mcdonald’s: i’m hatin’ it

This wasn’t the post I had intended for today, but I had an EXPERIENCE yesterday and I just *had* to tell the six people that read this blog ALL ABOUT IT.

Let me begin by saying that yesterday was the first day of my son’s summer vacation. And as I’m sure many of you already know, summer vacation presents stay-at-home parents like myself with one of two choices:

1. Entertain your kid 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

OR

2. Sign him or her up for a whole bunch of inconveniently-timed and unreasonably-priced activities just so you can actually have sixty seconds to yourself without hearing some variant of:

“MOM. I’M BORED. CAN WE GO TO THE POOL? CAN WE GO TO THE PARK? CAN THAT KID YOU HATE COME OVER FOR SEVEN HOURS ? CAN WE HAVE NUTELLA FOR A SNACK AND GET IT ALL OVER THE NEW CARPET? AW, COME ON! YOU ARE THE WORST MOM EVER. IN AN ACT OF DEFIANCE I WILL NOW PLAY VIDEO GAMES ALL DAY AND THEN CRAB LIKE ALL HELL WHEN YOU FINALLY MAKE ME TURN THEM OFF.”

It’s not exactly Sophie’s Choice, people.

Needless to say, I went with Door #2 and consequently my son is attending soccer camp this week. And because I hate myself and want to make my life even more miserable than it already is, the soccer camp we chose is one that requires me to a) get up at the exact same time as if I were taking my son to school, b) drive just as far as if I were taking my son to school, and c) pack food and a drink as if I were preparing my son for school. AND YET THE CAMP ONLY LASTS HALF AS LONG AS A SCHOOL DAY. 9 AM – 12 PM to be exact.

THE HORROR!

The unfortunate timing also means that I have to deal with lunch the minute I pick my son up from camp. Now, normally I’d take him back to the house and make him eat something cheap home-made, but yesterday he and I thought McDonald’s might be a good way to kick off the summer. Because nothing says fresh air, sunshine, and healthy living than hitting up the McDonald’s drive-thru, ordering a mess of burgers and nuggets, and then eating them in the air-conditioned living room while sitting on the couch watching television.

Yesterday’s McDonald’s experience went somewhat differently than expected, however.

We pulled into the drive-thru line which was LONG. But okay, it was noon. I made a mental concession. My son and I chatted about soccer camp during the wait, and when I finally got to the speaker thing I placed a very simple order:

  • A chicken nugget Happy Meal
  • Two cheeseburgers
  • A small fry

I pulled up to the This Is Where You Pay Window and I gave the dude his money. No problem there. It was only when I pulled up to the This Is Ostensibly Where Get Your Food Window that things started to fall apart.

It started with me… not getting my food. They didn’t have it ready. No big deal — they just wanted me to pull into the parking lot and wait for it. Okay, I get it. Sometimes that happens when you place a particularly complicated order for rare and exotic items such as chicken nuggets, cheeseburgers, and fries. Being a gracious woman, I made another mental concession. But then this happened:

Drive-Thru Lady (in what I will generously call “English”): “Please to park where that blue car and red car are parked.”

Me (confused): “Um. I can’t park there. *They’re* parked there. And there’s no empty spots around them.”

Drive-Thru Lady (exasperated): “Please. See that blue car and that red car? You park there.”

Me: “But there are NO SPOTS THERE. The area you’re directing me to is full.”

Drive-Thru Lady: *glare*

Me (apologetically): “I’m really sorry, but I just don’t understand what you’re telling me to do.”

Drive-Thru Lady: “PARK TO WHERE THAT BLUE AND RED CAR ARE PARKED.”

Me (desperate now): “BUT I CAN’T! I LITERALLY CAN’T!”

Drive-Thru Lady (slowly, emphatically, and as if I was the dumbest person on God’s sweet Earth): “THEN. TO WAIT. UNTIL. THEY LEAVE. THEN PARK THERE.”

At this point I was so discombobulated I just went ahead and pulled out of the line, desperately trying to figure out where exactly this insane person wanted me to park. The Blue and Red Cars of Infamy had no one inside and were clearly not going anywhere. They were surrounded on all sides by other parked cars that had no one inside and were also clearly not going anywhere. So I did the best I could and parked about three vehicles down. Granted, it wasn’t PARKING TO WHERE THE BLUE AND RED CAR WERE PARKED, but neither (I felt) would it be a journey of epic proportions for the McDonald’s people to find me. So my son and I sat back, rolled down our windows, and waited.

And waited.

And waited.

In my rear view mirror I saw car after car leaving the drive-thru, their drivers with bags of delicious greasy food clutched in their hands. This pissed me off and it also confused the fuck out of my son. “I don’t understand why they’re getting their food and we’re waiting here,” he complained. “Where’s our lunch?”

Good question, son.

But I am a patient-ish person and I waited a little bit longer. About ten or twelve minutes total, I would say. Finally, though, both the boy and I were like:

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So we got out of the car and walked into McDonald’s. Which was… completely empty.

Girl at Counter: “Can I help you?”

Me: “Uh, yeah. We’ve been sitting in the boiling hot parking lot for ten minutes waiting for our food.”

Girl at Counter: “Oh. I didn’t know there was anyone waiting. Did you park where the drive-thru lady told you to?”

Me: “HA! It’s interesting that you should say that, because she told me to park in one of two spots that already had cars in them. So no. I didn’t. But I parked as close as I possibly could.”

Girl at Counter: “Well, that explains it. It looks like someone went out there but couldn’t find you. Oh, here’s your food.”

At this point she reached under the counter and handed me a bag of lukewarm nuggets and soggy fries. I just stood there for a second, boggling. Really? Whoever brought out the food COULDN’T FIND ME? I literally COULD NOT BE FOUND? I was only three cars down from where the crazy lady told me to park. I had my engine running, my windows open, and a six year old in the car bitching at the top of his lungs about WHY ISN’T THE FOOD HERE YET. And it wasn’t like they had to dispatch Lewis and Clark on an expedition into the Uncharted West — I was parked literally twenty feet from the main entrance of the damn restaurant.

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So what did I do then, you probably don’t care? Well, with a grand announcement that we would never be returning to that McDonald’s (as if anyone gave a damn) my son and I marched out with our bag of rapidly-cooling greasy grossness and more than a whiff of the moral high ground. And as my son so eloquently remarked:

“We should have never trusted this McDonald’s.”

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Photo credits:
“French Fries”: English: McDonald’s french fries on a white stoneware plate. Date 29 October 2010. Photo by Evan-Amos. This photo was taken as a part of Vanamo Media, which creates public domain works for educational purposes.
“Detox”: Source unknown. Footage taken from Rupaul’s Drag Race, broadcast by LogoTV.
“Lewis”: Author: Charles Willson Peale (1741–1827) Description: Portrait of Meriweather Lewis.
Date: Circa 1807: Source/Photographer http://media-2.web.britannica.com/eb-media/63/10263-050-BB45DC47.jpg. Licensing: This is a faithful photographic reproduction of a two-dimensional, public domain work of art. This work is in the public domain in the United States.
“Clark”: Author: Charles Willson Peale – http://media-2.web.britannica.com/eb-media/58/12858-050-C634509E.jpg. This media file is in the public domain in the United States. File: William Clark-Charles Willson Peale.jpg. Uploaded by Connormah. Created: 31 December 1809