Leaving your trash at fast food joints.

Simple, mundane question. When you eat at a fast food restaurant, do you leave the associated crap on the table when you leave or do you chuck it in one of the many bins available on the way out?

I was in McDonalds earlier pondering this very question. I always take my crap and dump it in bin, but there are obviously many people that don’t. I expect the common excuse will be that ‘they pay someone to clean it up’, which on the face of it seems valid enough but I still don’t feel right leaving my shit behind. I mean, it’s only a hamburger carton, a paper bag and a paper cup. How difficult is it really to throw it away yourself on the way out? You put it on the tray, slide in the tray into the wide bin and place the tray on top of the bin in its special spot.

So what say you?

My response to “they pay someone to do that” is that no, they don’t pay someone to clean it up, they pay someone to do general cleaning, and leaving crap all over the tables makes their job harder. They won’t get more hours or pay for that extra work.

I always bus my own table at a fast food joint. I’m headed past the bin anyway, and the stuff is already on a tray, so what’s the point not doing it?

I’m not cleaning up for the fast food place; I’m cleaning up for the next person who wants a table.

If I have to clean the table or chair before I sit down then I leave the trash in the hope that an employee will have a cleaning rag, and use it, when he throws the trash away.


In this part of the US, everybody does throw away their own stuff at fast-food restaurants. It’s rare when someone does not. However, I took a trip to Florida once with my family as a teenager and ate at a Wendy’s (I think it was in St. Augustine) and our whole family was confused by all the people who just left their trash on the tables. Sure enough, some employee did come by to clean it up. I wonder if that was a regional difference–I’ve never seen it anywhere else, though.

Common courtesy and respect for others never goes out of style. Do the right thing and pick up after yourself.

I take the presence of trash bins every five feet as a hint.

I always put my rubbish in a bin. I find it irritating to see people leave their rubbish on the table. The people who work at these times of restautrant do not get paid enough to clear up other peoples rubbish, especially people who are so lazy they cannot be bothered to put their in the bin that they have to pass to leave the joint!Grrr!

I always bus my own tables, a habit my father got me into as a kid.

I’ve even gotten my friends to do it by simply picking up their garbage also on the way out. They gave me the same ‘they pay people to do it’ spiel, but I feel weird leaving garbage behind and they started picking up their garbage instead of leaving me to do it.

I always throw the trash out, but I wonder…how often are those tables cleaned with a rag and sanitizing solution? We eat off the paper, of course, but who knows what troglodyte might have decided to use the table to change their baby’s diaper. :eek:

If there are garbage cans out and visible to the customers, I take that as a hint that I could pick up after myself. Honestly, I’m surprised to hear there are places where this is not the case.

Often someone comes along and takes my rubbish, otherwise I’ll usually slip it in the bin. It’s not uncommon for a staff member to be a bit perturbed by you doing this.

I normally bus my own table, but there are some places where I don’t. These often seem to be places where food is served on ceramic plates and garbage facilities don’t look very customer friendly. I think that in those places, there really are people who are paid to clean it up.

Those places are rare.

If there is an obvious trash can I will use it. In at least one sub shop I go to, there is no trash can that I can find and so I guess they prefer to bus the table themselves.

IME working fast food, a table is more likely to be sanitized if it’s free of rubbish. Usually a crew member is sent to clean up the dining room as time permits, typically a cashier. Since the time to do so is usually pretty short (just a minute or two until the next guy drives up to the drive-through or a customer goes up to the counter), any time spent ferrying garbage to receptacles is less time that can be sent spraying down and wiping tables and chairs.

This is one of the reasons why I got tired of hearing the “they pay someone to clean that up” excuse by folks who choose to be slobs in public. No, they usually don’t have crew members on hand to take care of clean-ups, it’s an employee who has other responsibilities who gets to try to work that extra janitorial work into their day. Fast food is predicated on the concept of self-service in the dining room, and that includes the clean-up.

I always bus my rubbish.

One time, many years ago, I had a meal at KFC with my friend Dominic and his (mobster) father. We got up to leave and I started bussing up the table and Dommy’s Dad told me to leave it. As we were walking away, a KFC employee approached us and said “Hey, I don’t get paid to clean tables.”

Dom’s father said “Yeah? Well, either do I.”

I always clear my own rubbish.

I’m sorry, what? If there are tables with rubbish on them but no people sitting there, isn’t that an obvious sign that the people sitting there previously didn’t clean up their own crap?