Have you ever had one of those days where it starts off by everyone in your home town trying to cut you off, run you down or simply prevent you from accessing the highway. It’s the kind of day that when you finally bring the car to its resting place underneath the tree, the place you park for the shade, the prime spot, the tree now filled with birds who must have eaten something spicy last night because they’re sure decorating your car like something is disagreeing with them. You get inside, hoping you can now squeeze “car wash” into your plans before going home to get creamed by someone with road rage and everyone looks at you. You know “the look” the one that says “oh, we know what you did”, “we know about the bodies”, “I’m looking at you and I’m seeing “face lift” in YOUR future”. You head to the bathroom to stare, because you knew the bandage wouldn’t hide that third head you’ve been covering up for weeks only to find that you still look the same. So you reach out to your true friends who assure you “it’s just a bad day”, but what did you expect? They’re probably involved in the global conspiracy to wreck your day, too.
You miraculously make it to lunch, merrily sulking in your car in the drive way and finally it’s your turn to pull up to the little speaker. You order and instead of “that’ll be $4.92 ma’am, please pull up” you get educated. “We don’t put onions on the Bonzo Burger”. Well good, because I don’t want them just like I said.
This is my shout-out to you fast foodies and your fast food “speak” since I have no control over my co-workers or fellow drivers. My degree is not in your menu nor did I take any electives. My fast food world is fairly black and white – either it’s a burger or it’s chicken or it’s pizza and my sizes come in small, medium and large. For starters, I was born with glasses and the prospect of my eyesight getting any better is not looking good. I can read your big words – the funny (aka clever) little names you call whatever combo you’re hawking at the moment. However, I have to rely on the pictures and my general knowledge of that product to guess its innards. In my mind, all burgers come with “lettuce, tomato, pickles and onions – cheese is optional” – my memory of the Big Mac song and my Big Mac t-shirt from the 70’s tell me this is true. So, when I ask for no onions, I’m not really looking for advanced knowledge about the bits on your burger. If they don’t come with onions just say “ok”, because the truth is I don’t know where I am. Your advertisements didn’t draw me in, you were convenient and when I drive off, I won’t remember that your special burger didn’t come with onions and I’ll just ask again. Unless you invite me to assemble the burger, I’m never going to be able to tell you what comes on it and I will truly build it like a Big Mac because McDonald’s prepared my generation to work on their burger lines. Now that’s clever! Your company, however, didn’t write a catchy jingle which means your only job at this point is to just say “ok”. If you keep insisting that I learn, I’ll start asking for “no sardines or deviled eggs on the #1 please”
Unless you have five different sizes, I don’t care to play the game of “we don’t have medium”. You do. You just call it “regular” or again something clever that changes from fast food place to fast food place. You know what I mean, so do us both a favor and pick the middle one to get me out of your line. We can go around all day trying to get me to say “I’d like the Tummy Tester 44” but I’m going to still say “large” just to spite you because I hate saying obnoxiously stupid things out loud.
I remember at one time Baskin Robbins had a flavor called Tony the Tiger Crunch. It looked good. I wanted it. However, I wasn’t about to say that name in public so I leaned into the server and whispered in a voice that’s usually reserved for “the deal is going down on 12th, Vinnie the Nose is going to take care of everything” and you wink then slink back into the darkness that birthed you. What I asked in the quietest voice I could muster was, “I’d like the Tony the Tiger Crunch” and I settled back down on my heels. “WHAT?!” I cleared my throat and leaned back in while pointing at the ice cream “Tony… Tiger… Crunch”. “OH! THE TONY THE TIGER CRUNCH ON A WAFFLE CONE?” I let out an enormous sigh, while looking up and down at the rest of the customers. “Yes.” And that was the last time I ordered something that sounded that stupid, because the truth is I’d rather eat homemade vanilla than repeat that moment again. I’m not playing your advertisement games.
In fact, I may become an advocate for the standardization of menus – maybe we could have a national menu that included standardized sizing – no “WhataSize’ “Biggie Size” “Super Size” – none of that. Of course, that smacks of “freedom fries” and we can’t have that either, so let me steal a phrase from Stephen Colbert and warn the fast food industry in the meantime “you’re on notice!” especially when I’m having one of “those” days.