It all started when Glen Tharp went to order a delicious combo meal from a Houston Burger King. “The girl automatically said, ‘Medium or large?’” Tharp told local news source Click 2 Houston. “So I said, ‘I only want a number 6.’ And she said, ‘medium or large’ with a higher tone.” Of course, Tharp could have just asked for a small—but, as he told Click 2, by failing to mention the small option, Tharp thinks Burger King is “tricking” customers into upsizing their order.
“To me, it’s not right to do that to the customer,” Tharp told the news source. “I think it’s dishonest.” As Click 2 reports, the difference between a small combo (small drink and small side) and a medium (medium drink and medium side) is 54 cents. But as Tharp explains, “It’s the principle about it.”
Click 2‘s consumer advocate reporter launched her own investigation, visiting seven Houston-area Burger King locations to order a number 1 combo meal. The news source reports:
“At five restaurants, the employees did ask us if we wanted small, medium, or large. At two locations, employees didn’t mention the small, asking only “medium or large.” When we replied asking if a small was available, the employee said yes.”
Click 2 then emailed Burger King’s corporate office about Tharp’s concerns. No one replied, but the news source did recommend that customers check their receipts to make sure they weren’t upcharged. “If the clerk doesn’t ask you what size you want, the meal should automatically be a small,” Click 2 writes. “Check your order and receipt to make sure you were not upsized without your consent.”
Honestly, bless Glen Tharp. I spent my teen years working at a shaved ice stand, the very pinnacle of old-fashioned Americana landmarks—but, even there, we automatically asked if customers would prefer a medium or a large. Tharp’s crusade is a helpful reminder to ask for what you want, even when it’s hard. Good on you, Glen.