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8 Lies Fast-Food Workers Admit to Telling Customers

Sometimes, you just have to fib to keep the customer calm.

Working in a fast-food restaurant can be surprisingly challenging. During peak times, such as the morning or evening rush or the busy lunch hour, the pace can be so fast it's hard to keep up. Employees have to learn how to handle multiple different roles, from working the register to manning the fry station to cleaning to the rush of the drive-thru line.

And on top of it all, of course, fast-food restaurant employees have to deal with fast-food restaurant customers who—let's be honest—are not always in the best of moods or on their best behavior. Experience after experience dealing with customers has led many fast-food workers to realize that sometimes it's simply the most prudent course of action to tell a few tiny lies to the customer.

Here are 8 lies fast-food workers fessed up to having dished out.

 11 Most Popular Lies Restaurant Servers Admit to Telling Customers

The ice cream machine is broken

McDonald's soft serve ice cream

Yes, fast-food ice cream machines are notorious for breaking down, for needing comprehensive cleaning and complex repairs, and they do indeed go "down" fairly often. Especially at McDonald's. But according to many fast-food workers who shared on a Reddit thread, it's also quite common for workers to claim the machine is broken when really they just don't feel like adding more ingredients ("the boxes they pack the stuff in are major pains in the ass. Heavy and difficult to open," said one employee) or when they want to do the cleaning early and be done with ice cream for the rest of a shift.

We don't have that particular item right now

McDonalds employee mask

In the era of online and app-based ordering, this all-too-common lie is getting fast-food workers caught ever more often. It seems that simply claiming a location is out of ingredients needed for a certain menu item is a go-to tactic for workers who would rather not work on the order, but when orders are placed via technology, no such fib can be used. We uncovered several accounts of people being told to their faces that an item was unavailable only to order it through the app and then receive the completed order.

I'm new here, sorry!

starbucks employee register

It's an all-too-common tactic in many jobs, and one used in the fast-food industry all the time: the "I'm new here" claim. Both fast-food workers admit to claiming to be new to excuse slow or poor service and many fast-food customers report having had employees claim to be new even when they had seen them long before, per Reddit shares.

Of course that's fresh!

Fast food double cheeseburger

According to reports sourced from a Reader's Digest article, it's more common than you might think for fast-food items to be kept around long after they are supposed to be discarded only to be heated up and served. And yes, in some cases this includes keeping the foods until the next day.

Yes, we'll cook that veggie patty separately

cooking burgers

Vegans and vegetarians take note: even though a fast-food restaurant may offer a 100% meat-free menu item or two, those foodstuffs probably won't actually be meat-free. Why? Because according to some fast-food confessions on Reddit, at many restaurants, the meat and meatless foods are cooked on the exact same griddles, despite employee claims.

We're not serving breakfast right now

mcdonalds breakfast pancakes with sausage coffee on tray

Many fast-food chains offer breakfast all day. Some offer a limited breakfast menu all days. Others do indeed only serve breakfast foods during limited hours, and those hours tend to change from weekdays to weekends and even by location within the same chain. It's enough to confuse customers and employees alike which is part of the reason, per several Reddit shares, often fast-food workers will say breakfast is not available: they just don't know. At other times, they just might not want to have to prepare two different types of foods at the same time.

 Here Are the Breakfast Hours at Every Major Fast-Food Chain

Sorry, we're short-staffed right now!

five guys employees working

If service is slow at the counter inside a fast-food restaurant and a worker tells you it's because the restaurant is short-staffed, it's probably a lie, according to Reddit. Most likely it's just that the employees are dedicating most of their efforts toward keeping the drive-thru line moving, both because they get penalized if drive-thru orders take too long and because the drive-thru sales are more plentiful and profitable.

 5 Shortages Affecting Fast-Food Chains Right Now

My mistake!

Starbucks Amazon Go
Courtesy of Starbucks

Fast-food workers know that customers lie to them all the time in order to get free food, usually claiming an order was wrong and demanding a refund and/or a replacement. But per Reader's Digest, the onus is always on the employee to tell a little lie right back by accepting the blame and making the customer's dubious order "right," even when they knew it was from the start.

Steven John
Steven John is a freelancer writer for Eat This, Not That! based just outside New York City. Read more about Steven