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Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Drive Thru, Please (Part 2)

Since my first posting regarding my frustration with fast food and bad service, something has come to my attention. Most people in the fast food business, whether they're employees or managers, do not know the difference between ATM and a debit card with Visa or MC logo.

My first observation came shortly after my first post when my wife and I went to a Carl's Jr in the drive thru. Before you start calling me a hypocrite for using the drive thru after bashing it, understand that no level of stupidity could come between my cravings for a good burger at odd hours. Back to my story.........

We drove thru a Carl's Jr, the same one that I've been to many times when I used my ATM card and entered my PIN on the pad. There was a manager and one employee there, and the girl in the drive thru window said that they can't accept those cards. I explained that I had used it before and she needed only to slide my card through and hand me the PIN pad. She still did not understand and tried to use my card as a credit card. After several attempts, the manager came to the window and tried to tell me the same thing that the employee did. At this point, I'm furious and I'm sure my tone let them know about it. I told them that there is a PIN pad right by the terminal that they needed to give to me so that I could enter my number. After stumbling around for another few minutes while the cheese on my burger was hardening, they finally snapped out of their state of ignorance. I entered my number, the receipt came out of the machine, and we went on our way.

**I know for a fact that some fast food managers make very good money. I've been told that some In 'N' Out managers pull in upwards of 70K per year; I have no idea how a man who can't use a simple ATM terminal could make it through the ranks and become a manager.**

After that experience, I went to a Taco Bell nearby. I had some cash and planned on using the ATM for the balance if the cash didn't cover everything. The menu had a large sign that said "USE YOUR ATM CARD" so I proceeded. Had I not been able to use my ATM as you normally would use it, I would have gone to get cash first. I pulled up to the window and told the guy that I planned to pay with cash and then use my ATM for the balance. You can probably guess what happens next but I'll tell you anyways. The girl proceeds to tell me that it has to be a debit card with a Visa or MC logo on it. I felt my blood pressure rise when I explained to her that when they put ATM on their menu, it means that you use it like you would if you were at an ATM. Otherwise, just have Visa or MC logo on the menu so people know that they need a credit card or a check card. She tried to run it through the machine as a credit card, fully knowing that it would not go through but I guess I have to appreciate her effort this time. Since the food had already been made, they gave me all of it for the cash in my hand, rather than just throwing it away. That was nice of them, so I'm not all that mad.

I just really wish that people would understand that a debit card with a MasterCard or Visa logo works the same way as a credit card. For that reason, unless they have a PIN pad that you use to enter your number, they should just post the credit card logos on the menu. When you go to an ATM you don't pull out your Visa or MasterCard, you use your ATM card because you use a PIN number to get your money. The funny thing is that some employees know how to use it perfectly and there's one or two who look at you like they've never heard of using an ATM at the drive thru before. I guess those managers pulling in good money are too busy counting it to train their staff properly.

In closing, if you see ATM on the menu of a drive thru don't automatically assume that it means that you can use it like you normally would. I guess that was my fault, to assume that a fast food chain knows that ATM is not a "Visa debit card". You may not see Visa or MasterCard anywhere on the menu, just "use your ATM" card and and they'll tell you that you have to have the kind with the credit card logo on it. Good luck.......

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