I went into McDonald’s today.

I had a hankering for a milkshake.

“Welcome-to-mcdonalds-can-i-help-you” the cashier said, without giving inflection or emphasis to any of the words.  She said this greeting to nobody in particular, apparently, as she stared through me with droopy eyes.

For the sake of this story, I shall call her “Tanisha.”

“Yes.  Hi, how are you?” I said with a gaping smile.

I have a tendency to overcompensate for strangers’ misery with cheerfulness.  It is strange, because I am mostly pokerfaced when interacting with people who I know, which generally leads them to believe that I am depressed or angry.

When I come across strangers, however, I am embarrassingly open and friendly with them.  I really have no idea why.  In the days before EZ-Pass, I can guarantee that I was the friendliest person that each of the toll booth attendants encountered during their day.  I would pull up, offer them a greeting and a smile, doing my best to make eye contact with them.  As I would hand them my dollar, I would tell them “thank you, have a great day!” in such a cheery tone that they would undoubtedly think that this was my first human interaction after escaping from solitary confinement.

Perhaps I am the reason they invented EZ-Pass.

I am not sure what makes me become involuntarily ultra-friendly in these interactions, but the fact remains that it is an uncharacteristic way for me to handle myself.

And one of the stipulations of my uncharacteristically affable communication with the working class comes at the beginning of the interaction – I say “Hi, how are you?” as a question, not as a greeting.

When most people say “Hi, how are you?” they say it as a salutation, with no expectation of an answer.

Not me.

I wait for a response, regardless of how unwilling the other party is to offer one.

So there I stood at McDonalds, staring at Tanisha with a stupid, ostensibly drug-induced smile on my face as I awaited her response to my query as to how she was doing.  And there stood Tanisha, staring beyond me to the bright and sunny world that was so cruelly personified by the giggling and carefree children in the PlayPlace.

She finally noticed me, but apparently didn’t process the question.  So all she saw was a creepy guy smiling at her and not saying anything.

“For-here-or-to-go?” she asked, but this time with a trailing-off emphasis on the word “go,” as if the word was falling from a cliff, as if she was giving up.

I added this picture because it is awesome. And because Ronald looks totally surprised.
I added this picture because it is awesome.
And because Ronald looks totally surprised.

“To go, please,” I said ever-jolly.  “Just a small strawberry shake, please.”

“Will-that-be-all,” she said (not asked).


“Two-twelve,” she said sticking out her palm.

I held out three dollars.  It was at this moment that she finally noticed me.  She took the money, but seized the opportunity to size me up and down.  It was the epitome of checking someone out.  As if her eyes were the bright scanners of a Xerox machine and I was the document being copied.

At first I thought this was a good thing.  I had never been so blatantly checked out by a member of the opposite sex.

But as her eyes grew wide and she bit her bottom lip, I could tell that she was suppressing laughter.

And as she said “eighty-eight cents is your change” in a cheerful tone, I knew that something was definitely up.  And it wasn’t good for me.

She hustled towards the back, even though the milkshake machine was in the front.

She came back to the front and filled a cup with my milkshake.  I noticed another worker peering through some machines to get a look at me.

I took the opportunity to check myself up and down to make sure I hadn’t spilled something on my shirt or pants.  I also checked to ensure that my fly was up.  None of my clothes were inside-out and my shirt –

And that is when I realized that they were laughing at my shirt.

You see, I am a big fan of t-shirts.  In fact, some of my friends call me “T-shirt Mike” because of the assortment of interesting and funny shirts that I wear.

Today, I was wearing my “McLovin” t-shirt, which is a homage to my favorite character in the movie Superbad, but also has the McDonald’s logo on it.


Wearing a McDonald’s t-shirt into an actual McDonald’s is worse than wearing a band’s t-shirt to their concert, but not quite as bad as dressing up as Ronald McDonald and ordering a cheeseburger.  Though, it is probably closer to the latter.

I now saw myself as they saw me: a McDonald’s Enthusiast.  Someone who didn’t just love fast food, but someone who loved McDonald’s — a true fan of the McDonald’s corporation and everything they stood for.  Perhaps someone who loved the Golden Arches so much that he traveled the country, attempting to grace every McDonald’s establishment with his ever-glowing fervent smile.  Someone who didn’t just want a strawberry milkshake, but someone who really wanted to know, how are you doing, McDonald’s cashier?

As she handed me my shake, I considered explaining the situation and that I was not, in fact, a huge dork.  But I quickly came to the conclusion that I would never be able to construct such an argument.

Plus, why would I want to tarnish the moment?  I hadn’t been able to get through to Tanisha with my friendliness, but I had made her smile, even laugh, with the fact that I am the biggest loser on the planet.

And as I took the milkshake from her, I also considered really pushing it.  I would take a sip, yell “Mmmmmm!  I’m lovin’ it!” and then run away like a little girl.

But I couldn’t do any of these things.  The only thing I could do was accept the fact that as T-shirt Mike, I have a responsibility to keep tabs on what I am wearing at all times so that I would never again be the laughing stock of McDonald’s.

That, or just go through the drive-thru from now on.

-Youngman Brown

0 thoughts on “The Laughing Stock of McDonald’s

  1. Oh, T-Shirt Mike, they will just come to the drive-thru window and laugh at you there instead. I say you wear NO shirt when you go through the drive-thru (when I do this, the male cashier usually gives me free milkshakes and Happy Meals, just sayin').

    Anyway, I have to commend you on another great post, and especially my favorite line:

    “As if her eyes were the bright scanners of a Xerox machine and I was the document being copied.” PERFECT.


  2. Haha…. awesome post! It was so vivid and made me feel like I was right there alongside the cashier girl staring at you.

    I like to challenge people the way you do (when they're too serious and unsmiling) except when I challenge it's intentional. Sort of fun to smile brightly until the other person makes some sort of awkward response lol

  3. Ooo, another t-shirt enthusiast! I am a huge fan of silly t-shirts myself.

    To seize the moment, you should have started making love to your milkshake… Scratch that, you probably had the most appropriate response to that situation.

  4. See, you know how to do it right.

    A lot of information? Sure.

    But all of it was relevant to the story, all of it interesting, and all of it helped to build-up what would otherwise be a short, seemingly innocuous anecdote. You could have just said: “I walked into this McDonald's wearing a t-shirt with the McD's logo and it was embarrassing” but no, you made a story of it, and a good one at that.

    Seriously though, what the hell were you thinking? One does not simply go into a McDonald's.

  5. Incredibly funny! I, too, get creepy (not really) friendly with random people I don't know ESPECIALLY checkout people. I don't know why. Otherwise, I'm pretty quiet.

    I would have suggested a zipper check so you got us there. Fav line: “As if her eyes were the bright scanners of a Xerox machine and I was the document being copied.” Perfect!

  6. “For-here-or-to-go” does tend to fall off the metaphorical cliff as they say it, doesn't it.
    I can't help being like this in the drive-thru, myself. They usually have some sort of script to follow, ending with, “would you like to try our new” and whatever new concoction they're told to push down our throats. I usually respond, “Good day to you! And no sir, I'm afraid your powers of extra sensory perception have failed you this time, as I in fact do not want to try your new concoction.”
    It occurs to me that this might be an invitation to spit in my food. Maybe I should stop doing this.
    You should totally get a Ronald McDonald costume and PLAN your next trip to McD's.

  7. That is hilarious. I would have done the fly check as well. Good thing she wasn't a double sided xerox scanner or you would have had to turn around or stand on your head.

    I'm with Brandon, I like the Khakis and Red Shirt to head into Target…or Khakis and Royal Blue into Best Buy. Target is a bit easier because nobody is ever a boss and you never see the bosses so try dressing up and having someone do something like move an endcap….


  8. Knowing you, I KNEW there was going to be something funny about the way you looked, lol. Just kidding. Loved the story. I'll bet your nephews think Uncle Mike is a great bed time story teller. Lucky them!!!

  9. I'm like you with the whole super friendly attitude when dealing with salespeople of all areas. Hey, at least Tanisha finally noticed you… regardless of how it happened.

  10. I always answer “how are you today?” with “I'm having the best day ever” I try to sound excited, but it usually just sounds sarcastic and bitchy. Oh well Its an attempt at least!

  11. You know you McLoved it. This is so funny because I sent McDonald's corporation an email this week complimenting one of the franchises by my house (hey, they are always happy and make me smile). They sent back an email in SHOCK because no one does that…only haters send them emails.

    They probably think I am a robot.

    This was McGreat! Yes, I'm overusing the Mc…

  12. I wish you had taken a big sip and exclaimed “I'M LOVIN IT!” This story is funny enough on its own 🙂 Glad you got 'Tanisha' to crack up a little bit, I'm sure it made a positive impact on her dull workday.

  13. Forget ordering a cheeseburger dressed as Ronald (and not just because they won't put the wig and costume on the burger). Instead, dress up as Ronald and french the fake Ronald on the bench. Not only will you grab everyone's attention, but no one will know it was you… until you post the evidence here, of course.

  14. LMAO What a post… as a former McDonalds employee (tell anyone that and I'll deny it!!!!! lol), that is actually pretty close to dressing up as Ronald McDonald and ordering a cheeseburger. hahaha Well done T-Shirt Mike! lol

  15. If only you'd brought a friend in a hat and a black and white striped pants…maybe another in a giant purple outfit, and some chick with red pigtails…the whole crew could have been there.

    That's pretty special…hilarious but VERY special. Thank goodness all my t-shirts are just sexually explicit and have NO place in public. I like wearing these to Chuck-e-Cheese…the person in the mouse suit LOVES me. 😉

  16. That's awesome. Drive-thru all the way.

    My favorite t-shirt has Darth Vader on it and says “Who's Your Daddy?” I'll be sure not to wear it when I visit the Death Star!

  17. I am McLovin this post! I take preventative action from these situations by hitting the dive-thru…much easier!

    I can't stand the emptiness behind a customer greeting! I give them the same tone or worse when they greet me like that. Sure the world may suck for you but customer service IS your job! Do it right!

  18. That reminds me of the time I was stalked by some crazy woman beseeching me to show her where the Katniss Barbies were at Target. I didn't understand why she kept bothering ME until I realized I'd dressed in a red polo and khakis that day. To shop. At Target. Wardrobe FAIL.

  19. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH holy fuckkk this made me laugh.

    I remember Superbad. And Mclovin'. Oh boy, the memories!

    I'm assuming you turned the same colour as your milkshake?

    And everyone knows the drive-thru is for pussies!

  20. Oh dear, you missed such an opportunity there! You could have really played up the whole “McDonalds enthusiast” angle … complimented them on their milkshake pouring technique, asked if they had any menus you could have as a souvenir, asked if you could take your photo with them…

  21. At first I when I read the title of the post I was all ready to get pissy at McDonald's but after reading the story, well, I can't blame them. ;-P

  22. I like to engage people as well. I ask direct questions.

    Yesterday, I asked a Hardees employee why I should come to her Hardees instead of the one down the road. She told me why hers was better.

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