Things I Learned from Working at Mcdonald’s

This clown is terrifying.

I’ve been working at Mcdonald’s for about five months now, and I can’t help but feel like my days there are numbered, and not just because I keep stealing the mcflurries. (They won’t let me get them as a crew meal, the bastards.) It’s just that the whole job’s starting to feel a bit . . . I don’t know . . . soul-crushing? Yeah, that sounds about right.

I’m hoping to quit Mickey D’s and find a new job at this nearby movie theater, because 1: they apparently give employees free movie tickets, and 2: it looks so much easier than my job at Mcdonald’s. That probably sounded condescending to movie theater employees, but I refuse to apologize until I’m proven wrong.

They even get to wear cool bow ties.

However, I’d like to apologize to the Mcdonald’s corporation as a whole, because I have a tendency to make them sound much worse than they actually are. Sure, the job’s “soul-crushing” (a bit over-dramatic, I’ll admit), but so are most minimum wage jobs, and when you compare them to working in an eighteenth century sewing factory, they’re really not that bad. In fact, working at Mcdonald’s has improved my social and communication skills, and has taught me the value of teamwork, discipline and responsibility.

Okay, I just copied the majority of that last sentence from a pamphlet I found titled, “Apply to McDonald’s today!” I didn’t actually learn any of those things. Well, except a little bit of the communication skills part. But the job did teach me a few valuable things that I may or may not keep with me for the rest of my life. Mainly:

1) How to perform under pressure.

Though I’m sure many paramedics will disagree, Mcdonald’s is a high stress environment. Especially when you see the line of customers pile up. And any mistake you make can lead to you being yelled at by either your boss or your customer. Possibly both. And because I’m not a fan of being yelled at, (few people are) I had to learn how to take care of many things at once in a short period of time, all while smiling in a believably sincere manner. I still make mistakes, more so under pressure, but I’ve gotten a lot better at handling it than I used to. I also learned that:

2) Adult customers are so much worse than teenage customers.

I believe there’s this rumor* going around about how kids and young people today are more bratty and entitled than ever before, which made it all the more surprising when it turned out that my worst customers were all at least twice my age.

Now, I don’t want you to think I hate all old people or anything, because in my humble opinion, old people are great. Betty White? Morgan Freeman? Olenna Tyrell? All great people, who I’d love to meet one day. Not to mention all the old people I know personally, such as my physics teacher, who looks like Santa Clause but is actually Usain Bolt in disguise. Or my grandparents, who are admittedly a tiny bit racist, but they give me money every time I visit, so I’m willing to look past that.**

It’s just that my older customers are much more likely to do things like:

  • Abuse the shit out of coupons. (Seriously, where do they find all these coupons?)
  • Pay for a cup of coffee with a hundred dollar bill.
  • Get annoyed when I ask something like “Medium or Large?” as if this was the most obvious question in the world and I should’ve already known.
  • Ask me to a put in an entire new batch of fries, and to leave it in for an extra five seconds so it’ll be extra crispy.
  • Ask me to make another batch of fries and leave it in for an extra ten seconds, because that first batch wasn’t quite crispy enough for their tastes. (Seriously, we wasted seven minutes and two batches of fries just for this one customer.)
  • Ask me, in a very concerned tone, if I get good grades in school, and if I’ve been thinking properly about my future.

Now, here’s a list of annoying things teenage customers tend to do:

  • They mumble sometimes.

That is all. Sure, there was this one obnoxious, entitled little shit of a teen, but I’m pretty sure the only reason he was so terrible was from learning from his mother, who was even worse. (Remember people: it’s always the parents’ fault.) Oh, and I bumped into this kid at lunch the other day and he was just as rude to the lunch ladies as he was to me. I gave him the evil eye for about twelve seconds, but he didn’t notice. Oh well, moving on . . .

3) I really need to learn spanish.

This is a bit of a cheat, because I didn’t actually learn spanish, I just realized that I probably should, and I’m starting to regret having stopped taking that spanish class in school. The majority of the kitchen staff and at least a sixth of my customers speak spanish as their first language, which every once in a while will lead to communication problems. And that’s, like, the worst type of problem.

I blame the American public school system for not teaching a foreign language starting in first grade. Y’know, when kids are more easily able to pick the language up. Instead we wait until the kid is in seventh grade to start teaching them this stuff, which doesn’t make any sense to me.

Also, there are times when I suspect people are making fun of me in spanish (right in front of my face) and I would like to know for sure.

4) Customers are generally good people.

For every bad customer I get, there are about twenty-five good ones, along with a handful of genuinely kind, amazing people who can make your day. And lately there’s been a sudden increase in customers with irish accents. I have no idea why, but I don’t like to argue with a good thing, so I’ll just enjoy it while it lasts.

At the moment, I can’t think of anything else to say, which is a shame because I really wanted to have five points instead of four. It would simply work better. Oh well. Here’s a picture of a goat.

*there is some merit to this, seeing as I witness a small but loud group of bratty, entitled kids in my school treat the teachers like crap instead of with, y’know, any form of respect. I should write a post about this.

**does that make me a bad person? They are my family after all.

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18 Replies to “Things I Learned from Working at Mcdonald’s”

  1. Come to think of it, when I was working at Target, all of the customers who gave me grief were at least 35+. Something about wanting things to work properly when you age, or something. Also, the fry thing would drive me nuts.

  2. I really have no idea where that whole stereotype about rude teenagers comes from? I mean, okay, there’ll always be a couple of rude kids, but most of them learn that from their parents (like you said), and overall teenagers are the quiet, mumble-y, overly polite ones? Or maybe that’s just me.

    I’m pretty sure you get free posters if you work at a movie theater, too. That would be the main draw for me.

    1. Yeah, I feel like the “These kids today ain’t got no respect” way of thinking has been around since the dawn of civilization. I think it’s just that, when adults are rude, they can get away with it more easily.

      Free posters, eh? I will sure to mail you some, providing I get the job.

  3. “Abuse the shit out of coupons. (Seriously, where do they find all these coupons?)
    Pay for a cup of coffee with a hundred dollar bill.
    Get annoyed when I ask something like “Medium or Large?” as if this was the most obvious question in the world and I should’ve already known.
    Ask me to a put in an entire new batch of fries, and to leave it in for an extra five seconds so it’ll be extra crispy.
    Ask me to make another batch of fries and leave it in for an extra ten seconds, because that first batch wasn’t quite crispy enough for their tastes. (Seriously, we wasted seven minutes and two batches of fries just for this one customer.)
    Ask me, in a very concerned tone, if I get good grades in school, and if I’ve been thinking properly about my future.”

    YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES.

  4. As a movie theater employee, I can confirm that it is a very easy job with great benefits (we don’t get paid much, but oh well). I get in free for movies, get 50% off concessions, and get the left over posters for free (if I win the raffle that we do to determine who gets them). We do get some nasty customers though. The middle-aged people and teenagers are the worst.

  5. I work in a chicken shop and Amen to everything you said except the Spanish bit cuz I’m in Australia. But YES old people are SO rude like you’re supposed to have empathy and wisdom but oh well….you’ve now inspired me to apply at movie theaters aha!

  6. Ooh, go for the movie theater job! Once I move away for college and have to find a new job, I’m hoping to work at a theater. 🙂
    (Also, you should totally go see The Imitation Game if you get a free ticket for it. Or even if you don’t, really. 😛 IT WAS STUPENDOUS.)
    Also, is it just me, or does the guy in that movie theater picture look a bit like Theon?

    Gahhhhhhh, same. I know that feel. The teenagers / young-twentysomething-hipster-couples-with-kids are soooooooooo much nicer than the old people. A few of the regular customers who are older are nice, but mostly they’re jerks who glare at me when I come over to wipe off their table. (Like, seriously? People sit down at dirty tables all the time even when there’s a clean table right next to it. Do people just not notice crumbs and chocolate milk puddles, or what?)

    Speaking of Spanish, I had the weirdest dream a few nights ago that *I* needed to learn more Spanish too, because… Idk, the dream-plot was something like “omg my teacher never taught me how to say ‘fuck you’ in Espanol I really should learn that gah why didn’t she teach me.” I have class today – should I ask her? 😛

    1. The Imitation Game? Pfft. Lame. I’m going to watch Taken 3 instead. (Those movies just get better and better.)

      And yes, he does look a lot like Theon, now that you mention it. Perhaps that guy is Theon, disguising himself as a movie theatre employee.

      People do the same thing with the tables at Mcdonalds. What’s even worse is when they leave all their food on the table instead of simply throwing it out in the garbage can that’s five feet away.

      Don’t worry, It’s “Joder tu!” or “Vete a la mierda.” The internet has, like, fifty different translations, I’m not sure which ones’ right.

    2. Nononono, it was SO. GOOD. Even though it didn’t involve Benedict Cumberbatch, like, shooting people and kicking ass. It was most definitely not a kicking-ass movie. 😛
      (I’ve never seen any of those movies, although the other day one of my friends did say that if the next one isn’t called Taken 4 Granted she’ll be very very disappointed. xD)

      Probably. Hopefully Gordon Ramsay Snow isn’t one of the theater’s patrons… (Yes. I’ve started calling him Gordon Ramsay Snow. It’s so much more amusing.)

      The restaurant where I work is a little more upscale than McDonald’s (but not by too much, it’s basically just organic diner food – yep, I work at a hippie fast-food restaurant) so people don’t have to clean up their tables. That’s my job and I swear they like making it hard for me? Like, sure, that’s what I’m paid to do, but people shouldn’t shred their napkins into tiny pieces and fling them all across the table/chairs/floor. It’s very irritating. xD)

      It’s probably “Joder tu!” because I’m pretty sure “mierda” is “shit.” 😛

  7. I hope you get a job at that movie theater, because McDonald’s just sounds dreadful.
    I actually have learned Spanish since kindergarten [I go to an international school] so I am fairly proficient-ish. Unfortunately, they don’t teach us very useful language, so… You really should learn Spanish though. It’s fairly easy, but once you get to conjugations and stuff, it becomes harder.
    Forget I just said that actually.
    BTW, I followed you on Twitter [if you noticed]! I’m @revelinginwords.

  8. There are hundreds of free Spanish courses on the internet. If you learn numbers and meal names in Spanish, surely that wold be enough to keep you going!

  9. I could not agree more with your points here!! I work in a small guitar shop, so I don’t have to deal with the whole pressure situation all time like in catering, but in terms of customers, you’re spot on. The only sexism, ageism and general rudeness I have ever experienced at work has been from a very select few of an older age range… Thank goodness there are nice people in the world to even it all out.
    And to write about it.
    🙂

  10. Ex-catering waitress here: Yes. I think women in their 50’s were consistently the worst. Bonus evil points if they were wearing an unnatural color of lipstick or left dirty napkins on the buffet line.

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