Really, this post should be labeled: Why Do I Keep Going There? (Bangs Head Against Wall). Regardless, you'll understand why both titles are appropriate soon enough.
A few years ago I had a fast food coming to Jesus moment when I watched Super Size Me. You remember that lovely little flick starring Morgan Spurlock. The guy ate McDonalds and only McDonalds for a month. By the end of the harrowing ordeal, I swear I was watching an extended version of Fear Factor for all the wretching and belching packed into the 90 minute show.
After that, I severely cut back on my fast food addiction.
However, every now and then, the Devil himself worms into my soccer-mom brain. And on a busy night like tonight (after running four kiddos to their various practices and games), I don't have time to make dinner. Heck, if I had a chance to use the bathroom without my five year old banging on the door, I probably wouldn't know what to do with myself.
Tonight I went to McDonalds. MISTAKE #1.
My kids were moaning like Katniss starving for Peeta's bread as we waited in the drive-thru. If I didn't get them fed immediately, Hunger Games MMXIII was gonna go down in the Mini (minivan).
I ordered two hamburgers, a box of chicken wings, a BBQ ranch burger, drinks and fries. After paying, I pulled forward and accepted my food from the employee.
Because this ain't my first time at the rodeo, I DID NOT pull away. No, I've been shorted by enough McDonald's establishments to know you hand out food to each of your kids before leaving. (Mark that down as a life tip.)
I handed out fries, drinks, chicken wings and two burgers. But hold up! There was no BBQ ranch burger.
I turned back to the window and waited. After three long minutes while my second oldest boy was dying of hunger pains (or so he complained), I knocked on the window.
"Yeah?" the girl said when she opened the slider. Always nice to see customer service at it's best.
"I didn't get the BBQ ranch burger."
She gave me a look--same look I give my kids when I know they're full of it.
"Really," I insisted. "I didn't get it." After listing what I did get, and then pointing to my one unfed son, the girl left for a moment and returned with a bag that contained my son's burger.
Grateful, I passed the bag to my son, and pulled away from the drive-thru. MISTAKE #2.
We were exiting the parking lot when my son said, "Uh Mom, what's this?"
I looked over. Blinked twice.
He held two buns that contained a whopping load of ranch-type-mayo-sauce, four Fritos, and a piece of cheese. No burger. Seriously, no burger.
I went to the drive-thru again.
"My son didn't get any burger with his BBQ burger."
"Yeah, it's supposed to have the burger," the girl said.
"Ok, could he get another BBQ burger?"
She took the patty-less buns with the wrapper from me. I watched as she went to the assembly table and said to another guy, "Hey, you forgot the meat. Can you put a piece of meat on this?"
My jaw dropped.
Sixty seconds later she returned with the same burger I'd just handed her, now with a piece of meat on it. Gag. Really, I gagged.
"Uh, I was hoping we could get a new one," I said, trying to politely not point out that her hands had just been all over the bun and had broken the piece of cheese.
She scowled at me. "You want another one?"
What was I thinking, expecting a new sandwich after someone else has manhandled and fondled the thing? Call me crazy.
"Yes," I said. MISTAKE #3.
She rolled her eyes and marched to the assembly line. "The lady wants another one," she told the other employee. Then she left us to wait for 8 minutes. I didn't realize making a BBQ burger would take so long, but in an effort to remain positive, I figured they had to grill another patty. Maybe that's what was taking 8 whole minutes.
The girl returned and handed me a burger wrapped in paper that looked crumpled and barely holding itself together. I looked at the creased paper, then at the cold burger inside that held a bent piece of cheese, a slathering of ranch-mayo-concoction and FOUR Fritos.
"You just gave me back The. Same. Burger!" I was shocked. And a little ready to throw down. Don't mess with a momma bear when her baby cubs are hungry!
She pursed her lips and crossed her arms. "How do you know?"
Oh yeah, that's what she said. I looked around for the candid camera crew. Or Jamie Kennedy. They were no where to be found.
"It's cold." I pointed to the broken cheese. "This is where you bent the cheese when you examined it. And I'm pretty sure it's not standard to only put four Fritos on your BBQ burger."
"So, what do you want me to do?"
I'm gonna let my original thought to her question slide because this is a family blog. What I ended up saying was: "Can you make me a new one, for real this time?"
"There are other people in line, Mam. If you want to go through the drive through again . . ."
"Alright," I said, losing it. "Just get me your manager."
The girl left and her manager replaced her. I explained the entire story to the lady. It was at the end of my rant that I realized she didn't understand everything I was saying. I don't fault her for this, because English as a second language can be a trial. So I explained it once more, hoping it made sense. And when I was done, she said:
"What do you want me to do about it?"
Well, this was one of those moments when you realize, you're fighting a lost cause. When you have to walk away and just accept nobody's perfect. And that customer service is a dying form. (At least at the McDonalds on 1600 North and State Street in Orem, Utah.)
Next time, I'll have to remember Morgan Spurlock's sage advice and steer clear of McDonald's because if it isn't the food that'll kill you, it'll be the customer service.