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D.F. Krause
  D.F.'s Column Archive

September 27, 2006

How Are You? The Brass at Wendy’s Wants to Know


Six-year-old T.F. Krause has a very short list of preferred foods, which readers of this column know includes Hershey bars. But the staple of T.F.’s diet is, thankfully, a vegetable. Wendy’s Fries. It warms a father’s heart to see his son eat such healthy fare, so it is with great pride that I pull up to the drive-through window six or seven times a week to order medium fries, formerly Biggie fries, and yes I know that makes no sense.


But it makes more sense than this:


The man-to-speaker dialogue once went as follows:


“Welcome to Wendy’s, may I take your order?”


“Biggie (or Medium) Fry please!” (You have to say “fry” and not “fries” so they don’t ask you how many you want.)


“One-sixty-nine, thank you!” (If the employee is a newbie, they will say, “Is that all?” But if it’s a seasoned pro who recognizes the approach of the Krause men, it is understood that the fry order is it.)


Simple. Straightforward. What do you want? This. OK. Pay this much. OK. Drive up. Now that’s efficient dialogue.


But some weeks ago, something new started. No more welcome-to-Wendy’s. No more may-I-take-your-order. It started out as an ordinary day, but when I pulled up to the Wendy’s drive-through with young, impressionable T.F. in tow, the voice from the speaker said: “How are you?”


How am I? What an interesting question. I’ve been feeling a little melancholy lately. I slammed my finger in a door some months ago and the discoloration is slowly fading.


How am I? What response is appropriate when delivered through a fast-food drive-through speaker? An even better question: Whose idea was it to stop asking for orders and start asking for life assessments?


“Bibblyblop! We need to show our customers that we’re concerned for their well-being!”


“So we’re going to stop putting beef grizzle in the chili?”


“Don’t be ridiculous, Bibblyblop. I love the grizzle chili. We need to start asking our customers how things are going in their lives. Show them that we care.”


“Since when do we care, boss?”


“We don’t. What does that have to do with anything? We just have to ask. When do we have a chance to talk to them?”


“When we ask for their orders.”


“OK, Bibblyblop. We’re going to stop doing that.”


“Stop asking for orders?”


“Stop asking for orders! Ask our customers how their lives are going instead!”


“Uh, but boss . . .”


“Make it so, Bibblyblop!”


It can’t be easy to be Bibblyblop. But it’s not easy being a Wendy’s customer these days either. Now, before I pull up to the drive-through window, it’s not enough to simply know what I want to order. I have to take stock of my life. My hopes. My dreams. Do I have my priorities in a logical order? 1-2-3-5 . . . here goes!


“How are you?”


“Well, recently I’ve been questioning certain directions. Choices about which I felt so certain are now called into question as I examine the consequences of my actions. Have I been completely honest with myself? With others? Have I chosen for the right reasons? Or have I done too much hoping and not enough honest assessing . . . ?”


“May I take your order?”


My order? Now I don’t remember what I wanted to get. Looks like T.F. will have to settle for a Hershey bar.


© 2006 North Star Writers Group. May not be republished without permission.


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