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Workers Claim McDonald’s Made Them Under-Fill French-Fry Orders

An ideal serving size? Photo: McDonald’s New York Tri-State/YouTube

All burger chains are judged by their fry-to-box quotient — if a carton is so full, you have to scrape loose fries from the bottom of the bag, that’s a win. Per this arithmetic, Mickey D’s has been generous in the past, but now the chain is having to push back against an allegation that some workers were trained to intentionally under-fill fry boxes. Replying to an AskReddit thread about things employers asked redditors “to hide from customers,” several users claiming to work (or have worked) for McDonald’s said their stores had a policy of quietly shortchanging customers on fries. They say employees were taught a trick where they’d pinch cartons at the base before adding fries. That obviously kept fewer fries from going in, but the redditors claim that from the top, boxes would look just as full.

User ExperiMENTALbunny explains the maneuver, which sounds like the French-fry equivalent of when you buy a bag of chips that’s essentially all air:

I worked at McDonald’s and they taught me how to pinch the fry carton just right while putting the fries into them so that it looked full, but actually wasn’t.

Another redditor says this was common practice at their store, too:

I fucking hated that practice and basically refused to do it. Never got fired, but managed to have a few customers ask me when my shifts were the next week so they could have me filling their fries.

The fries were dirt cheap too! Case held 6 bags, each bag made 8 or 12 baskets, and each basket made 4-5 large fries filled my way. They only cost 20$ a case, so if they just filled them like I would they would net 288$ with all conservative numbers(8,4,1.5$) and assuming they were all sold in meals. This is coming from management side because I was shipping manager so I had to know all this shit.

ExperiMENTALbunny says only one customer ever realized they were being swindled. “He shook the fries out into his bag and poured them back into the fry carton himself and it only filled up half way,” the user writes, adding: “So I had to give him more fries. I was impressed and embarrassed. It’s been 7 years and I can still see his face.”

It’s unclear where these two supposedly worked, but McDonald’s seems to be going the Reddit-truther route on their allegations, regardless. A statement released by the chain says, “We believe these claims to be fictional,” as “there are no ‘secret tricks’” at McDonald’s — it has “strict operational procedures in place to ensure that fry portions are not under-filled.” A rep adds, “Without a verified source, we are unable to investigate this further.” Sounds like Malcolm Gladwell has his next podcast topic.

Workers Say McDonald’s Had Them Under-Fill French-Fry Orders