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What a Waste
Yes, I'll take one...
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msg:296324
 9:56 pm on Apr 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

Rarely do I find myself eating in a fast food restaurant like McDonald's or Burger King. But yesterday I just couldn't fight the craving any longer for a Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese and Fries. I had to do it!

While my order was being filled and items placed on my tray, I asked if I could have one packet of ketchup for my fries. The person serving me put exactly 12 packets on my tray. I looked at them and said I only needed one and the schmuck had the gall to give me a dirty look while snatching all but 5 from my tray. I looked at them in disbelief and just carried my tray away with 4 more ketchup packages than I needed. I of course left those extra ketchup packs on the table and did not discard them as many others would have done.

What is it with these wasteful practices? Why, when I ask for a couple of napkins, do I get half the damn package? Why, when I ask for one salt and one pepper, do I get a handful of both? Why do we have to be so wasteful?

And last but not least, why can't I get a normal serving of things when I go out to eat? I don't want to take leftovers home. I came to have a meal and I hadn't planned on feasting. Leftovers are a breeding ground for all sorts of things. Especially when they sit in the fridge for a month or two. ;)

 

idolw




msg:296325
 10:08 pm on Apr 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

What is it with these wasteful practices? Why, when I ask for a couple of napkins, do I get half the damn package? Why, when I ask for one salt and one pepper, do I get a handful of both? Why do we have to be so wasteful?

you live in the US?
that's the answer ;-)

kevinpate




msg:296326
 10:45 pm on Apr 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

.oO(don't think he knows about second breakfast)Oo.

pageoneresults




msg:296327
 10:49 pm on Apr 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

You live in the US?

I do, California.

I was going to title this...

Why are Americans so Wasteful

But I don't think it just applies to us Americans. This is a global thing and I would imagine anywhere you have fast food chains there is going to be waste of this kind.

moltar




msg:296328
 10:52 pm on Apr 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

Yes, it's like that in Canada too. Though, I used to work in KFC, and my manager would actually charge for extra stuff like that.

martinibuster




msg:296329
 11:09 pm on Apr 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

What is wasteful?

Is eating beef wasteful because of the ecological stress thousands of cows put on the habitat and the purity of water?

Pretty much many things we do, whether we're Euro or American, have an element of waste. I think it's unescapable.

So maybe I should be asking, What isn't wasteful?

pageoneresults




msg:296330
 11:20 pm on Apr 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

What is wasteful?

To use, consume, spend, or expend thoughtlessly or carelessly.

So, in the true meaning of the word waste, I'm referring to those instances where the above applies.

Yes, there is an abundance of waste in our lives. Wasted energy, wasted talent, wasted time, etc.

But in the above instance with fast food establishments, the waste is totally uncalled for. There is no reason for a 14 year old kid to put 12 packets of ketchup on my tray when I specifically asked for one.

There is no reason for the waiter to bring me a plate fit for three when there is only me! I cringe when I find myself full and look down at the plate only to see that one third of what was served was eaten. And then I think to myself, man, and here we have people starving out there, meanwhile I'm throwing away two thirds of a meal that one of those less fortunate could have had.

I know, I know, why don't I box the meal and take it down to the shelter? I don't think they would find that acceptable. I have been known to take the local homeless out to lunch every now and then. If you really want to watch someone who understands waste, watch a homeless person. They save every crumb!

I'm ranting, sorry! It's a subject that has become more and more important to me as I become wiser in my older years.

Rosalind




msg:296331
 11:26 pm on Apr 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

A long time ago, I spent some time working in a large kitchen serving cheap meals to hundreds at each sitting. The waiters used to throw away good cutlery as well as those sachets of sauce, jam, and so on. The waste was enormous.

It had a lot to do with low-paid workers having no investment in the success of the business, and for the most part resenting their bosses. They would empty their entire trays into the bins rather than take the extra ten seconds to sort the cutlery, because they would be paid next to nothing whether they wasted things or not.

Tastatura




msg:296332
 11:44 pm on Apr 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

But in the above instance with fast food establishments, the waste is totally uncalled for. There is no reason for a 14 year old kid to put 12 packets of ketchup on my tray when I specifically asked for one.

I would say that for the instance you are describing, this is primarily fault of that restaurant’s management (it might be that responsibility should be going up the chain to the franchise management, but since I don’t know intricacies of how MD/BK operates I’ll stop at ‘local’ level). Business common sense dictates that there should be no waste, and it’s one of the corner stones of ‘lean’ methodology ( don’t confuse this with stingy). ‘Lean’ is all about eliminating waste from the process (but not at the expense of quality). ‘Local’ manager should of trained employees not to be wasteful in their actions/operations. Also, manager/supervisor ‘on the line’ should of caught your second comment and provided better customer service. In part it might be that the employee did not ‘buy in’ to the service that he/she should be providing (or simply just does not care). This can also be traced back to management, for not addressing it – by talking to the employee/more training/ and if everything else fails firing the employee.
To be fair, fast food places are really efficient in what they do at the core of their business – providing food fast. Actually, compared to other industries, I would say that they are one of top industries efficient wise.

I cringe when I find myself full and look down at the plate only to see that one third of what was served was eaten

This is more subjective, different people can eat different amounts. I am sure fast food industry did comprehensive studies to determine optimal serving size.

seanpecor




msg:296333
 1:44 am on Apr 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

It's a little frustrating to have to witness wasteful practices but I think all of us are guilty of it, to a greater or lesser extent. I'm 6'1", weigh 172 pounds and hard labor on my "hobby" farm keeps me reasonably fit. But, I do like a Hardees thickburger every couple of weeks ;) And some curly fries. And a cup of mountain dew so large and heavy that it changes my vehicle's handling characteristics ;)

I go through this routine almost without fail at the McDonald's drive thru. I order my meal and ask for one apple pie. The voice in the box asks if I want two for $0.99. I say, no I do not want two apple pies. Then I'm told it's cheaper if I order two applie pies. Then I tell them if I wanted to eat two apple pies, then I would order two apple pies. But I only want one apple pie, therefore I'm ordering one apple pie. Then there is a pause and the voice in the box finally gives me my total amount. It's such fun, I tell you!

Sean

DrDoc




msg:296334
 3:17 am on Apr 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

Small, Medium, and Large drinks ...
It's all you can drink for $1.19, or all you can drink for $1.59, or all you can drink for $1.99. Yet next to the large cup there's a big arrow saying "Best Value!"

roycerus




msg:296335
 4:01 am on Apr 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

Ah... isn't there a big jar on top of the trashcan that reads, "Please put unused condiments here!" I would guess they give you more ketchup so you don't have to come running back if you need one more or two more.

digitalghost




msg:296336
 4:01 am on Apr 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

Excess restaurant waste is always a result of poor management. Typically restraurants are good about managing waste. (salad bars were created to sell salad lettuce that was a by-product of sandwich lettuce) --Wendy's. Ketchup funnels were invented to drain the last drop of ketchup from table bottles. Potato cake recipes to get rid of old mashed potatoes. Old burgers frozen, then turned into chili meat -- Wendy's.

Line employees that put too many packages of catsup or salt or dressing into the bag are usually new employees. Quicker to grab a handful than it is to extract one package, or the requested amount. Behavior that makes district managers nuts.

So let's talk about real waste...

Single folks driving quad-cab turbo-diesel trucks. Governments printing a million copies of every bill, law and brain-fart when they could use a print-on-demand option. Stamping new, metal license tags for vehicles. In several 'styles'. Government 'fallow' land. That's fallow year after year. Phone books. New telephone booths. 99.5% of the paper that direct mail junk arrives on. New cars that require anti-freeze changes. Paper milk cartons. Cutting new telephone poles (heard about underground lines yet?) And on and on...

bakedjake




msg:296337
 4:14 am on Apr 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

Why are Americans so Wasteful

Maybe that bloat caused by using standards based markup has us insensitive to waste.

/me ducks

digitalghost




msg:296338
 4:19 am on Apr 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

<throws a frozen duck at the canuck> If you wanna waste something, waste truffles, single malt and Cuban cigars... Oh wait a minute, that's not waste, that's consumption... ;)

twist




msg:296339
 4:35 am on Apr 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

Almost all employees at fast food chains are paid minimum wage. There employer is letting them know that they value their employees so little, that if it were possible to pay them less, they would. The only thing that stops them from paying them less, is the law.

What motivation that must be to care.

The fact that companies are making billions in profits by paying their employees the absolute minimum that they can get away with by law doesn't seem to be a concern. Nor the fact that the people at the ketchup packet factory also have dead-end low paying jobs with no future and no money to send their kids to college or help support their local school districts thus insuring future generations of uneducated employees that these large corporations can exploit. These things don't seem to upset anybody...

...but a few wasted ketchup packets, and were all riled up.

Tastatura




msg:296340
 5:14 am on Apr 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

Hmm, while you present valid arguments, you might of missed (my) point (msg #9). I was speaking strictly of business practices regarding waste – employee compensation and employer-employee relations are different (but related) topics, however I thought them to be outside of the scope of the original post.

So speaking strictly about US, I don’t think that any of the MD/BK employees have to be there (i.e. nobody is having a gun to their head saying “you have to work here “). If they don’t like the pay, or anything else, they can talk to their employer and present the case why they should be compensated more (value that they bring to the company), or leave and find better opportunity (more money, more enjoyable work environment, etc.). But if they have a job as a floor cleaner, (at least) try to do a good job (and by the way there isn’t anything wrong with being floor cleaner). To me it’s a BS that someone will not do their job, and do it to the best of their ability, because they don’t get paid as much as they want to – if they don’t like it they can leave. If they don’t have a skill set for anything else, they can always learn – acquire it as a ‘apprentice’ type (not the tv show :) ), or go to school. If need be there are bunch of assistance programs; I am not saying it is, or that it will be, easy but people have to be willing.

There employer is letting them know that they value their employees so little, that if it were possible to pay them less, they would.

Now if I am a manager of a manager/supervisor who treated employees in that manner I would fire him in the heart beat. There is no excuse for any manager to threat employees in unprofessional and non-courteous manner. On another hand, if this were a corporate policy, I would go someplace else (in a hurry). Again, speaking of US, there are other opportunities.

Although my comments might sound harsh, I do know that things are not black and white, but rather shade of gray…

I am off my soap box

DamonHD




msg:296341
 8:08 am on Apr 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

Hi,

I dislike (unnecessary) waste, especially wasted food.

Yes, US-style portions mean that you have to overeat (witness the obesity epidemic) or you have to waste food by leaving it . More is not always better.

But fast-food employees are amongst a band of generally-ill-treated staff IMHO, which includes call-centre staff and cleaners, who have little motivation to behave well.

I agree that someone who doesn't like their job should quit and find one they do, but a lot of people in these roles are not very smart (not their fault), or missed their schooling, or are lazy or immature (which they could fix but wont), so are unlikely to understand the value of that statement, like the students roiting in France.

Rgds

Damon

Freedom




msg:296342
 8:37 am on Apr 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

At McDonald's in Romania, they charge you about 5,000 lei for each ketchup/mustard package which is about 15 cents.

gamiziuk




msg:296343
 9:13 am on Apr 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

There employer is letting them know that they value their employees so little, that if it were possible to pay them less, they would.

Now if I am a manager of a manager/supervisor who treated employees in that manner I would fire him in the heart beat.

I believe the "manager" is the one setting such policies - not the supervisor. So you would have to fire yourself...
;)

BeeDeeDubbleU




msg:296344
 9:15 am on Apr 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

The View from Outside :)
------------------------

But I don't think it just applies to us Americans.

Not now but it used to and speaking as a European who has visited the US frequently I am afraid to say that you folks started it.

When I first went to the States I was amazed at the amount of waste in restaurants and also at the obscenity of some of the portion sizes. If you order a meal for one you should get a meal for one. The problem is that your society has conditioned people into thinking that they should get enough for tomorrow's dinner to take away in their "doggie bags".

I remember staying at a small hotel in Norwood, MA a few years ago and on the Sunday morning they did an excellent brunch. This was fine because it was essentially self service so you could eat what you liked. It was a good brunch so it was usually quite busy and lots of families used to come in.

On this particular day a family of about twelve people waddled in and took their place at large table. Now I am no lightweight but I could see that each one of them was more obese than the other. After I had recovered from my initial panic at trying to get in the queue before them I sat down to my brunch and I was amazed to see what these guys could put away. But is it their fault? Instinctively, we humans are conditioned to eat when food is available. Now that most of us don't have to hunt for it, if too much is made available then it follows that many of us will eat too much.

Unfortunately this is now spreading to the UK and other European countries. Who knows where it will end. We are seeing the incidence of diabetes, heart disease and other illnesses associated with being overweight at epidemic proportions but still we encourage people to eat like pigs. Just watch how the TV ads condition the kids who will swell the profits as well as their bellies in years to come.

I know we all have to protect our freedom but we also have to protect our kids. Surely there should be more regulation here?

In Scotland on 26 March we banned smoking in all public places because it is unhealthy. Many of the arguments in favour of this ban cited the cost to the heath service in dealing with smoking related diseases. There is no question that smoking is on the way out but how will the health services cope with obesity related diseases?

(Rant over).

andye




msg:296345
 9:33 am on Apr 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

There is no reason for a 14 year old kid to put 12 packets of ketchup on my tray when I specifically asked for one.

Sounds to me like there's a pretty clear reason - he wanted to annoy you.

best, a.

Tastatura




msg:296346
 9:43 am on Apr 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

There employer is letting them know that they value their employees so little, that if it were possible to pay them less, they would.

Now if I am a manager of a manager/supervisor who treated employees in that manner I would fire him in the heart beat.

I believe the "manager" is the one setting such policies - not the supervisor. So you would have to fire yourself...
;)

what a conglomeration of a quote
Not quite (although I would fire myself if I behaved like that). Corporate totem pool is usually something like this
(board of directors) - CEO – Sr VP –VP – Sr Director – Director – Sr Manager – Manager – Supervisor – Line Worker. So if a manager sets a ‘bad’ policy, his boss can reprimand him (and fire him).

Incidentally, speaking of ‘doggie bags’, I think that they came to be so to eliminate waste – what you could not eat in the restaurant, you would bring home and eat later so that it doesn’t go to waste :). I think, at least 15 or so years ago, this concept of ‘doggie bags’ was foreign to Europeans, and I think actually looked-down on (probably due to cultural differences). I am not sure how it is now.
As for meal sizes, most of the time I personally find them to be just a bit smaller then what I like (and progressively smaller at more upscale restaurants). I am ok size guy, about 6’5” (~2m) and about 235 lb, and in ok shape (no big beer belly).

sem4u




msg:296347
 12:38 pm on Apr 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

You should have taken the extra ketchups home...but I guess that is not really the point!

Where I live when you go into McDonalds they have small dispensers and small containers so you can take as much or as little keptchup as you like. I guess it keeps costs down as well.

oddsod




msg:296348
 1:15 pm on Apr 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

At McDonald's in Romania, they charge you about 5,000 lei for each ketchup/mustard package which is about 15 cents

We have those lovely sentiments here in the UK too where many fast foods er, "restaurants" charge for ketchup. Staff in these places are, sadly, restricted in the ways they can show disapproval of management or the occasional Frontpage-expert customer. Respectively, they can throw the trays away to annoy the former and spit in the food to get back at the latter.

I'd rather have 12 packets of ketchup. They make great fake blood for when you finish your food and pretend to be writhing on the floor.

trillianjedi




msg:296349
 1:20 pm on Apr 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

What is it with these wasteful practices? Why, when I ask for a couple of napkins, do I get half the damn package? Why, when I ask for one salt and one pepper, do I get a handful of both? Why do we have to be so wasteful?

Write to McDonalds and complain. Part of the problem is that we, as members of the public, don't take responsibility to notify a (large) organisation that something is going wrong.

McDonald's actually appear to have a pretty thorough recycling policy, part of which details their desire to ".... only use as much as we absolutely need to". And they spent $3bn on it last year.

If you were to write to them about it, I'm sure they'd listen.

TJ

twist




msg:296350
 6:19 pm on Apr 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

K-12 students in my state are required to take a yearly test to determine if they have the ability to perform reading, math and writing skills at an efficient level.

These are statistics for a town of just under 30,000 people,

10th Grade class of 253
Reading - 47.4%
Math - 5.3%
Writing - 42.6%

7th Grade class at school of 629
Reading - 69.5%
Math - 35.7%
Writing - 57.7%

4th Grade class at school of 497
Reading - 62.9%
Math - 38.1%
Writing - 29.5%

The county these schools are in has a 16.6% unemployment rate.

To me it’s a BS that someone will not do their job, and do it to the best of their ability, because they don’t get paid as much as they want to – if they don’t like it they can leave.

and go where? do what?

If you can't read or write, and your family and relatives live in poverty and can't help you, your options are pretty limited.

Automan Empire




msg:296351
 2:41 am on Apr 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

In defense of the minimum wage workers, being in low-end retail is unremitting punishment! One person complains too much ketchup. The next person complains not enough ketchup, and cuts back to the front of the line to bring the entire operation to a halt by having a self-indulgent hissy fit over being denied their due personal wish for five packets. The next customer after that complains about too much ketchup, holding up the line. The next customer after that complains about not enough ketchup. Everyone in the line is building up impatience to dump upon the server when they get to the head of the line. Meanwhile the manager keeps prodding you to get the line going faster; the unspoken truth being if you don't do the minimum-wage job they have 100 job applications on thedesk in the back room. Pretty soon, automatically grabbing a handful of ketchup packs for one person eating one small portion of fries starts making all kinds of sense- who would have thought?

BUT....

I still think it is stupid of them! Seriously, if you're gonna do a job, do it well. Once I got 63 packs of hot sauce for two tacos! Yes, I counted- they outweighed the food by treble! When participating in beach clean-ups, number one item is cigarette butts, number two is sauce packs from a taco chain which is to remain nameless. The rest of the trash is so random that no #3 emerges.

Thanks for the fun rant! :)
-Automan

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