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McDonald's Extra Charge for Condiments is Unfair

Posted Tue August 12, 2008 12:00 pm, by William M. written to McDonald's

Write a Letter to this Company  |  Rate this Company

To whom it may concern:

I like eating at McDonald's occasionally and today I was annoyed by a new "policy" you seem to have enacted.

Today, I went to the McDonald's near my work and ordered one of your premium chicken sandwiches (minus the tomato and mayo) along with a southern chicken sandwich for a friend. I also got french fries along with the sandwiches. The total came to something in the $11-12 range. I asked for some hot mustard to go with my french fries, and was denied. I was told I had to pay a quarter for each sauce packet. The manager, who was also at the counter, reiterated this policy and told me if I wanted sauce to pay 25 cents. I completely understand that the cost of everything is going up, from food, packaging and delivery, to rent and utilities, and Manhattan isn't cheap to begin with. I understand that prices cannot stay constant forever and I don't expect you to lower your profits because of high commodity prices, but I think it's a little out of line to charge me for a packet of sauce when I just paid close to $12 for a meal. If I had walked in without buying anything, I think it would be fair to be charged, but to be charged for a condiment for a meal I just purchased is simply absurd.

All in all, I am not dissatisfied with McDonald's, the quick service is quite impressive given the variety of items you now offer. However, the policy you have in place here, seems to be indicative of the service industry's new policies in general, that is, if you remove an item, we'll be happy to do that for free, but if you want anything extra, there will be a charge for that. This is exactly what happened today, I got the premium chicken sandwich without mayonnaise or tomato, and asked for some hot mustard on the side. If you want to charge me extra for sauce, it only seems fair, that you discount me a little bit when I ask for something without it, or better yet, simply don't charge me for a basic condiment.

I find this policy to be out of line, and feel it should be removed from the list of policies you have at McDonald's.


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by jfj Posted Tue July 14, 2009 @ 11:21 PM

Most of the time when I order fries I have to ask 10-15 times to get a
freaking ketchup packet. I think they have told their employees not to
give out ketchup anymore. Then why have it in the restaurant? Mc
Donald's is going downhill and I no longer give them my business.

by jfj Posted Tue July 14, 2009 @ 11:19 PM

Most of the time when I ask for ketchup with my fries, I no longer get
it. Totally unacceptable. When I go to the drive-thru, they also don't
automatically put ketchup in your bag if you order fries anymore.
Ketchup with fries should be the rule. I have had to ask up to 5
times, numerous times to get ketchup, straws, basic condiments,
napkins and the order made right. Seems like they could do better.
Napkins SHOULD be included in a to-go bag. I SHOULD NOT have to ask
for that. Super trashy and cheap.

by Jennifer F. Posted Sat April 18, 2009 @ 10:56 PM

I am a manager at a corporate McDonalds and they shouldn't be denying
you one to two sauces for fries or any of your other food. That policy
is in place for the customers that order little to no nuggets and ask
for 4+ sauces, I've had people ask for two of each and every sauce and
that is over 10 different kinds and that cost adds up. Given that you
don't seem to be that type, it is because greedy customers take more
than what they need, don't use them, throw them away, or store them
for later and do that every visit they make, takes a cost on our
stores for how much product we are actually missing. When all of that
adds up, if we aren't watching, they could think an employee is
stealing, which does happen, or that we get a visit from our superiors
who go in depth in their visits and hound us over and over about it.
Now usually most employees don't care, but if we are told it is the
rule, then we have to. But it's not just McDonalds, you don't hear
people complain about Culvers, DQ, Lions Choice, Burger King, etc.
charging for condiments, but yet if McDonalds happens to change, then
we get customers hounding us. If anything changes in the store, it is
not us employees, managers or crew, but our corporate superiors that
are changing it. So if you have complaints, it would be great to
attack them, and not us. We don't control the prices or what our
policies are. So next visit, please remember that we don't make the
rules, we just have to abide them and to treat us the way you want to
be treated.


by ricmac01 Posted Fri September 5, 2008 @ 11:23 AM

I also believe the "extra charge" practice is unreasonable but
understand that some customers are so greedy they will load up on
extras that will never be eaten. The cashier should be able to
exercise common sense when responding to requests, but common sense
does not seem to be a job qualification for those working at

But today's experience at McDonalds will have me rethinking any future
trips. I ordered my usual "vanilla iced coffee, not too sweet, not
too light" and was charged $.38 more than usual. The server said they
had a price increase. I noted the board still said $1.79 which is
what I always pay (plus tax). Then he said they now charge $.35 extra
to sweeten the coffee with liquid sugar!!! Good grief and adios.


... by Jennifer F. Sat April 18, 2009 @ 11:12 PM

by APCO25guy Posted Tue August 26, 2008 @ 1:34 AM

Welcome to the rest of the world. Ever been to Europe? This is the
norm in many places. Get used to it. More on the way!

by James C. Posted Sun August 24, 2008 @ 4:42 PM

This policy is set by each franchise, not McDonalds's corporate

I'm fortunate in that none of my local Mickey D's charge for sauce.
However, I've found that in cases when they do, you can often ask for
the sauce AFTER you place the order and they will throw it in the bag
since their transactions are actually clocked and doing a whole
transaction for $.25 brings their "numbers" down.


Don't do this. by Jennifer F. Sat April 18, 2009 @ 11:10 PM

You're Eating At McDonalds... by James C. Thu February 23, 2012 @ 10:58 PM

by Karen J. Posted Wed August 20, 2008 @ 7:03 AM

I can't believe how many people think this is fair, I too think it is
ridiculous. McDonald's is just nickle and diming us to death. Yes,
the packets are more expensive than bulk, but they have never charged
for anything what it cost. For YEARS we have overpaid for an actual
soda (because they could get away with it and still do). The actual
soda costs pennies, we pay for the cup and basically the labor. Find
some other way to recoup the cost, try not to mess up people's orders
and have to throw so much away. I can see limiting the amounts to a
reasonable amount, as they still give catsup away like it's going out
of style. Also, if the employees were more efficient they could cut
back on the amount of labor costs. Let's face it, McDonalds is never
as crowded as it used to be when there were so few fast food choices,
and they employees could be trained a lot better. Come on Mcdonalds,
you may not lose your number one spot, but if you're going to be
cheap, I'll choose elsewhere.


OH COME ON! by Jennifer F. Sat April 18, 2009 @ 11:07 PM
by Xander Posted Wed August 20, 2008 @ 2:49 AM

This is a GREAT McDonald's policy because I LOVE their Sweet and Sour
sauce and without the extra charge, I'd ask for about 50 to stock up
at home. But that's just me.


by I'm back Posted Mon August 18, 2008 @ 3:20 PM

They have to pay to get the souce, you have to pay to get it. I don't
want the price of my McDonalds going up by 25 cents, just so you can
have free sauce.


by John C. Posted Sun August 17, 2008 @ 3:12 PM

Every country in the world charges for condiments at all fast food
except ours. You usually get one free larger size ketchup or sauce
and extras are charged. We are quite literally one of the few who are
just now enacting this. This is due to us being and overweight,
overzealous, greedy society.

by The social correction Posted Sat August 16, 2008 @ 6:44 PM

The reason they have been charging for the condiments now is not only
because prices are going up but because some people like you of course
might get to many condiments just like some other people! yes I do it
too and then there just isn't enough to go around for everyone so they
charge 25 cent for each one plus they buy them condiments. So I think
its a good idea because everyone can get some and charging makes
people not want one. I mean it made me mad too but you got to
understand things better and think. Just go buy your own bottle it
won't kill you! then you won't have to pay 25 cents! everythings not
free now and days!

by jeishere Posted Thu August 14, 2008 @ 9:14 AM

When I worked at McDonalds 10 years ago, we had a sttict policy on
nugget sauces. One sauce for a six piece nugget, 2 for a nine peice,
and 3 for a 20 piece. If extra sauses were needed or you wanted them
for you fries, you had to pay $.10 each. As a teenager making minimum
wage at the time, I could care less and gave people what they wanted,
but would charge when the manager was around. It sounds like the hot
mustard falls under this category.

The cost of these individual ketchup packet, for example, is much more
expensive than the bulk kethcup that they use when making your
sandwich. I think the days of free giant handfuls of ketchup and free
sauces are gone as the price of everything is going up. I think most
of those ketchup packets ended up in the glove compartment anyway, and
eventaully thrown away. Well, except for my grandma who use to have
me open up all the extra ketchup, salt, and pepper packets (and of
course, sugar) she collected and have me empty them into her bottles
and salt shakers at home.

As far as getting the sauce for free because you wanted to "trade" the
pickles (or whatever) on your sandwich for hot mustard, that sounds
like a nightmare to me. Just image, minus $.03 for the pickle you did
not want but add $.04 for the extra onions, and a .0001 discount
because your bun was missing some sesame seeds.


If you read carefully by Bobosgirl Thu August 14, 2008 @ 11:49 AM

Standard sauces by ST Thu August 14, 2008 @ 12:24 PM

Hot mustard... by Beeracuda Fri August 15, 2008 @ 8:17 AM

I was thinking by ~Fiâi-la-âlea~ Thu August 14, 2008 @ 1:17 PM

by Nate. Posted Wed August 13, 2008 @ 10:03 PM

This made me think of a shirt I saw- "Practice safe lunch- always use
a condiment!"


by Donno Posted Wed August 13, 2008 @ 9:46 PM

Is it a basic condiment? Ketchup is a basic condiment for french
fries, but do they consider hot mustard to be one? If not, you may
have to pay for it.


by Wolf Posted Wed August 13, 2008 @ 8:45 PM

I understand charing for some things. We stopped at one McD's (at the
Coast) a while back. We asked for a Large cup of water, knowing that
they would charge us $.25 like all the other McD's. Instead they
tried to charge us for a SODA. We asked why and they said "We have to
charge the same no matter what we put in it". We said "Um no. Cancel
our oder, we'll go somewhere else!" And we drove off. This one also
will ONLY take cash. This is in a Tourist town! We knew then that
they were scamming everyone. We have NEVER been back.


by Zan Posted Wed August 13, 2008 @ 12:32 PM

While I think one or two packets of ketchup or mustard should be
included at no charge for a sandwich or order of fries, I'm wondering
if "hot" mustard is something special, like a dipping sauce for the
chicken nuggets, maybe? Those dipping sauces are intended specifically
for the nuggets, and probably more expensive since you get more in
those little tubs than in the plastic packets. Maybe they buy extra to
have on hand for customers who like to dip their fries or add it on
their sandwich. In that case I think an extra charge of a quarter is


yup, for nuggets by SuzieCat Wed August 13, 2008 @ 1:11 PM

Ahh, ok... makes sense by Zan Wed August 13, 2008 @ 2:13 PM

by RedheadwGlasses Posted Wed August 13, 2008 @ 12:19 PM

I think it's fair to charge for extra condiments. They DO cost the
restaurant money, and I'd rather the people who use them pay for them,
rather than raising prices across the board 5% or something, spreading
the cost onto everybody.


I would agree that.... by Jared C. Wed August 13, 2008 @ 12:31 PM

BUt some McDs aren't corporate-owned, they're franchised by RedheadwGlasses Wed August 13, 2008 @ 1:06 PM

That is a good point... by Jared C. Wed August 13, 2008 @ 2:17 PM

I agree to a certain extent by ♫Venice♫ Wed August 13, 2008 @ 12:35 PM

I agree by RedheadwGlasses Wed August 13, 2008 @ 1:07 PM

And I agree by ♫Venice♫ Wed August 13, 2008 @ 1:13 PM

by Jeffrey/Branding/Alex Posted Wed August 13, 2008 @ 11:25 AM

As someone who often asks for things to be left off (typically cheese,
since I don't eat dairy) it does bug me that I don't get a discount...
but am expected to pay extra for certain things (which cost the
restaurant less).

I've actually asked. What I'm told is that the sandwich comes with
cheese. It's MY decision not to take it. Therefore, I'm making the
choice to pay for something I'm not getting. The fact that the
restaurant is making a little extra profit on me is a benefit for
them, but it's wasn't their choice to do so... it was mine. "If it
bothers you that we're making money by being able to sell that same
piece of cheese to someone else, then YOU take the cheese and throw it
away" I was told.

I've been to plenty of places that have "no subs" on the menu.

While not every restaurant acts like this, it seems to be common
enough for fast food, diners, and other low cost establishments.
Oddly, I've found the sweet spot to be sit-down "family" places like
Chili's and the like. They'll usually bring a different sauce, leave
stuff off, or give you a sub substitution. No charge.

The worst was when I went to a rather pricey fancy place. My wife
didn't want fries, so she asked if she could get a baked potato
instead. They charged her $8 (the price of an a la carte baked
potato) and didn't give her the fries. When we asked, the waitress
said that the meal comes with fries. She didn't want them, so they
left them off the plate. The price for a potato, without a meal, is
$8 and that's what she ordered.

You paid $12 for the meal. This bill for the two of us reached $100.
And they couldn't even give her the potato for an "upcharge" of $1.
No, it was $8.


You know what I really hate.. by Harleycat Wed August 13, 2008 @ 11:39 AM

I have a good example of this... by Jared C. Wed August 13, 2008 @ 11:52 AM

sides at kfc by Jessica P. Sat August 16, 2008 @ 2:17 AM

That's some by ~Fiâi-la-âlea~ Thu August 14, 2008 @ 1:25 PM

by Jared C. Posted Wed August 13, 2008 @ 10:43 AM

I agree with the letter writer. This policy should be rescinded.

It's bad enough that you have to ask for ketchup, etc. for your fries,
burger, etc. everytime you order them (it was so nice when they just
gave you ketchup, etc. without having to ask for it at all), but if I
had to pay for it as well, I'd feel "nickeled and dimed" by the

Any marketer or MBA (like myself) worth his or her education will tell
you that such "nickel and dime" behavior leads consumers to view said
business in a negative light and, occasionally, to limit or end buying
behavior from such business. Prior examples that bear this out abound.

Most fast food places have regulars who eat there several times a
week. Out of appreciation for these regulars and the money they spend
every week at said business, policies like this should never be


I don't mind being asked.. by Harleycat Wed August 13, 2008 @ 11:07 AM

True by Jared C. Wed August 13, 2008 @ 11:49 AM

nickled and dimed by SuzieCat Wed August 13, 2008 @ 6:04 PM

by Quasi_Mondo Posted Wed August 13, 2008 @ 8:40 AM

I don't know... There's a sense of entitlement here I can't get past.

Just because we're used to getting certain things for free, that
doesn't mean that they'll always be free.
And in the scheme of things, a small charge for a pack of sauce
(probably meant for something specific on the menu) doesn't seem like
an issue I'd take this far.
You might be thinking, "C'mon. It's only a pack of sauce...it's only a
And I'd be thinking the same thing toward you.

Just sayin'.


sir... by Billy Wed August 13, 2008 @ 9:56 AM

?? by Quasi_Mondo Wed August 13, 2008 @ 11:07 AM

.. by Billy Wed August 13, 2008 @ 11:26 AM

by Harleycat Posted Wed August 13, 2008 @ 8:26 AM

I may be wrong but it's possible that they charge you because mustard
is not a usual condiment for fries. Did you also get some ketchup?

It's NYC, you know we get nickled and dimed for everything.


That's what I was thinking... by dulynoted (aka duttycalls) Wed August 13, 2008 @ 9:25 AM

you're right by Billy Wed August 13, 2008 @ 10:00 AM

I also have to ask.. by Harleycat Wed August 13, 2008 @ 11:15 AM

I also have to ask... by Samsa Wed August 13, 2008 @ 11:42 AM

I also have to ask.. by Harleycat Wed August 13, 2008 @ 1:39 PM

I also have to ask... by Dru Wed August 13, 2008 @ 11:59 PM

Oh my gosh, you got me there by Samsa Thu August 14, 2008 @ 12:05 AM

Oh my gosh, you got me there. by Vitrescent Thu August 14, 2008 @ 12:25 AM

Ellipses (...), smellipses, by Dru Thu August 14, 2008 @ 12:43 AM

Hit enter too soon. by Dru Thu August 14, 2008 @ 12:45 AM

I can totally understand how 25 cents by dulynoted (aka duttycalls) Wed August 13, 2008 @ 11:44 AM

by MovingOnUp..BellaSera Posted Wed August 13, 2008 @ 8:09 AM

I totally agree too. I realize the cost of everything is going up, but
it's not like you asked for 100 packets of hot mustard.

I also completely agree that if they're going to play the
nickel-and-dime game then they should be willing to discount your
sandwich when you take standard items, like mayo and tomatoes, off.

Unfortunately, I don't see this changing any time soon. With prices
rising, I think more restaurants will be doing this.

by Cor H. Posted Wed August 13, 2008 @ 7:23 AM

On the other hand, McDonald's has to pay for a great many things they
provide to their customers for free: ketchup (mustard, mayonnaise),
napkins, straws, to say nothing of free refills.

The cost is going up and McDonald's can either raise their prices or
pay their employees less.


but by Billy Wed August 13, 2008 @ 9:36 AM

by Just Brenda Posted Tue August 12, 2008 @ 8:35 PM

I agree with you.

By the way, I never even knew that McDonald's had hot mustard then two
letters about having it with fries in one day? I think this is a sign
and next time I go there I'm going to have to ask for some and check
it out! Sounds yummy.


hot mustard by Billy Tue August 12, 2008 @ 8:48 PM

by ♫Venice♫ Posted Tue August 12, 2008 @ 8:13 PM

I have never been charged extra for anything at my McDonald's, but I
do agree with you. Most of what I order is minus all the stuff they
pile on, so I don't think I should be charged extra for a condiment of
my choice. I have a feeling it wouldn't cost them anything in the end
because many people special order the food without condiments. I
understand limiting the amount of extra packets, but at least one or
two should be included in the price of the sandwich.


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