Tuesday, July 8, 2008

"Do They Speak English in What?"


"ENGLISH m****f***er! Do you speak it?!"

I have had to add another step to my trips through the drive-thru of late. I now have to check my order to ensure it is correct.

Time was you could go through a drive-thru and be fairly confident your burger was going to be the way you ordered it. No onions? No problem! Only ketchup? Okay!

Now, not so much. The problem is usually the lack of ability by the employees who make the food to read or speak English. I have seen folks order in Spanish, which the order taker speaks fluently and the people in back also understand, and still get their order effed up.

The weak link, in most cases, appears to be the computer system used to transmit the orders from the front counter to the back. It only "speaks" English.

Perhaps the solution is simpler than the fast food chains think. It is possible, and don't ask me how I know this, to make the buttons on the register read in English and have the screen print the results in Spanish.

Miracle? No. Simple computer programming.

Why someone who matters hasn't come up with this before me is a mystery.

I order a Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese, with no lettuce. The computer screen tells the person in back that I want a Double Quarter con Queso sin Lechuga.

You want a Whopper with only tomato? Let the computer tell the order prep person you'd like a Whopper con tomate solamente.

If I had to guesstimate, I'd say fifteen of the last twenty times I have been through any of our local drive-thrus have required a return trip. In some places it has gotten so bad I will not even use the drive-thru. I go inside because I know my order will be wrong.

So Ronald, Jack, Carl and Wendy. Are you listening?


Tonya said...

That's just the universe's way of telling you that you should cut out eating the crappy fast food all together. ::tease::

Snigglefrits said...

I think it's more of a Don't Care attitude than a language barrier. The folks at our local C&P are all native English speakers, as am I.

I still can't get a Sausage w/ cheese McMuffin without them slapping one of those rubber eggs on it.

Most of them act like you're interrupting their day if you order something "special" and as long as you drive away, they don't care if you have to come back.

The husband got so tired of having to go back to get me a Regular iced coffee instead of Hazelnut flavored, that he, like you, goes inside to order now.

Edwin said...

Yeah, the "Don't Care" attitude is a killer --

The programming for this would be trivial, assuming the programmers who wrote the original software weren't complete dumbasses -- so, umm, yeah, it would be a tough one.

With new keyboards and some extra expense, you can actually make the keys on the register change language too!

Aint technology grand?

TheBronze said...

As a rule, I generally hate going through the drive-through. I'm not convinced that the D-T is any faster and the only thing it does is let you not have to even exit your car. And of course the opportunity to get your order even more messed up.

I always get "special order" food, so I'd just assume go inside and watch them make it, so I don't get anything "special" that I didn't order.

Especially when I was on-duty. Going through the D-T in uniform is just asking for trouble (unless it's after hours and D-T is the only thing open).

Me said...

Call me old-fashioned, but I think that businesses should only be allowed to hire people who can demonstrate a proficiency in English (and who have documentation of citizenship or a work visa).

I also don't go to drive-thrus on duty, especially in a marked unit. They can usually see the car on camera before you order, and I know for a fact that in the last city I ran a marked unit, you'd be hard-pressed to find a fast food joint that didn't have at least one mutt working there who had been locked up (or tuned up) by our agency in the past.

That's why I stick to Subway or Chipotle--places where I could watch the food get made.

*Goddess* said...

Lately, I keep getting sweet tea at McD's drive thru instead of the UNsweetened tea I order. UGH. That sweet stuff is enough to gag ya.

Now I find myself stressing the UN part...not that it helps.

Officer "Smith" said...

Tonya, you're such a tease!

Oh no! I certainly don't go through the drive-thru on duty. I always go inside where I can watch.

And as for the programming, Edwin, you know what they say. A computer is only as smart as its dumbest programmer.

USAincognito said...

Heck, even a trip thru TACO BELL gets all messed up!!! *sigh*

Aileen said...

Around here the service is just as bad and there are no foreign born employees working there. Bottom line is that young people don't seem to have good work ethic anymore. They do their job half ass and could care less. Our local Wendy's gets our order wrong 6 out of every 7 visits. As I watch through the window I see the employees joking and flirting with each other rather than focusing on their job.
Another pet peeve for me is when you are checking out at a store and the entire time you are standing there the cashier is blabbing on to the other employee , on their cell phone or a friend visiting about what they did last week-end or whatever while never acknowledging your presents with a hello or will that be all , thanks for shopping here , nothing. And what is wrong with the managers allowing this to go on?

RoaVaPD said...

The simplest solution is hire people who speak English.

Loren Pechtel said...

I suspect you are right about the source of the problem. I've long since learned to be careful at drive-thrus in the poorer parts of town.

The programming is pretty simple. I've done it before in a factory environment. The time clock was in the computer, I put English and Spanish clock-in buttons. Pick the Spanish button while clocking in and several key messages would come out in Spanish instead of English.