Fiduciary at McDonalds?

Ever see the “fiduciary” at McDonalds?

Fiduciary - A person to whom property or power is entrusted for the benefit of another.

After you give them your money and “entrust” them to do with it as you wished (ordered), it’s the person that makes sure you are happy with what you get and, if you aren’t happy, they make it right. That’s a fiduciary. You have entrusted them to look out for your interest.

Of course, that might also mean they would recommend the low-fat salad instead of that Big Mac and fries but I think you get the point.

And I should add that “fiduciary” is usually intended to mean someone who is in charge of your life savings and investment dollars and, significantly, they are entrusted to take care of your best interests, not their best interests but yours.

I’m stretching the definition a bit for the sake of an argument.

Bear with me.

Small businesses almost always take on a fiduciary-like role for their customers. They want to be sure you are happy.


They want you to come back. They want you to entrust them again. They figure if they gave good value for your dollar and you need a similar service or product in the future, you will trust their work and come back to give them more business (money).

It’s “good business” to take care of your customers.

Of course, not all businesses work that way.

On the contrary, as businesses grow, they become more focused on the bottom line, the stock holders, and what the boss wants.

The customer becomes secondary.

From the perspective of the giant corporations, the customer becomes italicized. They are no longer consumers to be wooed. Instead, they are account numbers, login names and passwords that are forgotten, typists on the end of a help-chat line or annoyances to be dismissed. Telephone support from India that provides a knee-jerk answer instead of helping solve “your” problem, needing to jump through hoops with multiple web forms and shipping labels, cardboard boxes, padding and tape to return a defective product, and “cost reduced” products with shoddy workmanship are all signs of a company that has forgotten its fiduciary origins.

Sadly, the giant corporations survive because, with all of that dehumanization, they can build and ship products cheaper and faster. Or when faced with a small but rising competitor, they have the financial reserves to drop prices and drive the competitor bankrupt, or simply buy out the competition and close their doors.

So when you get that “special order” hamburger at McDonalds and it has ketchup instead of mustard, when they take it back and not only fix it correctly but also bring it to your table and then wait to make sure you are happy, that’s a fiduciary.

In your work, are you a fiduciary or just anotherĀ cog in the corporate wheel?

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