24. I Will Not Narc On McD's Girl

You can't make me.

Issue 24.

Hello friends! Today, I want to talk about McD’s Girl.

I Will Not Narc On McD’s Girl

A recent 2AM run to McDonald’s yielded the following tweet:

Kinda funny, more popular than my usual. Not much to see here.

But somewhere around the 175-Like level - probably clued in by an automated keyword system - McDonald’s chimed in.

Okay. Well.

I honestly couldn’t give half a fuck about this interaction. Nobody has sinned against me. Everyone put your pitchforks away.

But the philosophy runs hot in my veins. Sometimes I can’t stop myself from seeing things in the grandest possible light. Sometimes I can’t stop thinking about MAMMON.

Mammon, the demonic personage of greed. Mammon, in his awful majesty. Mammon, cloaked in gold, thralls broken by weakness and slumber.

This is kind of a theme for me. Long-time readers may recall that in my very first post, I mentioned my struggles against the idea of the market.

Once upon a time, I would have been happy to just start a successful company. I was once a hot blooded anarcho-capitalist - meaning that I thought business could solve everything, that government was evil, that regulation was unnecessary and that markets were always the best way to help the world.

I no longer hold that view. I don’t hate the market, but I no longer trust it as the main route to an excellent, sturdy, valuable society. Business books answer the question of how to start a successful business - not whether to do so. They’ll help you get rich, but won’t tell you what business is for.

I’m not struggling ‘against’ markets or capital. I wouldn’t be so damn vexed about it if I thought capitalism should simply be destroyed.

But I don’t. Markets are powerful. Power can be used for good.

Markets are cool. You can hand a man a piece of paper, and some of the most powerful social tech in the universe pours you a glass of orange juice. What’s not to like?

Well, plenty. Markets (or money, or ‘commercialism’, or consumerism, or greed, or SOMETHING) - can make our world seem pretty damn ugly.

We hear a lot about the ‘big ugliness’ - the lead poisoning, the oil spills, unnecessary medical operations, slave labor, planned obsolescence, and so on - but I think the ‘small ugliness’ can be worth describing as well. The weirdness of the social relationships we enter into with these companies.

The smooth-talkingness and dishonesty.

The ways it turns us against soberness and peace of mind.

Its exploitation of sacred, altering our behavior by whatever means it can.

These ideas give a sense of my mental context on the topic of the market.

So what about McD’s Girl?

A few things are worth noting.

  1. I should not narc on this girl. I should not get some manager to chastise her for not being a good enough member of the McDonald’s Family in the way she serves a random dude who happened to ask a bad question about a chicken sandwich, and happens to have a Twitter account.

  2. Trying to resolve customer complaints is generally reasonable. If some drive-thru person had spat in my food and called me a shit licking cock-for-brains, maybe they should chat with a manager.

  3. ‘McDonald’s’ didn’t send me a tweet. ‘McDonald’s’ barely exists. The ghost in the bureaucratic machine, the spiritual essence of McD’s, Mammonfriend, didn’t talk to me. Most likely, some social media manager sent that tweet, or maybe it was entirely automated.

  4. Nobody needs to get punished here. We shouldn’t want McDonald’s to be a dick to drive-thru girl, and we shouldn’t want McDonald’s to be a dick to social media manager guy either. When we attack ‘McDonald’s’, ‘McDonald’s’ punishes social media guy.

  5. McDonald’s might not even be offering to talk to anybody. I think customer service has learned to say ‘okay honey’ to customers, and then not do anything. Maybe this is fine in some cases - I still find it gross. Two-faced Customer Service aikido is not the most beautiful side of society.

  6. McDonald’s doesn’t have the ability to treat everyone perfectly. The company is just too damn big. If they could treat me perfectly, they wouldn’t have asked me to narc on some kid with a shitty job. If some C-level exec had fielded questions about the top level tweet, I bet they’d have been pretty humorous, kind, and level-headed about it. Probably.

  7. McDonald’s also can’t do everything perfectly. A perfect drive-thru experience can’t be expected (and mine was fine, by the way). A perfect social media manager isn’t to be expected. Up a level of abstraction, perfect training and customer management doctrine aren’t reasonable to expect either.

In other words, a perfect mechanical bureaucracy might have gotten a good outcome, with a happy Michael Curzi not writing blog posts about Mammon, and instead listening to Beowulf while he gets pumped at the gym. But here we are instead.

Caveats aside…

Despite the mind-boggling size of a company like McDonald’s - which made $4.73 billion in 2020 and runs 40,000 stores worldwide - I feel like I could do better. I feel like a lot of people I know could do better. It may be insane, arrogant, or naive to think so - but I think so.

Or if not me, someone can do better. On some timeline. Someday. Part of steering towards an awesome world is seeing what’s wrong with ours, both in the microcosm and the macrocosm.

I guess I wrote this because I want people’s help in seeing the problem, the sides of it that I can currently see. And as far as the big picture goes, I’ve had enough of this faceless, Hobbesian, gear-grinding managerial bullshit. To me, that’s Part Of The Problem, in the largest sense. Somehow, some way, it’s got to be possible to live in a more dope and more humane world.

This particular social media moment is, perhaps, entirely insignificant, materially speaking. But on the other hand, sometimes the Enemy - not McD’s, not even Mammon - tips his hand in the smallest way, and you catch a glimpse of something that might be useful in the future.

And that’s about all I have to say about that. Stay frosty, friends.