When I was 16, I worked at McDonald’s, usually the drive-thru. After a few months of working there, I really felt like I knew what customers were going to order the minute I’d see their car turn into the lot. Some people think dogs resemble their owners and vice versa. When I worked in fast food, I thought people resembled items on the McDonald’s menu. Still do. For instance, I’m a Crispy McChicken and Jesse’s a McDLT.
Anyway, I saw a lady pull in and immediately started assembling what I assumed would be her order. She looked like a “cheeseburger and a small Coke” so I started bagging the burger and pouring her drink.
“Welcome to McDonald’s. May I take your order please?”
But she ordered a Filet-o-Fish and an orange juice! It wasn’t even a Friday* and who the hell orders orange juice with fish? I felt many emotions, none of them positive.
Defeated, angry and confused, I told her, “We only serve orange juice with breakfast,” which was true at the time. I tried like mad to sell her the Coke, but she declined.
“No thank you. Just the Filet-o-Fish, please.”
I gave her the total, asked her to pull ahead to the next window and hollered to the grill to “fry the fish.”
My friend Todd busted me when he saw me surreptitiously unbagging the cheeseburger and fries. As I was placing them back in their respective bins, he pointedly asked, “What are you going to do with the drink?”
Soft drink cups get soggy and sweaty quickly, plus the ice makes the drink flat, so you can’t just “store” it for the next customer. You have to dump it.
My friend then said, “Never assume, Connie. It only makes an ‘ass’ out of ‘u’ and ‘me.'”
For someone who was also a teenager, he said that with bone-chilling authority. To this day, when I am on the verge of making an assumption, I can hear him saying “Never assume, Connie…” in my mind’s ear.
Years later, I learned that Todd became a police officer. It didn’t surprise me that he wound up in a position of power. I wonder if he’s ever made any assumptions in the line of duty. Cops rarely do, right?
I’ve had more than a few stupid assumptions hurled at me, but I’ve said my share, too. I feel remorseful and wonder if I’ll ever finish making amends. But, at the risk of sounding hyperbolic: Isn’t this everyone’s experience?
Thank you for reading my blog. -Crispy McChicken
*Sales for the Filet-o-Fish increased on Fridays, especially during Lent.