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    Tuesday, January 5, 2010

    If You Work In A Drive-Thru...

    ...then this one is for you. You who ride the sliding glass window, rain or shine. You who sling burgers and tacos and gyros out the window, and who fill drinks and shakes and take money and hand out napkins. I'm you.

    I've done your job. Greg and I have both done your job. For a good stretch of time during college, we worked drive-thru under the Golden Arches. And I get it. It's no sexy job. It's not what you aspire to do forever, and God bless your aspirations. (If you've already been doing it forever, sorry about that.) There are parts that suck. You go home smelling like your shoe soles are being melted by fry grease. And they are, so that makes sense. You wear a jacket that's been hanging in the drive-thru since who-knows-when. You talk to the right even at home because that's where your headset mic rests on your cheek. You put up with that guy in the kitchen who keeps hitting on you, and let's face it, he's not your type. You have to hear it from your manager when you forget your name tag. You clean up spills when the cup hits the edge of the window. You run outside for orders that get 'pulled'. And you, most importantly, wait on customers. You take their money. You give them their food. You hand them their drinks. And you're probably not entirely thrilled while you're there doing it, but by god you WILL get that car by summer, or you'll pay your own tuition so you can tell your dad to get bent, or you'll get enough money saved to backpack through Europe. Like I said, I get it. I really, really do.

    And so you are the drive-thru booth. Doing what drive-thru jockeys do. You run the drive-thru. I can appreciate and I understand the job you do. Really.

    Oh, hey, while I've got you here, I've been meaning to tell know what you don't do? You probably don't even know that you don't do it. Frankly, your generation is so full of entitlement and lack of courtesy (with exceptions, I'm certain, so chill out if this isn't you) that I'm really not surprised. But you don't do it. You don't.

    Know what it is? Can you guess? Can you?


    I'm not shocked, frankly. Here. Let me give you an example. You see if you can tell what's missing:

    Me (at the drive-thru, receiving my food): Okay, is that everything?

    You (in the drive-thru window): Yep, that's it.

    Me: Okay, then...thank you!

    You: Yep! {Window shuts.}

    Op! There it was. Did you catch it? Did you catch what you missed? NO? You can't surmise what I wanted you to do, what I'd guess your boss wanted you to do, that you didn't do? Let me clear it up for you. Listen closely. I know The Hills is probably on soon, or something, but bear with me.

    I WANT YOU...TO SAY..."THANK YOU". And I want you to smile and mean it while you say it.

    That's it. So simple. So easy. But you don't. And I want you to start.

    THANK ME for spending money where you work. Why? Well, here's why: if I don't come, if collectively all the people you fail to thank don't come, you don't work. No workey=no money. No trip to Europe, no car, no off-flipping of Dad as you move out and pay your own way.

    THANK ME for being polite and patient and for not being one of the assholes I know you encounter during your work day. I know those guys, I waited on them, and guess what - I thanked them too. Why? Once again, here's why: because it was my job. Just like it's yours. Which brings us to...

    THANK ME because it's your JOB to thank me. Is it really? you ask. It really is. Check with your supervisor. There is NO company whose training does NOT include specific directions to thank the customer for their business, and for choosing you over your countless competitors. I might bet money on it. "Be sure to thank the customer!" It's in your training manual - check it out.

    SERIOUSLY. Practice it. "THANK YOU." Go ahead, I'll wait.

    Did you do it? See? Not so hard, is it? Try it in the mirror at home if you like. Still didn't do it? Go on, give it a whirl. I promise, your head won't fall off and your tongue won't snap off its roller. It's not hard - my generation and every generation before us were required to learn to say it before kindergarten ever rolled around, and we say it ANY time someone does something even marginally 'thankable'. (And I know it's not ALWAYS the young folks - some of you older folks who are stopping with the thank-you-ing just because your younger not-yet-drive-thru-lifers don't do it should be ashamed of yourselves; you know better. Set an example for cripes' sake.)

    It's not just you burger folks, or you taco folks, or you sandwich folks. I've been not-thanked at every drive-thru type that I've visited in the last few months. I've been keeping track. Your track record is NOT GREAT, for any of you.

    It's so simple, really. Just say it. Please? Please say "thank you" when I frequent your place of business; when I put money in the till from whence cometh your salary, if you catch my drift. Or I'll start complaining. Every time. And let's face it, your managers don't have time for it, and neither do I.

    So just say "thank you".

    Thank you. Have a nice day! (That's nice to hear once in a while, too. I'm just sayin'.)


    Jill said...

    Amen Cathy! I'm always blown away by how polite they are at Chick-fil-a around here. When I say thank you, they never fail to say, "My pleasure". Gives me a warm, friendly feeling inside. LOL

    Nicole said...

    I'd be flabbergasted if I got greeted on a regular basis. Usually you approach the counter and just as you enter the line of blank sight you get an eye bulge that may indicate response.

    ~Carrie said...

    Yeah. My thoughts pretty much! I usually catch myself saying "Thank you". Then I remember, I'm the CUSTOMER, and tell them "You're welcome", if I haven't already driven off with my messed up and shorted order.

    Deb said...

    Minneapolis must raise 'em extra sweet, because one of the things I've noticed is that I could trade thank-yous with a drive-thru employee for hours (Thank you! No, thank YOU! No, thank YOU!) if I had that kind of time on my hands. All except for the ghetto Burger King. And there, I'm just grateful if they get my drink right the second time, forget about niceties.

    Sarah said...

    One of the things I love about Chickfila is that they say "my pleasure" any time anyone says thank you to them. But we did have a boy working the other night at McDonalds that when he kept handing us the wrong order dropped the F-bomb when we handed it back.

    maryjean said...

    We so need In-n-out Burger here. The friendliest service I ever had.. every single time I went. (and their burgers=the best)