You must speak so that I can hear you

I have ranted about Germany's problem with service-oriented thinking before. Had another experience of the strange kind this weekend.

The teenager wanted to eat out at McDonald's. I can think of better places to eat, but it's Easter, let him choose. The place was loud - a birthday gaggle of children and all sorts of machinery producing hamburgers and fries. We all stood around trying to place our complicated order.

The youth behind the cash register remarked pointedly at one point: "You must speak so that I can hear you, otherwise I cannot complete your order!" I was taken aback, but we quite obediently raised our voices, leaning towards him in case he was perhaps deaf.

What happened to "Excuse me, I didn't catch that last order?"

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