Over the summer, I started working at Dunkin’ Donuts so I could afford my Netflix account and take-out habit. But what I didn’t expect was the amount of crazy things I’d see from behind the counter. You thought your coffee order was obnoxious and specific? Oh honey, you ain’t seen nothing yet.
Let’s get one thing straight: I love Dunkin’ Donuts and the people I work with. I don’t know how I would have survived without my amazing manager and coworkers. BUT, the customers we served could either make your day… or ruin it. To all my homies working in the fast food business: I feel you. Hopefully some of these stories will resonate with you because I can’t be the only one these things happen to.
But then again, other times you’d find yourself avoiding raindrops and explaining to people for like the tenth time that they did not, in fact, ask for their bagel to be extra toasted, or that yes, they do have to take their receipt, and no, you cannot throw away their trash for them. My coworkers absolutely kill the drive-thru game every time, and they keep me afloat through it all.
1. The time I mixed up a donut order
Sometimes working at the drive-thru is great, but other times, you’d find yourself avoiding raindrops and explaining to people for like the tenth time that they did not, in fact, ask for their bagel to be extra toasted, or that, yes, they do have to take their receipt, and no, you cannot throw away their trash for them. Thankfully, my coworkers absolutely kill the drive-thru game every time, and they keep me afloat through it all.
Okay, so picture this: It’s 7 am on a Saturday and I’m minding my own business at the drive-thru window. My job is just to hand people their coffees and donuts, easy peasy. There I was, handing a woman a bag with her donut in it, when suddenly I’m being hit in the face with the donut bag.
Apparently, she had requested a chocolate glazed donut, but the bag contained a chocolate frosted donut. Oh, the horror. Rather than letting me know that there had been a mix-up, she decided it would be much more logical to throw the bag back at me in disgust. Didn’t her parents ever teach her to use her words? It’s just a donut, man.
2. The time I didn’t sell a man his muffin tops
Here’s another: We all love muffins, especially the tops (check out this recipe to make the muffins above). But people wouldn’t usually order JUST muffin tops… or would they? Yup, you guessed it, a man once strolled into the Dunkin’ lobby and eagerly requested 8 muffin tops.
He then proceeded to have a hissy fit when I explained that we do not sell only tops of muffins, and that he would have to purchase the entire muffin and cut it himself. Outraged, the man demanded to see my manager, telling me that I clearly had no idea what I was talking about, and that the selling of muffin tops was very common.
My manager did her best to tell him that we actually don’t sell muffin tops, nor do any other Dunkin’ Donuts on the east coast. The man stalked out, fuming about “people these days.”
3. The time someone demanded freshly squeezed orange juice
Now this is where it gets juicy… literally. Dunkin’ Donuts sells fresh fruit, including oranges and bananas. We also sell a variety of juices like orange, apple, and cranberry juice. However, we do not, under any circumstances, sell freshly squeezed orange juice.
This did not stop one particularly old woman from driving up to the window and requesting a cup of “freshly squeezed orange juice.” My friend, who was taking orders at the time, turned to me with an incredulous look on her face and asked, “We can’t do that, can we?” I shook my head, but the woman at the window squawked, “why can’t you just cut an orange in two and squeeze it into a cup? I did it all the time as a kid.”
After arguing with my friend for some time, the elderly woman decided to just have “that bottled kind” of orange juice.
4. The time I made a huge mess
Even when I’m stationed at the drive thru, I am still in charge of running over to the infamous donut case whenever people need their sugar fix of our amazing bakery selection. The case is home to all the donuts, muffins, and munchkins, and sometimes things can be kinda tough to reach.
On a super busy morning, I was at the donut case selecting a dozen donuts for a customer at the drive-thru window. I couldn’t quite reach the Butternut donuts in the back, so I stood up on my tiptoes and leaned against the case so I could grab one. Little did I know, the edge of my apron had hooked the metal rack containing jelly munchkins in front of me. As I turned around to return to the window, I heard a loud clatter and a customer gasped.
Slowly, I turned back around, dreading what I would see. The floor was covered in powder and jelly, and some of the munchkins were still rolling away from the scene of the crime. For the rest of the day, I was sticky and sugary, and had to keep explaining that we were out of jelly munchkins. Oops.
5. The time a man’s love of pumpkin was too real
This next story is a perfect example of our mentality that “the customer’s always right.” At the end of August, Dunkin’ came out with its fall line of flavors… AKA pumpkin everything. From pumpkin munchkins to muffins to coffee, people really flip over this annual trend.
Some people, however, tend to go a little overboard. Now when someone orders a medium pumpkin swirl coffee, we add three pumps of the pumpkin swirl syrup, unless they ask for more or less. This one dude, God bless his arteries, asked us for a small pumpkin spice coffee with cream, sugar, and 17 pumps of pumpkin spice.
The guy wasn’t kidding. He basically wanted an entire cup of just that super sweet pumpkin spice syrup. When I asked the shift leader if I was allowed to give him that much, she laughed and said, “sure, but that’s so nasty.” Nasty is right. There was barely an inch of coffee in the cup once I had finished counting out all 17 pumps. When I handed him the coffee, he took a sip and smiled. “I love pumpkin coffee,” he said.
6. The time the fire alarm went off
Remember when you were in elementary school and had fire drills? What was the first rule? Get out of the building, right? Do not get your things, do not pass go, do not collect $200. When the fire alarm goes off at a restaurant, say Dunkin’ Donuts, for example, you should follow the same rule and leave right?
Clearly this idea did not occur to the teenage boy waiting in the drive-thru for his donut when our alarm went off. Someone had left a bagel in the toaster for some absurd amount of time, and the smoke had caused the alarm to go off.
The brace-faced boy at the drive-thru window started beeping and yelling about how badly he wanted his donut as the employees left the restaurant. I know you want the donut, bud, but there’s nothing I can do right now.
Did I mention it was raining? So yeah, it was cold, it was wet, and then there was a teenager demanding his dang donut. You would think he would have noticed that the store was empty and that there were firetrucks screaming into the parking lot. Just something else to love about working in the fast-food industry.
Throughout my time as an employee at Dunkin’ Donuts, I have learned to expect the unexpected, especially when it comes to customers. Everyone brings their own special kind of crazy to the drive-thru window, and I love getting to experience and share all of the shenanigans.