21 July 2008

Dear Taco Bell at 6660 Manchester,

Your employees are racist assholes.

Okay, maybe not all of them, but there was at least one person who was working today at 12:45 who could be described as a racist asshole. I made an honest mistake and as such, one person YELLED to another, “Dumb white girl don’t know how to read!!!”

Um, I know how to read, but I sometimes have trouble interpreting confusing grammar. I’m sorry. Mistakes happen.

The sign read:

speaker is broken please say “hi” when you pull up

Since the note begins with, “speaker is broken,” I thought they meant to say hi when I pulled up to the window to order my food because, well, the speaker is broken.

BUZZ! Wrong answer!

So I get to the window and am greeted with one timid person trying to take my order and another angrily yelling to me from behind her, “Why didn’t you place your order at the speaker?” I was blindsided by her tone of voice and before I could say anything she turned around and yelled to the back, “Dumb white girl don’t know how to read!!!”

Not really sure what to do, me and the other white girl (I’m not sure if she was also dumb; she seemed afraid more than anything), we just looked at each other blankly and she proceeded to complete the transaction. I apologized, trying to explain that I erred by misreading the sign; she shrugged her shoulders and closed the window.

Now this part I’m just speculating, but I’m sure the aforementioned conversation continued, as I heard muffled voices and several people came to have a peek at the “dumb white girl.”

I apologized two more times before driving off. Again, the girl shrugged her shoulders and didn't attempt to pass my words along. I should’ve asked for my money back because I’m not sure it’s a good idea to even eat that food. They were so cheesed off that I didn’t say “hi” at the speaker, who knows how they've tainted my beloved chili cheese burrito.

How would you have handled the situation?

I remember being in a similar ordeal in 2001. It involved a different grouping of asshole Taco Bell employees, a long wait behind no other customers and me feeling ignored as I watched them lazily talk for more than 15 minutes after I paid. And I may have been hopped up on PMS. I felt like a hostage, watching the clock, waiting for my food, and since I had already paid, I couldn't abandon the mission. To make a long story short, they said some stuff and I chucked my full 32 ounce Dr. Pepper at the drive-thru window.

Sure, there was an element of awkwardness to it, me sitting there waiting for my refund, glaring at the person on the other side of the glass, watching soda and ice run down the window and spill onto both the floor inside and concrete outside. Though I’d never* do that again, there was something satisfying about watching that racist asshole clean up my soda and refund my money.

Both times, there was nothing I could’ve said to those people to make them think of me as anything other than the “the dumb white girl.” Nowadays I mostly choose the suck-it-up-and-back-away-from-the-situation route because I don’t want to cause any trouble.

*Never say never.

Listening to: Toadies - Tyler


  1. You could always go back and change the sign (with your own) to say "speaker is broken please honk at least 5 times then scream your order as loud as you can"

  2. I hope that you've contacted their customer service/complaint dept at headquarters. And, personally, I don't think I would have eaten that chili cheese burrito. ;-)

  3. I've known too many people who've gotten food poisoning at various Taco Bells that I no longer eat there. That being said, I'm with kc. Contact their customer service headquarters. What that employee said is totally unacceptable.

  4. I vote calling the manager and HQ. I just have to remind myself "there's a reason they work in fast food."

    And before I get flamed, I worked in fast food all during high school. We were FIRED if we had too many wrong orders, if our drawer was short, or if we just plain acted like we didn't give a crap.

  5. Grrr... I hate this crap.

    I go to Lion's Choice pretty often, since it takes less than 5 minutes to get there, get my food, and return to the office allowing me to have more time for lunch (once a week)

    There is a girl at the window that actually points at me, laughs, and says "it's her" everytime I go.

    The adult in me says to stop going, but it's just too yummy. The angry girl inside makes me want to pull Jeanette's 32oz of BS trick.

  6. Your first mistake was giving them an order. You should have just left. The only way companies learn is by lost revenue. Take your revenue and go elsewhere.

    But since you purchased, CALL Taco Bell HQ and scream and holler. Threaten lawsuits for racial discrimination. Use the words 'hate crime'. Get free tacos, but get them at a different Taco Bell.

  7. I'm all for changing the sign, although I recognize that as passive aggressive behavior. If possible, never return. I recognize, also, your burrito lust, and realize that may not be possible in which case, you MUST call Taco Hell HQ and raise holy bell. Or whatever. Go get 'em Jeannette. Get that employee canned, please, for all of us.

  8. I'm all for tolerance and turning the other cheek, but this is just WRONG! I wonder where the manager on duty was?

    I'll agree with everyone else and say the best thing you can do is lodge a complaint...at the store level and at the corporate level. In this age of political correctness, I would think that your allegation of racism would make them jump.

  9. See this is why I don't like to get fast food in the city. The people who work there don't care about their jobs. They serve crappy food. They treat the customers like crap. When I go to fast food in places like Washington or St. Clair or Steelville my food is always prepared quickly, the people working are respectful of the customers, and the food is made correctly. I go to places in the city and the people working are rude, the food is soggy or luke warm, and it takes for freakin' ever.

    I would have asked to talk to a manager. However, if I was too pissed off (which I most likely would have been) I would call the store later. Ask for the general manager information before you complain to the store manager.

  10. I am glad I only eat fast food once maybe twice a month. And I go inside to avoid awkward situations in the drive thru.

    Sorry for you experience...I probably wouldn't eat Taco Bell again now having had two bad experiences.

  11. Yep, call corporate. Unacceptable behavior. And they need to know it.

  12. You could show to her how that "Dumb white girl" was good in kicking her ass :/

  13. Definately call corporate. Better yet, senbd a letter. Nothing good will come of it, but you will feel better.
    If they return to answer your complaint, they will offer you something.
    Whatever it is, ask them if they think such an offer will really make up for your humiliation and hurt.
    By the way, you did not read the sign wrong, it was written incorrectly. Should have said "Speaker is not working properly. Please say hi to activate it." But I'm sure the racist jerk who wrote the sign couldn't spell activate.
    I am guessing that the sign maker is a racist, but generally I've found they run in groups, so it's a pretty good guess. You know, birds of a feather hate together.

  14. If I'd been in that situation I would have left and gone to another restaurant.

    And then ten minutes later I would have thought of the perfect comeback line, which would have been, "No, dumb Taco Bell employees don't know how to WRITE." But it would have been too late to deliver my line. And I would have felt pissy about that the rest of the day.

    I think you should just write a letter to the regional manager. And include a URL for this post.

  15. That's an awful experience. I'm with kc and Kathy on this. Call their 800# and make a formal complaint. I am also with 50 Cent on suing them for trying to get him to change his name to 79, 89 or 99.

    There is no excuse for those employees behavior.
    The sign from the way you described sounds ambiguous and a bit confusing, especially the part about saying 'hi' when you PULL UP! Proper english and the more appropriate instructions would have been, "speaker is broken, please pull forward to complete you order." Cause if they can hear you but you can't hear them, how would you know if they even got your order? Hunh?! Yeah, who's stupid NOW?!

    I've had a few experiences at Taco Bell that have made me reconsider dining at any of their locations again. Kids working late shifts, playing games over the intercom, "oh we don't have any tacos, we don't have any beef (or chicken), "nope out of beans too" blah blah blah. Pull up to the window and they are wearing ridiculous looking glasses and a wig... finally gave me my order after their horsing around and laughing about the situation. So I get my order start to pull away and realize that in their jacking around they screwed me on not only part of my order but fire sauce I asked for and napkins... I have never pulled my truck up onto a curb and ran into a fast food joint and bitched people out so harshly before in my life, but these feckers asked for it. After a couple seconds of them trying to pass blame from one kid to the other I yelled that they were all guilty and that paramedics were going to have to use the jaws of life to remove their heads from the drive-thru sign unless I got everything I wanted included the rest of my food, sauce, napkins and they even threw in a couple of apple empanadas for pissing me off. I didn't stop there, when I got home I reported the incident to the phone #'s listed on the receipt. I ended up getting a formal apology and received several coupons good for free items in the future.

    Taco Bell sucks anyway. Very unhealthy. Their food tastes like shit and has the same consistency any more. I used to like them but nowadays, no thanks.

  16. You live near tons of fabulous first generation Taco Bell type restaurants. They aren't drive thru, but you can call ahead and be much happier with what you are eating - flavor, service, etc.



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