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Do you want fries with that?

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Mollie LaSalleBy Mollie LaSalle
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I recently went to a nameless fast-food restaurant the other day and placed my order at the drive-through. I ordered a large drink and a cheeseburger; that’s all I wanted. The young man then proceeded to ask me if I wanted regular fries or curly fries, to which I replied “I don’t want any fries”. He said “Okay, please pull around to the window and I will have your total.”

I could see where this was going. I pull up to the window, and again, he asks me do I want regular fries or curly fries. Again, I state in plain English that I do not want any fries, as I will not eat them. He says that it would be cheaper to get the meal, and I again told him, no thank you. He had a puzzled look on his face and asked his manager what he should do. The manager asked if I was sure I didn’t want the meal (with fries). I said please just give me what I ordered and that was all I wanted. Long story short, I drove away with my drink and burger, after being asked umpteen times why I did not want the fries.

I have worked in fast food (many, many moons ago), and I know these workers are just doing their job. It is drilled into their head to “suggestive sell” to every customer. This is mildly infuriating to me; it’s like I don’t know what I want when I order a large drink and a cheeseburger. The question used to be “do you want fries with that?” Now they ask you do you want the meal and what kind of fries, or tater tots, or onion rings or an apple pie. They want you to purchase all these extra items, which you do not ask for and will not eat. Just please charge me for what I ordered so I can get out of your drive-thru.

Not too many years ago, a big fast-food chain had a slogan which was “Have it your way”. That has been replaced with “Have it our way”. Just about a week ago, I went inside to order some breakfast to take to work with me. I frequent this establishment every other day or so, alternating with another big-name restaurant up the street. This particular morning, I paid with spare coins that I had saved in a jar. The cashier looked a little perplexed but took my coins and gave me my order. I don’t think that they like getting copious amounts of change; I guess I should have whipped out a plastic card and paid that way.

Fast forward to yesterday, and I am at the drive thru, and I order my usual large drink and a sandwich. Here we go, and I was ready for it, “what size fries do you want?” “Do you want the meal?” I am thinking to myself, if I wanted fries, I would have ordered them.

Long story short, the total for the items ordered seemed a tad bit excessive, so we drive around to the window and inquire about the total. “You ordered the number one meal with large fries, the number six meal with large fries, and two large drinks (one of the drinks was water).

No that is not what we ordered. The poor girl says, “let me get my manager, and we will re-ring your purchase”. The final total was only two dollars less than the first one. At this point, I want to forget the whole thing, and go somewhere else, but, not wanting to hold up the line behind us, we pay for the items, and the girl has given us an extra-large fry and a free cookie for the mix-up.

I am not knocking people who work these types of jobs, actually, I don’t know how they do it day in and day out, especially these days. People can be flat out rude and demanding. I am just saying that if they will just give me what I order and quit trying to force me to purchase extra items, I can go about my day and you can sell those fries to someone that really wants them. I have never been one of those demanding customers, it is just not in me to treat another human being that way. I do not like confrontation, either. But if you keep trying to force me to purchase items I do not want and will not eat, I will go somewhere else and try my luck there.

Since I have past experience working in food service, I can tell you that this is not an easy profession. You basically have to put up with all kinds of abuse because the customer is always right; when I was being trained for the job, this one the first thing I was told. Fast forward 30 years later, and that logic does not apply anymore. The customer is not always right, and it is your job to set them straight. Sometimes, people go out of their way to be obnoxious at restaurants and do it on a daily basis. They seem to get their jollies out of belittling people who are just trying to do their job.

Be kind to people working in food service, I used to be one of them. They are here to serve you and get you on your way. When they try to upsell you any item, they are doing what they are trained to do. If you order piecemeal off the menu, then they should recognize that you do not want anything extra, as it would be wasted. If I just want a large cup of ice, don’t try to sell me fries with it. If I just want a drink and a sandwich, don’t try to talk me into getting a number one because its cheaper. Just ring up my order and let me go on with my day. Please don’t ask me three times if I want fries with it, if I didn’t order them to begin with. That is all.

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