I was up relatively early this morning, wanted to get an early start at the office, and didn’t feel like cooking myself breakfast. I decided some fast food was in order.
I had a coupon for Burger King, but they don’t open until 6 am. I guess their target demographic isn’t people who work for a living. In Phoenix, if you’re serious about serving workers breakfast, you open at 5 or earlier. Most of the donut shops open even earlier at 4. But 6? Lots of us in Phoenix are already thinking about lunch at 6.
Long story short, I went to McDonald’s. The store near my house opens at 5.
I placed my order and paid, but the total seemed too low for a sausage biscuit, hash browns, and a small coffee. I wondered for a moment if the cashier had missed an item, but as I watched him fill the order, it seemed like he had everything. He handed me my dine-in order in a to-go bag — naturally — and gave me the receipt at the same time. A quick glance revealed he’d charged me the senior citizen price for the coffee.
This is not the first time this has happened to me at McDonald’s, and this is not the first McDonald’s at which it’s happened to me. Since I’ve never misrepresented myself as a senior citizen, I’ve never felt it necessary to demand the discount be removed. I just accept the unexpected gift and move on with my day.
As a guy in my 40s, it’s tempting to be offended by the implication that I’m a senior citizen. In this case, though, I really think it’s just a matter of the cashier pushing the wrong button on the register — even if it seems like a pattern. I was on the other side of a McDonald’s register thirty years ago, when my eyesight was sharper, and those keys were small. I’m sure “small coffee” and “senior coffee” look nearly alike at first glance, especially if the first words are abbreviated.
I’ll save my offense for more worthy matters.