Home > Bitching, Food, Harlem, New York > The Time I Went to the Worst McDonald’s in the World

The Time I Went to the Worst McDonald’s in the World

December 5, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments


When you go to a place like McDonald’s, your desires are simple. You want filling food that is fast, cheap, and hot. In that order. It’s like that fire diagram you learned about in elementary school. A fire needs three things: fuel, oxygen, and heat. If you are missing one, you aren’t going to get flames.

The worst McDonald’s I’ve ever been to lacks all of the elements you want in a fast food joint. I admit, having the food hot is just a bonus – I’ll still eat cold fries. But in Manhattan, none of the fast food is particularly cheap, and it’s rare for it to be fast. The lines are always horrendous, and though you can still order off the dollar menu, many of the items that are a dollar in the rest of the country are $1.30-$1.50 here. Add tax on top of that, and it starts to add up.

But hands down, the worst McDonald’s has got to be the “Express” McDonald’s at 125th Street and Lenox Ave in Harlem. Any time I have walked in there, it has taken me 20+ minutes to receive food of any kind, and it is usually the wrong order. The line stretches nearly to the door, and there is but one sole employee both taking orders AND making food. She grimaces with each order, entering in the items, receiving money, making change, then stomping off to the back to heat up a burger that tastes like masking tape. She bags it all, then usually forgets about it since she has to go take another order. Your bag of food will sit there in the back, neglected and losing any heat it once had. Only when she has five orders or so prepared will she bring all the bags to the front.

Now, she isn’t the only employee. There are two others, but I think they are there for decoration more than anything. One stands in the corner with a mop, slowly swishing it in the same spot for eternity. There is no dirt, and there is no grime, at least in that one area. But he will never move, and never make eye contact with a customer. Another guy stands in the back by the fryer, but he doesn’t touch any of the food. He glares into the hot oil, unable to tear his eyes away. Forever.

Getting nothing but an order of fries at this McDonald’s will take 20-30 minutes on a good day. Though the fries are sitting in a salty pile, there are simply no employees to get them for you. Every time, I’m tempted to leap over the counter and bag my own damn food. On one fries journey, I clutched my order to my chest as I walked down Lenox. It had taken me the better part of an hour to get these fries, and I wanted to keep them warm.

A man came up to me and said, “Hey, gimme your fries.” No, no, no. I told him that it had taken me ages to get these, and I wouldn’t give them up. “Did you hear me? Gimme. Your. Fries.” I tucked them under my jacket and ran away. This is how bad the McDonald’s is – people wait outside to rob you of your food rather than waste their time in line.

I theorize that this McDonald’s is where they send the absolute worst of their employees. Even with the limited Express menu, the incompetence is boggling. Once a worker starts to get the hang of things, I imagine McDonald’s corporate yanks them from the location, and replaces them with a drooling automaton. I’ve actually complained about this particular McDonald’s, and was sent a coupon for a free Big Mac in return. I never redeemed it since it might take over an hour for a sandwich at that location.

No, thank you.

Categories: Bitching, Food, Harlem, New York
  1. December 6, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    staring in the oil forever. hilarious.

    I think I went to that one.

    I wish you’d come with me to the Staples on the Upper West sometime. It’s the paper-goods version of that McD’s.

    Great post!

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