I’ve been mulling this experience for a while, and since it still ticks me off, and since today seems like an especially provocative time to raise it, here it comes.
I was accompanying my wife as she went to a clinic for some early morning outpatient surgery, and as she waited in the one-chair-short reception room, I went next door to a McDonald’s to order breakfast. As usual, my wallet had moths flying out of it, so I knew it was going to be a debit card purchase. My apparently mute clerk took my order —remember when Ray Kroc insisted that every employee say “Hello!” and “Thank-you”? Now you are lucky to get eye contact and a grunt—the modest amount appeared, and I swiped my card. The machine told me that the card was rejected. I swiped again. Rejected again.
“OK, now what am I supposed to do?” I asked. : This is a good card, and there is plenty on money in the bank.”
My clerk said only, “Pay!”
“I can’t pay, because of your stupid machines. I want to buy my breakfast. This is my only means of payment. The card readers is malfunctioning!”
She said again, louder and with irritation, “PAY! PAY!”
“Don’t tell me pay pay, because I just told you, I tried to pay pay, and your equipment won’t let me pay pay! Find a way for me to pay!” I replied, with the delightful intensity for which I am well-known.
Now she started angrily shaking the receipt at me, shouting PAY three times and nothing else, apparently having reached the zenith of her language skills.
“LOOK!” I said. “This is your store. All I want to do is pay a lousy 7 bucks for a sausage biscuit and a coffee, and this machine is stopping me. I can’t pay if your lousy equipment isn’t maintained. FIND A WAY FOR ME TO PAY! That’s your job!”
You’ll never guess her response.
No, go ahead, guess. Continue reading