Since I’m regularly infuriated by people in fast food restaurants, and their scattered, shithead ways, it’s very important to me that I not be a hypocrite on the subject. So, when it’s my time to order, I’m always prepared for action.
You’ll never hear me say things like, “So, tell me a little about this… Big Mac sandwich? Is that what it’s called? It sounds interesting. What comes on that?” Or, “Yes, can I get the Whopper, but with the meat higher up in the stack? I prefer it to be above the lettuce and tomato. Also, can you cut all my fries in half? I have trouble with some of the really long ones.”
No, I’m always ready to go, the moment I’m called upon. I clearly enunciate with just enough (but not too much!) information, give the cashier ample breathing room to key everything, and already have my money or bank card in hand at the end of the process. So, there’s no fumbling around in my pockets, or any of that nonsense.
And I work within the accepted framework of whatever restaurant I happen to be visiting. I hate fast food pickles, for instance, but when I’m at McDonald’s I just let it go. It’s a conveyor belt of burgers back there, and it’s not advisable to disturb the rhythm. I just remove the pickles myself, on the back-end. But at Wendy’s they make each burger individually, so I feel comfortable telling them to hold the pickle. It’s a case by case thing, always within the accepted framework.
Then, as soon as the transaction is complete, I step to my left and allow access for the next person in line. I’ve said it a million times before, and I’ll say it again: I’m the guy you want to be in line behind at a fast food restaurant. I am the ideal fast food customer, and fully expect that to be my legacy.
But let me tell you about something that happened at Burger King a few days ago…
I went in there around 10:00 a.m. I’d already been up for hours and wanted lunch. But it was still breakfast in the BK world, so I rolled with it. Respect the framework, remember.
And when it was my time to order, I told the woman I wanted a sausage, egg, and cheese Croissan’wich, and a small soda. The soda is self-serve, so there’s no need to be specific. To say “Dr. Pepper” or “Coke” or whatever, is to open yourself up to complications. Like, “Oh, we’re out of Dr. Pepper today, but we have root beer.” That kind of thing. When it’s self-serve the generic “soda” is preferred.
So, my ordering technique was perfection, as always. But the cashier wouldn’t accept my gift of being a total pro, and insisted on making everything complicated. Usually they recognize the accomplished and polished customer, and appreciate it. But not this chick.
“Do you really want the small soda, or did you mean the value soda?” she asked. What? I don’t like this kind of crap. It adds an unnecessary extra layer to the process. But I said, “Value, I guess.”
And that was a tactical error. It was a gateway to: “The value soda is no-refills. Is that what you want?” What the hell, man?? My order, which was a thing of beauty, was collapsing all around me. Two extra layers now? This was a mess. “Yes, that’s fine,” I said through gritted teeth.
Then, incredibly: “Do you want ketchup?” I’d ordered a sausage, egg, and cheese breakfast sandwich. Ketchup?? Seriously? This was a bridge too far…
“Why would I want ketchup?” I asked. “I don’t understand.”
“Lots of people like ketchup on their eggs,” she shrugged.
“Like special needs kids, and that kind of thing?”
“So, no ketchup?”
The whole thing was spiraling out of control. My masterpiece was ruined. It was like she drew a set of giant buck teeth on the Mona Lisa. Plus, and this really chaps my ass…, they have ketchup dispensers at Burger King! I hadn’t gotten my order to go, I ate it there. Why was she trying to give me ketchup packets??
It was a disaster of the highest order; my own personal 9/11. I’d offered the gift of perfection, and she slapped it away with all her extra layers and bizarro toppings inquiries. It was awful, I tell you, and after today I will never speak of it again.