I normally don’t eat fast food.  Not because I’m uppity or anything like that, but because I have so many food allergies/intolerances, that it’s a waste of money if I just puke it up after I eat it anyway.  Anyhow, a few weeks ago while I was dealing with the grind of work, I had absolutely no energy, and I decided to stop for breakfast on my way to the office.

That morning, I had to drop my car at the shop for a repair, so I rode through the Burger King drive-thru and ordered an egg and cheese croissant minus the bacon, dropped off my car, then had someone drop me off at work.

Since I was extra early and the first one there, I decided to eat in the breakroom, so I poured a big glass of milk, got some napkins and salt, and sat down to the table.  As I opened the bag, something smelled funny… kind of smoky.  I suspected they forgot to make my sandwich without bacon, and I was a little irritated that I’d have to pull it off myself and lose all the cheese that would’ve inadvertently melted to it.  Grrr!

Anyway, I unwrapped the sandwich, opened the top, and saw there was no bacon.  Good.  I picked it up to take a bite, and that same smoky flavor overpowered me.  Oops!  I don’t know what that smell is but I forgot my salt.  Frustrated, I set the sandwich back down, opened the top bun and salted it, then picked it up again to eat.  But before I could take a bite, my phone rang.  Dang!

After hanging up from my call, I picked the sandwich up a third time when I realized that I’d left my milk on the counter.  I irritably threw the sandwich down, fetched my glass of milk, then returned to the table only to discover this:


GROSS!  Have you ever seen anything so disgusting from a so-called restaurant?  (Okay, I actually have, but that’s another story.)

Obviously, I didn’t eat that nasty thing, but I at least thought to photograph it before I tossed it.  I was so angry!  I was hungry, I lost my food and my money, and I didn’t even have my car to go tell Burger King what I thought of them.

Later that evening, I actually did go back to the restaurant and show them that photo, but they refused to refund my money!  They said they could only issue a breakfast refund at breakfast time, so if I really wanted my money back, I could come back the following morning.   I said, “Screw it,” and I stormed out and never went back.  And I probably never will.  [So, Burger, King, I hope your employees’ ineptitude at assembling a simple sandwich and refunding a couple of bucks for your obvious gaffe was really worth  all the business besides mine that you could stand to lose in this day and age of social media and a camera at our fingertips.  #BurgerKingSucks]

Let’s talk: What’s the worst thing you’ve ever gotten at a fast food restaurant?  Did you photograph it at the time?  Did you get a refund?

The Change

Today’s pet peeve is about change.  No, not THE change as the title implies.  I’m not talking about menopause.

The change I’m talking about today is the change I would get – or should get – when I order take-out food.  Over the past five years or so, I’ve noticed a big increase in the number of take-out places that A) have a tip jar right at the register where you stand in line to order and receive your food and B) have the number of cashiers that will outright ask, “Do you want your change?”

I was at a Starbucks a few months ago where my sister and I went through the drive-thru.  We each ordered a tall (which is the smallest) hot chocolate.  Our total was around $5, give or take a few cents, and we paid with a $20 bill.  Needless to say when the cashier asked if I wanted my change, I went off on the kid!  I yelled something to the effect of, “Of course I want my change!  I’m not going to give you a 300% tip for passing two cups out a window!  As a matter of fact, I want all my money back!  Now!  You can keep your overpriced hot chocolate!”

While my reaction might seem extreme, I had reached my breaking point of people begging for my money.  When I go to a sit down restaurant, I tip very generously.  In fact, I get embarrassed if I’m dining with someone who’s cheap with the tip.  But as for walk-up counters or drive-thrus, I’m sorry, but the prices are high enough, and I have no intention of tipping anything then.

I live across the street from an outdoor walk-up ice cream store.  It costs roughly $7 there for a single scoop cone.  Yet they still have a tip jar on the counter, and they don’t hesitate to ask if you want your change when you place an order and pay with cash.  My daughter worked there one summer, and my sister and I walked over to see her working.  She was in the back making ice cream, so we ordered from the other girl.  When I declined to let her keep my $3 change from my $10 bill, she went to my daughter to complain about “the cheap bitch” that just left.  My daughter ran like her bed was on fire to tell me about it and go off on me about how much I embarrassed her.  My response?  “Tough!  Tell your friend to get an education so you won’t have to work at a place like that.  If you want tips, go work at a real restaurant where you actually serve and wait on people, then you can expect tips and not have to beg for them.  Then you can report all those tips to the IRS, and you can pay taxes on them as well.”  Needless to say, she was not happy with my answer as well as my message to her friend.

Sonic is another restaurant I now boycott because of their constant haranguing me to allow them to keep my change.  It costs roughly $7.50 for a meal at McDonalds here in Florida.  That’s approximately 43¢ less than our state’s minimum hourly wage.  So figure a person has to work roughly an hour and fifteen minutes at a minimum wage job, picking up dead animal carcasses off the side of the road or putting the blue smelly stuff in port-o-potties, just to net enough money to eat a low quality meal that’s likely not even hot, and then they get harassed by the restaurant’s employees who are doubling as panhandlers begging for cash under the guise of guilting us into thinking we owe them a tip in addition to the cost of the overpriced food!

I think it’s bad enough on the rare occasion when I go to a sit down restaurant and the waiter takes my money and asks if I need any change.  Even if the change is the exact amount I want to leave them, what their statement says to me is, “I don’t want to have to walk back over to your table unnecessarily.  I’ve got better things to do.”  Also, if perhaps the tip I was going to leave was $5, and they asked that question when my change would have been $8, it now makes me feel like they think I’m cheap if I ask for my change, even if the $5 tip I would have left was well over 20%.

The very word TIPS is an acronym for To Insure Prompt (or Proper) Service.  And I’m sorry, but I don’t feel that it is proper service to solicit tips when I have to go to the counter, stand in a line, wait for my food or beverage, wait for the cashier to get off their cellphone, wait for the person in the back to stop joking around with someone else, and actually get my order placed in a bag, and then have the cashier fail to even greet me or thank me for my business.

A tip is also like a gift.  It is in addition to the cost of the item, and it is at my discretion how much I choose to leave, if anything.  And I, for one, will always leave a much larger tip if the person I’m tipping refrains from asking about it.

Okay, will someone help me down off my soapbox for today?

Let’s talk:  Have you ever encountered a cashier who asks if you want to keep your change?  When you go to a restaurant, do you calculate your tip to the suggested 15-20% guideline, or do you just leave a standard flat amount or round up the bill to the nearest $5 or $10?