Bus your own dang table.

Where and when did that practice start? First I remember is in Micky D’s, back in the old “Over 1 Million Sold” days.
Did it start as policy, or did a restaurant simply make trash cans available and people took the hint. I know we didn’t toss our own trash in “Mel’s” type fast food joints. The good thing about that is that the tables actually got wiped down once in a while.
Anyway, does anybody know when we started throwing away our own trash?

Yes, McDonalds did intentionally develop the practice of forcing a customer to bus their own table. The idea was that you could cut down on staff by having customers clean up, and only need one person who would periodically wipe the tables, and sweep, instead of a crew of waitresses.

But, on the plus side: no tipping!

Put them together:

If the “food” was acceptable and service tolerable, use the trash can. Otherwise - let them clean up the place.

It may have no real effect, but small victories are better than none.

This brought back an old thought. The Taco Bell down the road, when they first opened, had a talking trash can. It was pretty funny to go throw the trash away. It said something to the effect of empty trash, pull tray out of opening and then it would crush the garbage and say thank you. I haven’t been in there in a long time so I don’t know if they still have it or how well it held up. But I can say this, it made taking your trash to the can fun. Now if I could only install one of those at the house, so my hubby would think it was fun changing the trash.:wink:

Huh? I don’t remember ever throwing away my own trash at any type of fast food restaurant! Is this an outside-of-Michigan thing?

I checked–and your table is still there

You pig!
People like you piss me off! Why would you leave your stinkin’ trash on the table for another customer to come along and clean up? What makes you more special than the rest of us you self-serving, ignorant prick!?!

Balthisar, I am a server so I generally clean my mess up wherever I go. I don’t think it is required to do that just nice of you if you do. I am not sure about everyone else around here. So, does anyone else clean up after themselves at fast food restaurants?

I always do. Although NoGoodNamesLeft’s language is on the strong side, I have to agree with the general sentiment. I see absolutely no reason whatsoever to not throw away your own trash. It’s simple, quick, you do in on the way out… I really don’t understand people who don’t.

Most of the people I know who don’t have some twisted logic like “I pay for them to clean up after me”. Obviously, you don’t. You do at restaurants, not at McDonald’s. Also, if you feel some petty lust for revenge, not taking out your trash is a pretty pathetic way of satisfying that lust. For one thing, the only people hurt are other customers who cannot find a clean table.

In every fast food establishment I’ve ever visited (hundreds), at least 90% of the customers bus their own table.

I’d leave it there simply because there are employees paid to clean it up, just like any other restaurant. I don’t know why it should piss you off – don’t sit at a table that no one’s cleaned up (kind of obvious, I should think).

FWIW I worked at a McDonald’s for several years when I was young – the few times I got stuck with lobby duty, I cleaned a lot of tables. And yes, some people threw out their own trash, but the tables were still dirty and needed cleaning before anyone as fine as NoGoodNamesLeft could ever be expected to plop down their little butts there. :slight_smile: So really, what’s the difference? A dirty table is a dirty table.

Okay, I did some checking, and the concensus around the office is that you’re right – I’m a pig, and we apparently are expected to clean up our own tables in fast food restaurants in these parts. Funny; I was under the impression that restaurant prices were reflective of service; in the case of McDonald’s it’s certainly not the food! Well, my attitude is better, so despite being in the minority (and now realizing it) I think I’ll continue not throwing out my trash just to spite everyone.

Priceguy, I wish I’d refreshed before posting, because now I feel like I’m validating your point, whereas I’ve just now decided to continue my own habit despite being enlightened. It’s not lust, nor even spite despite having said that. But the truth remains that it’s a service-oriented business, damn it. It’s not some twisted logic – it’s something I’ve always taken for granted with no justification what-so-ever until now. There’s nothing to defend. Well, now it appears there is obviously.

No one gets hurt. If you cannot find a clean table, it’s the restaurant’s fault. Just because someone threw out their trash doesn’t indicate the table is clean.

Mods, sorry this got off the OP. I’m trying to stress the point that fast food isn’t of necessity self-bussed.

Best piece of advice I’ve ever heard. Especially during lunch hour, when there’s an abundance, nay, a plethora of free, clean tables.

Coming to a table with a ketchup stain is no deal at all; you just plop down your tray on top. Coming to a table with a heap of trays, empty cartons, half-drunk soda cups is totally different.

That qualifies you for petty and pathetic, as per my previous post. Besides, your attitude is strictly, provably worse. Look at this:

Everyone takes out their trash: Employees suffer less stress, queues shorten, customers come to clean tables.
Everyone is a pig: Employees have to run between the cash register and the tables, lengthening queues and giving employees ulcers, while customers often cannot find a clear table.

You’re a real nice guy. One of these days don’t be suprised if someone yells at you “Hey Dickface! You left something behind!” as you try to walk out the door and have your eaten drumstick thrown at you.

I’ve seen it happen.

Listen to yourself. No-one gets hurt because it’s the restaurant’s fault? I can’t find a clean table because you’re a lazy pig, but I don’t mind, because it’s the restaurant’s fault. Puh-leese.

Since my kid has joined the workforce and part of her job involves cleaning up after patrons in the snack bar of the roller rink, she goes out of her way to leave things tidy for our servers when we eat out. She’ll sort and stack the dishes, silverware, and napkins for easy removal. In a fast food place, she’ll even run a napkin over the table to remove crumbs.

I’ve always tossed my own garbage and tried not to leave a disgusting mess in these places - it’s not like it takes a great effort and I appreciate it when other patrons know how to behave in a civilized manner in public.

To add to what Lissa posted:
The McDonald brothers started it to cut overhead in their San Bernardino restaurant as early as 1948. People didn’t get it at first but the “Speedee Service System” caught on within weeks. People didn’t seem to mind because the food was so cheap. For more info (enlightening, disturbing, and otherwise) read Eric Schlosser’s “Fast Food Nation”.

This thread is a great illustration that fast food restaurants have forced a culture and mindset change that you should pay for the privilege of cleaning up after your meal. They have actually successfully changed from “This restaurant didn’t clean the table, I don’t think they’re doing a good job” to “The previous patron didn’t clean the table, how thoughtless.”

Fast food places started out cleaning tables, I’m not sure when they stopped. I do remember that even when other places were encouraging patrons to empty their own trash, Wendy’s made a point of hiding the trash cans in closets so people would feel like guests, and employees would dutifully clean tables frequently. I doubt this is still the case, as now fast food places are competing on the basis of lack of service.

Shame on anyone who would leave a McDonald’s bag on the ground in a public park. And shame on the person I saw at a red light simply drop a bag out of the window onto the street. But these “restaurants” are commercial establishments who are responsible for their own condition.

We have been conditioned to expect less service, and then blame each other for it. Too bad we have been thus brainwashed.

I remember those days. I also remember standing there like an idiot, holding a tray of trash, looking for the trash cans, and not seeing any. And I remember the Wendy’s employee who told me, “Sir, just leave it on the table. We’ll clean it up.”

Yes, we have been conditioned to expect less. And at Wendy’s, I can now bus my own table, just like at McDonald’s, Burger King, Harvey’s, and a host of other places. Not sure if I should be happy or not.

ThinkingWithGas: thank you.

(mostly) everyone else: if you like to part with your hard-earned cash for inferior service, that’s fine. If the restaurant can’t keep the place clean, the restaurant has a problem, not the clientele. For the love of God, with your crappy attitudes we’re all going to finish up going to Mountain Jacks or Olive Garden or anyplace else and clean our own tables. Then it’ll be washing dishes. Then sweeping floors. Then what else? Doesn’t the concept of service mean anything? If not, or if your concept is different, that’s fine. But I’m not going to take the blame that you can’t find a place to sit in a mediocre restaurant because the management can’t/won’t provide proper cleaning.

And what’s worse – and shame on you all – you’ve provoked me into a quasi pit argument, this thread’ll be moved, and the OP will never get answered. :frowning: