My career in food service

As published in the Association for Computing Machinery’s Risks Digest, v4 n30, 1986:

 Fast-Food Computing

<Edward_Vielmetti@um.cc.umich.edu>

Tue, 16 Dec 86 16:15:04 EST

I must have been in the cycle early for McDonald's
fast-food intelligent man-machine systems, according to
Guthery's law:
>     In an evolving man-machine system, the man will get
>     dumber faster than the machine gets smarter.
McDonald's fast food computers (i.e., cash registers)
collect all sorts of data on the individual employee at
the counter and on all counter sales as a whole.  They also
do not have a <no sale> key that opens up the cash
register, probably to prevent theft.  That made it real hard to fix a
mistake without calling a manager to get a key to open the drawer.
Solution?  Well, the people I worked with at McD's had been
around thesystem long enough to figure out how to get around
it.  Without getting into too many details of why things were
as they were, the easiest way to open the drawer without a
manager was to ring up a sale that gave away a
tub of barbecue sauce for McNuggets and nothing else.
(Hit <promo> <barbecue> <promo> <total> .)
Of course, that messed up the daily statistics some.
Edward Vielmetti, Ex-McDonalds employee, Computing Center
Microgroup, U. Mich.

 

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