Sunday, January 31, 2010

Scheduling and why it sucks

I should really like to know how difficult it is to schedule sometimes. I looked at my schedule a couple of days ago and noticed that on Sun they had me coming in to work at 11. I objected to this to the scheduling manager, because I have asked time and time again to put me on the schedule on this day starting at 1, reason being that we go to church, sometimes sit in with husband as he teaches Sunday school and then afterwards have some lunch with the family before going in to work. With me going in at 11, I would barely have time to drive back home, get my work clothes, and then head to work. Luckily I switched with someone so that today I could go in an hour later, but I don't think I make too many requests, so why do mine seem so hard to fill?

Of course, when it comes to the schedule in general, it's a crapshoot at this point. Right now we are in the slow period, from January until April is typically when we slow down majorly. In our town it's been even slower as of late on account of the fact that we had a real honest to god snowstorm, about 3-4 inches. Out here, they don't really have snow plows that will reach every bit of town, and they barely have salt to spread on the ground.. couple that with people who don't know how to drive on snow and you have people who either get into accidents or who just stay at home.

So, we're in a slow period, which means that we aren't scheduling as many hours for people. There are two ways to do it: Schedule a bunch of people miniscule hours, or schedule a few people a bunch of hours... either way doesn't end well. Our managers want to keep the people we have hired in the hopes of not having to hire as much for summer, so 5-6 hour shifts are the norm. However, due to the storm, I've had more like 4 hour shifts. Yesterday I was supposed to have a 7 hour shift, from 1-8.. instead I leave at 5 because we have that many people. I hung around town for 2 hours so that it wouldn't be so bad when I got home and I was only an hour early instead of 3 hours early getting off, because that's just pointless. Why even come in to work halfway across town for a 4 hour shift? I'd rather know that in advance than to find out all of a sudden that, hey, you need to leave early!

I can't wait until summer... I'll be going crazy over how hectic it'll be but at least I'll have hours.

On another note...

We've "changed" our milkshakes.. we don't carry "triple thick milkshakes", but rather "mccafe shakes". This is such a load of marketing bs. The shake mix and consistency is EXACTLY the same, it's still triple thick. The difference is that they come in smaller cups and get whipped cream and a cherry. I imagine it's to compete with places like Chikfila and Steak n Shake where they have shakes done up like that. I suppose I just sort of resent the marketing that the shakes are somehow a different formulation, when they are not.. although admittedly, because the new cup sizes are smaller, it's probably a great way for mcd to make money by convincing people unfamiliar with the new sizes to order a size up from what they normally get.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Next time, I won't hint about being sick at work

Earlier today, I was working and my stomach starts to feel somewhat queasy. Before I left for work, my baby was also not feeling well; spitting up anything she was given formula wise and just generally not feeling well. It got to the point where I had to run to the bathroom because I just felt that horrible.

That's significant because technically, if someone throws up while on the clock, they're not supposed to be working; but be sent home asap. From what I've understood it's due to various health codes. I go up and ask if I'm able to be left off somewhat early, because I'm just really not feeling that well. The end result?

I leave 5 minutes early and hear about how it basically might be due to stress due to the upcoming FOR.. like I really care about that. Now, when I mention that I'm answering my phone no matter what that day because my little girl is sick, that should send warning signs, but nope.

About the only reason why I'd even care about the FOR is because it allows the managers a chance to do things that they should have done ages ago. Such as finally fix up the fridge that's over in drive thru that's been broken for a month. Or fix it so that the lights in the lobby don't dim when we decide that it really is too hot in the entire store and turn down the heat. Or find a spot to put up a thing of hand sanitizer so that we can sanitize our hands without having to run to the back. There are a bunch of things I could rattle off that need fixing.

Anywho, if someone is sick, seriously, it does no good to have them work and possibly infect other people. Of course I know why they don't... no sick pay and all, but still...

Monday, January 25, 2010

I'd do fine if not for the other employees

Been a few days, but I've had time to build up a few things that I need to get off my chest.

1) Sometimes managers just seem to make things worse. A lot of times, a manager will be the one getting the food for drive thru. The reason for this is that they are in the best position to see if there are problems when it comes to getting food, whether the hold up is due to food needing to be made, or because of the cashier, or the presenter. However, some managers are just not that great at running.

Like our store manager. She ends up getting distracted quite a bit, usually as a result of having to be on the phone. So she's on the phone, trying to bad an order, and forgets to serve the order on her end to indicate that everything has been gathered. So I am unable to serve the order on my end. The end result is that she thinks she hasn't gotten an order because it's still on the screen, which results in her trying to rebag the order, and then I have to remind her that yes, she has given me that order, she just needs to serve it. This happened for a good part of the day while she was running.

Another manager that we have is a relatively new manager, having transferred here from out of state, and she is totally out of her element. She isn't used to a store that is as busy as ours, having worked in a Walmart mcd before.. if anyone has ever gone into one of those mcds they would know that they are basically just like a concession stand like at a ball game, and a slow game at that. Maybe on occasion they'll be busy. She is the type who gets overwhelmed and confused easily.

What typically happens with her is that she will be bagging an order, and even though there is food piled up so much that it is backing up from the heated landing zone to the table, she will look down the table as if the order is down there, instead of right in front of her. Repeat ad nauseum. She's a nice enough person, and it's hard to be mad at her because she's like one of those sweet grandmotherly types, but she is just lost when it comes to drive thru running.

2) Employees still frustrate me at times. A lot of them are pretty lazy at times. For instance, there are certain people who, when they are in back booth, still refuse to do dishes. A day like yesterday, they could have been done pretty fast, because drive thru was slow and backed up on account of us being short handed. Instead she would mostly just stand there, as if that would make the customers get to the window any faster. The man working grill, who was already going to be overworked because he had to work on a number of machines to clean them thoroughly tonight (the coffee machines, the fry machine, etc) ended up doing the dishes just so it would be one less thing that would prevent him from being able to leave on time.

Other employees are just oblivious. Yesterday I had a fellow co-worker who kept complaining about how she was just so totally bored. This drove me up the wall, because she was saying this as I was racing back and forth trying to grab stock so that it wouldn't be so bad on the rest of the crew later on tonight and she's bored. I kept trying to hint that there was plenty to do because we were shorthanded, but it flew over her head. Seriously, WTF?

On another note...

People who buy into marketing campaigns and ignore everying else annoy me. I had a customer come in for the "Pick Any Two" campaign, which is basically just mcd's way of trying to sell more of their snack wraps. There are the chicken wraps, with 6 varieties (2 types of chicken + 3 types of sauces = 6 varieties) and the new mac wrap, which I actually like because I hate the amount of bread on the standard sandwich. Now, the "Pick Any Two" is basically just mcd's way of selling 2 wraps to people instead of one, because people see the $2.98 price and thing "Awesome, what a great deal!".. except that one wrap already sells for $1.49 anyway, and really has sold like that for a while at some of the stores.

Anyway, this customer comes in, asks for the Pick Any Two, with one of them being a mac wrap, and the other a chicken wrap. I ask her what type of chicken wrap and she stares at me blankly, having never thought that there was more she had to think of than just "chicken wrap'. It took her 2 minutes after me explaining to her the options (6 types of wraps, the types of sauce we have only applies to the wraps with chicken, a mac wrap was just like a big mac except without the bun, etc), with her still having the clueless look of someone who didn't realize she'd actually have to do some thinking when it came to ordering her food. It took further explanation when she asked for the "dollar drinks", because mcd still is selling all size soft drinks for a $1. I usually default to a large when people say dollar drinks, even though I really want to be a bitch and ask her what size, because my feeling is that if people don't want to be specific when ordering their food, they obviously don't care *that* much about it. I think that it's reasonable, care about what you're putting in your mouth and what you're paying for!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

And things get dropped on me

I've gone on before about how most people don't seem to do dishes properly. In fact, yesterday when I was working I had a coworker tell me that I was the only person that he had seen who actually *washed* dishes. Seems everyone else just sprays them off with water and then that's that.

I ended up with a huge pile of dishes when I finally went back to back booth last night. The reason? Because the person who was back there didn't want to do dishes and get her hands all dirty. She's nice enough, but definitely the type that has gotten spoiled to mom cleaning the house like an OCD freak, so she's never really done any sort of actual cleaning. I can get that sometimes parents can want an insanely clean house, but why should it be at the cost of teaching your child skills for the real world? You're not going to want your kid to be 30 years old and not able to clean dishes or cook a proper dinner because they were never taught, would you?

I was in the back booth for about the last two hours or so of my shift, and I managed to get done with most of the dishes, except for maybe one load. Of course, the only reason I even managed that is because I agreed to stay ten minutes over to allow someone to go on their ten minute break, and that ten minutes turned into twenty, so basically the person got two lunch breaks. That's just rudeness right there, for someone to stay over so you could get your ten minute break and you take twice as long at it, thus making the person staying late stay even later.

On another note...

Please, don't use Drive Thru if you're going to have a huge argument. Last night I had a couple drive thru, I ask them "What can I get you today?" and I'm met with silence. A few moments later, I hear the man in the vehicle scream "Thanks a fucking lot!" and squeal off. I thought nothing more of it and continued on my way with other tasks.

About half an hour later, the couple drives back through the drive thru lane. They place their order and come to the window, where the woman was fuming at the guy. I caught her saying, "And you were so selfish you didn't even think of getting food for our kid." Again, more squealing after change is handed out from payment, and more squealing of the tires after they get their food. Apparently the couple sat in our parking lot and screamed and hollered at one another, more the woman screaming than the man.

Seriously, wtf? A parking lot is NOT a good place to sit and have a screaming match. I'm amazed that the police weren't called due to how loud the couple was. I'm more amazed that the couple managed to sit in the same truck without one of them kicking the other out. The fight wasn't nearly amusing enough, do it home!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

If you wear a hearing aid, don't go thorugh drive thru!

Today's shift was good for the most part-- I got a lot of things done so that I could afford to slack a bit when I was put in back booth. Well, it was good until I got the rudest man I have ever gotten in the drive thru.

Me: Hi, what can I get for you today?
Customer: Are your coffees still a dollar?
Me: Yes, all regular coffees are still a dollar. (I have to clarify regular so that a customer doesn't think that one of our specialty coffees are also available for a dollar-- I've had people get pissy about this before).
Customer: I'd like a large coffee with an espresso shot added to it.
Me: *rings up coffee* Ok, anything else for you today?
Customer: What? I can't understand you, I'm wearing a hearing aid!
Me: *repeats the order and the total*

Customer then starts going on a huge rant about how he can't hear me because he's wearing a hearing aid, and gets pissy enough to just drive off to the window. He then proceeds to berate me for "trying to have a conversation and going blah blah blah blah blah when all he wanted was to order his coffee" and asked to speak to a supervisor. Apparently me trying to verify his order and give him his total counts as "coversation".

So I bring the manager out and the manager talks to him. The customers goes off on the same sort of rant and the end result? He gets a freaking free drink for his "troubles". And that pissed me off the whole rest of the shift.

If you're wearing a hearing aid, don't go through drive thru! It's already hard enough to hear some of the customers who come through with soft voices or who just can't rely on the driver to order for fear that their precious order is messed up unless THEY order. You compound the issue by not being able to hear the order taker, especially bad at times when there's only one order taker, because when I take orders on a speaker not connected to my register, the order won't show up on the customer's screen. This results in the customer needing to be able to hear the order taker to verify their order.

I almost hope that this guy calls the complaint line, because I WILL chat with the supervisors about this rude rude man. the manager who dealt with the customer overheard me taking this man's order, and she had no idea what he was going on about, but then she knows that I'm great at drive thru order taking and cashiering. And it seems to be old people who act that way rather than the younger sorts. There's cool old person crotchety, and then there's the asshole variety, and this customer qualified for the latter.

The sad thing? I'm pretty sure that he was able to hear every word I say. He was probably just whining because of the fact that espresso costs an extra $.50 and thus it made his coffee cost more than the $1.06 (including tax on the dollar coffee). Of course, it didn't matter because McWhiny got his drink for free >:(

Saturday, January 16, 2010

I don't really care what happens at other stores

Today we had someone come in through drive thru asking if our ice cream machine was working. My response to this was "Yes, our ice cream is always working, except during the mornings for cleaning". I've worked at our location for a year now, and our ice cream machine has indeed never failed us, even during the summer. The only time the machine is down is once a week for detailed cleaning, and that's during breakfast, when few people order ice cream products anyway.

The woman starts going on a tirade about how another store's ice cream machine never worked and how crappy it was. Well, what do you expect ME, a crew member at another store, to do about it? You should be complaining to the managers at the store having the issue, not some random person at another store!

The thing about the ice cream machines at mcds is this: there are two main reasons why a person wanting to purchase ice cream is unable to do so.

1) The ice cream is legitimately down for some reason. Some examples of legitimate downage include:
  • The need to fulfill the weekly cleaning schedule automatically programmed into the machine. You know, sanitary reasons and all.
  • We've sold too much ice cream in a short period of time. See, sometimes we sell a lot of ice cream at once, and the machine needs a bit of a break in order to allow the ice cream to harden somewhat and get cold again. If we get too much ice cream product at once (for us typically it's a combo of about six-seven cones, flurries, and sundaes) the machine starts spitting out something that resembles liquid rather than ice cream.
  • We're actually out of ice cream. It sometimes happens, typically during the summer months.
2) The crew just really don't feel like making ice cream, so they lie and claim that the machine is down. This tends to happen a bit more in stores where the ice cream machine is in an inconvenient location from the presenting area for drive thru. It's a hassle sometimes to walk from one side of the store to another (yes, some layouts are like this).. sad but it sometimes happens that some crew people don't feel like doing it.

Ideally, every store should have their ice cream machine up and running (except during times mentioned in point 1), even during third shift. But they don't, and then it reflects badly on the rest of the stores in the area, and I have to hear about how some other store's ice cream machine is never working. I don't need to hear it!

On another note.. when it comes to training new people, don't lie. A new girl was on register, being trained somewhat by another girl who had been at the store a few months. I was showing new girl how to make a sundae (new people always struggle when it comes to ice cream), getting it to mushroom and then putting the one pump worth of syrup, if applicable, on top. I showed the new person how to do all of this, and then she says

"Oh, that's not how I was taught, I was shown to do two pumps on it."
Me: "Who told you to do that?"
New person: "She did." *points to the other person on counter*
Me: "Well, it's wrong. It's one pump on top, if they want more, it's extra and it goes on the bottom"
So then I go up to the other counter person, and I ask them how many pumps of syrup go on a sundae. And wouldn't you know that they said one? Of course she did.. she only overheard me instructing the new person on the correct method. Teach them right the first time, and don't lie about what you taught someone else.

Our menu doesn't change that much, how hard is it to order?

As usual, yesterday I was in drive thru back booth, taking money and doing orders. One thing that never ceases to amaze me is the fact that people will wait in line, sometimes for several minutes, and then, when they get to the speaker, need a few minutes more in order to look over the menu and see what they want. Drive thru is supposed to be about speed, so why do people wait until they get to the speaker before ordering?

People often tell me that they need to look over the menu in order to decide. Newsflash: our menu doesn't really change that much! We still have the same old basics, which is what people who need that minute to decide typically order. What seems to make this even worse is that some of these people go to mcd several times a day, so they should have a very very clear idea as to what is on the menu.

And yet they struggle day in and day out when it comes to deciding what to cram in their faces today. I mean, when I go to a fast food place, I will have written out what I want, and I remember enough of the menu in order to actually figure out what to get before I get to the speaker. Please, have the presence of mind to do the same!

On another note-- one of the worst types of people I hate are the ones who come in drive thru for a glass of water. At our chain of mcds we don't charge for water or the cups the water goes in (I know of some other mcd chains that will charge for the cups.) As a result, there are people too lazy to walk inside for their free item, so they go through drive thru. What makes that crappy is that we can't actually ring up for a water, because our system doesn't allow us to take an order if the only item on there is free.

The reason of that is because in the past there would be employees that would scam the system by doing promos on food for their friends and/or family.. this way if there's an order that has nothing but free items, the manager goes to the back in order to punch in their code to allow the transaction, and thus they are able to detect if there's something fishy about the order. We're not going to go bug a manager to punch in their code to allow us to ring up waters, because managers have better things to do.

And so we get a person with water who skips ahead of all sorts of other people, and it can throw things in chaos because of course their order won't appear on the screen. It just seems lazy that a customer can't simply go into the store for a free item, because it actually takes less time in order to come into the store sometimes. Drive thru at any mcd is typically busier than inside the store, why sit in a drive thru line and waste your gas for possibly 5 or more minutes just for a water, when you could have gone into the store, gotten your free water, and left by now?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Do you wash your dishes that way at home?

I HATE HATE HATE it when other people attempt to do dishes. Usually the person in back booth has to do them at our store; however, when it gets busy, sometimes a person in grill will work on them. I absolutely hate it when this happens, though, for several reasons:

1) Most of the time they aren't done right. There are 3 sinks: one for soapy water, one for rinsing off dishes, and one for sanitizer solution... left, right, and middle. You rinse the dishes in the middle sink first to get rid of the excess grease and dirt on the dish, then they soak in the soapy water, and then once they are scrubbed, they are re-rinsed in the middle sink, then left to soak in the sanitizer water for a bit while the next load is worked on. That's the proper way. But people don't do that. They just dump the dishes in the soapy water without pre-rinsing, causes the soapy water to get dirty and greasy and you end up washing the dishes in greasy water and smearing more grease around. Although that's if they even bother to put them in soapy water.. sometimes they're just sprayed off and then put away. And that's just nasty.

2) Dishes don't get put away properly. A lot of times they'll just get shoved wherever they'll fit and that's just sloppy

3) The little things don't get done. And by that I mean like cleaning out the tea urns (sticky crusted on tea inside the containers is gross.. that's why I don't drink tea).. or when they are cleaned, the nozzles don't get cleaned. Or other little things like that.

Would people clean their dishes at home this way? No? So why do it at work?

On another note...

I hate the kids' toys. Really really do. Right now we have a gender neutral toy from the new Chipmunks movie, where they have the male Chipmunks (Alvin, Simon, and Theodore) and the Chipettes (Jeanette, Eleanore, and Brittany). By logic of them having genders, the first set are the "boy" toys and the second set the "girl" toys. I mean, for the Ninja Turtles line of toys, did April count as a "girl" toy and every other toy the "boy" toys? NO! They were all part of a single series of toys! So why is it somehow different with this? Do parents just not get toys?

A parent had come through and was insistent that her boys get the Simon and Theodore "boy" toys (Alvin having been long gone) and we had to dig to the bottom to find them. She told me that when I had boys I'd know what it was like.. an easier answer is to just not get the damn toys to begin with and to teach the kids that not every meal comes with a reward at the end (well, other than a full belly).

I swear, if/when I have a boy, he'll deal with getting girl toys, and he'll learn to either play with them or destoy them.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Big review coming up

At the beginning of next month we're supposed to have what's called an for (floor observation review iirc). Basically it's where all the bigwigs go around to the stores and sit there for half a day observing how the store is run. When this happens, the store runs at least 25-50% more people than they would on a typical shift while under the microscopic scrutiny of the higher ups, which of course makes everybody nervous.

I honestly don't like these sorts of reviews, because they give a false impression of the store. This is the one time where the management will go out of their way to order products especially for these two days, or they'll go out and borrow what they need from other stores. We will have people practically crawling on top of one another (and this store is very small), and in general have far more people than we need. People will be on their best behavior and customers will be taken care of super fast because you'll practically have one runner per counter person (usually during breakfast and lunch all three registers will be utilized).

I feel that if one is going to truly evaluate a store, then they'll do it when the store is able to operate normally. That's when the true character is going to be unleashed, not when you're able to bring in more people than you would have in order to suck up to some superiors. You can't see the problems of the store if they're hidden in order to make the store look better than it really is.

So I'll have to hope that I'm put in a position where they won't be sitting there staring at me as I do what I'm supposed to do. Or that I'm off on the day that they review the evening shift, which is what I usually work.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

How to ring up an order

Yesterday we had a crew trainer meeting at our store, where we are supposed to talk about ways to improve training of people in the store. One of the focuses for this was for front counter, which I was glad of, because I could finally vent something to the store manager.

See, sometimes food is wrong because the grill team makes it improperly despite the stickers. Sometimes the wrong item is placed in the bag. A lot of the time, though, it's because the front counter people are freaking lazy when it comes to ringing up food. On our registers there are a whole variety of things you could do in order to grill a sandwich.. take off something, add something, have something placed lightly on there, even options like substituting the type of bun or requesting that the sandwich be cut in half. However, these front counter people, I have to assume are lazy. I try to catch them when they, say, ring up an item like a mcchicken as "only tomato" because ringing it up that way on an item that doesn't come with tomato doesn't charge them the $.30. Sometimes, they hit "Ask Me" because because they're doing a double cheeseburger like a big mac, and they don't want to charge for mac sauce (which is cheating the store out of money).

It's frustrating, because I ring things up 99% of the time (even I do make mistakes). And sometimes, the customer will get mad at me because they got charged for something on my order that they don't on another order by someone else. To which I will say "Sorry that the other person didn't ring you up properly, but I am ringing you up properly now, and you're getting charged".

Sometimes it's not the customer making the job crap, it's the other people around me who don't bother to do things properly. It's probably why I don't bother to learn new people's names most of the time.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Multitasking--learn it!

A few days ago I had rave reviews from a couple of coworkers because I have an amazing ability to multitask. And by that I mean being able to figure out that if I'm, say, waiting on food to come up for drive thru, that I could be doing something else such as cleaning or stocking something.

Y'see, I'm usually the one who has the presence of mind to run back and grab things like sauces or cups and fill those up while I'm doing something else, and I manage to stock ALL of said item before moving on to the next thing. However, sometimes it feels like I'm in a minority of one, and that it's something that somehow eludes other people. It seems depressing to me because of the fact that I manage to do the work of three people every day, and yet oftentimes people don't seem to have the ability to even do enough for ONE person. I feel like I'm having to run around and flit about, correcting the newer people in how to do things, and then I want to have an aneurysm because I'm doing things that they should think to do but they don't, such as cleaning lobby or heck, cleaning more than just the three feet around their register.

I suppose that I'm a bit resentful because of the fact that once, when I started at mcd, I had to learn more in two weeks than these people had to learn in a month. Of course, I originally started as a manager back years ago, and so I had to not only learn the crew responsibilities but also the management ones. Needless to say, I had to learn fast, and so seeing people who just can't seem to quickly adapt just kinda pisses me off.

Either way, though, I'm doubt that sort of thing will change any time soon, because people seem to be stuck on a path of non adaptability.

On another note: the same seems to go for customers. I swear I'm going to just start pointedly instructing them on how they should hand me money (coins first, then bills) so that it's easier on me when it's a cold day and I'm not wearing gloves because they're burdensome for when I try to do other things like dishes.