Round Up: Crickets and McDonald’s Coffee

by JT McGee

Yesterday I wrote about my Black Friday experiences in a post titled, “what is cash?” Today, I’m back with another story from Black Friday—a McDonald’s experience.

We’ve all been there, and I’m sure we all have a million stories about something that happened at McDonalds. What can I say? It’s the place where dreams are made all good stories originate.

After dropping off the home girl at Kohl’s to wait in line with all the other frugal people waiting for the midnight opening, I stopped in at Mickey D’s for a coffee. Unfortunately, everyone else in the city, it seems, also thought it to be a good idea to grab some McCafe.

I waited in line for what seemed like eternity. Finally, I was first in line, and I gave the girl working the counter my order—large black coffee. This is where things go awry. (<-- Best Scrabble word ever.) “That’ll be $1.08.” *Hands her $2.00* “*10,000,000 curse words*” At this point, I don’t even know what to say, but this is just the beginning. The register says I’m supposed to have $10.18 in change, which makes absolutely no sense. I’m assuming that she just needs to clear the order out and do it over, so that at the end of the night the receipts balance with the amount of cash in the register. This is where I begin to hear the noise of 10,000 crickets. She’s silent, staring into the cash register. I’m absolutely quiet, amused by the fact that a liberal dose of swearing is appropriate for McDonald’s front-line employees. I’m not offended, but I have a feeling that the mom with the three year old behind me probably is. After 15-30 seconds, she leans over to another worker to say, “I don’t know how much change I should give him.” At this point, I lose it…silently. In my head I’m yelling “92 CENTS” as loud as I can. But again, this is amusing, I’ve been in line for way too long not to get my $1.08 worth. Another female worker joins her in calculating the difference between $2.00 and $1.08. I suppose neither of them could just start at 10, knock off 8, and add it to 90. But that’s okay—there’s two people on the job, so this is at least some kind of forward progress. The two stare into the cash register as if it needs to verify who they are by a retina scan. Ten seconds later, helpful employee #2 says with pride, “92 cents!” The employee who originally manned the register pats her on the back saying, “you’re so smart.” She scrambles to find a combination of 92 cents in the available coins before her, handing the change to me over the counter and repeating once more, “92 cents is your change.” I couldn’t bring myself to check to see if she had, in fact, managed to make 92 cents of the coins in her register. I placed the change in my pocket, where other coins had found themselves from previous shopping experiences earlier that day. I’ll never know if she actually got it right, but that was the best coffee I had in a long time—dark, rich, hot as hell with an extra dose of confusion and amusement.

Stuff to Read this Week

Why not kick it off with something I don’t particularly agree with like Taxes Suck but You Shouldn’t Care.

Going two for two for Canadians, why not figure out your real hourly wage, thanks to Boomer and Echo.

C-C-C-Combo breaker with Andrea’s article about why being clueless about your finances is stupid.

My brother from another mother, Pkamp3, hits it home with a post about the Super-committee, which is twice as dumb than the regular congressional committees.

Photo by: sfxeric

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

cashflowmantra November 26, 2011 at 15:15

How refreshing to read about your interaction with a 99%er who failed to pay attention during third grade math class.


Financial Samurai November 26, 2011 at 16:13

At least s/he is trying and working instead of complaining and doing nothing!

I have to stand up for my fellow fast food workers! Unite!



cashflowmantra November 26, 2011 at 16:19

That is true. I suppose I will give her credit for that. I suppose she could have dyscalculia so I shouldn’t be quick to judge. I stand humbled and corrected. Sorry for my prejudice.


PKamp3 November 26, 2011 at 17:27

Just what I need – more siblings! My spam filter is full of people who claim that I just need to send my bank account details over to them so I can collect money from recently deceased next of kins.

In all seriousness, I’m just glad to help point out the inanity of calling ‘cuts in planned future spending’ ‘spending cuts’. Thanks for the link brotha, and keep fighting the good-information fight!


LaTisha November 26, 2011 at 19:18

Gosh this has happened to me a few times. But in their defense, I worked at Micky D’s when I was 15. It was my first job, and you get so used to seeing the correct change amount that you are supposed to give that you don’t even think. I didn’t learn to count back change until I started working at a grocery store. 🙂


20's Finances November 27, 2011 at 17:50

HAHAHA. Amazing story – I wouldn’t have waited… I would have politely told her how much it was.


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