Lion of the Blogosphere

Do you want fries with that?

Great comment from fortaleza84:

From what I understand, fast food restaurants retain human cashiers mainly because people buy more food when there is a live cashier to say “Do you want fries with that?”

This is an example of how our economy is entirely marketing driven and no one is doing any value creating work. It’s just people selling stuff to each other. The fast food cashier is actually doing a negative-sum job because he/she is encouraging people to gorge on fattening fries when they probably already weigh too much in the first place.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

March 26, 2018 at 11:19 AM

Posted in Labor Markets

56 Responses

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  1. My mom absolutely hates Trump and is always complaining about him but she has not uttered a word about these Parkland kids.

    The Left thinks that the Parklandites are big winner for them but I just don’t see it. I don’t think anybody outside of the Left wing bubble cares what these brats have to say.

    It seems like right now the Left is emphasizing:

    1. Gun Control
    2. Black Power
    3. #MeToo
    4. Muh Russia

    I don’t see any of those issues winning them the crossover votes they need. The Dem lead in the Generic Ballot is down to 5.7:

    Otis the Sweaty

    March 26, 2018 at 11:47 AM

    • Yeah, at the ballot box gun control is a losing issue for liberals. It’s very seductive to them, but the people who are pro-gun tend to be very very pro-gun


      March 26, 2018 at 12:36 PM

      • Emma Gonzalez claims to be bisexual but she’s really typically feminine, likes to crochet. It’s the thing nowadays. Everything is so fucked up.


        March 26, 2018 at 4:22 PM

      • typically feminine,

        She has a buzzcut.


        March 26, 2018 at 10:13 PM

      • I dunno, man, I would have said gay marriage and tranny rights were a loser for them, but they kept pushing that crazy shit and eventually got what they wanted.


        March 27, 2018 at 8:20 AM

    • The gun protests are strictly self-talk. In the current political climate, they read as corporate/establishment driven and manipulative of children. Their sum role will be as a historical reference for the Left, albeit of corporate creation (a fact which will be forgotten).


      March 26, 2018 at 1:38 PM

    • I don’t think it’s about crossover votes so much as keeping Trump haters fired up. Democrats are winning +20 Trump districts because of numbers like these:


      March 27, 2018 at 12:42 AM

      • Dick Morris says the polls are looking good for Trump. I wouldn’t take a CNN poll seriously.


        March 27, 2018 at 8:35 PM

  2. The food industry actually has a term for this: ‘stomach share.’ There is sophisticated martketing and chemistry (to enhance taste of food) behind the quest for consumers’ stomach share.


    March 26, 2018 at 11:56 AM

  3. The overall point is likely correct, “just people selling stuff to each other,” but the species tics are wrong, fast-food cashiers are not doing any encouraging. I spend every morning at a McD’s, just coffee and wifi, and It’s obvious that the role of the workers is nothing but a smile and efficiency. Incidentally, there are workers here who any business would love to have, if they only knew about them. This McD’s next to a retired Air Force base in Marin County has a young black guy who speaks perfect English and has a calm, alert manner, a fully bi-lingual Mexican woman who’s friendly and unflappable, and an elderly Mexican woman, also English proficient, who just loves to work. If they were all transplanted in the DMV, there wouldn’t be any more dmv jokes.

    Explainer 21

    March 26, 2018 at 12:00 PM

    • There used to be a McD’s on 84th/Broadway with a wonderful young black man who was a pleasure to deal with. He had a great effect on the rest of the crew. Unfortunately that branch was closed by management and the only one close by is full of drug addicts and unruly NAM teens. Excuse me, vibrant.


      March 26, 2018 at 4:25 PM

  4. “Do you want fries with that?”

    This is done today already via the online ordering web portals, so I imagine it would be by the in store kiosks.

    For instance if you order on line at Firehouse you are asked if you want to asked to add a cookie, chips and upsize your drink before the checkout screen.

    That would seem to accomplish the up sell and negative-sum without staffing.

    Lion o' the Turambar

    March 26, 2018 at 12:28 PM

    • When you’re asked online or on machines you ignore like its advertising or pop-up ad.

      If a human being with a smile asks you are more likely to buy it.


      March 26, 2018 at 1:14 PM

    • It doesn’t work the same way.

      People don’t want to say “no” to a friendly person asking if they want fries.

      It’s easy to click “no” on a computer screen, when you’re thinking “do I really need fries?”


      March 26, 2018 at 1:16 PM

      • This is true. An incredibly sweet and friendly cashier got me to apply for a kohl’s card after years of saying NO.


        March 26, 2018 at 2:58 PM

      • By the same token a person (who you credit with being earnest and engaging when that is not likely true) doesnt hold up a picture of the cookie or bubbling, cold drink for you to see.

        I thin its probably a wash between which is more effective. But one is definitely cheaper.

        Lion o' the Turambar

        March 27, 2018 at 8:25 AM

  5. Elites keep the masses stuffed with food and junk according to tastes — classic divide n conquer with a good ending.


    March 26, 2018 at 12:34 PM

  6. If that’s science, it is amazing because I m’pretty sure for me it works the other way around . With a machine, I get excited by all the possibilities and over-order. With a person, being shy, I stick to my choice to avoid too much interaction and have the people hearing the conversation .


    March 26, 2018 at 1:17 PM

  7. I think you underestimate the social benefit of marketing. I, for example, have written a lot of useful software that could help productivity in a number of areas for many people. How many people use this software? 0, because they don’t know about it.

    Marketing helps spread innovation and inform people about what is possible. There is a lot of waste, but many things that turn out to be a genuine positive for society may not have grabbed people’s attention in the first place without good marketing.


    March 26, 2018 at 1:30 PM

    • Crap software with great marketing will always outsell great software with crap marketing.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      March 26, 2018 at 1:32 PM

      • I agree with zz and have thought the same every time you denounce marketing as zero sum. Talking someone into buying something they don’t need like fries, whole life insurance or an extended warranty for consumer electronics may be zero sum. But getting information to people who need it so that they can be more productive does create value. It all depends on what’s being marketed and how it’s being marketed.

        For example, I use ad blocking software and have prohibited telemarketers and direct mail marketers from contacting me. But I rely heavily on company websites and third party reviews when researching products and services.


        March 26, 2018 at 3:20 PM

      • If Nurture is stronger than Nature in Marketing, no wonder it always wins.

        My Two Cents

        March 26, 2018 at 4:31 PM

      • Better yet get an exclusive OEM contract. I’m still wondering how those original (current?) Microsoft OEM contracts withstood anti-monopoly challenge.


        March 26, 2018 at 10:02 PM

      • You are right, Lion, but it’s easier to market something which is genuinely helpful/beneficial than something which is crappy. McDonald’s can market french fries because they are delicious. It’s not so easy to market a turd. In many cases, such as tech, the limiting reagent on the helpfulness of an idea is not actual work, but the attention spans of the people involved. This makes good marketers, who can steer people toward helpful products, extremely socially beneficial.

        In this way, things get better slowly over time, provided society can stay relatively stable. Not as fast as utopians like you hope for, of course. All of this describes why I am basically conservative.


        March 27, 2018 at 1:40 PM

      • this is very important. i hope lion elaborates on it.

        marketing has many components. “promotion”, in the technical sense, is merely informating, getting out the word. “branding” and the kind of ads one sees in mass media are an attempt to fool people. in an efficient economy they wouldn’t exist.

        branding is an attempt to differentiate the product by means other than its objective attributes and thus avoid competition. business hates competition. so branding and selling, in the pejorative sense, are anti-competitive business practices and should be illegal under anti-trust laws.

        “salesman” is a pejorative, but in b2b sales it can mean someone who is an expert in his product and the needs of the businesses he “sells” to. in terms of the labor theory of value merely producing a complex product is not much more value creating than explaining how to use it and fixing it when it breaks.

        twilight of the libertarians

        March 27, 2018 at 2:01 PM

  8. The nearest McD’s to me just reopened after a major renovation, and the cashier stations are gone. All the in-store ordering is through kiosks, though there’s an employee on duty by them to assist people.



    March 26, 2018 at 1:55 PM

  9. The up-sell angle sounds plausible, but they pull the same shit online when you order pizza: “Add [whatever] for just $4.99.” Plus a kiosk will be visual rather than simply telling someone they can have fries; instead it would display a picture crispy, golden delights. I think there’s more to it. NPR had a story about South Korean convenience stores going clerkless. One small business owner said that he would not replace a person with a kiosk because regular customers enjoy casual conversation — “One of those mornings, eh?” Human beings are social animals, so in some businesses it will make sense to keep on a person.

    In higher education, all of us were supposed to be threatened by rock star professors like Michael Sandel teaching our students via online learning. It turns out the majority of students hate online classes (true, the best students mind less, and the majority probably have no business attending college).


    March 26, 2018 at 2:46 PM

    • Yes, the lonely old women will get even lonelier without clerks to talk to.


      March 26, 2018 at 10:03 PM

  10. This is an example of how our economy is entirely marketing driven and no one is doing any value creating work

    Or maybe the value they’re creating is human contact for lonely people who wouldn’t otherwise have it. For a lot of sad people, ordering from a cashier is the closest thing they have to a social life.


    March 26, 2018 at 3:02 PM

  11. Hooters and other breastaurants are the most obvious example of this. They serve the same fast food type fare like everywhere else that could be served through a kiosk. But they have live women deliver the goods, and that’s the whole point of the restaurant.


    March 26, 2018 at 4:58 PM

  12. The fast food cashier is actually doing a negative-sum job because he/she is encouraging people to gorge on fattening fries when they probably already weigh too much in the first place

    I’ve also heard that impersonal ordering like in online shopping may increase impulse buying. They say people tend to waste money and impulse buy stuff they don’t need online because it’s so easy to just click and buy.

    Maybe the best thing for the economy would be to have poor customer service everywhere and no online shopping. If there were surly, unhelpful employees everywhere, people would be less likely to waste money and buy stuff like fattening food.


    March 26, 2018 at 5:02 PM

    • They also give suggestions such as people who bought this also bought that. They will also prompt you with things like buy over 50 dollars worth and get free shipping. There will be many items priced so you really have to buy 2 to get the free shipping


      March 26, 2018 at 10:30 PM

  13. It looks like the new “Ready Player One” movie is about a future so cruddy that everyone spends as much time in virtual reality as possible. How far are we from that?


    March 26, 2018 at 6:02 PM

    • Probably pretty close. I don’t think future will be all that cruddy, but virtual reality will probably be pretty nice.


      March 26, 2018 at 9:36 PM

  14. I read blogs like this because I would feel guilty if I only supported AI blogs.


    March 26, 2018 at 8:16 PM

  15. McDonalds near my office just renovated and installed self service screen platforms. You order from the screen, pay at the screen (with card), pick a drink cup up at the screen, obtain a table # if eating in and go find a table, your order is delivered. Or you pick up your take out order from a take out counter. They still have cashiers for the cash people and the luddites.


    March 26, 2018 at 9:00 PM

    • I ordered via kiosk at a McD’s – except that the receipt didn’t come out properly. A person had to change the paper roll. Lion: note, a person had to change the paper in the kiosk.


      March 27, 2018 at 4:51 AM

  16. Society would be vastly less wasteful if people weren’t forced to do something, anything they have to for a paycheck. Think of all of the useless junk we don’t need that companies produce and convince us to buy. Think of it; if we stopped producing most of this stuff, fewer people would have to work, which would mean that fewer vehicles would be purchased and produced, leading to cleaner air, less noise, and less crowded roads. People who currently waste their time in useless make-work jobs would be free to learn valuable skills, or to take care of their homes and families.

    I think you’re correct, Lion.


    March 26, 2018 at 9:49 PM

  17. Workers at Mcd’s and such places don’t care what you buy. All they ask, if anything, is: is that if?


    March 26, 2018 at 10:26 PM

  18. I haven’t eaten at McDonalds or Burger King or any fast food burger joint in over 30 years. On the other hand, between the years 1990 to 2010, I spent over $15K at Subway.

    E. Rekshun

    March 27, 2018 at 7:04 AM

    • I feel like that’s even more prole, not sure why


      March 27, 2018 at 5:08 PM

      • Chain food is prole except Chipotle, to name a minuscule few.


        March 28, 2018 at 5:28 PM

  19. ResetEra reacting to the rise in Trump’s popularity in the latest CNN poll:

    some are saying “nothing to see here, move along” because 42% is still really low and it is in tax season, others are saying that this is a bad sign and that Trump will be re-elected because the public are idiots. There is widespread mystification with how the worst President ever could be getting better approval.

    It is important to remember that the Left are unable to understand how normal people think. They laughed at the idea of Trump winning the nomination because “ofcourse nobody would ever vote for Trump”. They live in an alternate reality.

    The truth is that Trump’s approval has not risen at all:

    it’s where it was a month and a half ago if you look at the averages instead of cherry picking like a retard.

    Otis the Sweaty

    March 27, 2018 at 7:24 AM

    • “It is important to remember that the Left are unable to understand how normal people think.”

      At the same time, commenters here are often unable to understand how the HBD-denying mainstream thinks.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      March 27, 2018 at 8:54 AM

      • This is a great point. I genuinely have trouble understanding those who deny HBD, as it is so self-evident.

        I had a conversation with someone the other day who insisted that “race” did not exist, despite the fact that it literally coded in your cells and can be analyzed by a service like ancestry or 23&me. It was deeply unsettling in a way that I can’t quite describe, almost like talking to people at Church camps I went to as a teenager. Vague, moralistic platitudes behind aspirational language that has no meaning whatsoever.


        March 27, 2018 at 1:47 PM

  20. The self-service kiosks are annoying as shit. Another reason not to go into McDs! I used one at a McDs in West Virginia (no other food option available) and I thought “in a nothing town like this, the local kids could use the jobs, oh well”. In any event, it took far longer to type in the order than it would have to speak the order to a human behind the register. It is the same phenomenon as with the robo-answering machines, which invariably enrage me. I do not want to spend time listening to all the fucking options and punching in numbers, and I would not have to if I could just talk to a human in the first place. Bottom line, if we have to use robots, we need much better robots than we have.


    March 27, 2018 at 8:25 AM

    • I believe there should be a theorem that states that it is impossible to create a stable hardware with stable software if humans are involved in creating them.

      My Two Cents

      March 27, 2018 at 9:29 PM

  21. Since we are talking about service, why do we have to pump our own gas except for NJ, which makes it illegal? It’s actually cheaper to have someone pump it for you because of the insurance costs. of self-service pumps, We pay more to stand in the cold and pump our own gas, now that’s crazy.


    March 27, 2018 at 8:41 PM

    • My first job, at 13 y/o, was pumping gas at a Mobil gas station right of I-95. Spent many weekends in the snow and rain pumping gas and check oil and tire pressure. Got beat and robbed by a couple of proles one late Friday night.

      As LotB as recommended, if my parents had known better, they would have prohibited me from working a minimum-wage, dead-end job as a teenager and had me focus more on academics and extra-curricular activities. But I wanted to earn money to pay for dirtbikes, cars, auto insurance, etc. Though, I did learn how to work with my hands and did save quite a bit of money to pay for much of my college tuition. Today, none of my peers or family members let their kids work a part-time job during the school year, and it’s hard to get hired as a high school kid anyway.

      E. Rekshun

      March 28, 2018 at 3:23 PM

  22. Love this

    Hirah blogs

    March 28, 2018 at 2:27 PM

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