The fast food-eating public these days is obsessed with “hacks” for some reason, most likely because it gives the lowly plebian the feeling of exerting some control over a giant, faceless corporate entity, and that honestly feels pretty good. Though some hacks are decidedly worthwhile (like asking for extra cilantro at Chipotle or getting mashed potatoes and gravy on any menu item at KFC), there are some that are completely pointless (like adding a fish patty to your Big Mac — gross), and others that aren’t just pointless, they’re infuriating to the staff members who have to go along with your little scheme. And one of the most well-known McDonald’s hacks is also the one that annoys its employees to no end.
You’ve probably heard it by now: “If you want fresh fries at McDonald’s, just ask for them with no salt!” The fry cook has to fry up a fresh batch, so the ones you get are piping hot and you can customize your own salt level. Sounds great, right? Except for the fact that it’s a pointless request, and it infuriates the employees who have to heed your demand.
Here’s why: For one, it’s McDonald’s. You really think those fries aren’t fresh? Just about everyone who walks through the door orders fries, so the odds of your fries being more than a few minutes old are pretty low already. A new batch has to be made every seven minutes anyway, and is usually made to order during slow periods.
Second, fries right out of the fryer are scalding hot, so giving them a couple minutes to hang out doesn’t make them soggy, it just makes them easier to eat.
Third, because you asked for unsalted fries (instead of just asking for fresh fries), the poor worker has to remove all the fries that are currently under the heater, clean the salt off of the bin and the scooper, and make a fresh batch of fries. If they don’t clean out the bin first, then they risk burning themselves because they now need to scoop the fries directly out of the deep-fryer basket.
So here’s the bottom line: If you really want fresh fries, just ask for fresh fries, but know that the fries you’d get anyway are already pretty damn fresh. And don’t try to fool anyone by asking for them without salt. All you’re doing is annoying the employees, and nobody will believe that you’re on a low-sodium diet anyway, because then why are you eating at a McDonald’s?