Ask LH: Is It Acceptable To Ask A Fast Food Cashier Out On A Date?

Dear Lifehacker, I am desperately in need of some relationship advice. I am infatuated with a young lady who works at a fast food outlet I frequent. I am forty-one and have never had any kind of a relationship or even been on a date. I had viral encephalitis at 14 which pretty much destroyed my self esteem, but I've decided to stop procrastinating and get on with my life. I really want to ask her out, but it's an extremely difficult situation because she is behind the counter or around other staff 99% of the time! What do you think I should do? Thanks, Worried Admirer

Photo: YouTube

Dear WA,

It's great that you've overcome your personal issues to get yourself out there. As the adage goes, it's never too late to find love! With that said, the current object of your affection probably isn't the best place to start.

There are a number of reasons why you might want to refrain from pursuing this person. For starters, most hospitality workers don't enjoy being chatted up on the job. When you order food from a cashier, you are taking part in a business transaction. Adding romantic overtures to the exchange is pretty inappropriate, even if the feelings are requited.

There's also the age gap to consider. While I won't speculate on the young lady's age, I'm going to assume you're significantly older than her. This makes propositioning her for a date even more inappropriate.

Plus, if she rejects your advances, it will doubtlessly make future interactions awkward. The embarrassment might even force you to go elsewhere to buy food. (On a personal note, "infatuated" is a pretty unhealthy way to describe someone you barely know.)

My advice is to put her out of your head and take a look at some online dating apps instead. The stigma that was once attached to these services has completely disappeared in recent years. There's absolutely no shame in attempting to find your significant other this way -- indeed, many single people vastly prefer it. A lot of these services are also free to use.

There are dedicated dating apps for almost every conceivable customer, from fans of literature (Alikewise) and pet-lovers (DateMyPet) to beard-fetishists (Bristlr) and gluten-free singles (GlutenFreeSingles). Then of course, there are all the usual suspects such as, Tinder and OkCupid (you can read an in-depth review all three here.). Concentrate on one or join 'em all: nobody can judge you if you don't tell.

If you don't know much about online dating, you can find out all the basics -- including the pros and cons -- via our introductory guide. You might also want to check out these tips for crafting a good online dating profile. As with most things in life, the trick is to not put all your eggs in one basket and above all else, persevere.

Cheers Lifehacker

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    Once upon a time (I'm old) I asked more than a few waitresses/checkout chicks/service, er, people out. Rejection or awkwardness were the common responses.

    I did get to know a girl that served me at Maccas regularly and we went on a few dates but it fizzled - and it was awkward going back there after.

    It's safer to think of the people that serve you like work colleagues - and the old adage applies - Don't screw the crew!

    She may seem all nice and friendly to you, that's called good customer service.

    "Would you like a date with that?"

    Who does it hurt, if you are a gentleman and treat her with respect, go for it. She may feel awkward, but it might also give her an emotional boost too, so long as you don't make a dick of yourself and get all in her face if she says no.


    I'll have a double whopper and a side order of you. Also a jumbo frozen fanta mango.

    I think it's fine in principle if you think that they may be interested (though I totally get that people on registers get hit on all the time), but everything about this makes me think you really shouldn't. "Young lady", "infatuated", "41". I think you may need to look elsewhere my friend.

      You miss 100% of the opportunities you don't pursue, and this comment makes me think your social ciew is askew. A 100 year old man has every right to pursue an 18 year old girl. If you don't want that to happen, push for laws against it. Right now, unless she's below the age of 18, he has every right to pursue her.

        I'm not saying you can't do it. There doesn't need to be a law against. Just don't act surprised when your not welcome at that store anymore because they think your a creep.

    The answer to the original question should be a resounding "NO" - as Lifehacker points out, it's a business transaction, and bringing other stuff into it is not only unprofessional (for both you and the fast food employee) it's terribly creepy.

    Women have to put up with a LOT of creepiness, fear and sexism in this world of ours - it'd be nice if they could avoid it in their place of work with customers.

      Yeah, wrong. You can't get a life partner if you never pursue one. This particular environment is the only one that he might ever see this lady. If he feels a connection, he should pursue it. If he has the confidence to put himself out there, then she should be able to respond to that however she sees fit in kind. Do you only pursue people you've known for years? I don't, and that sounds like a super toxic way to live.

    If there is a friendly connection there I think it is acceptable. Asking someone out isn't wrong.

    Now that I read the article and think about it I have met one ex-gf who worked at a coffee shop and served me (she handed me her mobile to put my number in), hooked up with a Maccas girl (who I saw out at a club), yet another maccas girl flirted with me at the counter multiple times but I never went there unfortunately. This was when I was young but don't let your age deter you.
    Confidence is hard to muster and sometimes rejection is hurtful but sometimes if you try you might land something good.
    Just be genuine, friendly and nice, not creepy or come on strong. If you like this person then you should be able to try.
    Good luck!

      Coming on strong isn't a horrendous attribute. I have a tendency to come on strong and I haven't had any problems. Confidence is key, and if you can't muster the confidence to muster through rejection then it'll only make things awkward. Things are only awkward if you let them become awkward.

    Despite everything that was said both in article and comments, I say go for it. Love has no boundaries, be it age or something else. If you don't try, you don't win.

    But, be smart about it. Slip her a note, explaining you like her and all. Include your email and phone number. That way you save embarrassment to both of you, if she says no and allow her to make the choice. Women dig that.

    Good luck!


      No women don't dig that. Leave the poor girl alone to do her job!

    Wow. I just want to say that as long as you are above the age of 18, you are legally able to consent to anything except alcohol in the U.S., and that "creepy" or "weird" are things that people ascribe to others that they don't find attractive that pursue them, or pyscopaths and the actions of serial killers. That being said, you told this man to pursue someone else when he chose someone that caught his interest after decades of self destruction. I honestly say go for it. If you can portray yourself as someone that isn't bothered by rejection, and that can shrug off any future awkwardness, asking her out shouldn't be a problem. The very worst possibility is that she says no. You dont have to change addresses or places to eat just because someone isn't interested in you. It's only awkward if you make it awkward. Lifehack, I admired what you did, and enjoyed what I have seen, but to me you seem like life sabotage. Sure, online dating is fine, but are you saying this man should hole himself up in his basement waiting for the famed "like" instead of pursuing basic human interaction?

    From everything that I have seen on this thread, I am clearly more adept at love and pursuit than all of you. Love is a battlefield, and if you can't even participate in the war, don't even try. I have seen ugly people get beautiful people and vice versa. If you feel like someone is out of your league, push your confidence to the level of attractiveness that you find them. If you want someone just for sex, leave them alone unless that's how they want you. Everyone has their own special preference and believes that they are their own special snowflake. Cater to that need. Make the object of your pursuit feel special. Be confident. If you can't ever make the object of your pursuit feel like they are the only person in existence 100% of the time, give up. You aren't worth their time. However, if you can, and you feel like you can make them immeasurably happy, go for it! This is only for the pursuit of love and not hook ups. If you want to hook up with someone, be confident, play coy, be charming or seductive, and play mind games or be clever.

    Sure fire way to be successful in every relationship you ever pursue: become worldly. Become wise. Learn another language. become witty. Be attractive. Become confident. Become physically fit. The only thing you can't change about yourself is the physical appearance you were born with unless you get surgeries. Don't value yourself by physical appearance. Value yourself on your intelligence, work ethic, and confidence. Michael Phelps is gross in the face, but he has the physique of Poseidon. He gets people through fame and body. Work with what you have and not what you want to have, but strive to make what you want to have reality.

    ""Love has no boundaries, be it age or something else. ""

    That could almost be a NAMBLA catchphrase.

    Also there's the thing where the asker has never been in a romantic relationship or a date. I could conceive an extremely confident person asking a cashier on a date and actually managing to get it. But for someone stumbling and stuttering for the first time? Yeah no. I endorse the online dating advice. It will allow the asker to ease himself in asking for dates and how to flirt, etc.

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