Monday, August 22, 2011

Special Orders Upset Me

Generally speaking, I have a hard time with change. I will stick with something long after new and more sophisticated choices have become available just to save myself the chore of making a new commitment. This is especially true of my fast food choices. I have been a devotee of McDonald's for nearly half a century, but lately that ardor has been tested. It would be nice, I suppose, if I could report that watching Morgan Spurlock's "Super-Size Me" led me to a wave of regret and consideration of the health issues wrapped up in two all beef patties, special sauce, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun. Not really. I understand that a diet that consists only of McFood is a fast path to the cardiac ward. I also understand that I can survive a certain amount of "alternative food" if I eat my healthy greens and life-sustaining proteins the rest of the time.
But now, I have to negotiate those fast-food choices with a family that has grown increasingly disenchanted with the Golden Arches. The fact that we live just a short walk from our nearest McDonald's pains me just a little, since that always seemed like a dream to me. It was a place that my son and I could wander toward, and we would be sucked into the commercial inevitability of it: me for the nostalgia, and he for the toy inside the Happy Meal. He has become aware of this trap, and has started to make different choices.
Again, it would be a comfort if he was making conscious healthy choices, but his allegiance lies in the quiet storm that is In 'n' Out. He knows that he can order a burger without any vegetables and they will serve it to him along with fries that were made just moments before. He also prefers the notion of filling his own medium drink from the fountain located just to the left of the cashier. This is the franchise that has won him over, and my wife, having discovered the "protein style" burger, has followed suit. They are pleased and happy to have it "their way."
Meanwhile, across town, Burger King has decided that their corporate strategy is "to put the focus the food," and they will be kicking the plastic-faced king to the curb. Children across the globe will sleep easier knowing this creepy vision won't be infiltrating their late-night french fry fantasies. Me? I'll still be pining for the denizens of McDonaldland.

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