When I worked the counter at McDonald’s last year, I always tried to serve the delivery drivers first. When the orders piled up during lunch and dinner hours, guests would inevitably have to wait. But whereas waiting around for a few extra minutes was a minor inconvenience for a walk-in customer, for DoorDash and UberEats drivers, waiting meant losing income—or, worse, a bad review from a customer.

Once, a tall Dasher with a faint European accent came during a lunch rush, smiling even as my colleague told him his assigned order wasn’t yet ready, and that we couldn’t actually meet every one of its specifications, since we had just run out of Sprite. I gave him a Coke and wrote a little apology on the back of an old receipt, signed it “McDonald’s” to make it look quasi-official, and dropped it in the bag.

“Tell them to call us if they have any problems. They should understand,” I said as I handed the package off to the still-smiling driver in a scarce moment of solidarity.

“Oh, they never understand.”

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