Gut Rumbles

June 30, 2004


I bought an Arby's roast beef sandwich today and I watched the kitchen staff prepare it. Got-dam! The whole process is like an automation and the employees are robots. What the hell has happened to fast food restaurants?

I was a very good grill cook during my younger days, back when waitresses (excuse me... WAITPERSONS) just shouted out the orders, stuck a ticket on a rotating carosel and expected YOU to get it right. I did, or I faced one hell of a cussing from an outraged waitress, who was only passing the words along from an outraged customer. You become good at your job very quickly that way.

I never had a timer to tell me when the french fries were done or when the meat on the grill was ready to flip. I DID THAT! I COOKED THE FOOD!!!! Machines and clocks didn't do it for me. I was proud of my expertise. I was one of the best grill cooks who ever waved a spatula over a stove and I KNEW IT. I could work the prep table like Edward Sissorhands and I could do it in my sleep. You LIKED a hamburger I cooked for you.

I see no such pride in fast-food work today. In fact, if you really want to confuse someone at a fast food restaurant, do what I did today. Have an order that adds up to some kind of dollars and four cents. Hand the employee a $20 bill. Once she's punched in the numbers on the "think FOR you register," say "Wait a minute. I've got four cents," and then hand her a dime. Watch every neural circuit in her brain lock up.

Do you think those people know how to MAKE CHANGE? Hell NO they don't. They've been TRAINED to be robots and they like it that way. Thinking for yourself is difficult. It's much easier to be a witless drone.

I confused that poor waitress badly enough today that I probably could have walked out of Arby's with a free sandwich, but I didn't. I said, "Darlin,' I gave you $20 and a dime. You owe me $16.06 in change." She heaved a sigh of relief and handed me the money.

I did her thinking for her and she was grateful. She's been well-trained.


Amen. I had a bill for $2.80 at Taco Bell a few years back, so I gave the girl three ones and five pennies, and asked for a quarter back. The girl actually went and got a roll of dimes, then gave me two dimes and my five pennies. I too have had to tell people how to give me change. Twice at Wendy's, I have ordered a cheeseburger with "just cheese and ketchup" and been charged extra for the cheese. One of the times, they refunded my money but then handed me a de-cheesed cheeseburger. I went inside and argued, and then they took my burger and inserted a cold piece of cheese. I got a refund. Fast food sucks.

Posted by: Chris on June 30, 2004 03:39 PM

I went through training for fast food jobs twice. And I completely stunned my managers because I knew how to type. I also know how to make change all by myself, without the register, thanks to the rather unusual experience today of making change (after adding tax to the price) without even a calculator, let alone a register. I don't know many other people my age or younger who can handle that. It should be considered a basic skill. Maybe that's part of why I never kept one of those jobs longer than a month before moving on to something that paid the same, but actually involved people who liked it when you knew how to think.

Posted by: Veryalda Relisys on June 30, 2004 03:46 PM

I don't care how they do it as long as my order and change are correct.

Posted by: sugarmama on June 30, 2004 03:54 PM

Making a hamburger from scratch and cooking it over a real fire will be considered an eccentric skill from the past before long. I already know people who can't comprehend why I use fresh garlic when you can buy it in a jar.

On a similar thread, pretty soon we'll have people walking off cliffs if they aren't fenced off since we'll be incapable of recognizing danger in our safety crazed society.....

Posted by: bg on June 30, 2004 05:02 PM

BG posted:

On a similar thread, pretty soon we'll have people walking off cliffs if they aren't fenced off since we'll be incapable of recognizing danger in our safety crazed society.....

Let's see here. Lemmings. Cliff. Gravity. Some assembly required.

Natural de-selection at it's finest. Let the lemmings run, says I.

Sloop New Dawn
Galveston, TX

Posted by: Jim on June 30, 2004 05:15 PM

Don't call them cooks... they are food preperation technitians. Just like computer guys are "network Engineers".

Posted by: Ogre on June 30, 2004 05:27 PM

Bought a CD not long ago, bill came to $15.70 I handed the gal a $20. She accedently punched in exact change and was completely lost when she realized she owed me change but had no idea how much.

Her manager was next to her, and was completley ready to void out the sale and ring it in again. I stopped all this maddness and said "you guys only owe me $4.30". At least they thanked me for thinking for them.

Posted by: Scott on June 30, 2004 05:29 PM

Want to really screw them up? Order medium fries. They only have have large, larger, and largest. You can not convince them that the middle one is a medium.

Posted by: Bullshark on June 30, 2004 06:18 PM

Public school "educaton" ain't what it use to be, and it use to be bad enough.

Posted by: mike on June 30, 2004 07:05 PM

Would complain less about "change" dysfunctionality if restaurant managers would see that the following NEVER occurs:

Entered a McDonald's & made a side trip to the restroom to pee. As I was washing my hands, I heard the toilet flush in the stall & the sound of a guy buckling his belt. Out walked a kid in his goofy McD hat, and he headed straight out the door - walking right by the OTHER sink next to mine. I couldn't get to the manager fast enough, hoping to prevent a hepatitis outbreak.

Scary shit happens in restaurants....

Posted by: Hap Arnold on June 30, 2004 07:57 PM

I read somewhere a long time ago that if the service at fast-food places sucks, the economy is improving.

The theory is that if intelligent, conscientious people are working at fast-food establishments, they obviously have been unable to secure employment in any other field.

Posted by: sulizano on June 30, 2004 07:59 PM

Bollocks! If the entry level labor force is the exclusive domain of idiots, our futre lacks for character, intelligence, and diligence.

Posted by: Chris on June 30, 2004 11:02 PM

Yeah and the scary thing is all of them can vote and their vote counts as much as yours

Posted by: Airboss on June 30, 2004 11:06 PM

Darn, my trackback didn't go through. Wrote a big post on this.

Posted by: Jay Solo on July 1, 2004 12:57 PM

7412 Thanks so much for all the help to buy ink cartridges

Posted by: ink cartridges on September 5, 2004 05:15 PM
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