McDonald’s! McDonald’s! The top of the food chain, so to speak. The world’s biggest restaurant franchise, by means of revenue. Serving unhealthy junk food to 69 million customers every single day in over 100 different countries worldwide. A symbol of the American capitalist consumerism dream. A hot topic in the middle of the obesity debate. A wobbly conversation starter about business ethics. The face of a scary clown somehow not hindering their mass profit margins. A true pinnacle of corporate success without achieving anything to be proud of at all.
And in the centre of all this, are the unsung soldiers who keep it running. Those 1.9 million employees who slave away in hot kitchens and smile as they take orders from people who don’t deserve smiles whatsoever. These workers are underappreciated, underpaid, misunderstood. Which is why I would like for all us to spare a thought towards those individuals, as we observe the following methods any of them could apply if they are hoping to break the McDonald’s protocol, getting fired and freeing themselves from their mass produced shackles, flying away into a land where they no longer have to refer to the stylistic symbol as the Golden Arches, and can instead finally call them by their true name: the Yellow Arches! They are yellow! Anyway, take my hand, I have come to save you, follow me!
15. Don’t Put Dog Food in the Fries
As unreasonable as this rule may be, it has thrived as a topic of conversation since 2010, when a McDonald’s worker served Westfield State University students their fries with a load of dog biscuits included in there for free. It’s a generous gesture if your customers are dogs, granted, but in this case, the patrons were of the more humanoid nature, and didn’t appreciate the gift. However, upon complaining, the ungrateful clientele were swiftly kicked out and banned from the restaurant forever.
Whatever grudge the dog-food employee had against these students has never been established, but as you’d expect, he was fired within same instant the franchise owner found out about the incident. There was also no word on how many dog biscuits were consumed before the students realized that they weren’t eating fries, but I’m going to estimate it was 10, because that’s my lucky number!
14. No Funny Business In McDonald’s
I know what you’re thinking: this is a good rule, right? I mean, if we could all go into McDonald’s and act crazy whilst singing the National Anthem, it would be a super noisy place and no one wants to eat surrounded by that type of chaos. It ruins the ambiance.
That said, surely there are exceptions. For example: what if an armed robber comes into the store just as an employee is closing up, no customers around, and this robber pulls a gun on them, clearing out the cash register? And then what if this employee just so happen to have his own gun on him, as well as all the necessary paperwork which proves he was legally allowed to carry it? Then, surely, the employee could use it as an act of defense for himself and his colleagues, right? Nope! This all happened word-for-word to Clifton Brown, who broke McDonald’s no-gun policy by trying to be the hero, firing a few rounds at an armed robber, and then got fired himself.
13. Don’t Let Celebrities Use the Bathroom After Hours
When NFL superstar Adrian Peterson comes knocking at your door after hours, begging to use your bathroom really quickly, what do you do? You let him use the bathroom, of course! Because he is a celebrity! And celebrities must be treated better than ordinary folk otherwise what’s the point of becoming famous in the first place?
Tiffany Langeslay followed this script perfectly, which why I imagine she was quite surprised when she showed up for her shift a couple of days later, and her boss showed her the door, and then told her to walk through the door, the terrifying door of dismissal. Langeslay was upset, but did what any unemployed person would do, and tried to make some extra cash by selling her story to the press. As soon as the local media picked up the headline, McDonald’s freaked out and offered Langeslay her job back. She accepted it, and no doubt returned through those doors a superstar, one who not only helped Adrian Peterson pee, but was also evidently unfireable.
12. What exactly is in the Happy Meals?
I imagine when an unnamed 8-year old girl found a bag of marijuana in her Happy Meal, she was somewhat confused as to what this toy was supposed to be exactly. One can almost imagine the look of confusion on her face and the look of utter shock in the face of her guardians. It’s almost like getting coal from Santa isn’t? Well for the little girl…probably not for some adults with recreational interests.
Keith Irelan, her father, told reporters “to be honest, you don’t expect that,” and I consider this to be a fair statement. The family notified the police, who promptly arrested employee Brandon Scott, who I believe was found in an alleyway trying to light a hamburger with a fry in absolute frustration. Brandon was fired for this too, and I think that’s probably for the best.
11. Don’t Have a Skin Condition
Whilst the Great McDonald’s Bible of Rules probably doesn’t explicitly state Don’t Have a Skin Condition within its pages, there are strict written policies on the hand-washing procedure each employee must follow. And that makes sense to me, because it just takes one YouTube video showing the germs on an average person’s fingers to put you off eating forever, trust me.
For Beena Datt, however, this story is a little different. In 2004, she developed a painful skin condition rendering it impossible to run her hands underwater, and while she was eager to keep working at any station (for example, the drive thru position, which doesn’t require food handling), the boss said no, and Beena was blasted out of the McDonald’s fired canon. Thankfully, the BC Human Rights Tribunal ruled that this dismissal was discriminatory because we shouldn’t judge people based on the state of their skin, and Datt was paid $50,000 in compensation, which I imagine to be a decent day in her life.
10. Don’t Talk About McDonald’s
The first rule of McDonald’s is: You do not talk about McDonald’s. I mean, it’s probably not the first rule, but I was doing a Fight Club bit, did you like it? Some unnamed Swedish girl learned this the hard way, when she had a tough shift at her work, and went home, venting her frustration to her friends, just like all of us do from time to time. Except in this specific case, said venting was done via the girl’s public blog, which naturally flowed down the social pipeline and found its way to her boss, Andreas Kenson, who in turn, fired her, blam!
The second rule of McDonald’s is: You do not talk about McDonald’s. Which is why it’s so funny that after Andreas Kenson did the firing, he himself took to Facebook, proudly announcing what he had done, essentially doing the exact same thing. The restaurant workers union were appalled by the boss’ unprofessionalism, but they still supported his initial dismissal decision, agreeing that you have to be an idiot to publicly insult the establishment which pays your rent.
9. Don’t Report Anything Suspicious
Part of any job is to work as a team, and so when you notice something happening that is perhaps a little illegal, or if your boss refuses to address a very serious problem, do the right thing and keep your fat mouth shut, because if you don’t, you will get fired.
Meet seven year McDonald’s employee Cindy Jones, who came to work one day only to discover that the fridge was not working. Cindy informed her manager, who pretended not to hear her, and the fridge remained inactive for two days, serving food at 60°F, until Ms. Jones could no longer take it. She sent an anonymous message to the Health Department, which somehow reached her boss, and Cindy was kicked right out onto the street. Naturally, some legal scenario followed, of which the outcome was reached in silence, but Cindy did tell the press that she “loved that restaurant, it was my life,” which worries me much more than any fridge incident ever will.
8. Don’t Be a Vegetarian
This isn’t so much a bonafide rule as it is a general suggestion I’m freely giving away to McDonald’s employees and customers alike. While I’m certain McDonald’s would happily hire a vegetarian on the grounds that their dietary position would prevent them from picking at the merchandise, no one wants to hear about how the animals were murdered as they place the dead remains in between bread. However, what’s much more important to note, is that even the fries on an American McDonald’s menu are not vegetarian friendly.
Certainly, this cuisine is made from regular potatoes, and what’s more, they are even cooked in vegetable oil, leading vegetarians to believe that they were in the safe zone. Not so, as for some reason, McDonald’s like to sprinkle this food with natural beef flavor, and ultimately, they got sued for it by vegetarian and religious groups alike, rightfully upset about this sneaky meat feed. The company issued an apology and threw $10 million at the problem, which was enough money to shut everyone up.
7. Don’t Throw Away Rotten Food
The benefits of holding onto food way passed the expiration date are endless, as you not only save money, but you also get that extra special fermented twang with every bite. If anyone asks, it’s the secret sauce, mmmm!
The reports of McDonald’s employees being fired for throwing away rotten food are so abundant that even reading them made me feel stale. One ex-employee was kicked out for throwing away rotten bits, after being told “we need that”. Another employee’s job was threatened when they refused to serve customers any brown lettuce which was ten days passed its expiry date, but this modern day lionheart soul stood their ground and threw the leafy vegetable away anyway, in full confidence that their termination would result in an exciting court case, most likely ruling in their favor. Finally, another current anonymous employee casually mentioned that if the cheese “hasn’t got to the point of making people ill, we are supposed to use it,” which is the same rule in my house actually.
6. Don’t Speak In The Wrong Language
Whilst the details on this story are hazy mainly because I didn’t read all of them, Abeer Zinaty claims that she was dismissed for speaking Arabic in her Israeli McDonald’s branch, as the rules stated all employees must speak exclusively in Hebrew. When Zinaty’s manager called her into his office to let her go, he reportedly fired her in Hebrew too, despite the fact that they were both Arabs, and completely alone. At least he wasn’t a hypocrite, I guess.
This incident lead to all sorts of investigations when it reached Israeli parliament, who debated whether this policy had broken the Equal Opportunities in Employment Law. When confronted, the manager quickly spun his story around, claiming Abeer’s layoff was more to do with her sloppy performance. When queried why he had gifted Abeer the Excellent Worker of 2003 award only six months earlier if she was so sloppy, this manager responded by quickly covering his head with a McDonald’s bag, certain that if he couldn’t see anyone, then no one could see him.
5. Don’t Swear at the Customers
“The customer is always right” is a common expression, yet is not 100% reliable. For example, what if the customer tells you that coffee comes from beans? Would it not be your duty to inform them that “coffee beans” are, in actual fact, seeds. Or how about if the customer claims that humans only use 10% of their brain? This is also incorrect, as almost our entire brain is active at all times, except in some special cases, of which I may have seen before at McDonald’s actually.
Regardless, there is a level of mutual respect we must all adopt in our daily lives, and so when one employee reportedly asked a customer “what the f*** are you looking at me for?” I think we can all agree that’s definitely not right, and their sacking was justified. There is also a recorded case of a worker being terminated for “not smiling enough”, which is a little less understandable, but sometimes you gotta “fake it ‘til you make it”, right? Nope. Yet another unreliable expression, fooled again.
4. Don’t Tamper With People’s Food
This is a rule I’m sure we are all grateful exists. Except it doesn’t exactly seem to be doing any good, as there are plenty of classic McDonald’s employee reports claiming that they’ve seen food being spat on, food thrown onto the ground intentionally, and even food stamped upon. As with dealing with anybody who is serving you food, I’d recommend being friendly to them, because they are the masters of what goes into your mouth and through your body.
That said, there are some McDonald’s tampering techniques which are encouraged by the business itself. For example: if you think your meat isn’t fresh enough and you return it, the cooks will simply douse the same burger in grease, and re-serve it to up you. There is also a no fries are too old to fix policy, as apparently a 15 second dive into cooking oil is the standard trick to fool any customer into thinking that their batch is straight from the fryer. Yum yum!
3. Don’t Give Away Free Food, Ever
This seems fair, right? McDonald’s may be worth $104.42 billion, but it’s still a business, and they didn’t build their empire by giving away free things, I assure you of that. Even when they do offer something for free, it’s still not for free! You are paying for it in another way, whether it be compensated by the price of the main meal, or from the tiny bit of your soul you trade with the devil every time you eat at the franchise.
If you need proof, just ask the anonymous worker who felt sympathy for a homeless man who came into their store. The poor guy ordered a Big Mac, and happily paid for it. To be kind, the employee put three large fries into the bag to help him out, and that was it, fired on the spot. The devil don’t do charity.
2. Don’t Give Away Free Food, Even to Fellow Colleagues
Things get even more ridiculous when a Netherlands McDonald’s worker gave a colleague a slice of cheese, and was fired over it. How is this possible, you may ask? I will tell you! The coworker was on a break, so in the eyes of the McDonald’s gods, this person had become just another customer. This “customer” ordered a regular hamburger from their friend, and paid for it with real money and everything. However, when the McDonald’s worker behind the counter put a freebie slice of cheese on the burger, all hell broke loose, as this made it a cheeseburger, which is priced differently, therefore, the worst thing that has ever happened ever in the history of everything. Out the door they went!
You want a happy ending? Sure thing! This employee sued McDonald’s over unfair dismissal, and won €4,500 in compensation. Which reminds me, I’m supposed to go get a job at McDonald’s and give away free cheese to everyone until I’m rich.
1. Don’t Eat The Food
Alright, so imagine this: you’re hungry. And you’re surrounded by food. What do you do? Nothing! You don’t do anything, because one former McDonald’s employee claimed he was sacked simply for eating one French fry. Only one! All your wages gone, financial stability severed at the neck, all because you ate one simple French fry, the most expensive French fry you’ve ever tasted, hope it was good.
Some stories take an even sadder tone, like that time an ex-worker attempted to take home leftover food which was about to be thrown away. She claimed that she was only doing so because, with McDonald’s wages, she could barely afford to pay the rent, and she wanted to surprise her boyfriend with some actual food that night. Sorry, it doesn’t work that way, you’re fired, and now you can’t afford the rent either, welcome to the real world.
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