Tuesday, April 13, 2010
The Beatles 'Live At The BBC'
Do you remember your first trip going through a fast food drive-thru?
I don’t really recall that many drive-thru trips because my father didn’t like them. He was always saying that if you wanted your order wrong, take the drive-thru. He preferred talking face to face with someone over three feet of counter space between them. He was convinced that talking through an intercom system meant that you’d get a screwed up order every time.
I’m not like my parents or sisters. I don’t like pickles. I don’t like onions. And that’s the way most fast food came… Prepared with standard ingredients everywhere… Ketchup, mustard, and pickles. There were onions added to that trio over at McDonald’s. We rarely went to McDonald’s because of their liberal use of onions. I remembered being grossed out when I found a tiny piece of horrible onion on one of my French fries. I couldn't sleep that night.
Burger King will forever be remembered for giving me my liberty when it came to fast food. They had a promotion with Harlem Globetrotter Meadowlark Lemon where he stacked up Whoppers with every combination Madison Avenue could think of.
It was sweet liberty! I was able to have my father order my cheeseburgers plain with ketchup. No more scrapping off pickles that left their nasty taste residue all over the meat and soaked into the bun. I was free to have my burger “My Way” at Burger King. I felt like my tastes and preferences mattered. I felt like I mattered.
I didn’t realize back then that I could have ordered anything at McDonald’s the way I wanted. I had no idea that I could make a “grill order”. I’m sure that my father withheld this information because he liked going in and getting out at or near record time. Burger King’s ad campaign changed all that with his picky eating little boy.
I didn’t eat regularly at McDonald’s until the introduction of the Chicken McNugget. I could see that no foul onions were added to those deep fried chicken parts. So I’d go in and order me some Chicken McNuggets and finally, for the first time in my life, enjoyed me some McDonald’s without the scrapping of pickles and onions. In my little world, it was a joyous occasion and I can point out the place where it all happened. There's now a Rite-Aid where that Mickey D's once stood near the Janus Theaters.
I realize now that my father enjoyed the “fast” part of fast food. He didn’t like grill ordering because it was easier to order something prepared and sitting under heat lamps. He just couldn’t get into the drive-thru state of mind to complete the whole concept of modern and quick fast food.
I adapted to it reluctantly because I had fears of messed up orders prancing about inside my head like Scott Hamilton. I would go inside to make my special orders unless I just felt like throwing caution to the wind or I went out to grab something to eat in my “shouldn’t go out in public” condition.
Nowadays, it’s about 50/50. I prefer going inside to order, but sometimes I just don’t feel like leaving the radio or my Zune. It’s just easier not to leave the car and there’s a screen posting your order so you can make sure it’s correct.
I don’t know who came up with that concept, but they should have a small statue of them erected with a small surrounding garden at every fast food joint.
But there’s something that’s started troubling me when I get to a drive-thru… The drive-thru attendant is usually required to say something like, “Welcome to Barney’s Burger Bungalow! Would like to try our latest marketing tool? It’s only available for a limited time. It’s our finest crap piled high with lots of fancy toppings and a cute name. Would you like to order one or seven?”
I usually respond with, “No thanks. What I would like is…”
Or sometimes I just ignore them and give them my order, but that feels mean. It’s not their fault that they have to push the corporate line. I just get tired of it. If I wanted the chocolate covered pork chop with cheese biscuit this morning, I’d frakkin’ ask for one.
How do you cope with this popular trend of drive-thru jockeys trying to force feed you the latest and greatest in hip expanding fast foods?