Or, How to Slice the Sale by a Third

I don’t know how hungry I am today. Stomach feels funky. I feel like something relatively healthy, that someone else makes for me. Fast food, fast food, ugh. Oh, Arby’s! A roast beef will do the trick. Wait, they only have Pepsi. Hate it. Hey, there’s a can of diet Coke in my bag! All right, Arby’s it is. I think I’ll get the junior. Hm, maybe hungry is the problem. I’ll get a regular.


*Cough, cough, scratchy noise, loud POP*

“Welcome to Arby’s Drive-Through, what can I get for you?”


How about How may I help you? Hmpf.

“Hi. I’d like a regular roast beef sandwich. Just the sandwich.”


“Are you sure you don’t want to make that a combo, and get a curly fry and a medium Pepsi with that?”


“Yes, I’m sure.”




“Um, y’know, make it a junior roast beef.”


“O-ka-y [three syllable stretch]. Pull up for your total.”


It’s okay to ask, politely, if I want to upgrade. “Are you sure you don’t want” doesn’t cut it. “Do you want to” would be fine. Culture of gluttony, maybe; we’re all used to the upsell. Tacking on the yelled, surly “Nothing?” (do you think I’m stupid?) and the what-ever of the last sentences tells me what you think of me, when (a) I never think much of myself at a drive-through window, and (b) I don’t care what you think. If I could have gotten out of line I would have, but there’s a cement barrier preventing leaving the line at this store. So I cut my bill by a third, my stomach thanked me, and I can assure you, the dude at the window did not.

Never, ever let staff make your customers feel stupid or lacking in (your) taste. Be polite, be accommodating, be generous. Follow the Golden Rule of business: serve others as you’d like to be served. Pretend it’s you on the other side.

As obvious as that is, it never ceases to amaze me that from $100 meals to quick bites for $3.50 (and it’s not just in food, as we all know), haughty, snooty, rude service is everywhere. Check yours anonymously at least on a monthly basis.

Has service quality ever made you change your order at a business, for better or for worse? Got a tip for making your customers feel respected? I’d value your comments below!

Grow and be well,

Kelly Erickson