McDonald’s made a bad business decision last week. Really bad. As I’m sure is familiar to most, the way the drive-thru usually goes down is:
- I drive up to menu board and decide what I want.
- I pull up to the main window, realising too late that I’m much too far away and if I drop the coins it’ll be terribly embarrassing.
- A grumpy looking 16-year-old grunts something which I assume to be ‘what is your order?’
- I supply the required information, and following another grunt, hand over some money.
- I receive change that may or may not be accurate – I don’t have time to check – then drive on to the next window.
This is the comforting McDonald’s. We know what to expect. It’s been this way for years. Except this time.
- I drove up to the menu board and decided what I wanted.
- I pulled up to the main window and realised too late that I was much too far away, and if I dropped the coins it’d be terribly embarrassing.
- I looked up, and there was a very pretty girl leaning out of the window on her elbows, long dark hair falling around her shoulders. She gave me a beaming smile and said ‘Hi! What would you like to order?’.
- I didn’t know. The information was gone.
- After somewhere between 3 and 5 seconds of ‘umm’ing – an eternity, in other words – I finally remembered.
I bet they’re wondering why throughput was way down that evening.
This story has elicited two reactions so far: “that’s completely understandable” and “men are pathetic”. Both are possibly true. It’s a problem. This morning I had something similar, but opposite:
I needed to ask for something vaguely embarrassing at the Boots pharmacy counter1. I was a little nervous while walking to the shop, but told myself not to be so silly – they’re trained professionals, and I’m grown-up enough not to worry about the thoughts of other people in the queue. I headed inside determined to comport myself in a mature manner.
This lasted as long as it took to realise the sole customer at the pharmacy desk was my next-door neighbour. I diverted into Shampoo and Tampons. Another minute of dithering and the desk was clear. Ok. I stepped forward.
See, this is how I think it must work in the mind of a typical Boots assistant:
There is a young man waiting at the desk. He is looking a little nervous. Perhaps he has to ask about something awkward. Thankfully, we have many kindly, motherly-types working here who can put him at ease. Except, we’re not really his generation, are we? Maybe he’d prefer someone his own age. I’ll send in The Bombshell.
This time I had no trouble with forgetting. I knew exactly what I needed to ask for. Sigh.
My ex used to get cross that pretty women make me nervous. Abi, thankfully, just rolls her eyes.
- I’ll spare you the details this time [↩]