Clearing brush with a thermonuclear device

Okay, the title’s weird but what do you expect from me? A while back, I had one of those experiences where intelligence seems to have been considered irrelevant. I got a late night request from my two “bosses” to pick them up a baked potato from one of the local fast food chains (Uh, how many do you know that sell potatoes – whole that is). Okay, so I use their very heavily advertised late night drive thru window (they use raccoons in the ads). I get to the first stop and place my order. No problems there. The voice from the speaker was intelligible and they even had a screen that showed my order.

Proceed to window number one! They take my money.

Proceed to window number two.

Cue the Keystone Cops here! I am supposed to get the food I ordered here. Do I? Of course not! Would I be writing this otherwise? Instead, I am told that they only have one baked potato left. They can prepare the other two (foolish me thought I’d get one too) but I’ll need to wait 10 minutes for that. Would I like to change my order? Okay, I’m at the last window; there’s no menu; they already have my money so they would have to figure out how to deal with the difference. This at the kind of business that uses pictures on the cash register so they don’t have to require that their employees have a functioning brain. I may be dumb but I ain’t stupid. I’ll wait the 10 minutes so I pull forward. The 10 minutes pass and no food — of course. That was a given. Another ten minutes pass with no food so now I back up the the last window and ask for the food I was promised 20 minutes earlier that I’d get in 10 minutes. “Oh it will be ready in just a minute!” Okay, cut to the chase. I end up getting my food and a receipt with a note on it signed by the manager for three free baked potatoes on my next visit. My, my, presumptuous, aren’t they. No, they didn’t offer to refund my money and give me this order for free. That would require thinking. Besides, I’m not one to force my business on anyone that doesn’t want it.

Okay, so what’s new? What’s the deal here? I mean, isn’t this the normal experience these days?
This is where my craziness shows itself. They have a computerized order entry system. Punch the pictures and the order gets placed and they’re told how much money to get. (Have some fun sometime and give them extra change with the money so that you get back an “even” amount of change – like a quarter. That will get some entertaining reactions. I still recall the poor guy who had goofed punching in the amount of money I gave him and, unable to figure out the correct change, just rounded my order to the nearest dollar – DOWN) Like all of these places, they have some items on their menu that they don’t prepare until ordered and others that are prepared ahead of time. Foolish me thinks that they could easily track their “inventory” of pre-prepared items. That would let their computer system tell them when they need to fix more or throw away items that are too old to sell now. Even less thinking would be required of the humans “behind the counter”. (Yea, I’m thinking logically and we all know logic is the LAST thing used in today’s business world.) That would let them tell me when I’m placing my order that they are out and I’d have to wait or order something else. Now there’s a radical idea!

Okay, so I get home and continue this fantasy of mine. Do they have a web site? Of course! Ah, but do they have any sort of feedback page that I can use? There I go trying to think logically again! SIGH!!! Of course not. I am SUPPOSED to WAIT until “normal business hours” and call their toll free number!! Big surprise. I don’t bother. Neither do I bother ordering food there anymore either.

(Original post on 13-SEP-2006 4:47 PM)

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