Tag Archives: McDonalds

3 Wishes; You Got To Be Kidding Me!


Making three wishes; This is an old one. Not much imagination put into this Daily Prompt. So I’ll return the favor by not making any effort whatsoever. Wishes are folly. Things for the lazy. When they don’t come true than there must be some cosmic force in the way. It just wasn’t meant to be. No wishes from me today.

Anyway here is a short story I hope you enjoy. It’s about not wishing.

The Old Man At McDonald’s

Nearly every morning Quinton observed the same old man slowly almost drag himself across the floor and up to the counter at McDonald’s. The old man ordered the same thing; a plain biscuit and senior coffee with cream.

He was always dressed in bib overalls, plaid shirt, and a well worn John Deere cap. His face was always shaved. He would have looked just as comfortable in a suit.

Quinton wondered what the old codger’s story was.

The presence of the two there at the same time became so common that it elicited a nod to the other every now and then.

After several months Quinton asked the old man, “How ‘bout if I buy ya breakfast this morning?”

The old man smiled kindly. “That will throw my budget completely out of kilter.” He chuckled. “I’m afraid if I don’t spend everything that comes to me they may start to figure out I don’t need it and start taking some of it back, but perhaps I can spend excessively elsewhere.”

“How ’bout sitting with me?” Quinton said.

That began many mornings of coffee, biscuits, and stories told by an old man who seen the world change in his life time and as for himself traveled no further than 200 miles from the place he was born.

“Don’t you wished you had traveled and seen more of the world?” Quinton asked.

“Never really crossed my mind that much,” the old man said. “Got all I want right here. If I went to California, I would have wanted to go to Hawaii. If I went to Hawaii I would have wanted to go to China; it would have never ended and by the time I was all done I’d just end up home again.”

The old man dunked his biscuit in the coffee and took a bite. “You don’t get it do you.”

Quinton smiled. “No, sir, I don’t.”

“It is said that the biggest room in the world is the room for improvement, but it’s not empty; it’s full of shoulduvs, woulduvs, and coulduvs.”

“What is the name of the room you’re in?” Quinton said.

“Ah,” the old man said. “It’s a lonely room, but spacious; not too many find their way in. It’s called ‘no regrets.’”



Filed under Daily Prompt, Short Stories

You Can Take Your Bucket List And Shove It

thHR79VYH6There they were, like clock work, 8:00 AM, the same booth at McDonald’s; Elmer and Waldo slurping senior coffees.

“What’s on your bucket list?” Waldo said.

“Bucket list!” Elmer said. “What the heck is that?”

“You know, just a list of things you want to do before kick the bucket,” Waldo said. “They made a movie about it. Two old guys doing what they always dreamed of doing before they die.”

“They make a stupid movie and everybody has to run out and do stupid things and act like there‘s something wrong with you if you don‘t comply and do what Hollywood says is normal,” Elmer said. “It’s not normal. People’ve been croaking without bucket lists for millenniums. I suppose you‘re going to tell me next Lincoln wanted to go to the Ford Theater before he died.”

“There’s got to be some things you want to do before you kick the bucket,” Waldo said.

“It all sounds to me like its hastening death,” Elmer said. “You don’t make a grocery list until you’re about ready to go shopping. I’ve put off going to the grocery for at least a week because I didn’t have a grocery list.”

“What are you talking about?” Waldo said.

“I’ll be sitting at home and all the sudden I want cookies and there aren’t any in the house. I could go the grocery right away and get some, but instead I say, ‘Wait till you have a list.’ It may be a week before I get cookies. Who knows, if I stay away from making a bucket list I can put death off for a couple of years. I ain‘t ready to die and I‘m not gonna give the appearance I‘m ready to die by doing something like climbing Mount Kilimanjaro or entering the running of the bulls in Pamplona.”

“But nobody knows when they’re going to die,” Elmer said. “It could be tomorrow. You got to start a bucket list.”

“Let’s say I start one today,” Elmer said. “And I’m laying on my death bead tomorrow. That’s a very unpleasant death.”

“What do you mean?” Waldo said.

“Because first on my list is a beautiful woman waiting for me at the corner bar and I’m stuck on life support,” Elmer said. “Who wants that?”

“Don’t you get it,” Waldo said. “That’s what keeps you alive; planning and doing.”

“It’s a gimmick, Waldo,” Elmer said. “It’s just another way they get us old guys to spend our money and die before our time dangling at the end of a bungee cord. Let‘s just close the subject, I don‘t want to talk about it anymore.”

Waldo waited for a moment. “Elmer, there’s one more thing about the bucket list.”

“Sure,” Waldo said. “What is it?”

“Whose the woman you got in mind?” Elmer said. “If you ain’t gonna put her on your list it would be a shame not to have her on somebody’s.”

“Elmer,” Waldo said. “There’s something you must want to see or do before you kick the bucket.”

“There is something,” Elmer said.

“What is it?” Waldo said.

“I’d like to see Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson appear on screen together,” Elmer said.

(This is 365 day prompt.)

(This is also a Daily Prompt)

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Filed under Daily Prompt, Short Stories

Coffee With A Marine At McDonald’s

mcdonald-s-cups-campaign[1]Daily Prompt: Imagine All the People

The next time you’re in a public place — a coffeehouse, a park, a store — observe the people around you. Pick a person, a couple, or a group, and imagine what their lives might be like.

In every McDonald’s there is an old-timer or two who comes in, sits, and sips coffee.

‘There he is,’ I say to myself. It’s the old Marine I see in here all the time. He has the tattoos and a cap to tell the world he was or is a Marine.

His wrinkled face was healthy as if by design. His hair is silver and bright; it almost reflects the sun. His hands are stout like two sledge hammers.

He’s still large; almost one of those larger than life characters. He walks as if he’s waiting to take charge. If he heard mortar rounds there would be a parameter staked out within minutes and we’d start taking prisoners.”

He smiles and talks loudly. But I know he’s lonely. Why else would he be here everyday.

“How’s it going, today,” I said.

“Good,” he smiles. “How ’bout yourself?”

“Fine as a frog hair,” I say.

“Ya wanna sit and have a coffee together,” he says.

“Sure,” I said.

We slid in a booth opposite of each other and began sipping our coffees.

“How long has your wife been gone?” I said.

“Five years,” he said. “I’m just now getting out.”

“That’s good,” I said.

“Is it that obvious?” he said.

“As obvious as your cap and tattoos,” I said.

“Sure gets lonely,” he said.

“Would you like to talk about her or the Marines?” I said.

“How ’bout your wife?” he said.

“I come in here a time or two a week and pick us up something to take home,” I said.

“That’s nice,” he said.

“Bring her in sometime and we’ll have coffee and a sandwich together,” he said.

“I’ll do that,” I said and smiled. “But I can’t havin’ ya talk like a Marine.”

He chuckled. “Marge, never let me talk like a Marine either. She was my real commander. She had me chargin‘ up more hills than the Marine Corps could have ever made me do. You a Marine?”

“No,” I said.

“I bet you’d have made a good one,” he said.

“Nah,” I said. “Not me.”

“Why not?” he said.

“Don’t like hills,” I said. “I was Army.”

“I don’t like hills either,” he said.

“You come in here to watch the people,” I said.

“But I’m not lonely,” he gestured with his head towards the other patrons. “They’re lonely. I just come here to keep all them company.”


Filed under Short Stories

It Helps To Be Bilingual When Ordering At McDonald’s

Raul Castro's nephew, Peppy, working the drive-thru speaker at McDonald's.

Raul Castro’s nephew, Peppy, working the drive-thru speaker at McDonald’s.

If I have a question at the counter or at the drive-thru at McDonalds’ the answer is almost like a foreign language (and sometimes it really is). First of all they have that vocal fray that sounds like they don’t even want to be there and secondly they speak so fast it sounds like Radio Havana (I think I recognized one guy’s at the drive-thru speaker as the voice of Raul Catro‘s nephew, Peppy).

Every now and then you run into the kid that’s a stoner and sounds like a forty-five being played at thirty-three in a third. If you don’t understand my reference you are probably a stoner whose grandparents know what a forty-five playing at thirty-three and a third is. No, I’m not talking about a revolver.

Some kids sound like they’re giving me a rap.

No special sauce,

You be da boss.

No Egg McMuffin,

Ain’t dat something’

Breakfast end,

Half past ten.

Okay, okay there is no way that can be made to sound cool.

I hate the real cheerful and perky gals. They act like they’ve just answered a question for a Miss Teen USA contest. “If you come to my register I will cure world hunger, cure AIDS, and bring about world peace. You want fries with that?”

The other day I get a guy at the register. I think it may have been Peppy again.

I ordered and he said, “No hablo ingles.”

I said, “Grande Maco and fryo.”

“Ce,” he said. He immediately got my order and spit in my fries.

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Filed under Business, Essays

The Best McDonald’s Employee I Know

Sometimes the Golden Arches has some golden employees.

Sometimes the Golden Arches has some golden employees.

My favorite McDonald’s employee is guy named Leigh. He takes my money at the first window at the drive-thru. He’s a roly-poly cheerful guy.

When I pull up to his window he usually says, “I thought that was you ordering.” He’s a quick-witted guy who always has something different to say each time I’m at the window. He will comment about the weather, his weight, his failings, or just ask how’s it goin’?

There are a few times I’ve gone to McDonalds’s in not-such-a-good mood and Leigh has a way of changing it.

He takes time, but let’s me know he has a job to do. He has mastered what few have been able to do; be content and cheerful.

A few weeks ago I pulled into the drive-thru. At the money widow at another McDonald’s’s. I asked the employee if he could dispose of a McDonalds bag for me.

“We can’t handle any trash,” he said. “It’s unsanitary.”

“I don’t understand why,” I said.

“It doesn’t look good accepting trash at the widow,” he said.

I pulled forward and at the food window they asked me for the $5.25 that I didn’t pay at the money window.

“They wouldn’t take my trash at the other widow because the guy said it was unsanitary. My money probably has passed through more filthy hands, been picked up from more scummy floors, and come in contact with more germs than we could ever imagine.”

I gave them their dirt rotten filthy money and didn’t pursue the reasoning any further.

A few days later I stopped in to see Leigh at his window. I told him my experience at the other McDonald’s

“Yeah,” Leigh said. “They’re funny that way. But I got an idea; I’ll just stand out of the way and you toss it through the window.”

Leigh is also the smartest employee I know.

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Filed under Business, Essays

Waiting For An Order At McDonald’s

I think every supervisor sees themselves as a Donald Trump.

I think every supervisor sees themselves as a Donald Trump.

Let me say I have tremendous respect for the people who work at McDonald’s. The have jobs and working is honorable. Employees at McDonald’s are polite and skilled for the most part. I have a little fun with them at their expense, but I can’t help what entertains me.

For many teenagers McDonald’s is their first step into the workforce. Every job they have after McDonald’s will be measured by that experience.

I worked at McDonalds’s for a brief time. It was a positive experience. In those days the menu was smaller, we had a cash register and not a computerized cash drawer. We took orders on a pad or did it in our head. After a while combinations of items and prices were memorized. Today the menu is much more complicated.

When entering McDonald’s I’m armed with the knowledge that the job is complicated, this may be an employee’s first job, they are unsure of themselves and nervous, and their supervisors are idiots.

Often I notice a kid at the counter sweating bullets trying to please me, the customer.

Correcting and humiliating an employee in front of a customer is one of the lowest life forms known to management and it is done far, far too often.

A few weeks ago I placed an order. I waited a long time. If not for the fact they already had my money I would have left. Finally there was a break in the line and I approached the employee who took my order. He had a little trouble remembering, but finally it clicked.

The supervisor watched the entire episode unfold.

He took the employee aside, but well within by notice. As he reprimanded him the supervisor continually glanced my way as if trying to gain my approval for doing his job and correcting an employee. His voice raised as it looked as if I was loosing interest. I felt the kid’s humiliation

“What did I tell you about watching the customers and the lobby?” the supervisor said.

“You said to keep an eye on customers on the other side of the counter who are waiting too long,” the employee said.

“Exactly, and did you do that?” the supervisor said.

“I was so busy taking orders I didn’t notice the gentleman was waiting,” the employee said.

“You must always be aware. That’s a part of your job. We got to work as a team,” the supervisor said. “If you have dissatisfied customers they will go someplace else.”

The employee was silent.

“What do you have to say for yourself?” the supervisor added.

“I’ll try harder the next time,” the employee said.

“It’s not a matter of trying harder,” the supervisor said. “It’s a matter of thinking. You’re not thinking.

“I’ll try to be more aware,” the employee said.

“We don’t try,” the supervisor said. “We do.”

Wow, that was all I could take.

I smiled at the supervisor and motioned for him. “Ya know, it’s not the kid’s fault. I have a little experience in industrial engineering and I was watching the whole process as I waited for my order. I’ve come to the conclusion that the system failed. The kid did all he could. My order simply did not get to the people in the prep area or was overlooked back there. I know what you’re thinking the kid should have caught that, but he didn’t. That’s also a part of the system. What’s your back-up for that?” (It’s interesting to fire something at them for which they have no answer.) “I tell you what it is. It is the supervisor who was running around making sure everybody was jumping at every command. You’re like the captain who keeps a tight ship, but not looking out for the icebergs. You are the back-up in the system and you are the one who missed me. You looked at me several times while that kid was taking orders. You‘re the problem.”

He stood there like a country boy watching the merry-go-round at his first carnival. “We’ll refund your money. You’re meal is on us,” he smiled.

To me that is not so much of gesture of goodwill as it is an exercise of power; as if he’s saying ’I have the power to feed you and make you happy.’

“No thank you,” I said firmly.

I few days later I went to McDonald‘s. The same employee was there. I looked at his name tag. “Jason, remember me?”

He smiled.

“I see I didn’t get you fired,” I said.

“No. but Mike (the supervisor) took the rest of the night off.”

“He probably needed it,” I said. “I was probably a little rough on him.”

“I don’t think so,” he smiled.

“You got potential and a future here at McDonald’s,” I said.


Filed under Essays

What The Beep Is That Sound At McDonald’s

There she stands, next to  McDonald's,just as I remember her; a victim of misinformation.

There she stands, next to McDonald’s,just as I remember her; a victim of misinformation.

You ever go into McDonalds (I know you do. There are plenty of McDonald’s deniers out there). My parenthetical phrase was so long I forgot what I was going to write about. Oh, I remember; You ever go into McDonalds, wait for the order, and that annoying beeper starts going-off – beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep. Annoying isn’t it.

The beeping is the timer on the French fryer. The idiot French fry guy is not manning his station, but instead is some place rolling a joint, popping a zit, or cleaning his nails with his teeth.

The fact that you have been listening to it for two minutes means the fries are near to burnt sacrifices by now. They are so saturated with enough globs of grease that an artery will be clogged within thirty seconds after consumption. You will keel over and die clutching your heart like some guy at Parisian street café in a scene from a spy movie.

That noise is worse than water-boarding. One day I was already to confess to letting the air out of Mr. Basinger’s tires my junior year in high school.

Now that I know what it is I just say, “Will somebody get the daggon fries!”

The first time hearing it I thought it was a cement truck backing up. I yelled, “Out of the way, we’ll all be crushed.” Was I ever embarrassed.

Two days later a cement truck was about to back over an old lady with a walker. I yelled out, “French fries! Not to worry.”

Well they poured the cement anyway and she was too slow to get out of the way. She is now proudly encased in cement in front of McDonalds’s as a beautiful tribute, monument, and reminder of old age, slow reflexes, and misinformation.


Filed under Essays