It's hard enough working for The Man. I can't imagine working for The King.
Nov 30, 2009
Hunger pangs are what made me do it. I shouldn't have done it, but I did it. Why did I do it? Because I wanted something cheap, fast and, yes, good. I wanted to be in and out. I wanted to eat my food and be back to work. I'm American. This is what American's do. We eat in a rush. Why? Because we're entitled to fast, cheap, good and right. For $5 bucks, I have at least that much coming to me.
I go to Burger King.
The drive thru is loaded with cars. People like me, who are just passing through. But through the windows I discover a secret that the other drivers missed – the lines are short. Yes, I'll have to park my car. Yes, I'll have to get out of my car and walk. Yes, it is cold today. But the line is short. And my brain calculates that Plan B will go much quicker than the initial plan.
I park. I get out of the car. I get in line. I stand behind two people, one of whom is already placing her order. I stand. And I wait. And I wait. And I wait. And I'm next.
The cashier greets me with a perfectly stoic face and disinterested silence. It's been awhile since I've been at Burger King. Apparently, the rules have changed. "Hello welcome to Burger King, can I take your order please?" has been discarded. Actually, for the better. "Hello welcome to Burger King," was unnecessary. I hated it when I first heard it. It was disingenuous, and recited at a speed that was much faster than fast food is usually delivered. I was happy when they got rid of it. "Can I take your order please?" was better. To the point. No pretending of friendship here. Just tell me what you want to eat and I'll make sure they give it to you. That was the attitude I wanted.
But times have changed.
This woman didn't ask me if she could take my order. Her eye contact, dispassionate as it was, was my only cue that she was listening and ready to take said order. After a few seconds of clumsy silence, I proceed to read the desired items from the menu. She punches a few buttons and then looks back up at me. Once again, no words. But I learn fast. Her eye contact is body language for "anything else?" I respond by telling her my preference in beverage and drink size. She looks back down, punches two keys. Looks back up. Eye contact. Again, no words are spoken, but my brain has already made the translation: "Will that complete your order" I reply. "Yes, it will. Thank you."
As I hand her my money, I catch the face of George Washington looking at me. He laughs. I didn't hear the laugh, but I saw the smile on his face.
I look at the cashier as she slowly counts my money and then allows the register to work out the correct change on her behalf. I observe the details of this woman: Tattoos are all over her neck and forearms. Her earrings appear to be heavier then her ears. They match perfectly her rings which are heavier then her fingers. So heavy that they seem to be causing her great difficulty in handling the money. I watch the money as it is still being counted. President Washington is still laughing. This time I can hear the laughter. He's laughing Harder. A cackle.
I looked behind her to see a young boy who is as motivated to retrieve the contents of my order as she was in taking it. I now look at the two of them together and begin to wonder about their ability to accurately assemble said order. This thought terrified me and I now found myself hoping that Burger King's system of automation would pull through and eliminate the need for their judgement. After all, that's what automation is there for.
As the seconds tick and the tension mounts, I begin to wonder about these young people behind the counter. Maybe I am not so different from them as I think. This is the sad sight of youthful entitlement unfulfilled. And, indeed, if my food isn't delivered fast, cheap, good and right...then I will be the sad sight of adult entitlement unfulfilled. We are equally obsessed with our own entitlements and mutually disinterested in the entitlements of the other. And the cycle continues, until one of us gets what is coming to us.
And what is coming to me is finally coming.
The young boy drops off my order with a detached silence that would be the pride of any Buddhist Monk. But I am not yet ready to detach myself from this place. I open my bag and am ready to inspect my order. Is it all there? Is everything done right? Before I have a chance to reach my hand into the bag, I feel it abruptly snatched away by the young boy and replaced with a different bag. No eye contact. No words. But my brain, in all its glory, is still able able to translate these actions – I almost got the wrong order. The young boy, with only seconds to spare, made the save.
The days of smiles and congenial apologies are long gone. This is as good at it gets and I should be happy that I didn't have to bring to the attention of the cashier or the young boy the error that almost happened. I should be thankful and forgive their shortcomings in service. After all, this is Burger King we're talking about. This is their job, not mine. It's hard enough working for The Man. I can't imagine working for The King.
For a while, I loved Burger King but not I'm feeling slighted a bit. Burger King has always been seen as the number 2 next to McDonalds as far as major burger chains. The burgers are better quality and the chain's motto of "Your way right away" I've only seen as somewhat true. The service and politeness of the staff has never been in question but WAITING for the food at the last couple of Burger King's I've been to, not … more
At the end of its fiscal year 2008, Burger King reported that there are more than 11,550 outlets in 71 countries; 66% are in the United States and 90% are privately owned and operated. The company has more than 37,000 employees serving approximately 11.4 million customers daily. In North America, franchises are licensed on a per store basis, while in several international locations licenses are sold on a regional basis with franchises owning exclusive development rights for the region or country. These regional franchises are known as master franchises, and are responsible for opening new restaurants, licensing new third party ...