When you take a look at conversation and language, you see that turn-taking is an important concept. Generally, one person speaks at a time, and we try to avoid silence. Violating these norms creates some kind of dissonance in a conversation. Pretty easy, right?
Well, that darn automated voice at McDonald’s messes it all up. I’ve been to the drive through a couple of times in the past few months, and both times my experience was the same. I drove up, and the automated voice asked me if I wanted something…the days’s special, or a certain value meal or whatever. I said “No, thank you.”
And then there was silence. In a normal conversation, after I spoke, the other person should speak. I’m guessing McD’s designed it to work that way, but for whatever reason, the person inside the restaurant working the drive-thru did not say anything. And so I sat there, both times, wondering if I should speak, or wait for them to ask me to order. Awkward.
So listen up, McDonalds. You need to fix this. Either get rid of the weird automated offers, or train your people to take the customer’s order.