Yeah, so I got my Darren (TM Registered Pat.Pend.) on at Burger King. I mean, it wasn't a full on meltdown and I don't think I was filmed...although there was a guy holding a smart phone behind me...however, in my defense, I think they deserved it.
Look, I'm a pretty amiable person. I don't really "go off" easily and it hardly ever happens. So I'll pose the old "Am I the Asshole" query and tell you my side of what happened.
So, I get this coupon in the mail for Burger King. Or should I say, a sheet of coupons. And nowadays, what with prices the way they are (I mean you sort of can't get out of a fast-food restaurant without dropping nearly ten bucks) I figured I'd use the coupon. Or had the coupon merely done its job of enticing me into the restaurant by making me crave one of BK's "Original Chicken Sandwiches"? In this case, two; as it was a two for one deal?
So anyways, I go to the grocery store and afterwards swing by BK which is right across the street. I notice the drive through is a bit jammed; but when I went in, there was no line. Just a nice old lady, standing to the side, obviously waiting for her order. She's a certain type of old lady. Specific to these-a-here parts. I call them Mountain Mamas. They're usually grandma aged. Usually gray-haired. Long gray hair that they wear long. They usually dress like they're still in their twenties (think halter tops and denim cut-offs). They are quite often loud, as though they never learned to modulate their voice. They drive big ass vehicles; quite often four door sedans from the 70's. They are a type. They all sort of have the same look; and as I mentioned they are LOUD; but sometimes not. Like the exact opposite. No words at all; but if they do speak, hardly above a whisper. Granny (let's call her) was the latter. So I order, proudly present my coupon and then (having it MY way) ask for the mayo to be held and tomatoes (extra!) added. This is achieved in mere seconds and then I go stand next to Granny.
And I wait.
And I wait some more.
And I wait more some more.
Granny tells me she's waiting for her order and I assure her that, I too, am waiting.
An older gentleman comes in and orders, pays in cash and then goes to the fountain to fill his drinks. And I wait even longer. I can see straight into the kitchen, where it seems there is one person preparing sandwiches; although there are like seven people behind the counter. I'm watching for the chicken sandwiches I ordered, as they are oblong shaped and I'm seeing a lot of round sandwiches coming down the line. Most of the bagged food is going to the drive through window. Finally a girl comes out, holds up a bag and I half-hear "chicken sandwiches..." Granny suddenly moves like a cat next to fire-crackers going off, grabs the bag, waves good-bye to me and she's out the door. I looked at the girl and wished they still wore the uniforms from the 70's.
Finally, the girl reappears with another brown paper bag and looking at me she says: "Two juniors and two fries" and she dangles the bag in my general direction. But I'm skeptical. Nothing in my order mentioned anyone named Junior.
"Junior what?" I ask
"Whoppers...and two fries..." comes the reply.
"No," I say, "I ordered two chicken sandwiches with two--"
The manager, a Mountain Mama herself (who had taken my order), came over and looked at the girl. "What'samatter?"
"Oh, no honey, he had two chicken sandwiches with no mayo and extra tomato and two fries...what are these?"
"Two Juniors and two fries--"
They both looked up at the pending order screen. By this time the little old man had wandered over and inserted himself into the dynamic.
Mountain Mama Manager turned to him. "Baby did you order two Whopper Juniors?"
"And two fries!" he said.
"Oh," the Manager said to the girl, "these are his..."
And he goes on his merry way. "So, where's my order?" A lot of head swiveling and looking around unfolded at this point and then they both looked at the screen.
"Oh," the girl said, "that one already went out..."
The Manager turned from the screen. "Yeah, that one went out."
"Went out?" I asked. "Went out where?"
"With that lady..." the girl said, turning her not quite deer in the headlights gaze to me.
"Wait..." I said, trying to process this turn of events; events that had never turned before in my long history of visiting Burger King restaurants. "You're telling me you gave my food to that lady?"
"Well," the girl said, maintaining her equilibrium under the mounting pressure of my rising dudgeon (and I gotta say I respected her for that), "I called out the order."
Now, this, in its simplest interpretation, was basically her telling me it was my fault. And that I was stupid on top of it.
A trap door opened under me and I plummeted into some kind of spiral galaxy where everything was backwards. Backwards and forwards simultaneously. Like, I was finding this whole scenario as hilarious as it was infuriating.
"Well, I'm gonna need your receipt for that..."
I delve into my pockets, where, of course, I can't find it.
I deflate in defeat. Now I'm embarrassed that several people have witnessed me in a moment of, shall we shay: emotional dishabille. I come up with nothing; both figuratively and literally. My spiral galaxy grinds to a halt.
"Well, here are the sandwiches right now, 'hon..."
"Fine," I sigh, "fine..."
A bag is handed off. Now my sense of divine comedy returns and I really want to know where Granny's dinner went.
"So, what happens when that lady gets home and finds out it's not what she ordered?"
Mama shrugged. "This happens all the time. That's her problem."
But wasn't it also now my problem? And how is that for some cold comfort?
So then I guess I apologized. I mean, I think I did say sorry. I explained: "I'm hungry and it makes me edgy..."
I don't think she was all that concerned with my psychological well-being; edgy or otherwise. So I take my new deal and get in the car and I start laughing. I laugh long and hard. I smell the irresistible scent of the french fries they sell and I reach into the bag for some on the drive home. Fresh and hot from the fryer! I take another handful between guffaws. I never eat while I drive. I wonder where Granny lives. I wonder why, if Burger KIng has retro-branded themselves with their 70's vibe as of like, last week; why haven't they brought back, at least, THE HAT? Probably because they couldn't get anyone to work there if they asked them to wear the hat. I think back on Burger King in the 70's and muse that Burger King in the 70's must've been the most 70's thing about the decade of the 70's.
Welcome to America, the land of fast food, fast guns and fast death. You want fries with that?