Today, I was the ball when I walked into that fast food place known for their square burgers. When I saw that the line ahead of me was six strong, I almost did an about-face. (In hindsight, I should have!) It was the second line to which I should have been paying more attention.
It seems that the burger flippers and lettuce washers weren't having a very good day. The honorific, it seems, weren't able to keep Mr. Thomas from rolling over in the grave. The queue of disgruntled customers were thinking that this crew should probably join him.
It is by design I'm certain, that most fast food franchises do not have suggestion or comment boxes. The "love" notes that would have been deposited there this day would surely have shocked even Lenny Bruce. (For the sake of posterity, I would have purchased the contents of that box! What a post that would make!)
The first two had been given the wrong orders. If getting the wrong order wasn't bad enough, both had gone through the drive-through! These two happy campers had to return to the lot, park their vehicles and then march into the place to get what they ordered. It turns out these two had each other's order.
Need I say that neither was impressed or pleased when the counter girl just swapped the bags and handed them back? The girl didn't understand why they wouldn't accept her offering, instead insisting on new orders.
Meanwhile, those of us waiting to place our orders were in a state of purgatory. I said to guy in front of me, "I guess we're in the wrong line!"
We weren't the only ones waiting. There was a cacophonous symphony of auto horns outside in the drive-through lane.
Normally I would have turned tail and left. Today I had some time to kill and wasn't in a hurry. Wearing patience as a badge of valor, I decided to watch the drama unfold to its conclusion. Besides, I was hungry!
The next person in the "bitchin' line" was a woman and she plopped down a chicken sandwich that was under-cooked. From where I stood I could see the pink meat beneath the crisp batter coating. She wanted her money back and she didn't want another sandwich. She had lost her appetite and demanded to see the manager.
I gained two places in line as two of those ahead of me gave up and walked out in disgust. Three more unsuspecting souls had fallen in behind me.
I pondered for a moment, "What would happen if I were to move into the other line and try to place my order?" As a monkey wrench had already been thrown into the works, such an action would have been tantamount to me chucking the whole toolbox at them.
By my estimation, a total of twelve minutes had passed before the first person in my line was finally serenaded with the anticipated phrase, "Can I help the next person in line?" Lulled into near catatonia, that person remained still until it was repeated.
Remarkably, the mechanization of the assembly line began to run smoothly like a well-oiled engine. Somewhere people were eating healthy meals, somewhere people were watching their weight and counting their calories, but there was no soy in Mudville when Wendys came to bat.
Somewhere arteries are hardening, and heart burn is raging, but here my stomach was grumbling and I sneered and ordered the Quadruple Bacon Classic with cheese - hold the pickle and leave off the lettuce.
I read the display at the back of the register and saw that she had not keyed in 'no pickle' and 'no lettuce.' When I brought this to her attention she replied, "Yes, we have lettuce and pickles. Lettuce and pickles come with burger."
"I distinctly said no pickles and no lettuce !" She didn't bat an eyelash and said "What you order I going to get you. I'm good worker here." (I was tempted to say, but thought better of it, "You probably illegal worker too!")
It was like seeing the light at the end of the tunnel when the bag containing my food was handed to me. I was practically tasting it through the bag as I made my way to my truck outside on the lot. (I never use the drive-up windows because more times than not, my order will be screwed up.)
Of course that is presupposing that orders filled inside are always right. I'm sure you can see where this is heading. You've eaten there too, huh? ....What to my wondering eyes should appear between the layers of meat and bread ... but pickles and lettuce!
I sighed in resignation and picked the unwanted accessories from my burger. I remembered a friend who one time at McDonalds had placed an order for burgers for her two kids without the bread. She was told that they didn't serve the burgers that way, but she was welcome to remove the buns herself and not eat them. This was in despite the fact that the place was plastered with signs and posters announcing that they had Atkins Approved Menu Items. (I'm reminded of Jack Nicholson in the film, "Five Easy Pieces.")
With each bite of my sandwich, I began to formulate a plan of revenge. By the time I had finished eating I had worked out the details. The plan was perfect in its simplicity. It would be easy to implement and my getaway unencumbered.
I circled around the lot and turned into the drive-through lane and placed an order for three sandwiches and three biggie fries. I was told the price and instructed to drive up to the first window. As the girl there slid the window open I promptly placed three pieces of ketchup and mustard laden lettuce and five pickles on the surface before her. I recited a rehearsed message, "Lettuce not discuss this lest we both find ourselves in a pickle."
I let up on the brake and shouted, "Keep the change!" As I drove off I could see in my rear view mirror her head craning from the portal of her duty nest, a puzzled look on her face.
I suppose the order I had placed will manage to find its way into the bag given to someone who will order something else entirely. Then there will be another pair of stalled lines inside.
Remember that jingle? "Have it