The Not So Golden Arches

I don’t know if you noticed, but the golden arches of the McDonald’s logo are not always “golden”. McDonald’s allows for a surprising range of color variations, like this green logo that was necessary to downplay the shameful existence of Mickey-D’s in an uppity Sedona community. They even planted a shrub to hide the logo.

A fine example that might explain the failure of the The Golden Arches Theory of Conflict Prevention is the sinister looking logo on the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum. The color harmonizes with the silhouette of A-12 Blackbird above on the deck of USS Intrepid.

By the way, I always thought that Grimace was chicken nugget gone bad. As it turns out, I was wrong about the chicken nugget part, but was right about the gone bad part. Grimace used to be a four-handed villain hellbent on stealing shakes. My favorite quote from one of the number of the Mystery of Grimace websites: “Grimace wasn’t marketable as a fat ass purple thief, but is marketable as a fat ass purple nice guy“. Well, at least the Hamburglar is continuing his life of crime. And I am afraid Ronald might join him soon enough after being fired in Japan.


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Rank and File

Since a comprehensive list of Microsoft codenames already exists, I would like to move on to another taxonomy project that fascinates me. I would like to collect a list of weird titles so common in many big-name corporations. Here are some notes that I collected already.

Also I am adding a little note about certain not very publicized rules that the company has that might help you get better service, or so to say to hack the system. You’ll see what I mean.

Kinko’s
Every employee carries a title of “Co-worker”. Employees use the term Kinkoid instead.

Kinko’s hacks:
All Kinkoids seem to live in fear of “mystery shoppers”. The corporate mothership sends special agents that pose as customers, and then evaluate the Co-workers. On at least several occasions I asked for some collating and printing jobs and quoted long wait times by Co-workers, which strangely had a change of heart and did the work right away. Your job is to make a Co-worker suspect that you are a “mystery shopper”. How? I don’t know, but apparently I managed to pull it off a couple of times.

McDonald’s:
Generic title: Crew Member. There are special non-management Crew Members with many years of experience called Crew Superstars. Managers carry the title of Crew Leader.

Fast Food Hacks:
This is a little known fact, but almost all soda fountains have a special button that will dispense seltzer. So technically the soda choice include seltzer. Sometimes when I am not in the mood for caramel coloring and phosphoric acid, I buy a medium soda and then ask them to find the button (most employees don’t know about it).

Starbucks:
Barristas are known as Hourly Partners. I’ve seen a title of Coffee Master on a manager’s card.

Starbucks Hacks:
There’s an 8oz cup called “Short” as opposed to the holy trinity of Tall-Grande-Venti. It’s never advertised, but I successfully ordered it on occasion.

I learned a new trick, which I am not planning on using, but which surprised me. I found a tiny sticker which outlined Starbucks refill policy. It reminded me that Spongebob episode where Bubble Bass pointed out to the microscopic print on the Crusty Crab menu that outlined the refund policy. Anyway, it seems like the rule is that if you finish your drink within the hour, you can ask for a refill in the same cup at an unspecified reduced price. How will they know if you consumed your drink in an hour? There’s a label on the cup that records the time when the drink was ordered. You can also apparently bring in your own cup and have it filled at 30 cents off or so.

You can ask for free coffee grinds at any Starbucks store to use as fertilizer for your garden or farm.

Barnes and Noble:
This is a surprising one. All B&N employees carry the title of “bookseller”. Even computer programmers and janitors. Thank you, anonymous tipster for this slice of corporate weirdness.

Disney
Most employees at Disney World are titled “Cast Members”. “Face” characters, like Cinderella and the like are “Union Actors”. Disney weirdness is too huge to discuss here, there are whole sites dedicated to the subject. “No Disney Cast member at the Disney reservation center has the same name. If there are more then two with the same then they are given a name.” Whoa.
Thank you, Merlin!

Pacific Theaters
Ushers and the like carry the title of “Talent”.
Thanks you, Greg!

This calls for a gratuitous Spongebob quote:
“Squidward: Repeat after me. “I have no talent”
Spongebob: I have no talent.
Squidward: “Mr. Tentacles has all the talent”.
Spongebob: Mr. Tentacles has all the talent.
Squidward: “If I’m lucky, some of Mr. Tentacles talent can rub off on me”.
Spongebob: If I’m lucky, Mr. Talent can…rub…his tentacles on my…art… (smiles)”

Toyota Canada
Salesmen carry the title of “New Vehicle Advisor “
Thank you, Aidan R.

WL Gore & Associates
Every employee is – you guessed it – an “Associate”.
Thank you, Joe Grossberg.

NASA
Gouvernment employees are called “Guvvies” and contractors are called “Swaliens” (because they are frequently from Swales Aerospace.

Thank you, anonimous commenter.

IKEA
IKEA employees have the same designation as Kinkos – “Co-worker”. I am not sure if this is a recent development or not.

If you have any information like this, please let me know.

TT : Thought Tally : Dude, Where’s My Biochemistry Degree? or Kinky Crew Superstar

is going to like this. As I learned from TV Guide Magazine, Ashton Kutcher majored in Biochemistry.

According to one of the most annoying things a customer can do at the checkout line is to say “He heh. I guess it must be free” when the scanner beeps and refuses to scan the code. See, I could never come up with that stupid and apparently common joke. A Null is not a zero.

This kind of reminded me about a dude who was playing an electronic one arm bandit in Moscow when the machine crashed with 999999 rubles in the payout window. He stayed at the gaming parlor for days guarding the machine, but in the end the machine was rebooted and he wasn’t given any money. Or so I heard.

Coca cola definitely tastes better when it’s sold in those glass bottles. You know the ones that are probably based on the shape of the cacao pod (which was mistaken for the kola nut by the designer or something). They still make those in Mexico and sometimes they are sold in a few bodegas in NYC. I always thought it tasted better because of the glass, but finally found out the true reason:

“She told me that they were bottled in Mexico and I nodded since I already knew that and said, “I think it is because they use real sugar.”
She shook her head, “No, no, not the sugar. It’s the water.”
She leaned in like she was telling me a secret, “Mexican water is the BEST water in the entire world.”
Just then a smaller woman leaned in beside her grinning with a single eyebrow raised and whispered.
“It’s MAGIC water!”

Apparently it is not Montezuma’s revenge that assails unsuspecting tourists, but the magic waters that sour in the bellies of the unimaginative, somewhere South of the border.”

Many big corporations in order to retain employees use powerful “cult team building” techniques. One thing that I noticed is that worker ants usually have very peculiar job titles. For instance at Kinko’s the official title is “Co-worker”. At McDonald’s – “Crew Member”. From Gig I learned that Kinko employees unofficially use “Kinkoid” instead of “Co-worker”. And from an lj user in I learned that a McDonalds crew member who has formidable years of experience, but isn’t a manager is called “Crew Superstar”. I guess it’s kind of like “Research Fellow” at Microsoft :)