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Please Pull Up
by Joseph Branco


March 31, 2005

I pride myself on tackling the tough topics that face our nation and our community here in Ketchikan. Today I will attempt to tackle an issue that has touched us all; and one that many are too scared to talk about: The McDonald's Drive Thru.

If you are like me, nothing quite hits the spot like a fist full of French fries from McDonald's. I can actually feel the salty grease dripping down my throat in a moment of pure euphoria. I am what you may call a Frequent Flyer of the McDonald's here in Ketchikan. Let's just say if McDonald's were a monthly bill for my family, it would blow our power bill out of the water. This brings me to the crux of the issue, and why my particular self-made VIP status at McDonald's allows me to speak with some authority on the matter.

Yes, I would like a number 1 with a Diet Coke (don't laugh), a number 2 with a Mr. Pibb, a chicken nuggets happy meal for a boy with orange soda, and sure - why not - I ll also have three hot fudge sundaes . The McHelp replies, Sure please pull to the first window . I pull up and cheerfully pay for my next coronary. The polite young woman at the pay counter reminds me to pull up to the next window to pick up my food. Can any of you fine citizens of Ketchikan tell me what happens now that I have pulled up to the pick up window? Some of you may be thinking "Oh, you probably get your food now?" Oh .Nay ..If only that were the case! EVERY SINGLE TIME, the rude person at the pick up window looks at me with an annoyed grimace and tells me to move forward!

The first few times this happened to me I assumed it was so the people behind me with easier orders to complete could get their food while I waited for my more complicated order. However, that benefit of the doubt thought was quickly squashed as I noticed that the same thing happened when I was the ONLY car within a mile of McDonald's! So I asked one day why I am ALWAYS asked to move up into the middle of the street past the pick up counter. I was told (by a McDonald's employee on shift) that it is because of an annoying beeping that goes off while they are trying to get the food to the customer! The purpose of this beeping is to track the time it takes to get the food to the customer and make sure orders are completed according to McDonald's time standards.

I can't even begin to tell you how truly annoying and wrong this is. For one, McDonald's is putting the comfort of their employees' ears above the comfort of their customers. Second, since this is more than just a random or occasional occurrence, and if the management and employees agree that the beeping is annoying and unneeded - why don't they just disconnect it? Third, if you cannot disconnect it, the beeping must be in place for an important reason to the McDonald's corporation and included in franchise guidelines. Fourth, if McDonald's is moving people forward before their order is truly complete to improve documentation of order completion times, this is a fraudulent practice!

Whatever the case - I don t really care. What I do care about is constantly being asked to move forward so that they don't have to hear some beeping noise. I am fed up with being rudely told to move forward and then have my order forgot (which has happened). McDonald's you need to end that ridiculous process and remember that inconveniencing your customers and treating them rudely is no way to run a business. You are already charging more than any other McDonald's in America, and your prices seem to go up almost weekly - you can at least deal with a little beeping. I will NOT be moving forward the next time you tell me to just so you can look like you complete orders faster than you do. I went to ask the management their thoughts on this annoying fiasco, but I was told to "Just Pull Forward!" McDonald's - I love you guys....just please end this practice.

Joseph Branco
Ketchikan, AK - USA



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