McDonald’s is the most successful restaurant chain in history. Their success story spans generations, with billions of happy customers scarfing down cheeseburgers and fries. While McDonald’s might preach “QSC,” which stands for quality, service, and cleanliness, it doesn’t mean the chain doesn’t occasionally slip up. Everyone has a story about getting the wrong order, having a rude drive-thru person, and even occasionally getting a crack pipe in your bag. Wait, what?
Happy Meals include toys, and McNuggets have dipping sauce, but breakfast value meals shouldn’t have anything but hash browns. For a customer in Columbus, Ohio, their recent visit included more than a McMuffin and a hash brown. On Tuesday, a Reddit user who goes by “ltibbs” posted on the popular social media app that he received an unwanted and alarming extra item in his breakfast value meal.
The store, located at 619 Harrisburg Pike in Columbus, was investigated by the health department and temporarily closed after allegedly including a used crack pipe in the value meal bag. The user reportedly notified the manager following the startling discovery and the manager offered a refund, which the customer refused. The unlucky customer, who claims to be a regular at that location proceeded to contact the McDonald’s corporate headquarters, as well as the Columbus Police.
The franchise owner, Alex Mendoza, released a statement addressing the incident :“As a local business owner, the safety of my customers and crew is my first priority, and we take this very seriously. We’ve begun a thorough internal review of this claim. We have no indication that the item came from our restaurant but are continuing to investigate and have contacted local law enforcement to report the matter.” Security footage and interviews with employees on the clock at the time offered no leads as to the origin of the crack pipe, but the Columbus Health Department was quick to investigate.
On Wednesday, the department made an emergency visit to the location, finding numerous violations, mostly related to construction work taking place in the building. It was reported that contractors were seen moving through food service areas, and there was notable amounts of dust and debris from the construction efforts. They were quoted as saying: “Beverage service equipment such as soda dispenser, frappucino machine, frozen beverage dispenser, coffee machine had dust, debris, screws, unassembled computer equipment, wooden trim pieces on the top surfaces.”
The restaurant was ordered closed immediately, with a deadline of January 4th to clean and sanitize the store before reopening. The Health Department stressed that the closure was in no way related to the alleged crack pipe, rather the numerous violations from the dust and debris related to store construction. The location has since been reinspected and reopened, but there has been no word on exactly where the crack pipe came from, or how it ended up in a bag in the drive-thru.
This certainly isn’t a good look for what is supposed to be a fun, family-friendly restaurant catering to families and children. Quality, service, and cleanliness are vital to the success of McDonald’s, but a crack pipe in a value meal serves to undermine all three aspects of the business model. Hopefully, this location and others will be more vigilant of what is in the bag that is handed out of the drive-thru window.
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