Are all McDonald's portals to an alternate universe? It seems like people, whether it's the customers or the staff, act so weird that there's no other explanation for it. These employees were definitely not paid enough to handle how intense and absurd these encounters were. Content has been edited for clarity.
I’m Not A Human Garbage Disposal!
“I worked at McDonald’s throughout college, back in the stone ages when there was no World Wide Web. I almost always worked in the drive-thru because I could process orders so quickly. The restaurant was one of the first to get a second drive-thru window to process payment, and I started manning that window almost every weekend night. Working those windows at that time required you to keep up to four orders in your head, and work two cash registers at once. Besides taking all the orders, I was also in charge of talking to the manager and grill staff, letting them know what the lines were like, when large groups of people came into the parking lot, and occasionally calling in production. This would include commands like, ‘Make twelve hamburgers,’ or, ‘Drop chicken nuggets into the fryer,’ when big orders came through. I had to know how long things took to prepare, so I could make sure no drivers waited for food. Our restaurant was just off I-85, so were were always swamped on weekend nights, and we were open until midnight. I rarely got unusual orders in the drive-thru, other than the occasional prankster ordering hot dogs, barbecue, pizza, or some bubbly as a joke. I did have people assume that I had extra time, since it seemed that I only stood at that window and took money. Unfortunately, that meant they would look into my little booth, see my trash can for old receipts, and ask if they could give me their trash. Let that sink in.
On this particular night, we were swamped with ‘cars around the building’ traffic. A man in a station wagon pulled up to the menu. From my booth, I could not see him, as the menu was behind the store, just before they turned the corner to come down the lane at the side of the building, but I could hear several kids in the car with him shouting their requests. He ordered several Happy Meals, all different of course, and two adult meals, and then extra milk. When he got to my window, he said, ‘Hi, how are you?’ to me, which was typical. And then he put his car in park. Not a good sign. He then turned his back on me and leaned over the passenger side of the seat. I began to realize that he had an infant on the seat there, and was changing his or her diaper. I said, ‘Sir? Your total is…’ and then I stated the amount. I think he said, ‘Yeah, just a minute…’ as I anxiously watched the cars in front of him pull away so that there was no one left at the next window. My teammates waited with all of his food there, poking their head out to see what was going on. He continued to fiddle with the diaper while my manager started talking in my headset, asking what the holdup was, and cars piled up behind him started honking. Eventually, after what seemed like an hour, he turned around and offered me a folded, bulging plastic diaper. I pulled away from it, flinching. I’m pretty sure I made a horrified face, because I was eighteen and the thought of baby waste was about the grossest thing I could imagine. And he said, ‘Take it or I ain’t paying.’
So, I took the diaper, put it in my trash can, took his money, and gingerly made change with the fingers that had not touched the diaper. That was the worst request ever. I still remember flying through the back of the restaurant, hollering at my manager, ‘Take the next car, I have to wash my hands!’ I ran out to the front, through the restaurant, and into the bathroom so I could vomit. Ah, memories. Fast food work. I do not recommend it.”
One Order Of Hot Air Please!
“I had an order for an empty box. While working the grill, the order would come through to me on a screen, with any changes visible on the screen, alongside a piece of paper that was printed out. I got this order for a triple cheeseburger. But this triple cheeseburger had no patties, no cheese, no pickles, no onions, no ketchup, and no mustard. And no bun. I soon realized that nothing would be on this burger. I frowned, trying to work out if anything would actually be on the burger. Occasionally, I get no bun burgers, but this one was super strange. I soon realized that absolutely nothing was in this sandwich. I asked one of my friends in the kitchen if he agreed on that. He frowned and said yes. I called to the front counter and asked them what on earth this order was supposed to be. They frowned as well and told me to just send down an empty triple cheeseburger box. There was some intense confusion that day. In the end, the guy who placed the order mentioned that he had a good reason for doing so, but he wanted to keep that private. I suspect it had something to do with him wanting other people to believe that he had a triple cheeseburger. No idea why.
I also had a super strange order today, and I couldn’t resist adding it here. I got what looked like a normal order on my screen, it said only a hamburger. However, the front counter called me out and asked to make the persona. cup full of pickles instead of a hamburger. Apparently there was no button on the cash register for a cup of pickles, so they clicked on the hamburger one. This person had requested a frozen coke and a cup of pickles. No idea why they would do that. Some people are unexplainable.”
The Most Peculiar Man Alive
“About fifteen years ago, this spry older gentleman came up to order at the McDonald’s counter. He was dressed in a brown sports jacket with a shirt and tie, with the sort of hat that you might wear if you were out fox hunting in nineteenth century England. He had a bright, friendly smile, and he was looking contentedly around the restaurant. He looked like the sort of person one would cast as the kindly grandpa in a candy commercial. He approached the counter, and his voice rang out, ‘Well now! What do y’all have for breakfast?!’
This was an astounding and frankly wonderful moment in time. Everything about this man suggested a complete and utter sincerity. There was no indication that this was any sort of joke, or that the man had noticed the menu board overhead, with its prices and gigantic color photographs, or indeed that he had any idea what sort of items might be on a McDonald’s breakfast menu. It was as if he had recently heard that there was a new restaurant in town, apparently with some sort of red and yellow theme colors, and had decided he’d mosey on in to see how it was. I mean, how would you respond to this puzzling turn of events? The old man might as well have asked for a handful of dragon’s teeth. The manager, having noticed the situation, quickly came over to save the day.
‘How about some scrambled eggs? We can get you some scrambled eggs, with sausage and a biscuit and some hash-browned potato on the side! How does that sound?’ He sounded almost as jolly as the customer did.
‘That sounds just fine! Thank you kindly!’
‘And what would you like to drink with that, sir? Coffee? Orange Juice?’
‘I think I’ll try the coffee!” he announced judiciously, after a moment’s thought. It was as if he had never heard of McDonald’s, let alone any sort of food with the prefix ‘Mc’ in front of it. And that was that. A few minutes later, I saw him sitting at a table, savoring his coffee and reading a newspaper with keen interest. Unfortunately, I never saw the man again. I have so many questions about this dude still.”
Attack Of The Potato Lady
“I have had a customer ask for a whole potato. At first, I thought she was joking because I’ve had similar orders followed by ‘just kidding’. But after I asked if I had heard her right and she confirmed that I had, I explained that we don’t have whole potatoes, but that she could order a fry instead. She immediately pulled around without another word in the speaker. I waited for about five seconds for her to come around, while I was thinking, ‘Surely she’s not ignorant enough to think that we actually sell whole potatoes.’ When she pulled around, she made sure to correct this thought of mine.
Woman: ‘What do you mean you don’t sell potatoes? How the heck do you sell French fries and not have whole potatoes?!’
Me: ‘I’m sorry ma’am, but we have our fries pre-sliced, packaged, sent directly to our distributors, and then to our restaurant. Since nothing else we have is pure potato, we have no whole potatoes that we keep around at the store. Would you like me to get you a different side with your Nuggets, like a side salad?’
Woman: ‘Listen moron, I know you may not understand basic things and that’s why you’re working at McDonald’s, but I need you to go to the back, get me a potato, and bring it back to me free of charge, since you’ve ruined my visit. Have one of your managers hold your hand for you if you can’t figure it out.’
Me: ‘Ma’am, would you like to speak to one of my managers? I believe they could help you better.’
Woman: ‘Never mind, I’ll just go get one from the Burger King across the street!’
This mysterious woman drove off. I told my manager on shift what had happened, and she nearly peed herself with laughter. I have had a lot of strange requests, but the one that stuck out to me was this situation, mostly because I was called so many names in such little time for such a dumb reason.”
Unforgettable Sprint To Burger King
“Oh my, back when dinosaurs roamed the Earth and brick cellphones were the stuff of science fiction, I worked at a McDonald’s in order to get some extra money as a high school student. I was good at math, so they soon put me up front at the register, where I could keep track of multiple orders at once. The real award-winner was this guy who wanted a Whopper. That day, I had been working the morning shift around my school schedule, and this was during a lull right after breakfast. This well-dressed young man comes in with a very pretty young woman dressed for a night out, both apparently very into each other. In an of itself, this was off, not only because of the time of day, but because this particular McDonald’s was in the banking district, where people generally do not go to after a long night of partying. Still, this couple seemed lucid and clear-headed, so I welcomed them with a smile and asked to take their order. The girl was very friendly and asked for a pretty standard combo with a shake. She offers to pay, but the guy says that he would pay, to which the girl and I exchange funny glances of ‘Oh! What a big spender!’ Just then, the guy steps up and asks for a Whopper. Not just a whopper. He wanted, and I will remember this order until the day I die, a Whopper with bacon, no onion, no lettuce, extra mayo, a large order of onion rings, and a large Pepsi. Yep, this weirdo ordered a Whopper at McDonald’s.
‘Sir,’ I explain, assuming he had somehow made a mistake, ‘This is McDonald’s. We have a Big Mac and Coca-Cola. You can get a Whopper and a Pepsi at Burger King.’
‘I know.’ He smiles, pulls out a $50 bill, and he points it at me. ‘Whopper with bacon, no onion, no lettuce, extra mayo, a large order of onion rings, and a large Pepsi. Keep the change.’
I blinked. One of the other girls working that day said that I went through several shades of blushing. I rang up the girl’s order, took the $50, counted out the change, showed it to the guy, and told him I would be back. I told my supervisor that I would be taking my break now, before I ran out the back to the nearby Burger King, just a block away. I almost got hit crossing the avenue, but I still got to the counter of the Burger King. Picture it, this tiny girl in a McDonald’s uniform. out of breath, order a Whopper with bacon, no onion, no lettuce, extra mayo, a large order of onion rings, and a large Pepsi. To make it even more awkward, one of my teachers was there, waiting for her order. She turned to me and says, ‘Bacon? But aren’t you Muslim?’
I took my order and ran as fast as I could back to the McDonald’s, arriving just as the girl’s order was about to be placed on the counter. I took the bag, put the Whopper on the tray, accommodated the onion rings, added the large Pepsi, put it on the counter, and I said, ‘Here is your order, sir. Thank you for choosing McDonald’s.’
This guy is completely shocked. The girl is amazed, and the rest of the crew is smiling. The guy says, ‘I thought you took my money and ran.’
‘No sir, I took MY money and ran. Have a nice day!’
I decided to take the day off from school. I had a huge tip that I got to enjoy with a day out on the town.”
I Want To Ruin This Employee Now!
“About fifteen years ago, I was a swing manager for two years at a McDonald’s. One night I was closing and I sent this kid on break. While this kid was on break, he would take his lacrosse stick and just play around in the lot. He never bothered anyone at all. Well, at least before this day.
This customer comes inside and tells me that he was driving on the highway and his car was hit by a ball (likely a lacrosse ball). Well, of course I apologize to him. That’s not enough for him though. He makes me walk outside with him to show me where the ball hit his car. According to him, he will need his windshield replaced. At that point I kind of lost sympathy with him. I mean it was a lacrosse ball, not a shot putt. I looked at his windshield I had to ask him where did the ball hit. Even after he showed me, I still could not make out where the ball hit. Needless to say, he was trying to probably scam for money.
It just kind of just got even more awful after that. This guy flips out, saying that McDonald’s is responsible for the nonexistent damage to his car. He wants to see the employee with the ball, but the employee ran a few blocks away after he saw that he hit some guy’s car. This was not the first time an irate customer asked me this, but why would anyone expect a McDonald’s manager to give away an employees work schedule? The funniest thing the guy told me was, ‘If you roll your eyes one more time, I will jump over that counter and kick your butt!’ That was pretty much the end. I called the police to be safe, but he never came back or even called the store at all.
So my other worst encounter almost got immigration customs involved. Now the immigrants we had working in our store, both who came here legally and illegally, were not any more trouble than the American employees. I could to go into all the potentially sketchy things that the American employees got up to in their free time, which were far worse than anything my immigrant employees ever did. One time, we have six to eight immigrant employees from a particular country. We got a long distance phone bill with multiple calls made to that country. The thing is, there was no way to know who made those calls at the time. As a result, our owner garnished all the paychecks of the employees who were from that country. That’s right, he simply garnished all of their checks to make up for the cost of the phone calls. Due to the then-current immigration laws, all of our employees from that country were either in the process if getting their green cards or were in fact illegal aliens. So our owner knew that these people wouldn’t alert the police of his actions, out of fear of getting deported. I really liked all of those particular employees. Later on, I learned that only one of the eight employees made those expensive phone calls. Essentially, our owner unjustly fined seven employees over something that only one person committed.”
McDonalds Is Perfect For Vocal Warm-Ups
“I had a peculiar regular who would sing her breakfast order in the drive-thru. The tune changed from time to time, there was no real pattern to it. She kept singing at the window as she paid and asked me how my day was going. I’m smiling now as I remember her. This order wasn’t directly to me because I was working the drive-thru, but a customer once came into the restaurant intending to take full advantage of ‘have it your way’ (which was as original as you think). Her list of demands for her Quarter Pounder Meal was long enough that I don’t remember everything but the one that stood out was caramelized onions. She got them. When I was working during the nights, one guy would come in a couple times a week and get 40 nuggets. Nothing else, just two 20-piece orders every single time. My mom thinks he fed them to his dogs.
Now that I think about it, the on-the-fly requests we passed between each other probably sounded weird to any customer that overheard them because we used the computer system’s abbreviations for food when speaking aloud. So if a customer ordered a sausage McMuffin meal and then changed it to a McMuffin with egg at the window, I might shout, ‘Hey the order coming in now, the SMUF is a SMEG, okay?’ back to the kitchen, because it was easier than re-opening and editing a completed order.”
An Offer He Definitely Wanted To Refuse
“’Can I get a free meal if I show you my chest?’ It was late in the day, but early in my graveyard shift when a bombshell blonde came through the drive-thru in a convertible and, out of nowhere, threw that out at me. ‘You had a Big Mac meal, right?’ I said nervously, as my face turned deeper shades of red. She was stunning, with a reverse bob hairstyle and oozing confidence. I was a shy and socially inept eighteen-year-old, and she looked to be in her early twenties. She looked like she has just left a party, not surprising for a store that was right next to a community college. ‘Yep!’ she replied. ‘Okay, hold on.’
I hastily grabbed the Big Mac from the heated landing zone (where food is kept warm) and threw it in a bag. I snatched a fry from the fry station, shoved napkins into the bag, and handed it out the window along with her drink, a Sprite I think. She looked at me blankly. ‘You don’t want to see my chest?’
‘You don’t have to, I mean, you, uh, you’re good to go,’ I stammered. ‘Alright,’ she muttered. I couldn’t tell if she was baffled or embarrassed. ‘Well, thank you,’ was the last I ever heard of her. I paid for that meal out of my pocket, more than anything because I was flustered and just wanted to get on with the night.
To this day, I wonder about that lady. Did she go home afterward and consume her Big Mac in muted contemplation? Or did she shrug it off, if the tactic yielded free Big Macs? What would make a person place their dignity so low? I mean, McDonald’s?! Chick-fil-A, maybe, but not McDonald’s. Anyhow, that’s the strangest request I’ve had in my time at McDonald’s. But that isn’t the only one. There was once a guy who called us on Valentine’s Day and asked if we would cut his hamburger into a heart. It was probably a prank. There was a wasted guy that complained that his Whopper was cold, and he angrily slammed a Burger King bag on the counter. There was a massive body-builder that accused me of stealing his lunch back when we were in jail together a couple of weeks prior. I have never been to jail, but he didn’t take his eye off of me the entire time that he sat down in the lobby. I was sweating bullets.”
One More Oddity Awaited Them
“I remember one day in college when a local McDonald’s was not only open for twenty-four hours, but you could actually go in and eat in the lobby after midnight. You knew after one in the morning, it was going to be a show one way or another on the weekend. That might also be why when I graduated from college, that same McDonald’s lobby now closed at eleven at night. One fateful night, standing in line was a rather wasted chap, who was quite upset that he couldn’t order any sort of fried chicken. The poor girl at the counter tried pretty well to bargain with him for a while. It was to the point that a crowd had formed and was actually enjoying the banter back and forth, and the obvious delay that it was causing. This wasted gentleman was surprisingly friendly and desperately wanted a two-piece meal with a large Pepsi. She tried to offer him Nuggets, but to no avail. By now, it was almost a running gag until he finally agreed. But he told her, ‘Okay, fine! But since you won’t give me my two-piece, can you just make the nuggets look like fried chicken and leave the bones in then?’
It’s funny to think that this guy actually thought that McDonald’s actually cooked and made the McNuggets to order. The other employee and I cackled, and then we went in the back to ask the cook. Turns out that was actually a possibility for them to do. She came back to the counter and told the guy that the chicken cutter in the back was already cleaned, and it couldn’t be used that night. The wasted guy left somewhat dissatisfied with a burger and coke, and the rest of us had an incredibly strange story from our time at McDonald’s. We thought that was going to be the weirdest customer we had ever witnessed, until we got to the parking lot. We saw this guy in the drive-thru on a tricycle, honking his horn and tell the car ahead of him to move on up.”
“Money Is No Object”
I have not worked at McDonald’s, but since there’s no equivalent question for Burger King, I’m going to answer anyway.
Late at night, a guy came up to the counter and said he wanted a Whopper with ten patties on it. He seemed like he was probably a little stoned, or a little wasted, or probably a little both. ‘Money is no object,’ he told me. I knew how to set this up, but I called the manager just to make sure everything was okay, and more importantly, because I knew she would want in on this process. We had a button for a patty with no bun, to accommodate people on the Atkins Diet. I entered in his Whopper request, punched the patty button nine times, and then hit the intercom to explain to the kitchen crew the correct interpretation of what was now appearing on their screens. My amplified voice filled the kitchen, like the voice of God: ‘That is not a mistake. It is a Whopper with ten patties on it. Please do whatever it takes to make it happen.’
We couldn’t hear anything from the back over all the machine noises. The guy paid. It was around $12. Then, after a few minutes, there was activity at the hamburger chute. Normally burgers would be placed here and they’d slide to the front to be bagged or placed on trays. A pair of hands gently placed a very large, roughly-ball shaped object on the chute. It was held in place by four Whopper wrappers. ‘Be careful with this,’ one of the cooks said. ‘Wrapping it was very difficult.’ The customer was delighted. Once he had his to-go bag, he explained that he and a friend had got in an argument concerning the truthfulness of our ‘Your Way, Right Away’ slogan, and he had just won a bet. It remains one of my favorite moments, a real team effort.”
“I’m Not Paying You To Think!”
“Like a lot of people, one of my former jobs was working at McDonald’s. I had been doing a lot of back-breaking labor work on golf courses prior to this job, and working inside in air conditioning seemed pretty appealing. Like most who start out, I was assigned as a grill cook on the quarter pounder grill. Two words: vaporized grease. Yikes. Anyway, I’d been working there for five months or so. It was basketball season, and the very large city high school near our store just got done with a game. We had been slow in the hour preceding this tale, so I had been given a written list of cleaning tasks to complete in the downtime. I had completed ten of sixteen items on the list when the basketball game let out and we went from dead to as busy as a store can get. I jumped off the list and onto the grill, making quarter-pounders as fast as it was legal. In the midst of this chaos, my manager asked me why the trash wasn’t taken out already.
I answered that it was number twelve on her list of things to do, and I was on number eleven when she told me to start making burgers. I thought making burgers was more important than getting the trash out, so I thought I would start making burgers. So this is where our story gets fun!
She looked at me and said, ‘I’m not paying you to think!’ I took off the really stylish polyester McDonald’s visor that I was wearing, and laid it down on the quarter pounder grill. ‘Then forget you. You are barely paying me at all!’ I walked out. You may ask, what was the strange request? Ah, so our story continues. I went into the ‘crew room’ to change my clothes and get my coat, since it was winter in Illinois. I was tying my shoes together when our district manager walked into the room and politely asked me what had just happened. I told him the story, just like I have explained it to you.
‘I don’t want you to leave!’
‘I can’t work where I’m not allowed to think!’
‘What if I fire the manager?’
‘You need to fire her anyway, but I’m still leaving.’
‘What if I offer you her job?’
Strange request alert! I told her, ‘Thank you, but no. I don’t want to be here in a year, telling some kid that he isn’t paid to think.’ You can learn something from every job that you have. In thirty-five years of work experience, I have never treated an employee the way that I was treated on that fateful day.”