McDonald’s customer gets told ice cream machines are broken. So he lies and says he’s a ‘secret shopper’

@palmbeachgirl/TikTok ATIKAN PORNCHAIPRASIT/ShutterStock (Licensed)

‘I order online.. they can’t say no’: McDonald’s customer gets told ice cream machines are broken. So he lies and says he’s a ‘secret shopper’

'I've gotten [it] every time.'


Jack Alban


Posted on Mar 4, 2024   Updated on Mar 4, 2024, 10:55 am CST

It’s a recurring complaint and long-running joke that’s been the subject of countless memes and drunken cry sessions inspired by disappointment and a renewed understanding that life is unfair: the infamous broken McDonald’s ice cream machine.

TikToker Hannah Grace (@palmbeachgirl) along with a partner, decided to try and get to the bottom of why one Mickey D’s location declined to serve them up their favorite frozen confections—by pretending to be a secret shopper.

Grace documented their attempt in a viral clip that accrued over 563,000 views on the social media application. While the video raked in a ton of different comments, there seemed to be an oft-repeated chorus about the difficulty in maintaining and repairing McDonald’s choice brand of ice cream machines. This left some to speculate as to whether or not the business is intentionally engineering them to break so that they secure themselves fat repair payouts for years to come.

“When you’re sick and tired of hearing ‘no’ from McDonald’s,” a text overlay in the video reads as the video begins, which shows a Mickey D’s employee approaching the drive-thru window and sliding it open.

“Yeah that guy was like—I don’t know what he’s doing but we ordered a McFlurry,” the driver accompanying Grace tells the worker.

The employee says, “Unfortunately we can’t do McFlurries or any ice cream right now.”

Grace’s partner in McCrime adjusts himself in his seat and tries out his top-secret ice-cream extracting methodology from the worker. “I’m actually a secret shopper,” he says. “I work for McDonald’s corporate I’m a regional manager so I was just wondering why the machine’s down. I had a couple calls that they’re down in this area so…”

“They put it…the machine back together wrong or something every time we try to go to make it it doesn’t…” the worker says.

“OK, I can mark that down. Who’s the manager on duty right now?” the man asks.

“Samantha,” the employee states.

“Samantha?” he replies before commenting that the issue is an “actual problem with the machine,” before driving away and cursing.

Several commenters stated that due to the terminology the TikToker used in his spiel with the McDonald’s employees, it was clear that he has zero managing experience.

“‘I’m a secret shopper corporate regional manager’ tell me you’ve never worked any level of management without actually telling me,” one user wrote.

Another person also had a gripe with the fake persona Grace’s partner was adopting in the video: “A secret shopper with corporate/regional manager…. Those are three separate jobs.”

Someone else said that if someone is hired as a secret shopper and then they tell someone that they’re a secret shopper, this defeats the entire purpose of letting someone know that you’re a secret shopper. “Lol a regional manager is not that high in a corporation and saying you’re a secret shopper is not something a secret shopper does,” they said.

Some people think that oftentimes, McDonald’s employees are lying about the availability, or lack thereof when it comes to the ice cream.

One viewer replied that they came up with an effective way of ensuring that they aren’t being hoodwinked by the whole “machine is down” response. “I order online.. they can’t say no and I’ve gotten every time,” they wrote.

Another person, a McDonald’s employee, commented that the machine-breaking struggle is a very real phenomenon that they deal with constantly due to the way these devices are constructed. Cleaning them isn’t exactly a move that just anyone can do, the TikToker penned: “Work at McDonald’s. The machines are very hard to clean and only certain people are trained to clean them. They could be put back together wrong.”

Still, others think it’s just a matter of putting the time and effort into cleaning the contraptions. “My husband used to work at McDonald’s. It’s only “down” because they don’t want to clean it,” one user said.

@palmbeachgirl @McDonald’s ♬ original sound – HANNAH GRACE 🫶🏻

A lot has been said about the scandals behind McDonald’s ice cream machines. Cleaning them is a very involved process due to the sheer amount of moving parts it has.

YouTuber Johnny Harris also did a deep dive into the company that produces these machines, Taylor, stating that McDonald’s doesn’t allow individual franchise owners to use any ice cream or milkshake machine other than a very specific model. This model is notoriously finicky and difficult to maintain and operate.

Harris states that despite spending a lot of time attempting to understand the “cryptic” error codes displayed by Taylor machines throughout its litany of software updates, he still wasn’t entirely confident he could find out what was wrong with a device if it wasn’t working, suggesting that properly diagnosing one in the event of a system failure is a tall order for anyone involved.

The Daily Dot has reached out to McDonald’s and Grace via email for further comment.

Share this article
*First Published: Mar 4, 2024, 6:00 pm CST