Last Labor Day I was in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan to gamble, like you do. After dinner, my parents, my Dad’s cousin, and I stopped at a McDonald’s for coffee at my second cousin’s (and it is my second cousin- I looked it up) insistence. “Nothing wrong with McDonald’s coffee. They put the cream in for you.” Sold. We stopped and I walked in to a mess. Line to the door and then curled around in that weird way where you don’t know if somebody is in line or just boxing out the Dr. Pepper. The sole stringy haired blond counter worker looked like she’d just recently been electro-shocked back into conciousness. There seemed to be three people working the drive-through but they were assiduously concentrating on that sector. String hair would often, without warning, disappear into the back area where The McDonalds Happens only to return with one component of an order. An apple pie. A small fry. A box of straws. There was a lot of shuffling of feet and hrmphing. The line is not moving. I sort of have to poop.
Eventually my anger was re-directed to the customers though. I watched a fat woman (Yes, an obese person in a midwestern McDonalds, I’ll pause while you scrape yourself up off the floor) took her order to a table then returned 72 seconds later holding her Big Mac. Fatty told String Hair that she had been quite clear that she wanted light lettuce on her Big Mac. She dropped it on the counter, disgusted. The culinary outrage of an over-lettuced Big Mac notwithstanding, this sack of diabetes was clearly fucking up the groove that I was sure String Hair was going to get into at any moment. Light Lettuce eyeballed String Hair who wandered into back and then stared as though she expected the executive chef to come out.
What Tubs Expected To Happen:
Chef comes out from the back, nonplussed. His eyes alight on the crumpled Big Mac, lettuce strewn about.
Chef: “Mon Dieu! What is ziss? [lifts up a bun...then another bun. He slaps his chef's toque on the counter] “Jacques!”
Jacques, the sous chef, slinks up, kneading his toque in his hands looking like a dog about to get rapped on the nose with a newspaper.
Jacques: “Oui, Chef?”
Chef: “Jacques, do we work at Bourgeai-King?”
Chef: “Do we work at Bourgeai-King?” [louder]
Light Lettuce crosses her meaty forearms and raises an eyebrow at Jacques. Well?
Jacques: “Non, Chef. We work at McDonalds.”
Chef: “I zee. And do you work for zat talentless little Francoise at the Frankenmuth McDonalds?”
Light Lettuce: “You heard him, Jacques.”
Jacques shoots her a look. Sweat beads on his forehead.
Jacques: “No, Chef.”
Chef: “Perhaps he’s decided to upgrade his cuisine and is now hiring zee mentally deficient. Your apron and hat, monsieur!” [Chef holds out his hand. Line erupts into cheers.]
What Actually Happened:
String Hair zombies over to utensil station. Unwraps a plastic knife. Without taking her dead eyes off Tubs, she lifts the bun and scrapes half the patty clean. She lifts the second bun, scrapes half of that patty clean. Pushes sandwich back to Tubs. Tubs stares at it for a moment. She gets a look on her face like maybe she needs to poop. Tubs asks for it to be remade. String Hair disappears in back.
I go take a shit.
Upon returning, the line has shrunk down to three people. An old lady buying ice cream and a teenage couple that are staring at the chocolate cookie display like I imagine meth heads look at the Nyquil rack at Walgreen’s. All eyeballs and twitchy fingers. I turn and see my Dad’s cousin in the parking lot, flashing the headlights. I make a wiping motion towards my butt in response. He gives me the double thumbs up.
“How much are the cookies?” One of the teenagers asks.
Don’t do this, I think to myself.
“Three for a dollar.” String Hair says through a yawn.
String Hair shrugs. I turn around to see if the sun has risen yet. The guy who was blocking the Dr. Pepper has given up hope and is now drinking directly from the ketchup spigot, Wheez style.
String Hair snaps back from wherever she drifted to and shrugs.
“Okay we’ll try’em.” Teen bro says, suspicious. String Hair bags the cookies up.
They pay and finally, fine-fucking-ally I am about to order a medium-
“These are stale.”
Now there’s trouble in River City. I’m in McDonalds so my expectations are beneath the barrel that everyone is always so worried about scraping. If this coffee I’m about to order contains only trace elements of fecal matter I’ll consider this trip a rousing success. I don’t expect anything from fast food. That cookie could be made out of hair and I’d still go at like a rat on a Cheeto. My brain is already vibrating from the whole light lettuce imbroglio (she’s still at the counter and she looks over at cookie man with a look like, “Figures.”) and now this scum-hole wants new cookies?
Motherfucker, it’s a $0.33 cookie. The fuck you think you were getting? Mrs. Fields? And you had to be talked into it. Who asks questions about a $0.33 cookie? Actually, you’re allowed one question: How much is it? That’s it. They tell you it’s a bit more than a quarter and that’s it. That’s all you need to know, homeboy. Pull the trigger or walk away. And if that cookie sucks? Walk it off, player. Way worse shit is going to happen to you. Like fecally contaminated coffee being thrown into your face.
String Hair is unresponsive. She turns and shuffles back into the vortex of the McDonalds kitchen with the sub-par cookies and all I can think is that somewhere back there is a manager who’s going to inspect the cookies and lecture String Hair about standards and food quality and how it’s important to take this invaluable feedback and implement an action plan to ensure that not one Mount Pleasant McDonalds guest ever receives such a shoddy $0.33 cookie ever again and we’ll stay here all night if we have to people! When we charge $0.33 for a cookie, we serve a $0.33 cookie! You know what? Fuck that! When we charge $0.33 for a cookie, we serve a cookie that is worth more than $0.33. We serve a goddamn $0.50 cookie! We’ve got standards here! Not like those loafing fucks over in Frankenmuth!