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McDonald's Denies Prof's Claim Staff Attacked Him For Wearing Digital Glasses 627

Sparrowvsrevolution writes "In an update to a story posted on Slashdot earlier this week, McDonald's has responded to the claims of Steve Mann, a University of Toronto professor and augmented reality pioneer who says McDonald's staff in Paris assaulted him tried to pull off a computer eyepiece he's worn for decades, then threw him out of the restaurant. McDonald's confirms that Mann was ejected from the premises, but denies that there was a 'physical altercation' with staff or that they destroyed any of his property. That last claim is especially dubious, since Mann has posted photos taken from his eyepiece that show McDonald's staff ripping up a doctor's note that he showed them to explain his need to wear the device. The company still hasn't explained why Mann was removed from the restaurant, but Mann has speculated that it has a policy against recording."
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McDonald's Denies Prof's Claim Staff Attacked Him For Wearing Digital Glasses

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  • Re:Yeah... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sabri ( 584428 ) * on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @08:34PM (#40692619)
    This is a PR nightmare for McDonald's and they're only making it worse. Yes, it is a franchise operation and yes it is the responsibility of the local franchise owner to have his staff treat their customers with respect (even if they throw him out).

    What they should do is promptly apologize and sent that staff on customer service training.

    (But then again, what can you expect from McDonalds staff? If they were so smart, they'd have my job.)
  • by Ichijo ( 607641 ) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @08:35PM (#40692637) Journal

    ...using organic video and audio sensors, onto a storage medium consisting of neurons and synapses. Does this mean they would throw me out, too?

  • Live in Reality (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Frosty Piss ( 770223 ) * on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @08:40PM (#40692677)

    This is a PR nightmare for McDonald's and they're only making it worse.

    Nonsense. I read a number of newspapers and Internet news sites, and this is the first I've heard of it, and like most people, really don't care that much. I frequent Burger King (Home of the Whopper), but I think that realistically, only a very tiny number of McDonald's customers know about this, and of those, few care.

    Your first paragraph is entirely hyperbole.

  • McD in Paris? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @08:41PM (#40692691)

    Weigh all the evidence before leaping to judgment. This is the last "restaurant" I would consider for any meal in Paris. Perhaps he had tastebud implants, too?

  • Re:Live in Reality (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SJHillman ( 1966756 ) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @08:45PM (#40692719)

    I'd have to agree with you. It's not changing my feelings towards McDonalds in general - mostly towards that one location. Every franchise has locations with great employees and locations with the laziest, dumbest idiots you'll ever meet.

  • by Hognoxious ( 631665 ) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @08:49PM (#40692777) Homepage Journal

    yeah, it's obviously one of the thousands of pieces of paper that McD employees routinely tear up during any normal shift.

  • Re:Live in Reality (Score:2, Insightful)

    by MrHanky ( 141717 ) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @08:55PM (#40692825) Homepage Journal

    So who the fuck enters 'mcdonalds staff assault professor' into Google on random now then? Similar with 'Dr Mann McDonalds'. The first hit is The Register, the others seem to be geek sites as well. It hasn't reached the mainstream media, and no one cares.

  • by Trogre ( 513942 ) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @08:56PM (#40692831) Homepage

    Not likely, since any footage captured by your "recording device" cannot be reliably played back.

  • Re:Live in Reality (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @08:59PM (#40692857)

    Nuke them all. From orbit. It's the only way to be sure.

  • Re:there are signs (Score:5, Insightful)

    by stephanruby ( 542433 ) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @09:18PM (#40692989)

    there are signs on every McDonald's across europe (no pictures/no dogs/no smoking)

    Yes, restaurants usually hate dogs on premises, but even in France, a restaurant can be fined from 150 to 450 Euros for refusing service to a disabled person because of their service dog [] (at least, that was the fine in 2003, that fine may have gone up since then). And in the end, it really doesn't matter what the sign supposedly says. A sign at the door can never supersede what the law of the country you're in dictates.

    And it doesn't matter if the person at the food counter doesn't believe in someone's disability. Usually, a Medical Doctor is asked to make that call, not some fast food minimum wage worker. This point is important because many people can be considered legally blind even if they're only half blind, or have a form of blindness that doesn't make them appear blind to the casual observer.

    The same goes if you don't believe someone's medical documentation. It's not your call to tear it up, even if you believe it's BS. If you have any doubts, just call the police and ask them to investigate it. Do not take the law into your own hands. A McDonald's T-shirt doesn't imbue you with special authority to just tear up other people's medical documentation.

  • No Kidding! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by chrismcb ( 983081 ) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @09:18PM (#40692991) Homepage
    They asked the "perps" individually, and they all said they treated Mr Mann with the utmost respect. No Kidding! What did you expect them to say? "Oh yeah, we beat that customer up."
  • Re:there are signs (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bky1701 ( 979071 ) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @09:40PM (#40693145) Homepage
    No sign legalizes physical assault.
  • by frovingslosh ( 582462 ) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @09:48PM (#40693211)

    anyone with genuine interior design talent could visit one of their business, eating a burger while seeming to be doing no more than casually glance around. They could then go away and recreate what they saw almost as precisely as a photograph.

    But that couldn't serve as evidence against health code violations (or proof of customer assault). When a company forbids taking pictures at their store (even for a kid's birthday party) but also says that they are recording you, one should wonder what they are trying to hide.

  • If I ate there... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Zemran ( 3101 ) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @09:55PM (#40693245) Homepage Journal

    ...I would boycott them. Really, he ate in MuckDonalds in FRANCE!!!! He deserves to get beaten.

  • Re:hey ronald... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Grishnakh ( 216268 ) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @10:27PM (#40693443)

    What's really bad about this is that a fast-food restaurant like McDonald's should, in theory, be the last place you might get food poisoning. The whole way FF restaurants work is by turning the preparation of food into an industrial process, and eliminating all the art from it (and all the variables), so they can maximize speed and profit. It's like an assembly line back there. Contrast this to a regular kitchen at a sit-down restaurant, where it's really all about human skill, and especially the head chef's skill in managing everyone. At a FF restaurant, everything's supposed to be dumbed-down so much that any moron can just follow the instructions and churn out Big Macs at breakneck speeds, in combination with the specialized equipment they use, so eliminating methods for contaminating foods should be part of the process. Of course, one main vector is by employees not washing their hands, but even so they usually wear gloves, so who knows what the problem is, probably a management failure in making sure employees wash hands and also wear gloves when handling anything.

  • Re:Yeah... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @10:38PM (#40693525)

    How does being wrong about the Rodney King incident make you a racist? Pretty sure it just makes you wrong.

  • Re:Yeah... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by westlake ( 615356 ) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @10:55PM (#40693611)

    This is a PR nightmare for McDonald's and they're only making it worse.

    To the geek, its a PR nightmare.

    For McDonald's patrons, perhaps, a reason to celebrate. The geek has --- no --- idea of how others perceive him.

    But then again, what can you expect from McDonalds staff? If they were so smart, they'd have my job.

  • Re:there are signs (Score:5, Insightful)

    by raddan ( 519638 ) * on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @11:34PM (#40693845)
    I commend you on your proper Maine dialect, particularly the spelling of 'fok'.

    Funny story: when I was a sixth-grader, I made it all the way to the Maine state spelling bee, which was hosted at UMaine Orono. I was living in Castine at the time, so it was a big deal to go to the "big city" (Bangor... oh the irony). The winner got a college scholarship. Anyway, they made us draw straws to determine the order of the spelling bee lineup. I got #1.

    So, we're standing there on stage, before the curtain opens and they decide to throw us a practice round. I get the word 'banana'. Piece of cake. B-A-N-A-N-A. After the practice round, they whisk open the curtains, say some things to the crowd, and then we're off. Again, I get the first word. The judge says "The word... is 'biggert'."

    "'Biggert'?" I ask.

    "Yes," say the judges.

    OK, I've never heard this one before, but... here we go...


    "Wrong. The correct spelling of 'biggert' is B-I-G-O-T."

    I was crushed, and humiliated, because I was out on the first word in the first round. My mistake was twofold:

    1. I should have asked for the word in a sentence, and
    2. The Law of Conservation of R's means that New Englanders take the R's out of some words, but they always end up putting them back in somewhere. For example, "Law and Order" is pronounced "Lohr and Ohdah".
  • Re:hey ronald... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @11:52PM (#40693935)

    Well, part of the problem is that people wear gloves -- and handle the same things they did before. So the gloves look clear but they aren't.....

  • Re:Yeah... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Johann Lau ( 1040920 ) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @11:54PM (#40693945) Homepage Journal

    How does seeming like a racist make you a racist? I'm pretty sure it just makes you seem like a racist.

    But you're right, make that "asshole". Why? A bunch of white cops brutalize a black dude, poster says "he had a gun on him" -- implying it was neither police brutality nor racism.

    How would someone get this wrong via a honest mistake? Where would one get the idea from that Rodney King had a gun? They kinda have to be either into authority or against blacks, and cut their thought and evidence collection process short to accomodate that, hence "asshole".

    When groups with power attack individuals without, you simply don't get to excuse the perps by being sloppy and repeating hearsay some asshole told you. In this case, it's so easy to find out I really have to wonder, and ask again, HOW could one get this wrong? I honestly wonder.

  • Re:Yeah... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @11:57PM (#40693957)

    Some people always choose a certain kind of incidents to be wrong about. We call those people racists.

  • Re:hey ronald... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by torkus ( 1133985 ) on Thursday July 19, 2012 @12:13AM (#40694045)

    I've eaten McD about 5 times a week for the last decade. Probably closer to two if you include BK and Wendys. Yeah seriously. My Dr might have his own heart attack if he knew.

    The only time i've gotten food poisoning is from the hot dog at 7-11 at 3AM in florida oddly enough.

    The problem is the more big chains try to standardize their food the more stupid children ignore the rules. Steak fries might need 7-10 minutes but the thin McD fries need 3:12 (or whatever) and a 30 second variance means overcooked or soggy fries. You DO get consistent quality if the procedures are followed exactly. Last time I checked minimum-wage jobs are not the best place to get people to perform admirably and consistently.

  • Re:Live in Reality (Score:5, Insightful)

    by iamwahoo2 ( 594922 ) on Thursday July 19, 2012 @12:13AM (#40694047)

    Once again, An innaccurate headline fools most of the slashdot readers. Seriously folks, click on the article and just scroll down to the full McDonald's letter. It is seven sentences long and says essentially that the employees deny Dr. Mann's account but that McDonald's is still investigating. Dr. Mann has not yet responded to their queries. Nowhere is it even implied that they are denying Dr. Mann's claims.

  • You aren't a parent I take it.

    My daughter loves mcd's chicken nuggets. When she was still very young, she got tired of only getting 4 in the children's happy meal, and upgraded to the adult size nuggets instead without fries (she doesn't like fries). The toy's inclusion was immaterial.

    Sure some kids go for the toy, but the truth is, mcdonald's food is prepared to be very palatable and generically tasty without any strange flavours a simple palate won't recognize.

  • Re:there are signs (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lando ( 9348 ) <> on Thursday July 19, 2012 @02:03AM (#40694661) Homepage Journal

    I don't know the specifics about why this guy has a camera attached to his head, but it's a part of his day to day life and has medical documentation confirming that the device is attached to his head. I don't know what else the documentation says, but this is enough. Now, if the store in question didn't like it they should have asked him to leave, not tried to physical remove said item. Personally, I'd call the damage an assault and would press criminal charges.

    Now, granted he may have wanted this device implanted for nothing more than his own amusement, no reason for physical assault by employees. Let's change the specs a bit based on a report I saw posted the other day on slashdot. What if the person assaulted was blind and the camera was used to generate a visual image that was sent directly to the optic nerve? What would it look like? Who's to say it wouldn't look just like this? So a blind guy goes into McDonald's using his augmented visual device where the employees destroy his device and throw him out of the resteraunt. No being this guy is from a foreign country and doesn't have a cell phone hooked into the local grid he's blind and on the side of the road asking for someone to locate some help for him. Next, since his glasses are now broken and are expensive 60K I believe to replace he no will spend months without vision while he files insurance paperwork to have the glasses replaced.

    So your opinion is/would be, well he shouldn't have gone on private property knowing that someone might attack him? Maybe he shouldn't leave his house? Obviously this guy traveling to a foreign country is just a big loser, he should have stayed at home in order to protect himself. Yep, if that rape victim wasn't at the bar she wouldn't have been raped, it's all her fault.

    Thanks for playing.

  • Re:there are signs (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Brett Buck ( 811747 ) on Thursday July 19, 2012 @02:24AM (#40694773)

    Private security in France do NOT have the right to physically assault someone even if they did something like break some anti camera rule in a fucking fast food. The ONLY thing they can do is to call the police. They do not have any other right. And certainly NOT the right to destroy private property.
    The only time violence is permitted for any group besides the cops themselves is when someone's in danger and you don't have any choice but make the assailant submit with physical means.

          That is also the case in the US. Private security, AKA "rent-a-cops" have no rights beyond any other private citizen.

    This isn't the Far West. This isn't America. This is civilized France.

          Your knowledge of the US appears to be about as good as your knowledge of deodorant.


  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 19, 2012 @03:31AM (#40695137)

    The most common wording I've heard is "[Calls] may be recorded [for quality and training purposes]". Which then unintentionally gives you consent to record them.

  • Re:Wrong again (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Fjandr ( 66656 ) on Thursday July 19, 2012 @03:31AM (#40695139) Homepage Journal

    The sign doesn't legalize the assault; the law that allows the sign to be posted and followed through without legal repercussions legalizes the assault.

  • Re:hey ronald... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Khyber ( 864651 ) <> on Thursday July 19, 2012 @03:36AM (#40695171) Homepage Journal

    Oh, look, downmods. Protip: If that link was false, they'd have the shit sued out of them and the site taken offline.

    That site has been around for two years. Obviously, McD's isn't trying to stop them because it's true.

  • by silentcoder ( 1241496 ) on Thursday July 19, 2012 @03:52AM (#40695259)

    >I don't know how to get the message across that this is a very bad attitude to take and wins him no friends.

    This is a prosthetic sight and memory augmentation device he wears due to a medical condition ! Throwing that out is no better than throwing out a paraplegic because you worry his prosthetic leg may scratch the floor tiles. As it stands, the device he uses doesn't even keep recordings for more than few seconds, what it does is to simply slow down the world a bit so he has time to process what happens. It's like a slow-motion-replay for reality. Just because he designed it himself doesn't make it any less a medically apt prosthesis.

    In fact, it wouldn't normally have HAD recordings of the event- except that when they broke the device they disabled the onboard computer, which meant the cleanup algorithm that would have wiped the pictures couldn't run.

    They themselves turned a medical prosthesis from a slowdown device into a permanent recording of the very breakage by which they changed it's nature.

  • Read the statement (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Quantum Jim ( 610382 ) <[moc.oohay] [ta] [42tscfj]> on Thursday July 19, 2012 @10:03AM (#40697907) Homepage Journal

    Am I the only one that read the statement? It seems to me that they are collecting information. In fact McDonald's doesn't deny they attacked him, they only state that their employees denied it. It's an important distinction. Their employees are quite naturally saying, "We're innocent!" while Mann's saying "They're guilty." Mann provided proof that one of their statements - namely that they didn't damage any of his property - is incorrect. But it doesn't seem McDonalds, as a whole, is calling Mann a liar. Here's the statement:

    We share the concern regarding Dr. Mann’s account of his July 1 visit to a McDonald’s in Paris. McDonald’s France was made aware of Dr. Mann’s complaints on July 16, and immediately launched a thorough investigation. The McDonald’s France team has contacted Dr. Mann and is awaiting further information from him.

    In addition, several staff members involved have been interviewed individually, and all independently and consistently expressed that their interaction with Dr. Mann was polite and did not involve a physical altercation. Our crew members and restaurant security staff have informed us that they did not damage any of Mr. Mann’s personal possessions.

    While we continue to learn more about the situation, we are hearing from customers who have questions about what happened. We urge everyone not to speculate or jump to conclusions before all the facts are known. Our goal is to provide a welcoming environment and stellar service to McDonald’s customers around the world.

"You can have my Unix system when you pry it from my cold, dead fingers." -- Cal Keegan