Today everything is on a timer but back then you probably had to watch everything carefully. So they may not have been paying attention, especially since you have to pick up twelve burgers during the couple of seconds between one of the presses lifting and the next one lifting if you don't want to get yelled at, and if you're lucky there are only two presses going at once and not three or four. Plus at the same time you have to be toasting the buns and getting them a few seconds late means tossing them away and starting over because they've started burning.
Despite what they say about the meat sitting there all day, it goes in the trash half an hour after it's cooked, unless the manager isn't looking, in which case they keep it for an hour before throwing it out. During the months I worked at one I was the only person that ever washed my hands. And as for world hunger, thousands of burgers go in the trash every day, only managers get any free food, and the food is compressed before being thrown out in case anyone decides to go through the trash. And they very proudly catch and arrest anyone in the dumpster.
Fortunately I was off-duty the day people came in with guns, robbed the place, and forced the employees into the freezer (which cannot be opened from inside, or at least couldn't back in the 90s when I worked there.) The employees on duty at the time had to wait until the next shift came in and opened the door to let them out. After that I didn't mind very much when I was let do awhile later. Employee morale was extremely low and I heard other people muttering how they'd quit if they could get another job.
I just ran across this article about the case.
PowerBook Pete, the Mad Mod said:
Commander Benson, thank you for the summation of the Liebeck vs McDonald's case. It's still held up as an example of a frivolous suit when it was anything but. There is no reason for coffee to be served hot enough to cause third-degree burns.
I must confess---when, back in the mid-'90's, I first heard of a lawsuit being filed against McDonald's IRT this incident, I believed it was a frivolous lawsuit, as well. Particularly in light of the accurate account that Mrs. Liebeck placed the cup of coffee between her legs to hold it while she opened it. (Something which I still believe was a foolish thing to do. Yes, one of the many small careless things we all do every day, but still foolish.)
I've learnt over time and travail that the popular version of things isn't always the right version, or even if it is, there are usually details that have gotten subsumed or altered. So several years ago, I researched the case and discovered that the lawsuit wasn't as non-substantial as urban legend had it.
The difference between 130-degree coffee, which restaurant customers familiarly expect to receive, and McDonald's super-heated 180-degree coffee is a matter of precious seconds. And that's where McDonald's culpability in the case enters into it. Under the same circumstances as the actual incident, coffee at 130 degrees would have taken approximately fifty-to-sixty seconds to inflict third-degree burns; there would have been time to remove the soaked clothing and wipe the coffee off the skin, thwarting the most grievous degree of injuries.
At 180 degrees, McDonald's coffee inflicted third-degree burns virtually on contact. That's hotter than one would reasonably expect.
It also legitimises Mrs. Liebeck's complaint that the warning on the cup was insufficient. A simple warning saying "Caution: this coffee is hot", or words of that nature, do not adequately convey the exceptional degree of heat. Sure, we all know that a freshly poured cup of coffee is hot, and most people have had the experience of drinking hot coffee a bit too soon and burning the roofs of their mouths. When one is warned, simply, "Caution: this coffee is hot", he reasonably associates it with that experience, and not with the notion that he is holding a cup of molten lava. The warning of the cup provided by McDonald's was inadequate to the hazard involved---a hazard which could not be reasonably predicted.
Once I discovered these facts, I reassessed my opinion of the suit. Yes, I still hold Mrs. Liebeck more culpable than the jury did, but it was not wrong to assess McDonald's with considerable blame.
My hat tip for the link.
Turncoat by Ryan O'Sullivan and Plaid Klaus is a digital comic about a man who works for a government agency that culls superheroes. It's written in the decompressed style and the art is good, in a semi-cartoon style like Todd Nauck's. It's somewhat like a darker version of Nauck's Wildgard. I read the first "issue". It didn't click with me, but my taste's not everyone's and it's very professionally done.
Liebeck sought to settle with McDonald's for $20,000 to cover her actual and anticipated expenses. Her past medical expenses were $10,500; her anticipated future medical expenses were approximately $2,500; and her daughter's loss of income was approximately $5,000 for a total of approximately $18,000. Instead, the company offered only $800. When McDonald's refused to raise its offer, Liebeck retained Texas attorney Reed Morgan. Morgan filed suit in New Mexico District Court accusing McDonald's of "gross negligence" for selling coffee that was "unreasonably dangerous" and "defectively manufactured". McDonald's refused Morgan's offer to settle for $90,000. Morgan offered to settle for $300,000, and a mediator suggested $225,000 just before trial, but McDonald's refused these final pre-trial attempts to settle.
Other documents obtained from McDonald's showed that from 1982 to 1992 the company had received more than 700 reports of people burned by McDonald's coffee to varying degrees of severity, and had settled claims arising from scalding injuries for more than $500,000. McDonald's quality control manager, Christopher Appleton, testified that this number of injuries was insufficient to cause the company to evaluate its practices. He argued that all foods hotter than 130 °F (54 °C) constituted a burn hazard, and that restaurants had more pressing dangers to warn about. The plaintiffs argued that Appleton conceded that McDonald's coffee would burn the mouth and throat if consumed when served.
The McDonald's location that served Liebeck the coffee had also been cited on at least two previous occasions for having their coffee so hot it violated local health and safety regulations.
(peeks into the Comics Cave)
Uh....hi. Long time no see for most of you.
I'll just sit in this chair off in the darker part of the cave...
That's the chair we're saving in case Stan Lee drops by! You can sit in it until he does, though.
Thanks. 'Preciate it.
There's beer in the fridge. If you drink coffee, remember that whoever takes the last cup has to make the next pot.