Monday, December 11, 2006

Writing It Down Doesn't Help

When you work at a Dunkin' Donuts drive through, you have a computerized cash register in front of you. When people order things, you press the appropriate button. Say it's a cup of coffee, you type the size, the flavor, if any, if they want whole milk, skim milk, cream or black, and what kind of sweetener, if any. It shows up on a screen so you can see what you punched in, and if it's correct. If it's a busy time of day, there are usually people working inside who then get the order together, based on what's on the screen. Simple! You barely need to be literate.

Today, I went to the Dunkin' Donuts drive through, and I asked for a medium hazelnut coffee with cream and 2 Splendas, and a large cinnamon coffee with cream and 3 Splendas. When I got to the window where you pay, I saw that the inside people were all familiar, experienced workers. They were the people who give me my coffee every morning, and I found that reassuring. Sure, the girl who took my order was new, but that's the easy part.

Later, when I went to take a sip of the medium coffee (this is what I drink on the hour-plus ride to work) I discovered no flavoring at all. Plain coffee! It was OK, but I was looking for the girly drink. Now, I'm at my desk, and sipping on the delicious large hazelnut coffee. This is not what I ordered. I can only come to the conclusion that the girl standing at that computerized cash register pushed the wrong buttons, and because she's actually functionally illiterate, she couldn't tell that the wrong words were coming up on the screen.

I have no choice but to blame the government's "no child left behind" program. I hear that nowadays they teach to the test, so if someone could please add the word "hazelnut" to the test, I think that would improve the quality of all of our lives. You know, while they're at it, I'd appreciate if they could add the word "latte", too. It's a new world we live in, they can just put these words in where they used to put "would you like fries with that?".

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