Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Burger In The Face

The oldest teenager of the house got himself a new job last week. He's now a fast food flinger at MacDonalds. Already he's had a insulting incident that would make anyone quit.

I can only repeat this story as told to me because I wasn't there, but I'm fairly confident that I can trust the general storyline. This happened on only his third day at the new job. He has been trained to run the cash register from day one for the lunch crowd, and anyone that has been to MacDonalds at lunch time can attest that this is probably the most busy and hectic part of the day.

Apparently he took a special order burger and retrieved the burger from the burger makers, you know the drill, and gave it to the customer. Very soon the man returned and angerily said his burger was made wrong and promptly threw it into the teen's face. Unbelievably bad behavior for any human. The teen was so shocked and with an understandingly quick response of embarassment and indignation he told the customer to "fuck off." He then realized the situation was not good and went and got the manager. The manager had him apologize for his bad language.

I questioned him about the customer and he told me that the man was in his forties and was wearing a suit. From that I can only guess as to the customer. I figure the man to be a mid-level paper pusher or maybe a salesman, you'd have to figure the guy wasn't rich or why would he be fighting the lunch crowd at MacDonalds. So, I continue to wonder about this guy, what in the world was in his mind to actually throw a burger at an employee in front of other people? I wonder whether he was having a terrible day and his anger at his own boss maybe became transference into some kid he didn't even know and who didn't even make the burger. In other words was he was taking out his anger from earlier in the day on someone else? Yet, that doesn't excuse this complete rudeness to another person.

And what of MacDonalds? This type of behavior by a customer is tolerated? Anything for a future sale? Isn't the act of throwing food in someone's face something like assault and battery? Shouldn't MacDonalds take legal action against this man? I'm sure the incident was all caught on camera, why weren't the police called?

I certainly wouldn't be surprised if anyone reading this could tell a story or two about customers they've seen treat employees of the company they want service from in similar rude fashion. Is this the result of a country that is now mostly a service economy and the collision of the old saying that many companies use "the customer is alway right" or is this just a case of an isolated jerk who treats the human race as his doormat to wipe his feet on?

I've had incorrect orders given to me at fast food joints and have never reacted in such a manner. I can remember a few years back when our family was on a trip and stopped halfway on the drive at a MacDonalds. Talk about a wrong burger order, two burgers were burgerless, nothing between the buns except condiments. We were a bit shocked and then laughed it up and took it back and slyly suggested that we could use some replacements. The employees realized we weren't angry and we all had some minor fun with the incident.

Finally I'm encouraged that the teen hasn't quit his job. He learned a lesson about the world of consumerism, that some consumers don't understand how to consume. He's also learned that work can be degrading, very few of us in America probably haven't been degraded at some point at our jobs in the past. I had to eventually tell him "welcome to the world of retail."

I feel for him because I've spent my whole life purposely avoiding working at jobs that deal with masses of consumers. I think of those jobs as the modern version of the plantation house nigga (excuse my french), jobs that involve putting your emotions in a box and trying to please people who can't be pleased. Even at my advanced age I don't think I could have restrained my language anymore than the teen did. I'd probably have used every cuss word I know and would have wanted to leap over the counter and smush a Big Mac in that guys face, and then told MacDonalds "I quit!"


Blogger Heather S. said...

As someone who used to work in fast food, I can tell you that unfortunately this type of behaviour is more common than we'd like to think. I've never had it happen to me, thank goodness. But I have heard the stories.

1:41 PM  

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