Some time back I wrote an ode to a longtime favorite of mine – the Wendy’s Frosty. In fact, I have been a fan of the Frosty’s associated burger chain since they first came to my hometown in the early 1970s. But what do you do when your true love becomes an abuser? It is happening through an App.
I got introduced to fast food apps by McDonalds. I will admit that Micky D is not my overall favorite choice (unless I seek a Fry High) but it has usually offered convenient locations and has therefore become the “Oh well, I might as well . . . .” choice. Their app invited me into a devil’s bargain that offered even more convenience at the cost of consuming more of their food. Through the app I get discount deals, accrue points and the ability to pre-order. Having someone bring food to my parked car while I relax is kind of a treat. With rare exceptions, McDonalds’ app has made for an amazingly friction-free experience.
So when Wendy’s came out with an app of its own, what great news it was. All of the convenience I had come to expect from the Big Mc but with better food. What could go wrong? Everything, it turns out, because I think my batting average is roughly .000.
I remember the day I downloaded it. I succumbed to advertising for a big food discount through the app. I was in the parking lot of a nearby store and Wendy’s was right across the street. Great, I thought. I can order through the app, then drive over and get served. Unfortunately, the operational abilities of that particular restaurant were not able to cash the checks the app was writing. It was post-pandemic and labor was tight. The inside was closed so drive-through was the only option. I think I waited something like 45 minutes to get through the line. Which I had to stay in because I had already ordered and paid.
I tried it again at that same location (I know, fool me twice . . . ). And I may as well load some funds into the app because I will surely use them soon. $40? Why not? This time I got to the window to be told that the Frosties I had ordered were not available because it was close to closing and they had cleaned the machine. The ones I had already paid for, and the ones the store could not refund because I had paid through the app. They gave me something else that I didn’t really want, but that was the best I could do.
Lesson learned, I stopped patronizing that location. Months later, I tried another of Miss Wendy’s outposts. Having been burned by things not available, I tried to order at the window and pay with the funds in the app. “I don’t know how to do that” came the less-than-helpful response from the poor, under-trained soul at the window.
From that point, the cost of ordering from Miss Wendy was outweighted by the hassles of using the app (or my pre-loaded funds that were sttil there). Months and months went by with my formerly favorite burger chain and I ignoring each other, like estranged former friends. But with enough time having gone by, the suggestion was made (I will blame Marianne for this one) to bring something home “since you still have money on the app.”
Hope sprang up when I saw that my app required an updating before use. Hooray – they must have fixed it!. There was even a coupon for $3 off a $15 order. I expertly crafted an order that just barely cracked the $15 minimum and felt like a genius. It all went without a hitch – except for that coupon. After telling me that it would be applied, it was not applied. And, of course, the guy at the window could do nothing about it. OK Wendy, you got me for $3. But at least my funds balance was down under $9.
Most recently I tried again. Marianne called (yes, I will blame her again) and had a taste for some Wendy’s chili. I never saw the attraction, but she likes it. Our order was a bit over my available funds, so I decided I would add another $10. Oops, somehow it became $25, so Now I had more money on the app than I did before. And then at the window (after a 20 minute wait): “Sorry, we’re out of chili.” Yes, the only reason I went through the experience was for the thing that I learned too late was not available.
So here we are – I still have money on deposit at the National Bank of Wendys, yet I lack the stamina to run through the obstacle course that is the Wendy’s App and/or the poorly operated location(s) in my area. But perhaps that was actually their plan all along. If “Get some money out of the moderately tech savvy” was the mission from the start, I guess Wendy’s is a smashing success. At least for now.
Photo Credit: 2018 photo by famartin via Wikiedia Commons, depicting a Frosty created and presumably enjoyed in Virginia. Although it looks a little too soft to yours truly. Though it would be better than no Frosty at all, as has occurred through the Wendy’s App.