version of those questions over 140 times today - trust me, I hate those questions way more than you ever could.
7. Sometimes I ask you more questions than you think is necessary. I'm not trying to be annoying. I might be in a different part of the store trying to do any of the other 87 things that I have to do while running drive-thru, and I'm asking you questions as I sprint back to the register to get your order entered - but on the plus side, while I'm asking you those questions, the guy on grill is already getting your food ready because he's listening to you also.
8. Honestly, I don't want to screw up your order - so I might ask you to repeat something. It might be frustrating for you, but I'm willing to bet that you'll be more frustrated if you get the wrong food. There are so many things that interfere with my ability to hear you - your radio, the wind blowing, your engine, the train rumbling by a few blocks away, the guy mowing the lawn next door to the store, my coworkers who are running back and forth behind me, the manager forgetting that I'm in the middle of an order and barking an order at a coworker (or me) over the headset - so please work with me so that I can get your order entered correctly.
9. Timing is everything. Everything that we do is timed from the moment that you pull up to the menu board to order until the time that you drive away from the building. Seriously, you know when you pull in to the restaurant that you're going through the drive-thru. Get your wallet out ahead of time. Grab your debit card or that $20 bill and have it ready to hand to me. I know that you want to get rid of those 83 pennies in your wallet, but I would rather count out a few coins to you than sit there and wait for you to count those 83 pennies out to me - and so would the person behind you who is already late to work. And when you get your food at the second window, move your car ahead and out of the way before you stop to put your wallet away and fiddle with your stuff. You might not think that you're taking that much time, but even one second over our "acceptable time" for an order can cause us to get our butts handed to us by the boss.
10. Just because we are fast food employees doesn't mean that we're all stupid uneducated kids. Some of us are actually pretty smart, and we all have different reasons for working there. One of my coworkers has a degree in chemistry, but she's working there because her husband recently got transferred to this area and she needed to find a job quickly. One is a single mom who was able to get hired on full-time so that she could have health insurance for herself and her son, but also have the scheduling flexibility that she needs in order to take care of him. One lady has been working there because of the scheduling flexibility while she waited for a liver transplant (which she just got a few weeks ago). Some of the younger kids are working there in order to help their parents make ends meet or to save money for college. We all have our reasons - and if we weren't working there, it would be a lot harder for you to get your food, wouldn't it?