To All The Fast-Food Restaurants I Loved Before

To All The Fast-Food Restaurants I Loved Before

I'm talking about you Sonic (and Taco Bell, Canes, In-N-Out Burger, etc).

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From Sonic's Chicago dog to Taco Bell's supreme crunch wrap, the fast-food industries had it all, but most importantly, they had my heart. I felt guilty every time I'd show up at your drive-thru window, but after one bite, you would make all my guilt melt away. I knew you were bad for me, but I didn't care. The heart wants what it wants, and my heart wants a Canes' chicken combo.

You are all so perfect in your own ways; it was always so difficult to pick just one place to run to for a shameless meal. The daunting question still haunts me in my sleep, "What do you want to eat?" The second this unsolvable dilemma would hit my ears, my head would begin to scramble. "Do I want to eat healthily?" I'd think to myself. Often, the answer was no. But I never knew whose window to run to. There were so many options. Do I want waffle fries or a greasy burger? Mexican or Chinese? The possibilities were endless.

Even when I wanted to somewhat care about my body, I'd go to you, Chick-fil-A. Your grilled-chicken sandwich never failed to give me some peace of mind, knowing that I was eating some form of nutrients for an affordable price. Your service does not go unappreciated.

Especially in my drunken state, I'd think of you the most, Sonic. I'd tell myself I wouldn't hit you up at 2 a.m., but there I was every time, at your doorstep. Your amazing selection of what appears mostly to be concession stand food always filled my heart with love, and cholesterol. From the $0.50 corn-dog-days to your two-for-one shakes happy hour, I'd always be at your beck and call.

My relationship with you beautiful restaurants is a bad romance, to say the least. But it is time for us to part. It is time to leave my freshmen 15 in the past. It has been a long, beautiful four years, but our love (actually my money) is fleeting and it is time to close this chapter in our life.

Goodbye for now, fast-food. The next time I see you all again will be at my wedding because I'm definitely making sure at least one of your fine establishments are catering it (@ Sonic). You will be missed.

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​An Open Letter To The People Who Don’t Tip Their Servers

This one's for you.
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Dear Person Who Has No Idea How Much The 0 In The “Tip:" Line Matters,

I want to by asking you a simple question: Why?

Is it because you can't afford it? Is it because you are blind to the fact that the tip you leave is how the waiter/waitress serving you is making their living? Is it because you're just lazy and you “don't feel like it"?

Is it because you think that, while taking care of not only your table but at least three to five others, they took too long bringing you that side of ranch dressing? Or is it just because you're unaware that as a server these people make $2.85 an hour plus TIPS?

The average waiter/waitress is only supposed to be paid $2.13 an hour plus tips according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

That then leaves the waiter/waitress with a paycheck with the numbers **$0.00** and the words “Not a real paycheck." stamped on it. Therefore these men and women completely rely on the tips they make during the week to pay their bills.

So, with that being said, I have a few words for those of you who are ignorant enough to leave without leaving a few dollars in the “tip:" line.

Imagine if you go to work, the night starts off slow, then almost like a bomb went off the entire workplace is chaotic and you can't seem to find a minute to stop and breathe, let alone think about what to do next.

Imagine that you are helping a total of six different groups of people at one time, with each group containing two to 10 people.

Imagine that you are working your ass off to make sure that these customers have the best experience possible. Then you cash them out, you hand them a pen and a receipt, say “Thank you so much! It was a pleasure serving you, have a great day!"

Imagine you walk away to attempt to start one of the 17 other things you need to complete, watch as the group you just thanked leaves, and maybe even wave goodbye.

Imagine you are cleaning up the mess that they have so kindly left behind, you look down at the receipt and realize there's a sad face on the tip line of a $24.83 bill.

Imagine how devastated you feel knowing that you helped these people as much as you could just to have them throw water on the fire you need to complete the night.

Now, realize that whenever you decide not to tip your waitress, this is nine out of 10 times what they go through. I cannot stress enough how important it is for people to realize that this is someone's profession — whether they are a college student, a single mother working their second job of the day, a new dad who needs to pay off the loan he needed to take out to get a safer car for his child, your friend, your mom, your dad, your sister, your brother, you.

If you cannot afford to tip, do not come out to eat. If you cannot afford the three alcoholic drinks you gulped down, plus your food and a tip do not come out to eat.

If you cannot afford the $10 wings that become half-off on Tuesdays plus that water you asked for, do not come out to eat.

If you cannot see that the person in front of you is working their best to accommodate you, while trying to do the same for the other five tables around you, do not come out to eat. If you cannot realize that the man or woman in front of you is a real person, with their own personal lives and problems and that maybe these problems have led them to be the reason they are standing in front of you, then do not come out to eat.

As a server myself, it kills me to see the people around me being deprived of the money that they were supposed to earn. It kills me to see the three dollars you left on a $40 bill. It kills me that you cannot stand to put yourself in our shoes — as if you're better than us. I wonder if you realize that you single-handedly ruined part of our nights.

I wonder if maybe one day you will be in our shoes, and I hope to God no one treats you how you have treated us. But if they do, then maybe you'll realize how we felt when you left no tip after we gave you our time.

Cover Image Credit: Hailea Shallock

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25 Common Courtesy Things Every Fast Food Customer Should Follow, But Barely Anyone Does

I may have a smile on my face, but chance are I just dealt with someone who wore my patience thin.

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From the time we are children, most of us learn that we need to be on our best behavior when we get the privilege to go out to a restaurant to eat. However, after working in a fast food setting in high school and with my current job at a Sbarro at the HUB (basically like a food court on campus), I have noticed so many things inconsiderate things that many people regularly do. It seems like, for whatever reason, people suddenly forget their polite behavior when they go to a fast food restaurant as if those places and their workers do not deserve respect.

Here are 25 common courteous things everyone should follow while at fast food restaurants even though rarely anybody does:

1. Do not dump liquids/throw full cups in the trash.

Not only does liquid make garbage bags so much heavier, but it also increases the chances of the bag leaking which means workers now need to mop and fish gross soda-soaked wrappers out of the bottom of the can.

2. Throw your trash away.

This is not a sit-down restaurant where there are busboys hired to clear off every table. It is incredibly rude to make someone else clean up your unnecessary trash. It also makes other customers refrain from using that table for fear someone is still sitting there. We are workers, not your mothers who pick up after you. Respect your surroundings. (Sidenote: I did not even have to pose this article's header photo, I just took a picture of someone else's mess that I was left to clean)

3. Realize that the workers do not make the prices. 

Don't get mad at me for the company's prices. There are standards set by the larger corporation and complaining won't allow you to pay any less. Plus, if you don't like the prices, the workers probably don't either.

4. Telling me to "check in the back" is going to do literally nothing.

If I tell you we don't have something, we do not have it. Chances are that you are not the only one asking about it, and I have already looked multiple times.

5. If a worker asks you to give them a second before you place your order, do not start placing your order.

We understand that your goal is to get in and out as quickly as possible, but I would not ask you to wait if there was not a reason. It will take less than 30 seconds for me to turn around and throw a pizza in the oven, and it will only take longer for you if you interrupt me then have to wait for said pizza to heat up anyways.

6. Do not tear up straw wrappers and napkins and leave them on the table, floor, etc.

This is so unnecessary and very annoying to clean.

7. If you spill something, either clean it up or let a worker know.

Accidents happen, and we won't be mad if something spills. We will be mad if you don't do anything about it, making the mess worse and creating a hazard for us and other patrons.

8. When I say your food will be out in the next few minutes, don't get huffy. 

Do you want me to serve you cold food? Didn't think so.

9. Don't stay past closing time. 

I understand that you are studying, doing work, or socializing, but we have a closing time for a reason. Some workers don't get to leave until the dining room is clean, and you are prohibiting that. We also want time to study, do work, socialize, or whatever it is that you were doing too.

10. If workers tell you that you can stay an extra few minutes, appreciate that.

I am interrupting my cleaning routine so that you can have a few minutes to finish what you're doing and get your stuff together. I don't have to allow you to stay, so it's irrational for you to get angry when I start sweeping and wiping off tables near yours.

11. If a garbage can has a tray over it or says not to use it, don't move the tray or sign and put your trash in it. 

There are so many trash cans in the establishment, so you don't need to use that one that says not to. If even one person throws food into a closed trash can, the entire bag needs to be thrown away, which is both time consuming and wasteful.

12. "Give me [insert order here]" is not the best way to order.

Frankly, this is just flat out rude. Plus, we might not have what you want me to give you, so maybe use your manners.

13. Don't talk to workers like they are dumb.

Yes, I work in a fast food restaurant/food court type place. No, that does not mean that I am unable to comprehend what you are saying.

14. Keep an eye on your kids. 

In no circumstance is it cool for you to allow your kids to run around unsupervised no matter the status of the restaurant.

15. If you do not know what you want, allow others to go in front of you. 

People are here to get their food fast, and when you hold up the line, it not only irritates other customers, but it also makes it more difficult for the workers who now are going to have a rush of orders.

16. If you move chairs around, put them back. 

Clearly, four chairs do not belong at the end of a booth table. You moved those chairs, so put them back. Not only is this an added step for workers, but it acts as a hazard and inconvenience to other diners.

17. Don't put your gum under the table. 

Do you want to stick your hand in someone else's gum? No. So imagine having the clean wads of gum from under a room full of tables.

18. If you are pointing at the food you want, chances are I cannot tell exactly what you are pointing at. 

Unless you have a legitimate reason for not being able to speak, don't point without saying something. Many people find it rude, and it is also super inconvenient because the worker has to name everything in the near vicinity of where you are pointing so they can give you the correct order.

19. If the restaurant differentiates orders by numbers, know your number. 

As if it's not vocally straining enough calling out numbers all day, it's worse when workers need to call out an order number multiple times.

20. When a worker is helping someone else, don't interrupt and demand their attention. 

There have been so many times where I have been in the middle of serving someone and another person steps in front of them to get me to acknowledge them. This not only is annoying to the worker but is so rude to the other customer. If I have someone else's food in my hand and am literally in the process of asking them how much sauce they want on their pasta, what makes you think that I am free to wait on you and avert my attention from the person who was there first?

21. Don't tell a worker they look tired.

Yes, I look tired. Want to know why? I probably am. Everyone has their own lives and their own struggles. I am currently taking 21 credits, have two internships, am working at least 13 hours a week, doing homework, studying, and still attempting to maintain a social life. I think that would tire anyone out.

22. Get off your phone before you go to the counter.

Nothing is more aggravating than when I have to try to differentiate when someone is talking to me or when they are on the phone, especially with wireless headphones now. Also, it is totally absurd for ME to feel rude when i have to interrupt your phone conversation in order to ask you a question about your order.

23. Realize that the restaurant does get busy and it's impossible for the dining room to be spotless at all times.

If you are coming in at prime lunch or dinner times, there will be a rush and workers are focused on getting the diners in and out as quickly as possible. This creates less time for attention to be on the dining room, causing it to get a little disorderly. However, after the rush subsides, the dining room will be attended to. Also, people who don't have common courtesy make keeping the dining room clean a lot more difficult and time consuming than it should be.

24. If chairs are up on the table, don't try to sit in that part of the dining room.

This probably means that that area has just been cleaned or is closed. Either way, that causes a safety hazard for you, while also making the worker go back and clean something that they had already had done.

25. Do not decide that it is best to catch up on your personal hygiene at a restaurant. 

I wish I could say that I haven't seen this, but I definitely have. There have been times where I had to sweep up (hopefully) fingernail clippings. I also have seen people brushing their hair near other customer's food. This is absolutely disgusting, and I wish that I did no have to say this, but please just don't do it. Use your best judgment, and if you would be grossed out by someone else doing it, then please just don't.

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