I have a new respect for the predominately young staff at McDonalds Restaurants that dot the landscape in virtually every place on the planet after spending 2 hours 'helping' as part of the McHappy Day fundraiser. As a Board member for the Family Centre in Lethbridge, I figured it was the least I could do to help the organization that has provided resources and funds to the many programs that the Family Centre offers. Two hours, how hard could it be?
As I arrived for my 5:00 to 7:00 shift, the supper rush was well underway. The drive through had a parade of vehicles in various stages of ordering, paying for or picking up supper. Wisely I realized that 'helping' anywhere near the drive through would not be a good idea. While I'm sure that many patrons find having the local news anchor or radio personality mess up their order, having a no-name local volunteer do the same does not have quite the same cachet when retelling the story to your cubemates at work.
Trying to figure out where I could do the least damage, I plunked down behind the front counter filling drink orders for the young gentlemen working the inside sales points. This seemed relatively straightforward, afterall I worked in the concession at the basketball games when I was in high school. There are only 4 sizes of drinks and they even have a handy gizmo that automatically fills the various sizes of cups. All I had to do was put in ice and finish them off with a lid. Then there is the coffee. . . they have a funky set up to add cream and sugar to the coffee cups. Pretty neat. I think I didn't make too many mistakes. And there was only a passing suggestion I try to use the milkshake machine. My 'coaches' could clearly tell I was just hanging on to the learning curve with two things to worry about.
What I have to say is that I am very impressed with the younger generation. The two young men handling the tills were amazing. As I watched their fingers fly over the 'touch screen' adding extra pickles and deleting cheese; assembling kids' meals with the appropriate toy; whipping up a McFlurry or two; and basically multitasking in a way that made my head spin. And they did it all with big SMILES! Who says men can do more than one thing at a time.
So over the course of my time on shift, I managed to help with a few meals. I didn't destroy any equipment and my being in close proximity to the computer system did not make it crash (trust me, this is something to worry about). At one point, I asked the manager how many people had their head explode during the first shift. He just smiled.
That was my experience with the fast food industry. To all of you who have lasted more than one shift: I salute you! To the McDonald's organization, THANK YOU for support our community. To the patient young men, I 'helped', THANK YOU for not laughing at me. And to my Mom for insisting I go to University so I could get a day job, THANK YOU. The only way you would find me working behind that counter full-time would be if I could make my own McFlurry flavour to get through the day --> Baileys! Anyone else?