Friday, November 13, 2009

Restaurant drive-through greetings, yes or no?

Apparently the fast food industry has been taken over by flacks who think that having the drive-through employee issue a greeting to customers before their order is a good thing. I've experienced this at Wendy's, Taco Bell and Burger King. This is how it works: you pull up to the speaker and a voice greets you with, "Welcome to (name of place), how are you today?"

I hate this. Let's be honest, the person who is wearing the headset and asking me that question doesn't even know me and does not care how I'm doing. I know someone who works in this industry and the goal of every fast food drive-through is to take the order and have it in the hands of the customer in a prescribed amount of time or less. That's the bottom line for them and I can live with that. I do not feel any more appreciated as a customer because someone asked me how I was doing. And, this part is important, it slows down the entire process.

I haven't done it yet but have threatened, when presented with that question, to give a response that goes something like this: "I just lost my job, my home is about to be foreclosed on and my wife served me with divorce papers, so life sucks right now!" None of that is true but I want to shut down this false sincerity from the get-go and move ahead with my order. The reason I haven't done that is because A) it would be lying and B) it's not the fault of the employee that some moron at company HQ issued a memo instructing everyone who works the window to ask that.

I have had spontaneous chats with drive-through workers when they weren't that busy and I couldn't move forward because of a car being in front of me. Those were pleasant and not forced, like the question in question. So to answer the, um, question, no! Stop this practice now and forevermore.

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