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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Memories of working at McDonald's during the holidays

This time of year always brings back memories from my stint as a crew member at McDonald’s.

We had a lot of fun year-round, like when we sent a new co-worker to the supply room to get seeds for the buns.

But my favorite bit came during the holidays.

McDonald’s had a deal in which customers could get a discount on a VHS tape of a Christmas movie or a mainstream offering if they bought an extra-value meal. One year it was “Dances with Wolves,” and the other it was “Field of Dreams.”

This was in the early 1990s, so there was no live streaming or Internet pirating, and cable pay-per-view had a small selection. VHS was the main medium for home viewing.

We had the movies playing on a loop from a monitor we put on the counter. We had to stop “Dances with Wolves” and replace it, though. Apparently there is a scene that you wouldn’t want to see while eating. Because the monitor was facing the dining room, I never saw it. I haven’t since, either, so I still don’t know what happened that would ruin one’s appetite.

A guy who worked the drive-through had the most fun with the tapes. We were told to suggestive sell the movies -- suggestive sell is McDonald’s jargon for “Would you like fries with that?”

He took suggestive selling and ran with it. He suggestive sold to everyone, no matter what they ordered. For example:

My-coworker in the drive-through: “Welcome to McDonald’s. Can I take your order?”

Customer: “Yeah, I’d just like a medium coffee with two creams.”

Co-worker: “OK, that’s a medium coffee, two creams. Would you like to buy a Christmas video with that? We have “Field of Dreams” and “Babes in Toyland.”

Customer: “Uh, no. Just the coffee, please.”

Co-worker: “Great! That’s one medium coffee with two creams and a Christmas video. Your total is $16.97 at the first drive-through window.”

Customer: “No! I only wanted a coffee!”

Sometimes he had us laughing so hard that customers inside the restaurant who couldn’t hear the conversation would wonder what was going on.

I’m guessing the customers in the cars weren’t laughing as hard. But we thought it was funny.

I recently drove past the old store. It’s been torn down and rebuilt with two drive-through lanes. I can only imagine what my co-worker could have done with that.

- Howard Primer


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