Thursday, March 13, 2008

Fast Food

Fast food, or rather, those glorious operations that specialize in its purveyance, seek to accomplish the impossible; that is, attain perfect efficiency in food distribution in a system populated by individuals completely oblivious to the rest of the world around them.

Let me expound.

The last time you went to Chipotle, for instance, assume, hypothetically, that you had actually gone to the trouble of faxing in your rather large order ahead of time, so as to not wait when you arrived. However, upon arrival, there is a larger individual directly in front of you in the fast lane, making a fuss about her order. Alas, this perfect system designed to more quickly hand you your burrito was broken by the individual who had to make sure that her emotional needs were met. The food she received did not change at all; she just had to make sure that she was heard.

People typically make fusses about the amount of ketchup, the presence of onions, and other nonsensical items. The system was designed to push you through quickly! Help a brother out and stop your excessive customization!

Your supreme goal when entering an establishment of this nature is to achieve the absolute minimum communication in terms of polite human interaction. Study the order habits of the other customers, and determine the commonly asked questions. Then phrase the order in the most concise way possible, while maintaining the elements that will avoid the follow-up questions. If asked follow-ups, the answers are "yes, please", or "no, thank you", not some waffling response that some use, or those egotistical responses that others use to assert their superiority over the staff.

A word on chattiness: Let me tell you, ninety-five percent of fast food workers want no more interaction with you than is required by their employer. Being chatty doesn't give them a boost. That's an extra thirty seconds they're going to be serving customers that day. You see those people behind you? They are all cursing you under their breath. Yes. Every last one of them.

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