You finally did it! You accepted your first McDonald’s shop. You wonder what happens now? Will you perform it smoothly like all the “other shoppers” with 100’s and 100’s of McD’s shops under their belts? What should you wear? A dark hat, glasses, a blond wig, a not-so-obvious plain looking shirt, so you won’t be noticed? What if they discover you in the Drive Thru? What will you say? What timing device do you use?
The questions keep mounting and then, it’s time…
Today is the DAY for your first McDonald’s shop! You study your guidelines and practice the timing points, using little white foam cups as people and practice the timing points in the diagram. You are ready! You are torn between bringing a stop watch or your digital timing cell phone device. You decide you don’t want to risk any problems, so you bring both.
This is it! You are finally here. You get out of your car, take a deep breath and start walking towards the restaurant. You are timing now to the precise second, the minute you hit that front door and your hands feel the door handle.
You stop for a second. Is the glass streak free? They want to know. You check the door for smudges. Check out those outdoor trash cans for more trash, they are also looking for that on your report. You see a wild animal has tried to climb up the trash receptacle, bringing some trash out onto the sidewalk. You make note of that.
When you first walk in, a large, bright spotlight shines down on you.But it is really the afternoon “sun rays” illuminating you, drawing attention to you, in your full glory, as you walk in the restaurant.
Surely, you are being looked at!
No. There is no-one paying any particular attention to you. For some annoying reason, you are contemplating for a brief second, that the associates know you are their mystery shopper! Your breathing gets faster. But you tell yourself, that is pure nonsense.
You get in line. There is a female customer in line, counting her pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters. She is going to pay for her entire meal from coin change! She is taking a long time. But you remain silent, counting the time quietly with your timing device. Another customer pushes in front of you now, demanding their Creamy Ranch Sauce for the Chicken Nuggets. This is eating into your time. Another annoying customer yells at their wife, sitting at the very back of the restaurant, asking her if she wants a Small or Large iced tea? Time is running for you…..tick..tick ..tick..
Now, it is your turn to order. You ask for a Medium Drink and a Medium Fries with your McChicken Style Sandwich. The associate smiles sweetly and tell you they are having a special today and you get a Large Meal for 25 cents more! When you insist that you want Medium, they give you a Large anyway. You feel scared. They give you the “you-must- be-cheap-look” for not wanting to pay 25 cents more for the Larger Meal.
Now what do you do? You have a Large drink cup on your tray and a Large French fries. How are you going to explain this? You KNOW the rules! NO LARGE MEALS EVER!! The guidelines say don’t try to correct anything about your order. Be quiet and breath slowly. You are only to correct your order if you are missing one of your 3 items. You suddenly look for your receipt. It’s not on the tray! Where is your receipt!! They did not give you one! You ask politely for your receipt. They sneer and say the Green Eyed Receipt Monster ate it behind the counter. They smile. You take them seriously! They say, “just kidding” and tell you, “Let me print you one.”
You “thank them” profusely because you are not allowed to ask for a receipt more than once. You walk over to your table after capturing your food times, sit down, take a deep breath and relax.
And then…you notice inside the 6 piece Chicken Nuggets box that your ordered, is a McRib Super Saucy Sandwich!
But you did not order that! What to do? You catch hold of your breath and remember ‘But you must not take it back up front because you can’t correct your order.’ You realize you are going to attempt to eat this drippy, dark reddish gravy looking sauce and you don’t even like sauce! So, you try to eat it, scraping some of the sauce off with a napkin and know you will invariably drip BBQ sauce all over your blouse.
You notice after a few moments, that you have sat down on a sticky seat. You must sit in that sticky seat for 15 minutes! You could move or wipe it yourself but you can’t complain that it’s dirty! This is because you want to see if the associates will clean any issues on their own. The floor feels sticky too. You need more ice. Your shoes make a slup-slup sound as you walk on the sticky floor because you realize someone obviously dropped their soda on your seat and now you are tracking it back to the soda machine.
You finish your painfully, long 15 minute wait. You empty your tray in the trash. Now, it’s time for you check the restroom. The door opens and you are hit with the most nauseating smell, like a sewer back up. But the questionnaire does not ask if the restroom smells clean. You can answer that at the end for additional comments. Let them know that it smelled like a backed-up cesspool. You think they will care about that on the report.
You reach for the toilet paper while sitting on the toilet and it’s that thin-kind that rips every other 1/2 inch, seeming permanently stuck on the spindle.. You wondered why there were so many toilet paper remnants on the floor. You finish up with the toilet. You go to the soap dispenser and it’s as dry as your throat in the desert in July. You only have water now. Ahh, water.But, it’s the sensor kind and of course no water comes out for you. You wave your hands 14 times and finally you get a tiny squirt of water and wash your hands. You eye the dreaded “air hand blower” and detest the loud noise and how it blows your hands apart like a Florida Hurricane in June. Then you remember why you snuck paper napkins into the bathroom. You dry your hands with your napkin. The napkin falls apart, of course, because it’s not designed for drying hands, just wiping messy faces. Messy faces with BBQ sauce.
It’s time for the Drive Thru portion of your shop! You race to your car. Cars are coming in now, it’s a little after 12 noon! You see that you will be having a problem backing out with the long line of cars. You do finally get your car backed out but to play it cool, you leave and come back around and get back in line. The line is moving in slowly.
You remain calm, note the time. The customer in front of you is at the speaker. She is talking on it for a long time. She orders a lot of food. After she orders, she sits there. like she doesn’t have a care in the world. You wish she would move forward! You want to honk your horn! But you think that will draw attention to yourself. So you wait. Finally, she moves, like a turtle in a slow race. She is out of the speaker zone. You finally approach the speaker.
You hear “Than$#^ you for visi$#@ McDonald’s, my name is $#%#$ can I take your order?”
You say proudly, “Yes. I will have a Quarter Pounder with Cheese Medium Value Meal.” The associate says, “I am going to make that a Large Meal today because they are the Large Special today same price. Okay?” You almost scream. “No! I want a Medium, please.” The associate says, “What? You want a Medium? I am giving you a LARGE for the same price!” You decline the offer. You wait for the COD screen to make SURE it says Medium. Finally it does and you move forward.
You are getting close to the pay window now and noting your time. The customer in front of you drops her money out of her window and has to open her car door and fish all the coins off the ground so she can pay for her meal. You wait. It’s your turn to pay! You are quoted your price, pay your money and she thanks you with your change. You begin driving away.
“WAIT! “Where is your receipt? You stop the car immediately and ASK for your receipt. She laughs lightly (don’t you know that’s how I get paid lady?) and she hands you the receipt. You have learned that the receipt is like gold. Without it, you might not get paid for all this dining and spending money excursion you are doing. Just as you move forward, the car in front of you stalls. You hear the whirring of the starter cranking out life to the car in front of you. It moves again! Relief.
You get to the pickup window and no-one is there. You wait. You are timing this wait. The window slowly opens and you are handed just the drink. Still waiting. You finally get your food but you are missing the fries. They tell you to pull forward and wait. They are still cooking your fries. You are still timing. It is torture to wait, wondering if they will bring your fries. Eventually someone brings them to you.
You check your sandwich. It is wrong! It is a Big Mac! What do you do? “Nothing” according to the new ordering guidelines. You say nothing. You do not correct your order. You drive away knowing you will be filling out the “extra comments” section of the report. You are now leaving the property keeping close eye the exact moment you pulled away from the pick-up window. After feeling frazzled and taking a bite of your sandwich (required, while it’s hot) you realize you don’t feel as hungry as you thought you did. You make the trek home to fill out your first McDonald’s report.