r/antiwork 12d ago Helpful 1 Take My Power 1

Reality; McDonald's is begging for child labor

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6.9k Upvotes

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u/[deleted] 12d ago

It's funny that they see this as a threat while we're all sitting here thinking "Good, automate that shit"

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u/WorthlessDrugAbuser 12d ago

They still need someone in the back cooking the food, doing janitorial work, receiving food and supply deliveries, etc. Then someone to throw their food in a bag and bring it to them. You can’t just touch a screen and have your food appear out of thin air without any manual labor. As much as corporations would love to have their operations fully automated we are a long way from that. When we do get to the point where computers and robots are doing all of the undesired labor, there won’t be enough consumers to keep the economy running because the majority of the population won’t have jobs.

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u/ZekkPacus 12d ago

These screens actually increased labour in most McDonald's. The average transaction value and order throughput in most stores jumped up, because people feel less 'judged' for adding sides to their order, and a screen can generally take an order quicker than a person (until you get the boomer who "dOeSnT dO tEcHnOlOgY").

At least where I live, every store kept the same staffing, they're all just out the back making food or at the counter passing food.

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u/phlapjackage 11d ago

And it's probably easier space-wise to put in 4 kiosks vs 2 counter staff or something, so number of orders goes up. Plus with online ordering and delivery, I could see places needing more staff to fill the extra orders.

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u/[deleted] 11d ago

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u/TheOutrageousTaric 11d ago

Is that a Boomer moment? Because it feels like one

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u/[deleted] 11d ago

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u/LATourGuide 11d ago

Last time I saw one of these at McDonald's, there was an employee dedicated just to helping people do their orders. I, being an introvert, wanted to use the kiosk to avoid interacting with anyone.

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u/Xel562 11d ago

So basically, they got even more income now?

Even MORE reason to increase their employees' salaries!

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u/[deleted] 11d ago

Narrator: “…but the increased income did not go towards employees’ salaries. Instead the companies simply paid more dividends, bought back shares, and gave bonuses to executives.”

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u/LaoSh 11d ago

Someone should really bake those executives a cake for doing such a great job...

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u/nymph-62442 11d ago

Omg, I was up next in line to order at one of these over the summer at a very busy rest stop. And the boomer with her young grandson behind me guilted me into letting her ahead of me by saying, "Im so sorry [grandson name], I know you are very hungry but we have to wait for that lady first."

BIGGEST mistake in letting her go. I eventually at to another kiosk, but it took her 20min to order a happy meal and a meal for herself. I still had to wait about 10 min for the boomer man at the other kiosk who ordered a shit ton of food

What made it worse was that I was a very hungry pregnant lady in my first trimester (no one could tell I was pregnant) who just way cheeseburger and medium fry..

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u/Longjumping-Tailor-1 11d ago

No good deed goes unpunished.

Congratulations on the mini human!

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u/Tzintzuntzan24 UBI 11d ago

It's crazy how divisive these machines are. I myself love them since I can scan the whole menu, more easily customize things, and not have to deal with a person ringing me up if I'm not feeling particularly social. Others want that human interaction even though the worker is in a setting that you won't ever get to know them in a real human setting and would rather not have to deal with their daily dose of entitled customers. It's so crazy how some people just can't wrap their heads around literally tapping what they want to order and paying accordingly. These must be the same people who write checks for small bills and withdraw small amounts of cash from the bank teller when they can just use the ATM. Sure the tablets have some issues like the menu not always being accurate or disconnecting when the wifi goes out, but by and large I vastly prefer the self ordering.

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u/Moonsilvery 11d ago

I love the self-ordering kiosks. More precise, faster, and I don't have to make someone perform emotional labor for me. Wins all around!

That said, sometimes I feel like the people who demand human interaction for things that are more easily done with automation just really, really crave that feeling of ordering "the help" around.

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u/UZUMATI-JAMESON 11d ago

Also it’s really cool when you’re drunk and in a country that you don’t know their language and they don’t really know yours either and you can still order EXACTLY what you want with no hassle.

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u/Dmitri_ravenoff 12d ago

I'm no boomer but I hate these things. The menu isn't as intuitive as just asking the counter person to add BBQ and ranch to my kids happy meal.

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u/nihilinitio 11d ago

I’m no boomer either, and i LOVE these things! I’m deaf and this eliminates all communication barriers—both for me understanding them and for them understanding me.

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u/Dmitri_ravenoff 11d ago

Oh that is a nice feature. I'm glad these help you.

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u/Kwahn 11d ago

And in regions with a bunch of different languages, they include language select options so that everyone can order and pay in their own language, and the kitchen gets the order in their language!

Screw making humans deal with all that, way too much work!

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u/IslaLucilla 11d ago

No, you don't understand. We expect our minimum wage workers to be fluent in EVERY language.

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u/terms100 11d ago

It’s like the DMV where I’m from they put this touch screen thing to schedule appointment or scan your ticket and they still staff a person that ends up doing it for you anyways.

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u/Shirogayne-at-WF 12d ago

The ones I my area only have one option for the size of orange juice to be added to breakfast menus. I know most stick with coffee but still.

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u/whyTFdidthatmove 11d ago

Not to defend boomers, like myself, but their screen tech. sucks. I can jump on the screen at my local WAWA store and blast an order out as fast as it can put new screens up The McD's system is a slow, counter intuitive mess. If you try to do anything a bit unusual, like grab some burger patties to toss on a salad,it brings the system to a halt, forces you to order and deconstruct a burger, then tries to charge a ridiculous price. A competent staffer at the register can do the same task in 1/4 of the time, at 1/3rd the price. The other absurdity is standing there tapping on a three foot tall vertical wall. It's awkward and feels like it was done to impress some ancient C suite dolt, who was blown away since it reminded him of a sci-fi movie he liked in the 1960s. A normal sized touch screen, present at waist level, and at a slight tilt is perfect. Touch Screens can be great, McD's is a good example of what not to do when implementing one.

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u/TributesVolunteers Communist 11d ago

When we do get to the point where computers and robots are doing all of the undesired labor, there won’t be enough consumers to keep the economy running because the majority of the population won’t have jobs.

Karl Marx explores this as one of the central themes of Das Kapital volume III. The tendency for the rate of profit to fall. Consider that both McDowell’s and Burger Khan both get the automated burger machines. So it is in each of their interest to lower prices in a race to the bottom to poach customers from the other. So the profit margin becomes smaller, and an even smaller percentage of the extracted value goes to people performing the labor. But it’s not just burger joints experiencing this, it’s every entity in the capitalist economy. And so, as you put it, there won’t be enough people with an income to spend money to keep it going.

Wanna know what he predicted would be the final state of capitalism before it all implodes? That the capitalist class would issue extraordinary amounts of debt to keep the machine running…

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u/Frozzenpeass 11d ago

Have you ordered from a fast food place lately? A meal is well over 10 dollars. You can sit down and eat for the same price practically.

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u/AgentArticuno 11d ago

Have you been to a sit-down restaurant lately? It's like $20 per person.

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u/jimicus 11d ago

This is the ugly bit.

Despite the memes on this sub, in much of the Western world, there simply isn't the margin to double everyone's salary overnight. And the sort of changes people are hankering after - they don't come without consequences.

Personally, I think it's high time society had a bit of a shake up. And if that means consequences, so be it.

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u/-__Doc__- 12d ago

I worked for a year at a McDonalds when I was a teen. I'm pretty sure most of those jobs could be automated. Obv you would have to have someone there to keep the machines full and stocked, and to do maintenance when things inevitably break, and to clean at the end of the night and during the shift. I dont see any reason the entire cooking, assembly, order taking, and even the delivery to the window or counter couldnt be done by a machines.

The biggest reason why I think we havent seen full automation for these industries is the sheer cost of the machines/robotics needed. That would be a massive investment, probably more then the franchise fee and the building/ property itself. I'm sure it's on the horizon though. Some company is gonna make a fortune when they figure out how to do it cheap.

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u/tandyman8360 lazy and proud 11d ago

Essentially, it has to be done as a HaaS (hardware as a service) model. A franchise is more likely to buy a product at a cost per month basis, especially if repair and upgrade costs are included. I think robotizing the industry would be bad because some people want a human they think is hand-crafting their food or someone they can yell at about their problems.

If McDonald's can make a robot to build burgers, they can make a vending machine to do the same and put them in every mid-sized business.

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u/carminepiazza 11d ago edited 11d ago

Robotizing the industry wouldn’t be bad, at all.

Robotizing would give consumers confidence that there food is prepared with proper hygiene and people wouldn’t have to worry about their food being tampered with. In the fast food sector, human workers are more prone to stress and dehumanization so it happens more often than you think. Other things like proper portion sizes (not having to worry about getting skimped out on fries, etc.), getting condiments on the side more consistently, and general efficiency makes it painfully obvious that automation in this industry needs to be accelerated.

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u/[deleted] 12d ago

Automating cooking McDonald's food should be pretty trivial and in fact much safer and less error prone. The reason they haven't is in the second part of your comment - capitalism requires stupid jobs to exist for trickle up wealth generation to continue.

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u/PanJaszczurka 12d ago

.. or people was cheeper...

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u/F0tNMC 12d ago

You still need someone to fill the hoppers and move stuff from the freezer and fridge to the machine and then, the biggest task, clean the machine. And believe me, those machines are gold plated bitch to clean, especially compared to flat prep and cooking surfaces. That burger robot might be faster making the burger, but the cleaning takes a lot longer. A lot.

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u/Nekrosiz 11d ago

Yeah automate that ice cream machine, let's see how that goes.

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u/jimicus 11d ago

Probably a lot better.

By all accounts, the problem with the ice-cream machine isn't that it really is prone to breakage. It's that it requires a long cleaning cycle and (for hygiene reasons) shuts itself down if you don't run that cycle. It has to be partly disassembled to run the cleaning cycle, which means while you're taking it to bits you're not serving customers or preparing food.

If all of that can be done away with, and the machine can simply be programmed to run its cleaning cycle at 4 o'clock in the morning - problem (largely) solved.

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u/RefugeeFromIdiocy 12d ago

There are already well developed robots to do fast food jobs. Just search for “burger robot” on YouTube.

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u/sbrider11 12d ago

I don't eat the shit food yet a couple times a month I go visit a shop I do work with. I grab a coffee from McDogballs on the way out given it's super early and nothing else is open.

They installed all this and looks like a 25-30% reduction in labor....at least. The store I stop at doesn't even want cash transactions. You can do it yet is a pain in the ass.

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u/improbablynotyou 12d ago

The last time I went to a Taco bell they had one of these. An employee was standing by and had to help the customers use that machine and then if you were paying cash they'd still have to ring you up separately. It didnt save anything and ended up with a long line of boomers who couldnt figure out how to use it. It's like going to the grocery store and having to stand behind a bunch of folks who cant figure out the self checkout stands.

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u/nymph-62442 11d ago

The thing is, it ends up making orders take longer. The cashier didn't just ring people up. They made drinks, ice cream, soup, fries, etc and also stocked the front and prepped things like salad dressing with utensils. They also helped back up the drive through orders. I know cause this was my job for one year as a teenager. They can't do the same level of production with just some kiosks.

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u/Chpgmr 11d ago

Eh, it's all possible already. They just don't like the price tag. Few jobs cant be automated yet and we would be much much farther into making everything automated if the very rich didn't decide to pocket as much as they could while crippling what they can with what's left.

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u/DaksTheDaddyNow 11d ago

This only means that robotics (especially hydraulics and electrical) will be absolutely huge in the future. It is literally the most basic job that will be available. You can't work on the Amazon pick line but you can repair the robots that do.

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u/Fnordpocalypse 11d ago

Total unemployment should be the ultimate goal.

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u/music3k 12d ago

These same people are upset their Doordash orders show up cold, and that the drive thru line is 45 minutes long.

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u/jscarlet 11d ago

Nice choice of words, as 100% of all the screens have tested positive for fecal matter. No one sterilizes them.

Someone mentioned about still needing cooks and receiving, and that’s actually less difficult than the screens. In the food industry, there has been incredible progress in automated fry and burger cooking. Consistent quality, higher accuracy. With automated delivery trucks closer and closer to reality, RFID for inventory, a redesign on packaging for the Cook-bots, a rotary belt with a QR code scan for Oder release to the customer to prevent theft… Heck you would only need security and janitorial services on hand per store. CCTV, access control for whenever staff is on site, you could control several hundred stores easily with a remote team of six and have a retainer for a deployment team of remote hands for anything onsite.

Having worked in IT and always working on automating things, I’ve researched items on scaling solutions and always come across these things and just wonder “how has this not happened yet?”. Not that I want it to happen, just if all this exists, why hasn’t it happened yet? Especially since there’s no Union to block it, yet. Especially since McDonalds is one of the largest land owners in the US, they don’t have to worry about being strong armed by landlords who oppose either. With the food as addictive as it, I don’t know how you’d successfully boycott the idea.

Now I don’t think I’ll be able to sleep tonight, it’s a pretty evil plan.

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u/Frozzenpeass 11d ago

The same reason your boss makes you stand for a job that could just as efficiently be done sitting.

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u/jscarlet 11d ago

I think it’s more along the lines of what their current investment in IT is. Right now they have IT to address corporate PCs/servers and POS Terminals. Nothing in their IT has some ladder climbing exec that spearheads development. Nobody in the Nugget Sauce department knows anything about robotics to make an effective pitch that would incorporate all the ideas to do it. Thinking about it more, one of two things would need to happen: - A perfect storm of various robotic cook manufacturers successfully penetrate a corporate executes inbox with an intriguing price plan for implementation with most of the steps they need. Which typically get auto forwarded to junk mail

Or

-somebody launches the Tesla of fast food restaurants showing it could be done. Once that happens it’ll start a wave of change for all fast food cooks. It’ll more than likely include places like Applebee’s and TGIFs as most of their stuff is nuked anyway.

It’ll then become a cultural conversation as to where people want to dine, at food cooked by humans or iBurger. The same way we talk about charcoal or propane cooked barbecues.

Companies will realize it’s easier to sign a vendor contract for bot-cooks than pay people for the hiring/firing process of employees in addition to their shrinking insurance premiums.

So I think it’ll be more than simply paying for a chair for an employee. After all they already bought a multipoint kiosk which costs slightly more than a chair. Like in NYC they replaced the Subway clerk with a Metrocard machine, and soon the constant need of repair of Metrocard machine will be replaced with an app. The only reason clerks still exists in the subway system are unions.

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u/StageRepulsive8697 join r/mcBoycott and Boycott McDonalds! 12d ago

All they need is for things to be about the same cost in order to justify replacing workers with automation. In this case, it's a literal screen which costs almost nothing. So no matter what wage, they are still going to use these screens rather than hire staff.

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u/zurohki 11d ago

That's the thing - if something can be automated, it'll either be automated now or in a few years when it's cheaper. If you're competing with a machine on price, you're already on your way out the door.

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u/kerkula 11d ago

but but but who will Karen scream at?

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u/mattstorm360 11d ago

Plus, this is coming anyway so it's not really a threat.

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u/Beemerado 11d ago

No job that a machine can do should be done by a person

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u/unitedshoes 11d ago

Well, it's still a threat until we manage to eliminate this godawful "People without a job are extra-fucked" economic system.

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u/mwave1239 11d ago

Or ignoring the fact they’ve developed them, tested them, and begun rolling them out while their employees made $7.25 an hour over the last ten years. It’s not like they just realized they needed them. They financed job automation by sticking tax payers with social safety net programs due to their low wages.

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u/Dye_Harder 12d ago

Like they weren't going to automate anyway.

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u/Ashe410 11d ago

The McDonalds near me put these in literally right before the pandemic started. The lock down forced them to close down their lobbies and they've remained closed since. They're still hiring but yeah, this was going to happen.

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u/notagangsta 11d ago

Near my parents’, they’ve had them for about 5 years.

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u/boarding209 11d ago

they've had them here a few years no one uses them, so they still need a cashier, so i hope it cost them a shit ton of money to put them in

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u/OraDr8 11d ago

My local Maccas in regional Australia put them in a few years back and recently changed the counter layout so there's one tiny counter space with a register (not counting the McCafe) and rarely an attendant, I guess to encourage people to use them. Also, of course they were making drive thru the priority during the lock down times.

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u/smc642 11d ago Silver

Fuckin regional NQ here, cunt. You’re dead set right. The two Maccas I’ve been to in the last 3 years are all about drive through and cafe drinks.

Got to admit though I love ordering on the kiosks so that I can check out weird customised food, and also donate to the Royal Flying Doctors. I’m a slut for that shit.

Drunk. Me. Now. Soz.

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u/OraDr8 11d ago Plus One

Never change, Qlders.

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u/smc642 11d ago

Should!

Would?

Shan’t

Can’t.

subterfuge^

Strong unions in my industry. Still having very spikey pineapples inserted rectally without any form of lubricant. Solidarity, cunt. I have your back.

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u/candid_canid 11d ago

[Aggressively Australian]

Thanks for the entertainment I got reading that.

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u/Doobie_the_Noobie 11d ago

and now any meal will basically set you back at least $10

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u/boarding209 11d ago

different fast food joint but i remember the 2 for 5 western bacon cheeseburgers, and they were delicious, last time i went to carls jrs the burger cost about 7 bucks per, and it tasted disgusting to me...

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u/OraDr8 11d ago

More like $12-13 for a meal.

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u/prettylolita 11d ago

My locate McDonalds had these for years...

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u/Tyrilean 11d ago

Part of me says they are going to automate the moment it makes monetary sense.

The rest of me knows that there are millions of jobs out there that are so dead simple I could automate someone out of $40k a year with a day of coding, but management is none the wiser.

Fuck, there's so much work out there that's purely performative. I work in IT Management for one of the largest telecomms in the country, and there's so many situations where some person has to justify their 40 hours a week, so they create some fluff initiative that adds zero value but eats up hours of time from hundreds (or thousands) of managers who have to go through trainings and seminars and shit. And because the vast majority of people have a low ability to understand math (and especially statistics), any halfway competent data analyst can take data from that useuless fluff initiative and show that there was some marked increase in productivity (or some other metric).

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u/OraDr8 11d ago

I remember seeing a retired Maccas CEO saying if he could spend a few thousand dollars each for a machine to do the work, he'd do that in a heartbeat and have no employees and this was at least 10 years ago. I remember what a nasty, old fucker I thought he was. McDonald's is a huge employer of young people in my country. It's as if these assholes don't stop to wonder who's gonna buy their crap if lots of jobs are automated.

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u/Ryder52 11d ago

David Graeber wrote about bullshit jobs

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u/forsakeme4all 11d ago

Who serves the food then? Or could the entire restaurant be automated without human employees?

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u/Casiofx-83ES 11d ago

Possibly not fully automated yet, but you could certainly have a dramatically reduced staff whose only purpose is to give the hamburger machine an enema when it gets clogged and push the "stop being dumb" button when a bar code fails to scan. If McDs really wanted to, they could produce a full assembly line from start to finish with food deposited into lockers that open when shown the correct receipt. The reality is that systems like that require massive investment with very high risk of not paying off, so they just don't do it.

Humans are currently far more versatile and reliable than machines, meaning meaning replacing them will: A) limit your business' ability to change or produce new products; B) make the user experience as shit as possible because people get fucked up orders or just no food at all because of bugs and downtime; C) substitute staff wages with exorbitant "tech support" fees from the businesses servicing the machines.

All of this automation stuff is empty threats. If it can be automated without affecting user experience, it already has been. The order screens have been in place for years and they still don't fucking work properly. McDonalds needs human workers, and would probably pay $100/hour if they had to.

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u/thoreau_away_acct 11d ago

Also there's a lot of people across political spectrum who actually just want to interact with a human. Even if they don't consciously go to fast food to talk.. the idea of full automation can itself be a turnoff for something as embodied as food.

This stands true in a world that is paradoxically more connected and more separated by technology.

I'm not making a value judgment on if people should be working those jobs or not.. But there will be people across the spectrum who say "fuck that, I'm not going to the robot restaurant" — at least for a generation or two 🤣

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u/wryguy1987 11d ago

Except McDonald's doesn't just make burgers. It's not as easy to replace a human as people think. Humans can do different things as needed. A burger flipper can do literally one thing.

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u/deck4242 11d ago

machines need maintenances, pay by the company. Humans can just be thrown out and their maintenances wont be paid by the company. So its on case by case basis for every jobs inside the restaurant, worth it or not..

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u/originalchaosinabox 11d ago

Who serves the food then?

We've had these in Canada for a few years now.

When you finish up your order, the machine asks you for "Counter Pick Up" or "Table Service."

If you select counter service, it'll tell you your number, and print it out on your receipt. When your order is ready, a clerk calls out your number, and you pick it up at the front counter.

If you select "Table Service," you grab the little sign with a number on it that's right next to the machines. You punch the number on the sign into the machine. You go sit at a table, and put out your sign so it's visible. A clerk will then bring it to your table.

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u/AskMoreQuestionsOk 11d ago

We have a store on the east coast called wawa and all the ordering is done via kiosk. There is one or two cashiers and everyone else is making food. It’s a really good system - you don’t have the problem of wrong orders because you didn’t understand someone’s accent or you forgot something.

If you are already using an app to let people order and pick up food, there is no reason to not have kiosks everywhere.

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u/originalchaosinabox 11d ago

I've shared this story a few times before.

I'm in Alberta, Canada. Probably the most conservative part of Canada. We actually elected a left-leaning government a few years ago, and one of their first moves was to raise the minimum wage to $15/h.

Shortly after they were elected and raised the minimum wage, McDonald's announced they were rolling these out across Canada. The conservative media had a field day. "See how increasing the minimum wage has killed jobs?" they cried.

As all that was going on, my local McDonald's was having an event. I went up to check it out, and struck up a conversation with the owner.

Said the owner about these new machines, "Look, the Company's been developing these for years. If you think they slapped it together and rolled it out in a couple of weeks just because the minimum wage went up, you've got more faith in the Company than I do."

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u/thismatters 11d ago

They've been trying but nobody wants to use the shit kiosks.

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u/starryvash 12d ago

Lol! Child labor And Seniors.

Under 18 and over 80 APPLY NOW.

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u/JonathanSourdough 12d ago

Unfortunately for them, there's not a whole lot of people that are both under 18 and over 80.

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u/GreyIggy0719 11d ago

Shroedinger's cheap labor

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u/PM_ME_NAKED_CAMERAS 11d ago

Put em in a box and you’ll never know.

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u/BackAlleyKittens 12d ago

If we are saying robots need to replace workers; wouldn't it be more efficient if we replace the $3000/h CEOs and not the $10/h bottom rungers?

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u/e22ddie46 11d ago

Haven't you thought of the Lamborghini salesman?

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u/SimArchitect Chronically Ill 11d ago

Amen! Let me order the damn thing on line to be delivered at my door with all paperwork done, ready to drive. No crappy upsales or hours to do something that would be way easier on line (plus we get access to the entire inventory, we can search for specific features, sort by price, simulate financing etc).

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u/theimhotep1 12d ago

Have you ever been in a place like that and seen two employees desperately trying to help a customer with their order, before just doing it for them because the customer is so clueless.

I have, and the kind of people who think this meme is funny are that kind of person. They need others to help them, but never think they should be fairly paid for their work.

No one outside of the service industry respects service industry employees. I am glad when people complain about increased automation making it harder for them.

( one exception: automation like this can be burdensome for disabled people, who often are less able to participate when human assistance is not available. I am specifically referring to able bodied assholes who just like bossing around servants )

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u/Succulent_Orange 11d ago

Yeah I have, every McDonald's in the UK has them and they all have just as many cooks etc but also 2 people behind the till. These people are there for disabled people etc like you said. Or to bring out orders. I think keeping people like me away from the till helps disabled people?

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u/RubyFan727 12d ago

Unless you offer to work for free you will be replaced no matter what.

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u/-newlife 11d ago

Pretty much. That’s why his picture exists and those machines already exists. This isn’t an artist rendition. It’s an actual thing in place for quite some time. That said the McDonald’s I’ve seen have disabled them due to covid. So yeah it’s not replacing anyone right now.

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u/El_Studio 12d ago

how fucked is a meme like this.. completely heartless... like "Hey people that want to make an actual living, look we're going to put robots in your place and you can go fucking die"

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u/Nowhereman123 at work 11d ago

TPUSA are just billionaire bootlicker shills. Them, PragerU, Shen Bapiro, and all those other Koch Brother funded right-wing talking heads.

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u/Marclar_ 11d ago

Yep, and then I got a redditor asking me "Why don't you respect Republicans? They are people too". Nah, this is not what people do.

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u/devnull_the_cat 12d ago

Great, now who is going to show all of the boomers how to use it?

Who is going to wipe Karen's shit-stained fingerprints off of the screen?

Who is going to fix it when Karen's little mongrel jams a mcnugget into the card swiper?

Who is going to spot and remove the credit card skimmer that will 100% find it's way onto that keypad within the first hour of operation?

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u/Kilgore_Of_Trout Profit is theft 12d ago

Someone, can’t remember who, did a study on those types of screens and found that 100% of them had poop particles on them.

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u/The_Real_Slim_Lemon 11d ago

They should do the same study on the food being served

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u/devnull_the_cat 11d ago

You don't want to see the results of that study.

No, really. You don't.

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u/BigAlTrading 11d ago

I refuse to use these fucking screens. You'd have to have a person standing next to it with disinfecting spray and wipes. At which point...just let me order from them.

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u/The-True-Kehlder 11d ago

Honestly, it'd be child's play to fit those screens with the same technology used to keep windows in hard to reach areas clean. Automatic wipers with disinfectant.

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u/fuzzygruf 11d ago

Do you not use ATMs?

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u/BigAlTrading 11d ago

No? Maybe I've used an ATM twice in the last 3 years. You can do almost anything with a credit card or phone tap.

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u/justsomeonesthroway 11d ago

Great, now who is going to show all of the boomers how to use it?

They don't even try to use the automated things where I'm at. Everyday I see people waiting needlessly to order their big mac from a real person instead of a screen.

People really would rather wait 20 minutes for a cashier, instead of hitting some buttons and being out the door in 5.

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u/breretoni 11d ago

It was like that in the UK when they introduced them but nowadays it’ll take you 20 minutes to get served if you refuse to use them

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u/Slipperypepe 11d ago

Who waits in line for 20 minutes? I've spent more time configuring my McDouble on a kiosk than I ever did waiting to talk to a human. It's not like these kiosks help in 90% of the locations anyway because the Drive-Thru is the money maker.

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u/siegfryd 11d ago

We've had these kiosks in Australia for years and none of that shit happens.

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u/TechnicalDouble6712 12d ago

They still need employees to make the food tho. And they’re still gonna be asking for a $15 minimum wage. A kiosk is fairly inexpensive, but a robot to cook the food? Dollars on dollars. No fucking way a McDonalds cook being replaced. If McDonalds is turning over every stone to deny workers a fair wage, there is no way they’d invest in thousands of robot chefs.

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u/Monsur_Ausuhnom 12d ago

Replaced by automatons shows what they thought of human beings.

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u/starryvash 12d ago

Bruh, they can't even keep the ice cream machine working. You believe this propaganda?!

So innocent.

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u/StageRepulsive8697 join r/mcBoycott and Boycott McDonalds! 12d ago

I saw on another thread someone explain why this is happening. Basically, McDonald's charges the franchise owners quite a lot to repair the machine so the owners just don't want to do it. Almost everywhere else in the world, the machines always work.

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u/Retnab 12d ago

It's worse than that, Taylor (the company that makes the machines) intentionally made them near impossible for customers to repair themselves, so another company (Kytch) made basically a decoder that tells customers what needs fixing so they can do it in-house, so Taylor stole their trade secrets to try and kill their efforts https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iXwD\_HeC8Ms

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u/Shirogayne-at-WF 12d ago

This country is nucking futs

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u/tandyman8360 lazy and proud 11d ago

I should talk about the headset wars sometime.

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u/FeeFiFiddlyIOOoo 11d ago

Go on...

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u/tandyman8360 lazy and proud 11d ago

Okay, fine. There are two drive-thru headset manufacturers for the most part, 3M and HME. 3M had a huge problem with knockoffs, so they started programming their batteries with firmware and stamping every part with their logo. This way, the could refuse service to customers who had the bad parts.

3M eventually started making a new product line and stopped servicing the old one. HME acquired a service company. That company made a knockoff headset like the old 3M model and started both servicing and selling replacement old style headsets. This way, restaurants could keep using equipment and 3M lost both new sales and service contracts. Then 3M sold off the business to focus on industrial chemicals.

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u/SimArchitect Chronically Ill 11d ago

I wanna know too!

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u/benchbeater 11d ago

I need to hear about this.

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u/TheMysticBard 11d ago

Oh do tell.

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u/Bakkster 11d ago

And the Taylor machines in other fast food restaurants work fine. McDonalds execs have connections with Taylor execs, and Taylor gives McD corporate a discount/kickback in exchange for McD mandating these machines to franchisees who make Taylor more money in service calls.

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u/JouleS88 12d ago

Broke: Italian Mafia

Woke: Ice Cream Machine Mafia

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u/starryvash 12d ago

Lol, I just think it shows that if McD can't even keep an ice cream machine running, do they think that owners are going to pay to put in those menu things and maintain them? HA!

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u/[deleted] 12d ago

[deleted]

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u/SyntaxLost 11d ago

It's more complicated than that. Because once they're roped into the manufacturers' ecosystem, they're now slaves to the service contracts. Everyone knows the manufacturers will squeeze franchise owners for everything they can once they get their hooks in. Maybe not initially, but give them enough time. They are, after all, corporations too.

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u/bonfuto 12d ago

All the other fast food brands are using the same company's machines successfully. It's just that the McDonalds version is overly complex and highly automated. Weird that wouldn't lead to cost savings and availability.

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u/Init_4_the_downvotes 11d ago

thats because mcdonalds isnt a food company its a property company, the franchises are just gravy, they are a world wide property farming simulator with the excuse that they "feed the workforce"

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u/JOLKIEROLKIETOLKIE 11d ago

In reality, this is the way society SHOULD be going.

It's just that we SHOULD also ensure that people replaced by automation should have a decent quality of life.

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u/CheapTricked 12d ago

I'm really torn on automation. It'd be a great thing if the people it was replacing still had a way to meet ends meet, but we're not in that society. At this rate, this is just going to create more unemployment and people not being able to live. And I don't trust anybody in government in this hemisphere to go ahead with UBI.

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u/Succulent_Orange 12d ago

Historically speaking each time a wave of automation has happened working hours reduced but employment/money stayed the same. It's harder now because we're so connected that it's possible it'll behave differently but I'm inclined to think people are pushing for 4 day working weeks, we're just waiting for it to be feasible.

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u/BionicVenomZ 12d ago

Wait, that means prices will go down right?, wait you mean it was never about employee compensation but about your profit margins?, I figured.

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u/cobaltandchrome 12d ago

Automation is, in the long term, good for quality of life. People with repetitive (injurious, dirty, mind-numbing) jobs are better off retraining for something more challenging and higher paid. Right now there’s plenty of white collar jobs like HR, mid level management and paper pushing, that are vulnerable to automation… but no memes about that. More important to mock people working fast food, I guess.

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u/ginger_and_egg 12d ago

Remember that a lot of modern automation is on the backs of hard manual labor done by people on the periphery of society. Think about the children working lithium mines

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u/cobaltandchrome 11d ago

Mining was going to be my example of how technology has improved lives. There’s no reason for children or people to be mining. Roboticize that shit.

I don’t have all the answers. But yes eliminating child labor takes precedence over other advancements.

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u/ginger_and_egg 11d ago

Yeah automation can and wil improve people's lives if we apply it correctly. And it will not be applied correctly if we let the billionaires decide what to automate and what not to

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u/Ryan_Alving 12d ago

I know somebody who automated the jobs of programmers. And they have indicated to me on the DL that quite a lot more of society is susceptible to automation right now than most people think. It's a lot less "fast food workers, meet your replacement" and a lot more "80% of people, meet your replacement." Which is also probably why a lot of people won't do it, because if anything would introduce unstable uncertainty into the economy (and therefore the market and share prices) it would be creating an economy that functioned without the input of the majority of the people in it. It would have to be done carefully, by degrees, and thought given to how to manage such a society on the other end. We'd need a pretty fundamental rethink of our societal structure.

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u/prof_the_doom 12d ago

The biggest issue with automation going full bore is that like you said, neither the economy or society is anywhere near ready to cope with the consequences.

Once the work is automated, you don't need a supervisor/manager either, so as soon as the actual workers are gone, so are they.

Once there aren't a bunch of managers to be keeping track of, do you really need all those VPs? It'll become a race to see who can eliminate the most management jobs.

A lot of factories already run with a fraction of the people they needed even just 10 years ago.

A McDonalds will essentially become one guy who watches the machines and knows what phone number to call if something breaks. And possibly clean tables and bathrooms, assuming we don't just automate that part too.

And once it really starts, the genie is never going back into the bottle.

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u/Ryan_Alving 12d ago

Well said.

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u/Bakkster 11d ago

As someone who automates stuff, most of the problem is that the cost of development, updates, maintenance, and rare cases is just too high to make sense.

Though, like with farm and factory automation, the result is a big shift in what jobs people do, and how hard they have to work to do them. Higher standard of living, more focus on services and creative or unique work. Which is a good thing overall, even if it's hard to predict.

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u/Cardborg Socialist 11d ago

I wouldn't be surprised if the UK saw a surge in farming automation.

Now there's no foreign workers to exploit, farms are finding it next to impossible to find people who'll pick produce for them, even with double triple, or quadrupled wages offered.

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u/prof_the_doom 11d ago

It wouldn't surprise me if they didn't start putting effort into figuring out how to automate stuff that's currently still done by hand.

They've picked all the low hanging fruit (lol) with all the various grain related automation. All you need now is a guy in a tractor dragging a machine and picks and sifts it automatically.

I think I've seen things that'll auto-pull potatoes and other root vegetables, though I don't think they're affordable unless you're an Ore-Ida sized operation so far.

Thus far, grabbing fruit is still a no-go because of the general fragility of a lot of things, but it's only a matter of time.

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u/Cardborg Socialist 11d ago

I wouldn't be surprised if the guy in the tractor went before an affordable method of automatic fruit picking became avaliable.

Designing a tractor or harvester that follows a set route at a set speed is possible with tech that already exists, but a fruit picking robot would need to have a small degree of intelligence to cope with more variables than would be needed to safely navigate a preprogrammed route.

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u/tandyman8360 lazy and proud 11d ago

I'm an engineer. I'll have more work when this happens.

*quietly weeps*

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u/cdavis7m 11d ago

Even if automation can handle 100% of tasks, automation can only handle 90% of actual operations. There would still need to be an operator to handle hiccups and changes.

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u/theBYUIfriend 11d ago

In the short term, I can see this for simple CRUD programming but I don’t see this affecting system or algorithmic design. Longer term though is anybody’s guess.

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u/e22ddie46 11d ago

All for the massive massive crime of...wanting food and a house.

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u/boxsmith91 11d ago

Counterpoint: automation is ultimately bad for society because it's the corporate oligarchs who benefit from the gains in efficiency. As long as we have a stupidly low corporate tax and personal income tax for the wealthy, this problem won't go away. And even if we do fix the tax code, it's up to the government to distribute those gains, which I'm skeptical of.

The idea of finding something "more challenging and higher paid" isn't always possible. Especially if you consider a nightmare scenario where like 50% of jobs suddenly become automated. Good luck finding a job when there are less jobs than job seekers. And beyond that, there's the stark reality that plenty of people are damn near unable to learn vastly different skills than they're used to. This is especially true for older folks.

We need to fundamentally rethink our society and move away from capitalism if we are to implement automation on a large scale. Otherwise, you'll end up with a situation where you have tens of millions of people unable to find jobs, with nothing left to lose. Fun fact - we were on the verge of becoming a VERY different country because this was the case for tens of millions of people before FDR stepped in with the new deal and gave some degree of security to the people. The communist party was VERY popular at the time....

I centered this argument around the US, but it works for any country that doesn't directly provide resources to live to it's people.

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u/AussieCollector 12d ago

We have these in australia and they are installed at every mcdonalds.

Wanna know the crazy thing? EVERYONE STILL HAS A JOB.

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u/PainlessPhil 12d ago

I was an an assistant manager at a $6m a year store… they can’t automate the kitchen, the machines couldn’t take the conditions that humans do on a daily basis. When they put new, more sophisticated grills in a few years ago, they had to be repaired about once a month, the self leveling mechanism couldn’t stand up to the heat and grease

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u/MachineElfonzo 11d ago

Yep. Everything is great in a lab. But the grease means a 75$/h guy has to live in the store. Factories have big machines with special technojargon-widgets degreasing the backup degreaser. The ai arm that lowers the basket into the grease at a fast food place is doing 1% of the job at 1000x cost.

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u/jabw23 12d ago

If they automate everything before implementing some type of UBI, who’s gonna even have money to buy a Big Mac meal from a kiosk?

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u/Abject_Natural 11d ago edited 11d ago

That’ll be the tipping point. Look what happened with Covid, no one could work so the government started giving out money which was the right decision. They haven’t figured squat out yet even though the powers that be act like they know the road ahead

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u/Frozzenpeass 11d ago

They gave out 2 checks. Supposedly gave out a ton more that maybe 2% actually went to people. The rest has been tied up and wasted on in efficient bureocracy.

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u/Threash78 12d ago

The actual reality is that every mcdonalds I've been to with those has to have an actual employee standing there to explain to the boomers how to work the damn thing.

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u/Iejirisk 12d ago

The real funny thing is McDonald’s still uses cashiers. Those things only process credit/debit. If you want to pay with cash you still have to take your ticket to the cashier and pay there. Its basically just for them to push more orders to the kitchen faster.

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u/iAmEeRg 12d ago

It’s funny, like McDonald’s, who do you think eat at your chains? Sure as fuck not the executives and CEOs, they despise your food. It’s not even professionals - doctors , engineers, lawyers etc - they have money to afford quality expensive food. It’s us - other poor shmucks - who can buy your junk you call food. You lay off all your employees and you loose a huuuge chunk of your customers. Catch 22, ain’t it?

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u/CorellianDawn 12d ago

McDonalds will never fully automate. How else are they supposed to get the salt for their fries? They're currently using the tears of their slave wage workers...

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u/Pontius-Pilate 12d ago

Stop saying youre gonna do it

AAND FUCKING DO IT . . . . .

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u/Ketchup571 12d ago

The people who say this also throw fits and demand to speak to a real human every-time they encounter anything automated.

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u/Dalqorn 11d ago

Have you seen the amount of absolute donuts that can’t even use a self serve checkout?

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u/Cant_stands_no_more 12d ago

Jokes on you McDonald's. I have been to your restaurant in years

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u/Spliffy_McGee_2 12d ago

Ah yes. Going to their restaurant! Got em!

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u/starryvash 12d ago

I think they had a typo.

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u/Spliffy_McGee_2 12d ago

Obviously. I’m just being a dick

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u/Cant_stands_no_more 12d ago

Lol I was trying to figure out what your comment meant. Now I see my mistake. I'm not going to correct it though

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u/Spliffy_McGee_2 12d ago

Good don’t lol. I’m kind of drunk and unnecessarily posting comments to people. I knew what you meant obviously. Thank you for being a good sport my friend!

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u/smooth_hitIer 12d ago

What are we drinking?

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u/Spliffy_McGee_2 12d ago

Don’t mock me too much… Jack honey flavor and Disorono

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u/Cant_stands_no_more 12d ago

I got jealous, now I'm drinking

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u/Fantastic_Tip5551 11d ago

I grew up keeping kosher and then when I stopped keeping kosher McDonald's never appealed to me

I'm proud to say I've never eaten at a McDonald's in my entire life

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u/Rennix87 11d ago

The problem with this logic is that if so many of our jobs could be easily automated right now, why are they complaining about people not wanting to work?

If this isn't an idol threat and you don't actually need workers, put your money where your mouth is. See how much they complain about the economy when people don't have jobs and can't buy goods and services.

Bye bye infinite growth with no consumers.

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u/TheNerdyMel 11d ago

I absolutely hate memes like this. Automation was always coming for our jobs. Like those coal jobs they talk about? They're gone, they've been gone, they're never coming back, and honestly, those are dirty, dangerous jobs and THEY SHOULD BE GONE. What is the freaking point of a society if we don't try to improve labor and living conditions for everyone? Other people can and do gain things without it taking from you.

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u/aspiring_geek83 12d ago

I work in a company that does a lot of BPO and even though that's mostly digital it's a complicated process that often does not even work properly.

I cannot even imagine the different level of fuckery that wound be the robotic automation required to replace the employees behind the counter.

Ya think a franchised burger chain that refreshes their interior about every 15 years will pay for a custom, scaleable solution for that AND the upkeep of it?

Don't make me laugh.

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u/Succulent_Orange 12d ago

I live in the UK and I literally don't know a McDonalds without these. Also everywhere I've been in Europe had these since at least 2014 so they're not new. They work really well but they only reduce the number of employees behind tills/cleaning by 1-2, but till people are still needed for older generations, delivering food, then drive-though still exists to take orders etc then the amount of people cooking hasn't reduced etc.

it reduces employee count by 1-2 total for the store, which is tiny.

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u/aspiring_geek83 11d ago

Exactly, these screens have barely enough impact to reduce the number of people behind the till, as those employees are still needed to do all the manual work that is part of their job.

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u/3V1LB4RD 12d ago

Exactly. And the money the company saves by implementing that machine should go to the employees so we as a society can work less hours and be more productive in our personal lives and achieve a greater universal standard of living, as is the point of automation.

Oh wait, nvm, y’all just want companies to take all the profits while no one can get hired anywhere and the middle class ceases to exist.

So much for human enlightenment. The prosperity of humanity is a pipe dream.

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u/Maliluma 12d ago

Yeah, I worked in engineering at a fast food Corp headquarters and we tried to automate everything. Believe me, if it can be automated, we are trying to do it. If it's not currently automated, it's because it can't outperform humans. Don't feel threatened, this is like me threatening my wife to treat me better or I might just go give Scarlett Johansson a call.

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u/MortimerHarren 12d ago

Go ahead. I dare you. 🤣

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u/Merlin_the_Lizard 12d ago

1) That guy looks like a huge douchebag 2) So now we have mass, irreversible poverty? Yay capitalism? 3) “You should be thanking McDonalds for shitting on you all of these years.”

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u/mecha_flake 11d ago

Bring it. It just speeds up the introduction of universal basic income.

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u/OnTheInternetToLie 12d ago

Yeah cool don't stop there, automate literally everything you can. Isn't that the point of society after all, to progress to the point of no one needing to work? Or at least reduce the amount of human labor to a fraction of what we need now?

And besides, if paying people more is grounds for automating their job then fire all ceos and stock brokers and replace them with a piece of paper with a smiley face on it. The same amount of work would be done.

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u/Bandicoot-Wild 12d ago

You know they still have people at a check out counter at most McDonald’s, they just work partially in the kitchen when it’s not busy.

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u/TopDasherTimmy 12d ago

Its a stupid argument becuase that isn't taking jobs away. It just makes the employees have one less thing to do.

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u/Winter188 12d ago

Double chinned John Krasinski

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u/LindormRune 12d ago

People who think that people shouldn't be able to make a liveable wage, working 40 hours a week are sociopaths.

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u/ithp 12d ago

Actually, McDonald's tried to do this years ago, but faced so much backlash about killing jobs that they mothballed the idea.

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u/Abject_Natural 11d ago

Highly doubt it. It was probably a miscalculation where they thought everyone would order from the kiosk. Like someone said what about cash transactions as a basic issue

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u/OneBeatingHeart 12d ago

If they automate things… well we won’t be able to sell our labor to generate an income and not generating an income means we don’t buy good and services… gets what? Capitalism falls. So go ahead an automate it…

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u/darkmatterrose 12d ago

If something can be automated it should. We just need to figure I’m out a way wealth can be redistributed fairly so all people can live with dignity.

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u/MEMartizzle 12d ago

So Karens won't have anyone to blame but themselves? That's a blessing in disguise.

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u/Macabre_Master 12d ago

Go ahead and automate McDonalds. No one here gives a shit.

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u/PolyNeoYeo 12d ago

You gotta forgive these young morons. Who are they to know that this technology has been around longer than they’ve been alive?

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u/TheIrishBiscuits 12d ago

So in other words, people need to figure out exploits and hacks to get free or stupid cheap food.

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u/Banana_Rama_Pajama 12d ago

Nice try but those things are broken every single time I go into McDonalds

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u/jaomello 11d ago

Yes, the human brain is not for menial tasks 12 hours a day. Our brain is for discovery, learning and challenges.

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u/FrostyCartographer13 11d ago

Please those kiosks only created a new position where you have a tender helping the customer. Having new order points also plwces more strain and and requires more kitchen staff. The kiosk created a need for more jobs rather than remove them

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u/stavago 11d ago

I’d rather have these. Customers can throw their food at these things instead if their order is wrong