October Ruminations & Ronnifications
October 2016 (Greenvale, New York)
As I sit behind my desk in front of my computer, I was thinking of my more challenging customers through the years. But why should I dwell on any customers who, by and large, made it possible for me to spend time writing this blog?
Let me rather speak about landlords with whom I have had the distinct pleasure of jousting through the years. Or should I? Will I risk a lease termination for some trumped up charge of a lease transgression? Will I be made to pay a higher rent if I simply remained mute on some of the egregious behaviors I have witnessed? Or just not be renewed upon lease term end? Oh heck, why should I jeopardize my business for some whimsical recollections with the powers that be?
So, let me just relate two customer stories about that master of the franchising business, McDonald’s. The same McDonald’s with those arches on the original build outs with the exterior sign--- forever changing-- about the millions of burgers that were sold up to that point. When I first opened the Ben’s in Woodbury, my wife and I were working the deli takeout counter when a woman (hereinafter referred to as Mommy) came to the counter to order food. Mommy was accompanied by her very young daughter who was given a pickle (gratis) by my wife. Mommy asked my wife about the chicken fingers. Suddenly, she was raising her voice so that I could also hear her protestations about the price of the chicken fingers. After saying three times that she could go to McDonald’s, I said, in a low voice, “So go to McDonald’s!” With her daughter now crying because of this aggressive manner, mommy said, “who told me to go to McDonald’s?” My wife, always honest to a fault, said it was her husband, ME!!!!! Forget that we use Empire kosher breast which we cut into fingers and not pressed chicken; forget that we process this on the premises; and forget that we make these to order. People believe what they want to believe!
Now onto the next McDonald’s story. Here I am working the Ben’s in Boca Raton when the waiter hands me a note stating that a patron wants to see me in the dining room at the same time I am working the corned beef slicing machine with a line out the door wrapping around the block; and with a dining room seating capacity of 250!!! Needless to say, we were extremely busy….but I asked another counterman to take my place on the corned beef slicing machine and went to visit this other mommy at her table (after my wife was nice enough to point her out). Once there, I was hit with a loud and disconcerting verbal attack: “do you call this a burger (it was a Kids Burger)? Perplexed, I looked at the burger and sure enough it looked like the kid’s burger. So I asked mom, “What’s wrong?” She said it was "a disgrace."
I looked at the daughter who was clearly uncomfortable with mom’s yelling and I asked again, “What’s wrong?” whereupon, mom said screaming, “I could go to McDonald’s!” She then added as I was walking away muttering to myself that she---mom--- would make sure to tell her Rabbi. Having stopped in my tracks, I walked back to the table and said, make sure you tell your Rabbi about going to McDonald’s! There I was, shaking my head, heading back to the corned beef slicing machine and wondering about McDonald’s and thinking that maybe I should open a kosher knock-off calling it McDavid's!!!
See ya at the Deli!