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Why I’ll be avoiding drive-thru lanes in the future

Published February 6, 2013
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Should you use the drive-thru? Environmental concerns and messed-up orders aside, a recent eye-opening experience has me rethinking this motorists’ convenience route.

Fortunately for me, the McDonald’s inside Wal-Mart at Bayview and Major Mackenzie in Richmond Hill doesn’t have a drive-thru, otherwise I’d have been oblivious to a rather unsettling occurrence inside there recently.

It was mid-afternoon and I ordered a Big Mac combo without “mac sauce.” The assistant manager was filling orders and, after a while, figured out that she’d given my no-sauce burger to another customer by mistake. She then entered the dining room, went around the corner, retrieved the burger from the customer – who presumably was seated and eating at the time – and attempted to give that same burger to me.

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For all I know, the other customer might have handled it, sneezed on it, licked it or even taken a bite. In any case, I found it totally unacceptable and voiced that “I’m not going to accept food that you’ve already served to someone else.”

Even saying it sounds quite disturbing, but this assistant manager – whose responsibility as a supervisor is to ensure proper hygienic practices are maintained – then attempted to convince me, and everyone else looking on, that it was okay “because the other person hadn’t touched it.”

Since I’d rather have peace of mind than worry about catching the flu, a cold, or other communicable diseases, I reiterated that “I don’t care. I’m not going to accept food that you’ve already served to someone else.”

She then relented and asked the kitchen to make another no-sauce burger. And, yes, I watched to ensure that they made a fresh uncontaminated one – which is, after all, what I paid for. The cook wisely disposed of the “used” burger rather than attempt to serve it to yet another diner.

Asked to comment on this incident, a McDonald’s Canada customer service rep, who gave her name as Pilar, apologized for the server’s improper actions and pledged to follow up with restaurant management to ensure that this doesn’t happen again.

When you order inside a restaurant the benefit is that you can see (most of) what really happens with your food. But when you sit in your car in a drive-thru lane, you just have to accept whatever is handed to you with blind faith.

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