Chipotle Employee Diagnosed with PTSD from Telling Customers: “Guac is Extra”


Max Power, a 22-year old college student and Chipotle employee was checked into Golden Cross Hospital earlier this week after being diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The second year employee claims the condition is a result of “stressful working conditions where there is a concentrated focus on alerting customers to the fact that guacamole costs $1.80 extra.”

Power started with Chipotle cleaning/clearing tables before he was promoted to working on the food line. “At first I thought it would be exciting to do something more meaningful, but I really overlooked the pressure of it all,” said Power about working on the line. He began his new experience in the last station before the cash register where he was responsible for adding the finishing touches such as cheese, lettuce, and of course, guacamole. Power says he was constantly reminded of the importance of informing each customer who requested guacamole that it was indeed $1.80 extra. Power admitted, “Most customers seemed to already know guac was extra. Many didn’t seem to care, and some actually seemed annoyed when I would tell them. I started to think it wasn’t really that big of a deal.”

Then on a rainy Monday afternoon, Power finally slipped up. He forgot to inform an elderly gentleman customer of the extra charge for guacamole. When the man realized he was charged for what otherwise seemed like just another free ingredient, he immediately become engulfed with rage. He began to scream at anyone and everyone in a Chipotle uniform until both the young girl working the cash register and the acting Manager were both in tears. “I tried to speak up but I couldn’t be heard over his curses of ‘our generation’ and reasons why we were what’s wrong with this country,” explained Power.

Other Chipotle employees say Max Power changed that day. “He barely even reacted when our Manager threatened to fire him,” said one of Power’s concerned coworkers. Power could not help but to relive the confrontation in his head. “Every time a customer would ask for guac, the roomed seemed to get 20 degrees warmer,” admitted Power. He became so nervous that sometimes he would inform customers that guacamole was extra even if they did not order it. Eventually he could no longer control the volume of his voice. One of Power’s coworkers recounts an experience where a 10-year old girl asked for guacamole and Power shouted at her in response. “He started yelling at her before she even finished asking for it: ‘IT’S EXTRA IS THAT OKAY?!?’ He was out of breath like he just ran a mile.”

Under the recommendation of his manager and parents, Max Power voluntarily took a leave from Chipotle in order to seek medical attention. Power will remain at Golden Cross Hospital for further evaluation and care. “I don’t blame the company. It is important for all customers to know about the extra charge for guac. I know it sounds silly, but I’m going to beat this.” We wish Max Power the best in his path towards recovery.

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6 thoughts on “Chipotle Employee Diagnosed with PTSD from Telling Customers: “Guac is Extra””

  1. great details make the story really come alive (his position in line, The customers reactions to being told that Guac costs extra). Unique take on an interesting subject.

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  2. I can definitely relate to this subject and thought it was very funny. I can’t stand paying extra for guacamole. I especially don’t like that they always have to tell you that guacamole is extra.

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  3. This is so true. I get so annoyed when they ask me if it is okay that guac is extra. I wonder how often they get customers who do not know it is extra!

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  4. Hilarious…

    I did read a book called Fast Food, Fast Talk which looked at how the routinization of niceness in fast food took its toll on employees. The author did an ethnography of fast food work… she went to Hamburger University (where McDonald’s trains managers).

    Smiling falsely all day caused some to either be surly or to make ti so over-the-top that they would not confuse their own genuine niceness with the “mask” they would wear at McBurgerdy’s. Not PSTD, but certainly tiring.

    The book included a manager saying something like “we want to have every customer treated like a unique person in ten seconds or less.”

    The irony was lost on him…

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