August 13, 2010

Wendy vs. McDonald's, Round Two

A little over a year ago I posted about a crazy interaction I had at a McDonald's drive-through. I thought, at the time, that it couldn't get much weirder than that, but it turns out I was wrong.

Yesterday I went through the drive-through again to get a quick snack wrap before a meeting I had to attend. Just a little fat and protein (okay, well a LOT of fat) to keep my brain cells active so I didn't do something embarrassing like slide out of my chair in a sudden moment of blood-sugar narcolepsy.

I ordered a bacon and Angus beef wrap which is basically a tiny, overpriced tortilla with half a beef patty, a slice of bacon, some pickles and a piece of fake cheese that the dairy industry calls "American" cheese. I love pickles but not on a snack wrap so I asked if they would substitute lettuce for the pickles. She said it would be no problem at all and I drove around to the window.

While I waited for my food I looked at my receipt because I find that to be less disturbing than looking inside the restaurant to see what's going on in there. I noticed as I perused the list that there was a line item on there that read:

Lettuce                                         .20

Huh. My brow must have been all squinchy because when the girl handed my drink to me she said, "Something wrong?"

"I don't know. Did you really charge me 20 cents for lettuce?"

She nodded. "Yeah, they charge for lettuce."

"But I said I wanted to substitute lettuce for pickles. Wouldn't you think it would just be a wash?"

She shrugged. "It's weird. It sometimes depends on how you ring it up, too."


She nodded again. "Yeah, like mayonnaise. They charge if you add mayo to a sandwich but if you ask for it at the window we give it to you for free. Here's your order.  Is there anything else I can get you?"

"Yes, I'll take some free mayonnaise."

She paused and looked at me for a moment. I think she was trying to figure out if I was kidding or not.

I added, "And while you're at it, throw in some ketchup packets, too."

By gosh, I was getting my 20 cents worth back.

* * *

Just FYI, I was curious to know what cost more, lettuce or pickles.  I suspected the pickles but went online to see if I could find something more substantial than intuition. I found a very amusing sandwich price calculator. You should check it out.

Not only does this site prove that in bulk sales McDonald's is totally ripping you off by keeping your pickles at the same time as charging you for lettuce, but also proves that many people on the Internet have a lot of time on their hands.


  1. You crack me up! Those poor McDonalds employees....they don't have much upstairs to start with, and then you have to confuse them! lol

  2. Sheesh! Twenty cents for lettuce? That's crazy.

    I'll pass on everything but breakfast items served "as is" and whatever might be reasonably healthy on the $1 menu.

    Yeah, I'm a dreamer.

  3. Lame...should just be a wash and they want to please their customer! Imagine that.

  4. It does matter how they ring it know I worked in restaurants for 25 years...McD's was one of them. If you ring it up as "substitute" then it doesn't charge you but if you ring it up as "add" it does. All restaurants totally mark everything up though. I was a manager at Arby's for 10 years and when we were slow I'd look through stuff on the computer. It costs them 25 cents to make a regular roast beef sandwich (that's counting the wrapper, the electricity to run the slicer and the money to pay the employees) and they sell it for over 3 bucks.

  5. What a rip off. Glad you got your mayo and ketchup packets, even if it was acting senior citizen-like!

  6. Grrrr. That's just plain irritating. An entire head of iceberg costs .69 cents!

    On a fairly unrelated note: if you're a Heinz ketchup person, like me, and you find yourself in a restaurant that puts crap ketchup in Heinz bottles or plastic bottles or whateveh . . . ask for some ketchup packets to go (it will almost always be Heinz) and your prickly picky problem is solved.

    I'll save making free lemonade out of just plain water for another time.

  7. Is this why I go to McDonald rarely get a drink but always take a handful of Equal? LOL

  8. Yeah I think we've all had that experience. Once at McDonalds I asked for ketchup for my fries which the lady gave me, then I asked for mustard and she rang me up for 10 cents! Really McDonadls? Really?

  9. You've filled my morning with laughter. I came to your site from
    and I've enjoyed the trip!

  10. McDonald's is on my crap list these days, too. You know how they've been advertising or were advertising that $1 sweet tea. Well based on who's working that day, they may or may not allow you to substitute that tea for the soda in a combo meal. Nice that it costs less than the soda and you're not asking for it to be less, just an even swap, but like I said, based on the cashier on duty, they may or may not see the logic.

    Last time they charged me $.40 more for the tea, even though if I had bought it separately, I would have paid way less. Yet the 5 times before that I got charged the normal combo price. I lost it with the manager, who said they did nothing wrong. I vowed to never go back again and then filled out a complaint form online. Don't expect anything to come of it though.

    Half the time the food is cold and undercooked anyway. At least it is at the 3 McDonald's around here. I think the tea was just the last straw for me. It was the principle, not the $.40.

  11. Fast food places are always good for a "what just happened" moment.
    I had a strange experience with a pizza delivery guy and a tip. Check out the story "Howard" at and see what I mean.
    Enjoyed your post!

  12. I came back for a re-read of this. YEP, STILL funny! *LOL*


Tell me what's on your mind!