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Bad experiences in Mcdonalds - Times Sq (New York)

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1. Posted by don_kam (Full Member 115 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Just got back from NY in which my wife and I attended the count down at Times Sq. We went to the Mcdonalds at Times Sq with the intention to wait out until it was late enough to join the crowd. We were not alone as there were several other tables who are all prepared to "camp" it out.

Halfway through, the management approach us to tell us that we have been in the restaurant long enough and we have 20 min to finish our food and leave!! Most of us, including myself, have been buying food and drinks steadily while we were there. When some customers told the management that we as consumers have the right to finish our food, we were given the reply "I don't care, eat your food in 20 minutes and get out". The reply was hostile and the bagering continue throughout the rest of the day. Some customers, who were waiting, returned with new food purchases and was told that they have to eat them outside even though they have just bought the food!!

When the reply from several customers was that they have not finished their food, the management resorted to closing down the sections they were seating in order to drive them away only to reopen the seats once these folks left.....

What infuriated me was that this constant bagering did not stop even when there are empty seats in the Mcdonalds!! In addition, I noted "friends" of the Mcdonald staff were allowed to stay on to wait for the countdown without any harressment!!!

Now, ever since 4pm when the square was closed to traffic, the crowd in Mcdonalds was actually fewer than normal days so I dont really see the reason for all these and i am sure it ruined quite a few people's new years eve....

Has there a change of policy? If so, will appreciate if someone can tell me so that I can stop eating Mcdonalds in the future.....


2. Posted by EaLaSpada (Budding Member 79 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Welcome to New York City, Don. That's why I don't live there.

I doubt that's typical of all McDonald's, though, for health reasons, it probably wouldn't be such a bad idea to avoid McDonald's in the future anyway.

I hope your other experiences were more pleasant!

3. Posted by stevieh (Respected Member 615 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Hi Don,
Your experience reminded me of a news article here in England. A local authroity is installing parking meters into which you have to enter your car's registration number before you pay.
Apparently this is to stop the altruistic practise of passing your ticket onto someone else if it has time left on it that you've already paid for. The authority reckons we shouldn't be able to do this, despite having paid for the remaining time.
I'm sure these principles could be tested in court, but they bank on us not being bothered.

4. Posted by don_kam (Full Member 115 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

I agree. We should be allowed to pass whatever time that is left over to the next driver.

Actually, I also don't understand why feeding the meter in the US is considered illegal. I would think that metered spot is based on a first come first serve basis and you shouldn't impose a "maximum number of hours".

They might as well impose the number of hours we can drive our own car....

5. Posted by aharrold45 (Travel Guru 1281 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

You are living in the modern day and age where money is everything and customer service means very little in most places. If it were you who was a manager of a business McDonalds or other food business, if you have a table of people buying 1 small drink (as an example) every 20 minutes which may be making you a profit of $1.00 a drink, would you rather a $3.00 profit an hour, or would you rather a new family who'll be in and out in 20 minutes, who buys 2 cheese burgers, a big mac, two happy meals, two large chocolate shakes, a box of cookies and then on exit goes and buys 4 icecream cones, making you a profit of $20 in 20 minutes of being in the store? I know if it were me who the money was going to, I'd rather get $20+ an hour instead of a measly $3 from people just sitting there waiting for time to pass while people paying a lot more ant to sit down.

Good customer service is a rariety these days so being asked to move on in a Mc Donalds store shouldn't come as a shock, especially in a place like New York which is rush, rush, rush all the time. Since computers play such a big part in our day to days lives. Like you phone up a bank, some government departments and a lot of other places to speak to a human and get the recorded message to do this press 1, to do that press 2 and after 10 minutes of pressing buttons you are put on hold for another 20 or so minutes before you actually get to speak to a darn human being.

That doesn't make what they did right, but you shouldn't be shocked that they did it or dissapointed as I'm sure it wont be the last time that sort of thing happens to you. Did you really think that complaining on a site like this about service in McDonalds, would get people to boycot going to McDonalds in Times Square because of one incident as little as bad customer service? Maybe if the manager come up and sexually assaults a 7 year old girl then sure anyone with a child should stick clear of the place, but really bad service getting you all pissed off to this point!

I saw on a news program how a McDonalds staff member in America got strip searched, because a person phoned up claiming to be a police officer say that they suspected the female staff member of stealing. So the female store manager, felt that she had the right to strip search the staff member and more without any proof other than a phonecall by some arsehole wanting to cause trouble.

[ Edit: Edited on Jan 3, 2007, at 9:36 PM by aharrold45 ]

6. Posted by don_kam (Full Member 115 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

If you have read my post carefully, it was not to ask people to boycott Mcdonalds but rather to share a bad experience in NY. I myself will still eat at Mcdonalds, just not that particular location...

Sure, money drives the world and in some places, customer service means very little but you really should expect better from an international establishment. That is the beauty of franchising, that we can expect the same burgers, drinks and services in any outlets all over the world.

Should we be angry? If you are the employee of Mcdonalds and your manager wanted to strip search you, should you feel angry or do you just accept that this is all part of life and let them do it to you?

And why do you consider bad service a "little incident"? The fact that you are resigned to bad services only ensure that you will continue to get bad services...

7. Posted by GregW (Travel Guru 2635 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Quoting don_kam

Has there a change of policy? If so, will appreciate if someone can tell me so that I can stop eating Mcdonalds in the future.

Actually, this probably isn't a CHANGE of policy as much as it is an ENFORCEMENT of policy. Most restaurants, McDonald's included, have some sort of "anti-loitering" policy. Mostly this is used to stop vagrants and other undesirables (like teenagers) that might scare the customers from hanging around in the restaurant. Generally (having worked at McDonalds and other such restaurants in the past), nobody bothers to enforce the anti-loitering policies, because not too many people just hang around in McDonald's, and the ones that do aren't normally impacting any other diners or staff.

On New Years Eve, however, it sounds like they wanted to avoid people using their space to keep out of the cold (even though it didn't look like it was that cold in NYC) and keep the restaurant clear. As you know, Times Square is pretty busy on NYE, and many restaurants have special nights with cover charges and such to capitalize.

If you go into fast food restaurants, you will occasionally see a sign that says something to the effect of "customers can only use the restaurant premises for 20 minutes."

Ultimately, if you hadn't moved on, the restaurant could have gotten the police involved and you charged with loitering, though probably just the presence of a police officer and the "offender" agreeing to move on would be enough to satisfy the restaurant management.

All that being said, I'm not sure why the management wanted you to move on if you were buying food and the restaurant wasn't too busy. Perhaps he just was in a bad mood about having to work on NYE? Either way, if you want to stop eating at McDonalds due to the anti-loitering policy, I think you'll find that most fast food restaurants in North America have a similar policy (though not often enforced), and you'll run out of places to eat.

Editted to add: Oh, I should mention that I have seen the policy enforced to run teenagers out of fast food joints, but they have no problem with the seniors who come in and sit around for 4 hours in the morning nursing their coffees. It's an inconsistantly applied policy, left up to the managers descretion as to when to apply it.


[ Edit: Edited on Jan 4, 2007, at 1:42 PM by GregW ]

8. Posted by don_kam (Full Member 115 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!


I don't think that policy is enforcable unless the customer is told that the food consumption time is 20 min PRIOR to purchase. Or, it is a generally well establish policy that the customer ought to have know prior to purchasing.

By the time the customer pays for the food, there is already a binding agreement between the customer and the restaurant. This means that I can buy the food, walk upstairs and see the 20 min sign and basically ignored it. That is why most fast food restaurants have signs telling customers that the food they get may differ from the advertisements seen over the counter.

What can be done (which had not been done) is that the counters can informed potential customers that there is no toilet and only 20 min is allowed. This is not done obviously to avoid turning customers away... and this is what makes me mad. 1 lady came in, finished her food and wanted to visited the toilet and was denied. She was so angry that she got into an arguement with the management and before she left she said that she will never have came in and eat/drink if she know she is going to be denied the toilet.

1 incident did spill over and the cops were called in but the management was told by the cops that the customers have a right to finish their food. Hence they resorted to closing sections of the restaurant.

What you are refering to is a policy that deals specifically with vagrants and other undesirables like drunkens. These peopole probably don't buy any food or have already finish their food and are just hanging around. It is not for well behaviour customers who have not finished their food and are not disturbing anyone.

Besides, even if it is enforcable, it should be done uniformly across the restaurant and the friends of the staff should also be subjected to the same treatment, which is the whole point of having franchaises....

And finally, for the last time, I am not boycotting Mcdonalds (nor am i asking people to boycott them). I have had very good experiences with them for the past 20 odd years including some other outlets in NY so I am just sharing a bad experience...


[ Edit: Edited on Jan 4, 2007, at 3:22 PM by don_kam ]

9. Posted by aharrold45 (Travel Guru 1281 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

[quote]If you are the employee of Mcdonalds and your manager wanted to strip search you, should you feel angry or do you just accept that this is all part of life and let them do it to you?

Of course if you were the staff member you have the right to be very pissed off, and if it were me, I'd be trying to see my legal rights to sue the arse off that manager.

[quote]And why do you consider bad service a "little incident"?

The reason why it is a little incident instead of a big one, is that half the world is starving to death, dying of curable diseases and more because of the people in developed countries being greedy, but then again one day the way things are going China will have ever single $ in the world. A fair few people in varying places in the US (look at downtown Los Angeles or Washington DC for example), can't even afford a hamburger from McDonalds, oe even an ice cream cone at McDonalds, and you don't hear them complaining about that too much. You go to India and see 10,000 or more people who are just skin covered skeletons because they are that starved and have not a cent to their name. Do you hear them complaining about their situation? They don't, if they could do something about it they would. Some person could have spilt a drink on a floor and then no staff member cleaned it up, and then an 80 year old lady comes along slips banging her head on the desk and then bounces on to the ground breaking her collarbone and doing other breaks on her body in the store. Those are BIG problems, a little bit of bad service is not something that exactly changes your life considerably for the worse, that you lose sleep over. So it is a little incident.

I totally agree with you that you should expect better from an international place like McDonalds, especially when at least in some countries McDonalds pride and even brag about themselves on having good customer service (America not being one of those). Bangkok has some excellent customer service in McDonalds, where as Times Square sure doesn't. I've been to McDonalds in Times Square before, and I had bad service there as well, but mine wasn't being booted out of the store. People just vote with their business. If they lose enough people from being inconsiderate like they were to you, then they'll start changing their act a bit.

Being denied access to the toilet when you have bought food like that one customer you mentioned, now that would piss me off but I wouldn't lose sleep over it.

I don't think this sort of thing is isolated at McDonalds in Times Square, because I saw something kind of similar happen to a couple of people when I was at McDonalds in Hollywood which resulted in the manager having a cup of coke thrown in his face.

10. Posted by rbyslipahs (Respected Member 349 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

I can't believe anyone who has been to New York would be surprised by this at all, especially the McDonald's in Times Square. I can completely appreciate your point of view, and you had every right to be there. You were buying food, and it doesn't sound like you were creating any problems, but the problem in this instance is that it is in one of the busiest locations in the world. They get all kinds of people, and that tends to jade the employees and management pretty quickly. There's a certain rudeness and harshness that you don't find anywhere else. I love New York -- to rephrase, I love visiting New York, wouldn't want to live there -- but that New York kind of demeanor is something you either hate or love. It's what makes New York the city that it is. They get rowdy crowds of teenagers, tourists from everywhere, large groups of yahoos, drunken houligans--you name it. If you're upset, they honestly don't care.

My one question for you, though, is why eat at McDonald's when it costs the same to go to a deli down the street? I eat McD's on occasion where I live, but I sure as heck don't eat it at Times Square. They charge too much, and I can get it anywhere. Go to a market or deli somewhere else, where you can get a better experience, better food, and for a better price. There are a couple of places further up on 7th, in the Carnegie area. It's an easy walk, and it sure beats a $12 cheeseburger. My pick is the pastrami sandwich at Carnegie Deli.