Saturday, May 27, 2006


McDonald's on Móricz Zsigmond körtér (or why Hungary is a "gumi country")

Yesterday afternoon, I stopped at the McDonald's on Móricz Zsigmond körtér with the intention of getting a quick bite to eat.

Instead, I got to witness why this country is screwed up beyond belief (and quite possibly repair). Adam von Dioszeghy is absolutely correct; This, truly is a "gumi country".

Each of the open positions (cash registers) had relatively short lines. I was probably in the longest line, but no, this particular story wasn't about me. I merely mention the fact, so that you can appreciate that I was in a good position to see the incident I'll describe below.

In the line immediately to my right, at the counter was a young man conducting what appeared to be a highly complex financial transaction, because it took the attention of a manager as well as a line worker in order to figure things out over a seemingly inordinate amount of time. Immediately behind him was a young lady with unmistakably fire-red hair -- you, know the shade you simply can't miss, unless you are really colorblind.

After completing the insanely long financial transaction, as the young man steps away with his bag of food, a young girl about age 7 coming from nowhere (in fact, behind me) at near supersonic speed (I may have caught part of her sonic boom) cuts in front of the red haired young lady. The manager, now manning the cash register starts to take the 7 year old girl's order.

The red haired young lady, points out to the manager that she has been waiting patiently for him to conduct his previous transaction with the last customer and that she is next in line.

What happens next is beyond belief.

The manager tells her to get lost and says that he did not see her, which unless he has documented colorblindness is quite literally impossible.

She then gets tackled (almost physically) by the mother of the 7 year old girl, who likewise comes rushing from way, way behind me, who tells her off for "cutting in front of her daughter".

The red haired woman tells the manager that it is unthinkable that he speak to her in such a tone, as she is a customer.

He replies that he wouldn't, if she hadn't started arguing. (She wasn't -- she was simply mugged by everyone else.)

She gives up and leaves angrily.

In any real country, the manager's behavior would be cause for immediate termination of his employment.

[If someone from McDonald's reads this, you may wish to send some secret shoppers to your store on Móricz Zsigmond körtér, before this ass pisses off too many other customers.]

(I promptly went across the street to Subway and recommend that you do the same.)

In any real country, a mother would not be teaching her daughter to break the rules and to disrespect others to gain a clearly unfair (and minimal) advantage in a queue. She would have taken a moment to explain to the child why people stand in line, wait their turn and treat others as they would wish to be treated.

That child will grow up, thinking that her behavior was perfectly normal. Perfectly normal to cut someone off in a queue. Perfectly normal that her mother defended her behavior. Perfectly normal that Hungary is in many ways, simply a gumi country / an anarchy (see the above link to von Dioszeghy's piece).

If Hungarians cannot cooperate (or at least act in a civil fashion towards each other) in a queue at McDonald's, then what future does this country have?

I posit: not a real one, whatsoever.

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