Monday, February 22, 2010

Fear And Loathing At The Carl's Jr. Drive-Thru

If you don't want to read all this and just want the moral of the story, here it is: Should you order a Six Dollar Burger at the Carl's Jr. drive-thru, do yourself a favor and give your bag a little peek just to confirm your burger is packaged in a genuine Six Dollar Burger box.

OK, now on with the tale of woe and triumph. Thursday I skipped out of work to grab a Western Bacon Six Dollar Burger value meal, but when I got back to my desk I felt like the guy in The Crying Game when I discovered my burger was but a decidedly un-Six Dollar super star. I'd been had.

At this point I had already devoured my fries and was a couple bites into - OK, halfway through - the offending burger, and might have done well to have just packed it in at that point and taken the hand fate had dealt me. After all, I certainly didn't need the calories of an entire other burger, much less that of the giant, Six Dollar variety, on top of what I'd already eaten.

My manorexia had already been dinged by the indignity of springing for a value meal in the first place, because I'd abandoned my usual routine of ordering just a burger, circumventing the empty calories of fries and soda. But then I had a Thomas Paine moment and decided I needed to make a stand on principle. If no one stood up to this Carl's Jr. in its attempt -- intentional or otherwise -- to defraud me, what would stop other Carl's Jr.s' from following suit? Surely Burger King would give it a try, swapping out Whopper Jr.s for Whoppers, and eventually even McDonald's would get into the act. So really, the entire fate of the fast food world rested on my shoulders. No, sir. I will not let this happy, peaceful world fall to such a fate. Not on my watch. This time it was indeed personal, even if I am getting too old for this shit.

So back I went, deliberating during the 4-minute drive rather than to attempt the return/exchange via drive-thru or in person at the counter. Of course I'd have to go inside, if only to do all I could to ensure the fast food workers wouldn't drop a seven-dollar loogie into my meal. You're flying blind when you go through the drive-thru, a place braille fears to tread.

So I parked out front and made my way toward the restaurant, bag of disgraced fast food stuffs in hand, when I confronted a homeless man. There are some situations in which one's integrity is tested. I felt the right thing to do would be to realize that it would be only right to hand the sandwich over to the unfortunate gentleman, because at that point I was no longer hungry, and the free half-burger would surely be the highlight of his week.

But it was not to be. My heart said stop but my legs said "keep walking," because I'm afraid of street folk and do everything in my power to avoid speaking to them. I went inside, pulled off the trade, inspected my genuine Six Dollar Burger box, then walked outside. Again I confronted the homeless man, and again I avoided eye contact and swerve-walked away from him in a manner so as not to convince him I was veering away from him.

He tried to make it easier for me. This time he asked me if I had a sandwich he could have. He didn't ask for money, just some food. Yet I said "No, I don't have anything. Sorry, man," and kept walking, making no attempt to hide the bag. So now I was a liar, a glutton, and if he needed that meal lest he perish of starvation, possibly even a murderer. But one thing I was not was a sloth, because a sloth would have accepted his super star lot at his desk. But not I, I thought to myself as I devoured a few thousand extra calories in front of my computer monitor. I may be a bastard, but at least I am not a lazy one.


Ashley O said...

Who knows... Maybe that homeless guy gambled all his AND his wife's money away and that's why he's homeless. No money. No home. No food.

Don't feel so bad. Be a glutton.

Unknown said...

Ha-ha-ha! i really love your sense of humor!! The creativity and sarcasm kills me!
As for tuna with A-1 sauce, think i'll take your word for it.
PS not to be a smart ass, but i don't think people parish from starvation (unless they are devout atheists, in which case i guess it's possible). They'd more likely perish, no?