McDonald’s Gives an Inch(worm)

I am not a picky eater.

My wife (bless her heart) can be a nightmare when ordering at restaurants. Just like Meg Ryan in “When Harry Met Sally,” she orders things very specifically and on the side and substitute this for that…let’s just say I cringe whenever she makes one of her “special requests.” And if something is wrong or she isn’t happy with her food, she sends it back.

Not me.

I sent food back once, and that was because there was a band-aid in my mashed potatoes. I’ve gotten food that isn’t cooked exactly right, but I eat it. Or they give me the wrong dressing, so instead of sending it back I just suck it up. Hell, I’ve found a hair in my food and I forge ahead. Maybe it’s because I started working in a restaurant when I was 15 and still vividly remember how horrible some customers can be, but the point is, I have a very strong stomach and—short of a band-aid—there isn’t much that will bother me.

But congratulations McDonald’s, you raised the bar.

On Sunday we stopped at the McDonald’s near our house, located at 370 MacArthur Blvd. in Bourne, Mass. Will loves chicken nuggets and MJ decided to treat herself to a Big Mac and fries. We walked in, ordered, got our food and sat down. Will began munching away (because we told him he can’t open his happy meal toy until he’s done eating) and MJ tore into her Big Mac. She and I were picking at her fries. I was eating so many of them she decided to dump out half the box on a napkin on top of the table for me.

And that’s when we both nearly lost our lunch, because we saw this:

Yup. That’s right. An inchworm. Wriggling away, still very much alive. It came out with the fries when MJ dumped them on the napkin.

Now first of all, this is not a fake picture. I took it shortly after we discovered it, right there on the table. It wasn’t there before, we didn’t go outside after we ordered and we’re not carrying around inchworms trying to scam free meals. There actually was an inchworm in our food.

Look, as I laid out before I’m not a prude. I can deal with a lot. But even though we weren’t dining at a 5-star gourmet bistro, I still think we’re entitled to food without living worms in it. And while I understand McDonald’s is all about their “healthy options menu,” I think we can all agree this is not what they had in mind when they talked about eating more greens.

Now, being a reporter, I wanted to see how the staff would react.

I sent MJ up with the inchworm and the employees let out a simultaneous “EWWWW!” And yes, they apologized. But amazingly, that was it. We got a “Gee I’m really sorry about that” and then it was back to our table. A few minutes later the girl working the register did come back over and ask if she could get us anything else, but at that point I was fuming. A manager did eventually come over, but I was less than enthralled with his attitude as he said “I know you’re never going to eat here again after this, but here’s a coupon for a free meal in case you do.”

Yeah. That’s what I want after finding a worm in my food. More contaminated food.

My question is, WHERE WAS THE OFFER TO REFUND OUR MONEY?!?!? I specifically didn’t ask for it because I was waiting for them to offer. It should’ve been automatic and without an ounce of hesitation. You find a living animal in your food, you get your money back. I think it would be wise for all restaurants to adopt such a policy, don’t you? But instead I got a belated offer of more worm food.

To be fair, I did get a response on Twitter from a McDonald’s team member who had me call an 800 number to report the complaint. The following day. After the picture of the worm had already been viewed hundreds of times on Twitter. But by that time they had already blown it in my eyes.

I guess I should thank them. This McDonald’s is open 24 hours and less than a mile from my house. After a late meeting it’s the only thing open, and I’ve succumbed to the charm of the Golden Arches more than once. But not anymore. Now I’ll eat healthier, if only by subtracting McDonald’s from my diet altogether. Finding a wiggling little worm in your fries will do that.

But I guess the upside is fishermen can look forward to a Big Mac with free bait!

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8 thoughts on “McDonald’s Gives an Inch(worm)

  1. WOW Aaron I’ve worked in customer service basically since I was fifteen, and that is DOWNRIGHT Wrong that they didn’t offer you your $ back!! I actually went a week or so ago, and I had to wait for my fries because the young supervisor had just sent half of his staff on dinner break. Beth was cool with this because she loves Hot Fries….I mean not seeing I don’t but I had to wait because again the young shift supervisor literally sent at least 3-4 of his staff on dinner break so I and one other person had to wait!! Not to mention the things I saw from the young kids were just downright so not close to what any customer would want to deal with!! Nothing like an inchworm though!!

  2. Okay that is gross! I work at a McDonalds in New Zealand and firstly I can’t understand how that could happen.. I could understand how you could get a dead inchworm, cause occasionally things happen, but a live one??
    I also can’t understand why they didn’t give you a refund.. The would’ve been the second thing we would’ve done, the first being apologizing profusely (and probably being extremely grossed out).

  3. To quote my kids “ewwwwww”. I showed them, and I will print a copy of the pic – to remind them and put them off the next time they hassle me to have McDonalds!

    Which actually happens quite a lot, as I’m a frequent visitor to their enclosed playground. Only, I’m the “mean” mother who takes her own healthy food. So my 2yr old twins and 5yr old watch other kids eat Happy Meals while they have cheese and crackers and carrot sticks. You’ve just made me feel totally justified and washed away any guilt ;-)

  4. This reminds me alot about Jeff Jarvis posting how much Dell’s customer service sucked (with ass worked in there). I don’t know if you get as many page views as buzzmachine.com but his article on how much they sucked ended up being like the third result if you typed in “Dell computer.” them and only then did Dell fix whatever problem he had but by then damage was done. I also grew up working in restaurants so am pretty much the same on never complaining. Not sure how I would actually react to this particular situation. Also occurs to me that where there is one inch worm there are many…

  5. I’ve worked in customer service and they got it all wrong! You should have had a sincere apology, your money back and a free coupon for your whole family . . . not that you’ll eat there again.

    And for the record, may I just say THAT IS SO GROSS!

  6. I went today to McDonalds in Hartford CT and ordered a McBites with french fries for my son when we at the car my son told me that he had a worm in his food I told him it can’t be the 6 year old kid assured me that there is a worm in his food ,He handed it to me and here it is a worm sticking out the McBites .

  7. I still have the McBits and the worm sticking out of it and I have a picture for it
    My son got sick in his stomach .

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