I’m truly blessed to live in an age with fast food restaurants.
I recently discovered that human beings were once forced to gather, hunt, and prepare all of their own meals! Aside from kings and plantation owners, there were few who did not know to do these very basic things. I, despite my most recent attempts, am forced to add this to my list of things I have in common with kings and plantation owners. If all of the fast food restaurants on Earth were to suddenly close, it’s entirely likely that I would either A) Be forced to move back home where my family could feed me properly, or B) Die.
Unfortunately, the more time I spend away from home the more I rely on these terrible establishments for my nutrition. After only a few months we have already developed a junkie/dealer relationship: my tastes have gotten more refined to satisfy my hunger (I only eat Taco Supremes now,) but in the process things are much more expensive. Whether it be Carl’s Jr., Arby’s, or Hardee’s, there isn’t a single drive-thru in the tri-country area where I can’t list off my favorite combo meals by rote.
In the past few years a massive push to make fast food healthier has resulted in the removal of Super-Sized combo meals, and especially fattening items from the menus of restaurants everywhere. Wendy’s, and a handful of others have taken great steps in adding more health-conscious choices, going so far as to let customers substitute their french fries and soda pop for milk, juice, orange slices or celery stalks (yum!)
Every time I pull into a Wendy’s restaurant I make a point of taking advantage of this luxury; not only because I would prefer milk to soda with my meal but also because I know that a lack of customer support will kill off movements like these. By ordering milk and orange slices I feel progressive and trendy; for a brief moment I’m one of those people who drive around in their hybrid vehicles with the windows rolled down so that the world can see them behind the wheel.
Last night the unthinkable happened. I was at Wendy’s fighting for America’s youth when the lady behind the counter refused to give me my milk and orange slices(!) She claimed it “wasn’t an option” with the combination meal I had ordered, and that I would have to choose between a chili bowl, or french fries. The milk and orange slices, as I was told, were only available with the kid’s meal, and were not available for individual sale. In the past other Wendy’s employees had made exceptions for me. but apparently the policy had changed. I found myself no longer able to treat myself to the healthy, god-awful orange slices I grew so fond of over the months.
It was at this point I snapped, and felt overwhelmed by an ethical dilemma generally reserved for solders at war or women about to shoot their abusive husbands. Did I dare make a scene of this, and if I did, how far could I take it? No doubt I would get my orange slices after shouting at someone in a position of authority, but would that satisfy me? Perhaps this was my calling. Much like the documentary filmmakers who kick-started this “fast-health” campaign, it was up to handsome people such as myself to keep it going.
After a few moments of awkward silence, the cashier, who I eventually came to know as ‘Bitch,’ tried forcing me into choosing french fries as I ran the various scenarios through my head. It became increasingly obvious that she was hoping to pressure me into a choice, but I’m from Disneyland, and I’ve learned the fine art of being an obnoxious-jerk through thousands of hours of interacting with real-life obnoxious jerks.
I’M CHANGING THE WORLD, DAMMIT, AND I DON’T CARE WHAT YOU AND YOUR OPPRESSIVE FAST FOOD OLIGARCHY HAVE TO SAY ABOUT THAT!
That’s what I wanted to say, but I instead suggested a compromise. I would order a kid’s combo, and “upgrade” my food to something that would satisfy my adult-sized hunger. Not only was this more complicated to order, but I imagine it was incredibly annoying to ring up as a cashier. Now instead of my usual order:
I WANT A NUMBER NINE WITH WHITE MILK AND MANDARIN ORANGE SLICES PLEASE!
I had to order it like this:
I NEED A KID’S CHICKEN NUGGET COMBO WITH WHITE MILK AND MANDARIN ORANGE SLICES. I WOULD ALSO LIKE TO UPGRADE THE CHICKEN NUGGETS TO ADULT-SIZED, WITH 12 PIECES PLEASE!
This may not sound like much of an inconvenience, but in my personal experience I have found that despite glamorous stereotypes reinforced by popular media, the intellectual quality of fast-food cashiers leaves much to be desired. As a result, making even the most simple changes to a food order can end in disaster. Now not only was I gambling with my meal even suggesting to make an unusual order, but I was doing something that required a moderate amount of skill and precision on the part of the entire Wendy’s restaurant staff.
On the off-chance that Bitch had entered my request correctly into the computer, it would then be up to her co-worker, the cook, to make it righ. Remember, these are people who for one reason or another, were deemed unqualified to deal with other human beings directly at a fast-food restaurant.
For want of whole milk and frozen oranges, I was putting my life on the line.
Bitch stared intently into the computer screen, scratching her brow as she tried to figure out what to do. She punched in several seemingly random buttons on the screen, and within a instant had disappeared deep into the restaurant’s walk-in freezer, only to return moments later with a bottle of whole milk and a cup of oranges in her hands. She looked at me nervously. I smiled, and nodded with approval as she stuffed them into a paper sack containing the rest of my dinner.
After several long minutes my adventure was over, and I felt proud of all that I had accomplished. If Dave Thomas were still alive, I imagine this is the type of joy and satisfaction he would have wanted all Wendy’s customers to have felt when leaving his successful chain of eateries.
I placed my bag into the seat of the car next to me, and sat there for a moment to reflect on all that had just happened. Before starting up the vehicle my curiosity finally took over, and I opened it.
Stuffed just below my milk and oranges was a jumbo container of french fries.