Monday, February 11, 2008

Somewhere, Ronald McDonald is weeping

Manager
McDonald’s Restaurant
Highway 12, Beaverton
ON, Canada

Dear Sir or Madam,

You don’t know me.

And judging by your treatment of me last night, you’re probably not interested in what I have to say.

But I’m going to tell my story anyway.

I was in your restaurant last night with a handful of other shell-shocked drivers, stranded by some of the most deadly road conditions imaginable.

Snow and blowing snow had reduced visibility to zero for miles in every direction. A local strike by municipal workers meant the relentless stretches of highway that we drove inch by painstaking inch to reach you had not been properly cleared in days. The ditches were littered with dozens of cars whose drivers faced waits of several hours for assistance in -30 C temperatures.

It was shortly after 11 p.m. when a fellow refuge opened a locked door and the bitter wind pushed me and my two-year-old son inside your restaurant. I’m not a nervous driver but I cannot remember being so close to a full-blown panic attack. Thank God for the people who helped to calm me and busied my son with stray french fries and smiles.

Too bad the warm and fuzzy feeling didn’t last.

The restaurant has been closed since 11 p.m., one of your minions announced. I need you all to vacate the premises immediately.

We all tittered nervously. She was kidding right?

My manger is on the phone, she continued. If you don’t leave I’ve been instructed that I have to follow policy and call the police.

We burst into laughter, of course: the kind of demented, uproarious laughter that only patent absurdity can generate.

But her proclamation wasn’t really funny at all.

It was, I think, disturbing.

It was disturbing because it illustrated the utter lack of judgment we have come to expect of low level managers working for big companies like McDonald’s.

It was disturbing because it threw into stark relief the difference between the image your company spends millions to promote and the asinine adherence to policy your company apparently insists its workers enforce.

It is disturbing because executive trainers somewhere continue to convince people that minimum wage is incentive enough to sacrifice compassion and common sense on the altar of rigid corporate dogma.

You might think I’m being melodramatic and maybe I am. But let me tell you what you should have instructed your minion to do.

You should have offered to pay her double time to stay an extra couple of hours. You should have told her to put a few pots of coffee on and offer them free of charge. You should have sucked up the $40 or $50 this would have cost and acted like it was your pleasure.

Because it should have been.

Even if you don’t know me.

Sincerely,

Don Mills Diva

PS. I stayed put until I was damn good and ready to leave. And also, I let my two year old have a field day with all the napkins and condiments he could get his grubby, little hands on.

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73 comments:

linds said...

You have got to be kidding me! They expected you to go back out in those conditions? I really hope you are going to mail that letter to McDonald's corporate office. Seriously!

I'm glad you guys are home safe now.

Brittany said...

I second that! MAIL that letter! What jerks!

Mighty Morphin' Mama said...

Wow, that is incredible. I am glad you stayed put til you were ready. I really do hope you send that letter off, and I am glad you are home safe.

Awesome Mom said...

I would so send that so someone high up in the company. Sheesh! I am glad that I never eat there.

La La said...

Ahhhhhh! Yes. Send it. I try to tell my students to use their BRAINS, that they don't always have to do what they are told, for crying out loud!

"It is disturbing because executive trainers somewhere continue to convince people that minimum wage is incentive enough to sacrifice compassion and common sense on the altar of rigid corporate dogma."

And that's what it is "rigid corporate dogma" and a bunch of employees who don't have the guts to question it and THEN DO what makes sense!

Jen said...

Good grief.

Glad you made it home safely.

Nap Warden said...

I'm just happy you and your little one made it home safely...I can't believe the lack of judgement and compassion...boo McD's:(

C said...

Wow! That is the best letter of complaint I've ever read ;) I can't believe the poor judgment. If the manager were smart, a few cups of coffee and a warm place to stay for a bit would have totally given McD's a better name. That's really sad.

I'm glad you guys made it home safely!

Are You Serious! said...

♥ I'm with you on this one all the way. Even if they would have charged for coffee and whatnot they would have made more and stayed in the good graces of the communtiy and other poeple!! WOOOWWW!!!

Amy said...

I would have stayed put until the cops came for several reasons.

#1 in those conditions, where were the employees planning on going?

#2 The cops had much better things to do, I AM SURE, than respond to a ???? loitering call.

#3 At least when the cops came I would be assured that help would be close by when I ended up in a ditch.

I can't believe they kick you guys out. Incredible.

I'm glad you got home safe.

Family Adventure said...

I hope you sent the letter!

Stay warm & safe!

Heidi

Beth said...

Don't bother mailing that letter to the manager....mail it to McDonald's Corporate Offices. You are right, this isn't the image they want to project and I'm sure they would be upset to learn this happened.

Llama Momma said...

Do send this letter to high levels of management. UNREAL!!!

Badness Jones said...

Are you serious? That's awful....you need to send this letter higher up.

Mary said...

I hope you really send that letter.........to the top!
What an awful night :(

sky girl said...

You had better send a letter. That's deplorable.

Jenifer said...

You could drive the letter over personally, aren't the corporate offices off of Wynford?

Send the letter either way, that kind of attitude (from the Manager, not the terrified employee) is disgraceful.

Laura said...

I cannot believe that! CRAZY!

I would send the letter to the headquarters not the store. You were treated terribly.

On a lighter note, you know you have true blogging friends when during a shopping outing you see a sale at a shoe store and think of your friend the Don Mills Diva!!!!!!

hang in there...send in the letter!!!

OHmommy said...

Way to go mommy for letting your son have a field day there.

I can't even imagine what I would do. :)

Erin said...

Where's the love and the decency that we are trying to instill in our children. I see so many instances of how wrong the world is all the time, but this has to be one of the top ten...or bottom ten really.
(at my old doctor I had to wait at least an hour in the waiting room every time so I let my kids do whatever they wanted, too. The way I saw it was I would control them until my designated appointment time and anything beyond that was their call. You want to jump off the chairs? Sure honey go right ahead. I am a big fan of customer service and it really bugs me when companies try to save a few buck and let that go first.)
Glad you are home safe.

Magpie said...

Wow. You absolutely have to send this higher up. That really is crazy.

Dawn said...

That must have been awful. Good for you, just staying anyway. That's crazy bad service, some common sense would have really been good for the management there.

InTheFastLane said...

And a letter to the local papers...

Leanne said...

Yep, send it, and I agree with the other comment, let's teach our kids to THINK, not to always do as they're told. Scary this stuff.

MommyK said...

Absolutely send it. That's insane! Glad you made it home safely!

GoMommy said...

I can't believe that! It's hard to believe the lack of compassion for fellow human beings, never mind the fact that you were all customers. The reality is far from those happy commercials eh? I don't see Ronald kicking any of those kids in the ass into a blizzard.

Kimmylyn said...

You should def. mail that letter. What a way to treat you..

I am happy to hear you are okay and that you are safe.

Kathryn said...

Yes. Send the letter.
So much for compassion and common sense! Sheesh!

Melissa said...

Yikes, they could have probably made some money, too!

I'm shocked at the lousy behavior there...

kittenpie said...

He should definietly have offered her extra pay to stay later, and maybe come over himself or asked her to call for some help from another employee. Or asked them to in fact call the police not to evict people, but to help make sure they could go safely, or could stay safely, one way or the other. I hate it when people are small minded and letter-of-the-law like that.

Colorado Writer said...

Wow! What a story! I hate McDonalds even more than I already did.

Thanks for coming by my blog!
Stephanie

Lisa said...

I hope you really send a copy of that to the head McDonalds person, whoever that might be. That is crappy on so many levels.

I'm glad you finally made it home safe!

Dancin Queen said...

Really???

Boo McDonalds!

common mom said...

Where were THEY going to go? Where did they expect YOU to go? How were the COPS gonna get there?

Sheesh . . . sorry for your bad experience . . . and the awful weather! I love snow, but not when I'm stuck out in it :-(

Rima said...

Oooo, I hope you let your son have at the ketchup dispenser, as well. That is just wrong. Whatever happened to good old fashioned human kindness? Sheesh!

sam said...

Just playing Devil's Advocate here, but maybe it was just the employee wanting to get the hell outta there to see her boyfriend or something?

No one knows for sure that the manager said anything since it was apparently over the phone.

Either way, I'd definitely send the letter to the location's manager as well as Corporate Head Office.

katie said...

wow, you make it seem like summer time here in chicago! I would've done the same thing with my baby... let them do whatever they wanted!

Thanks for stopping by my blog!

tommie said...

I hope you do mail that letter. It would interesting to see if they respond.

Burgh Baby's Mom said...

Thanks for stopping by my place!

Dude, send the letter. I'd LOVE to see their reply. I'm going to bet it will have something to do with the safety and well-being of their employees, despite the fact that they were better off staying put as well.

Burgh Baby's Mom said...

Thanks for stopping by my place!

Dude, send the letter. I'd LOVE to see their reply. I'm going to bet it will have something to do with the safety and well-being of their employees, despite the fact that they were better off staying put as well.

mamatulip said...

Fuckin' A, DMD. Mail that letter to goddamn McDonald's head office.

I worked at McDonald's for six and a half years and I am really, really angry that you were treated this way in such a situation. I mean it when I say I can't imagine that kind of thing going down in the restaurant I worked at, and I can't believe it went down at the one you were at. That's outrageous, and it's enough to make me boycott McDonald's forfuckingEVER, even though I rarely, rarely eat there.

I am seriously pissed off, on your behalf.

kay said...

i too am a former mcdonald's employee. i hope that we would have bent over backwards to make any stranded persons happy. please mail that letter. and hats off to you for letting your little one manhandle the mickey d's paraphernalia!

thanks for visiting my blog! i'll be back!

angie said...

I think I loved just about everything about this post.....the first one of yours that I've read. Thank you for taking the time to stop by my blog and comment! I look forward to reading much more........I'm glad your son got his "grubby" hands on everything in sight. :)

Matchbox Mom said...

ew! I strike McDonalds! I refuse to eat there especially after hearing that story! What a bunch of jerks!
I would have totally let you stay! It was fun reading your blog, and i'm glad you said hello! Love love love your blog!

Tami

Holly said...

I really hope you mail that letter to the manager and to the corporate office. They definitely need to see it. Good for you for standing your ground and staying put.

Melek said...

great letter. i hope you send it in. at very least, maybe they'll send you a box of cookies.

i worked at mcdonalds for 2 years, and i'd like to THINK we would have been compassionate, but it's all about makin a buck to corporations, right? pity.

oda41143 Missy said...

thanks for the comment on my blog. your mcdonald's story is terrible. glad you all made it home safe!!

KATE said...

Oh my good crap, I cannot believe that!! Seriously that is so absolutely insane that they would want you out!! Holy Hell, what has become of this world? Seriously, what ever happened to customer service & just being kind?
Wow!!!!

Thanks for stopping by my blog & I LOVED your letter! I want to hear the reply!!!

jan said...

As much money as they pay for PR at the national level they need to know how it is wasted at the local level. Let them know. Names. Places.

Mary said...

Nice of you to stop by and comment. Always great to make new blogging friends!

What a horrific story! I think it's about time for winter to be done with and clear roads to make a comeback.

Kellan said...

This is so typical - unfortunately! I can't believe she had her manager on the phone - I'd have been furious and called the police myself, I think. I assume you got home safely - I'm so glad. Take care - Kellan

MamaGeek said...

Oh that's just all sorts of wrong. You'd think they could exercise judgement given the situation. I hope your little guy mushed all the condiment packages he could.

jennwa said...

That is terrible.
I thought McDonald's liked to see us smile.

Shellie said...

Good for you!! Send it; they should be ashamed of themselves.

Tootsie Farklepants said...

You should totally send that. The bitches.

Barrie said...

Good for you for speaking out. We have to look out for each other in this life. And these McDonald's personnel just aren't getting that.

mama meji said...

I'm blown! I'm sorry that you were treated terribly in a popular food chain.

I hope you get to mail that so at least they know what the clients think of their service -and their policy.

ewe are here said...

Send it to them. And send a copy to the corporate head office.

Because that just shouldn't have happened... let alone the fact that the manager was calling it in rather than being there to shut the place down himself!

Kyla said...

Terrible. Terrible. Terrible.

Sent it, really.

newduck said...

I agree with so many other commenters that you should send the letter to the McD's corporate offices. And mention that you published it on your higly influential blog. That gets x hits a day. Perhaps also print the comments you got and include them with the letter. Here's mine: ANOTHER REASON TO BOYCOTT MCDONALD'S.

CS said...

Dude, that is so screwed up! I'm glad you stayed put. When on earth did the safety of humans come AFTER the closing bell?

Melody said...

PLEASE send that letter. I am continually dissappointed by the appalling lack of customer service or even common courtesy that seems to be running rampant in this world.

Melody

Where are we and what are we doing in this handbasket??

Melisa said...

That TOTALLY sucks. You have to send it. For them not to "roll with the punches" in that situation was an enormous error in judgment. Glad you got home safely!

caramama said...

I'm glad you made it home safe! Definitely send the letter, both to the manager and a copy to the corporate office. I hate poor customer service and people with no compassion.

MommyTime said...

Please tell us that you actually did mail that letter to the McD's corporate headquarters. You certainly should. This is crazy!

bubandpie said...

Please tell me she did make that call to the cops. I'd love to have heard what they'd say to her.

Megan said...

ah, yes, mcdonald's LOVES kids- as long as their parents are in the stinky restaurant spending money. but loving kids just to love them (aka- giving stranded families a warm place to stay when the weather is deadly...)? hmmm... jerks.

excellent ideas for what they should have done- i had been thinking that the whole time i was reading your post- that's how companies -especially gigantic ones- should treat people- their graciousness could create a customer for life- instead of leaving you determined to never give them a dime again...

Heather said...

Wow, that's crappy. You SHOULD send that letter.

Anonymous said...

don't forget that poor staffer might have had a five year old to get home to as well....a babysitter to barely be able to pay, or another job to get up early to go the next day. just because they get minimum wage, doesn't mean that should have to make themselves availabe...keep perspective.

Victoria said...

Oh, no. Was there not *someone* who could have stayed and let you guys hang out? Bleck.

Marmarbug said...

Oh my lord! I can't get over that! I am glad you sent the letter. YOu are so right!

Andrea said...

Oh, WOW!!
That is unbelievable!!
So glad you spoke up (and I love the ps!)

Anonymous said...

Holy heck, your sense of entitlement is astounding.

How long did you expect the McDonald's staff to keep the place open for you? All night? Or just until you decided you were ready to leave? Did you pause to consider that the employees may have needed to get home? Maybe they had a long, ugly drive ahead of them in those terrible conditions and were tired after a long day of dealing with self-absorbed, childish snots who leave messes for others to clean up.