Wednesday, June 10, 2009

See, that's where you lost me...

I want to apologize to you, young gentleman working at a McDonald's in quaint Linglestown, PA. As usual, we were difficult customers and we had to go and ruin everything. Anyone else might say that you shirked your duties as Linglestown ambassador, and that was my initial reaction as well. However, upon further reflection, I realize that our problematic order was entirely our fault.

Neither Matt nor I go to McDonald's with any frequency, so maybe we aren't learned in the ways of how to properly order food. It also seemed like by asking for less, we would be making the order easier on you. I had no idea that this would unravel the very fabric of the Linglestown McDonald's.

Matt: I'll have the number 6, except....

McD's: Do you want to large size it?

Matt: Oh um, no, regular size. But no drink.

McD's: So you want just a large size fries and a small drink?

Matt: No...I don't want it large sized.

McD's: So...a regular sized fries and drink?

Matt: No, no drink.

Mc'D's: But you said you wanted a number 6.

Matt: I do.

Blank silence. Awkward staring.

Matt: I just don't want a drink. You don't have to hand me a cup.

You sighed and starting punching numbers on the cash register.

McD's: See, that's where you lost me. You said you wanted a number 6.

Matt: But I do.

McD's: No, you just wanted the sandwich and the fries.

Then it was my turn, and I was terrified. I didn't want to further disrupt your day, and I knew I couldn't order a meal if I didn't want to take responsibility for consuming it all, exactly as dictated on the menu. I very deliberately said, "I'll just have a double cheeseburger with medium fries. And an iced coffee."

Thinking I was done, I breathed a sigh of relief, but your eyes darted back up at me and I knew I had made a fatal mistake.

McD's: Do you want to make that a combo meal?

Me: Um...I don't know, do I?

"You can substitute the coffee for the soda," you explained with an exasperated sigh. "And make it all a meal."

"Okay so...sure. A meal. But not large. Just...regular."

This probably didn't make sense for some reason, but I'm glad that you spared me further humiliation by letting it go and punching with angry silence at the buttons of your cash register. I'm sorry that we were such difficult customers. You were kind to condescend us by wishing us an overly cheerful "You have a wonderful day, folks!" as we shuffled out the door with our malformed "meals". It's possible that we had a cultural misunderstanding. I may have thought I was in some sort of fancy Northeastern retail store when I requested my custom-tailored food. The strange thing is that a week later at a Wendy's in central Virginia, we didn't have a problem. We ordered about the same thing but there was no indication of discontent behind the counter; we also got our food in about half the time. The employees there probably don't share your finely-tuned sense of effective food ordering, or have your level of self respect.

The next time I pass through Linglestown, I'd like to visit you and try again, if you'd permit me. I promise not to "lose you" this time with my complicated and overwrought demands. I hope you're still there, waiting with narrowed eyes. I'd look for you at Domino's, but something tells me you wouldn't last too long there.

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