Thursday, August 11, 2011

All I Want is a Cup of Water...

Earlier this week, I stopped in at the McDonald's that is a few blocks away from my office. This is not any normal Mickey D's. This McDonald's sits across the parking lot from McDonald's World Corporate Headquarters, and features a bronze homage to Ray Crock, Mister "Golden Arches" himself.

It was close to two o'clock in the afternoon, so I thought a quick jaunt through the drive-thru would be the perfect greasy pick-me-up before an afternoon of grind-stoning at the office. I pulled into the dual lanes, only to meet two lines of cars backed up into the parking lot.

The cars puttered through the lines at a moderate pace and soon I was faced with a giant board and electronic screen. An obviously automated, overly enunciated voice asked me if I wanted to try some new menu offering. Then a more appropriate voice came over the intercom, complete with slurred diction and apathetic tone.

"Can I take your order?"

"Yeah. I'd like a McChicken, McDouble, and a large cup of ice water!" I hollered over the din of the car next to me.

"Is that all?" My order appeared on the screen:


"Excuse me? I don't want a small water. I'd like the largest cup you have, filled with ice and water." I'd been through this before, so added, "I'll pay for a soda! Just give me a large glass of water!"

"Ummm, OK. Please pull around." The screened changed to:


I had a bad feeling that this wouldn't end well.

Window 1

I pulled up to the first window, and was surprised by the prompt response of the cashier. She clarified my hydration request.

"So you want a large...water?"

"Yes ma'am."

"But you're paying for a large soda." She stared blankly at me.
Unable to respond in a way that would not be disrespectful, I handed her my debit card in silence.

And so the confusion continued.

Window 2

Before arriving at the second window, I saw a rigid hand shoot forth from the approaching fenestration. In it was a white paper sack. I pulled up to the window, retrieved the hanging satchel of processed meat, and turned to the young man in the window. To my chagrin, he offered forth the smallest pasteboard cup that McDonald's offers, full of water. In his other hand was an equally small cup, full of what appeared to be sweet tea. He seemed confused.

"No. I ordered a large water. In the largest cup you have. Ice water." I tried to speak slowly as his face became fraught with confusion.

The boy looked at the two cups in his hands. Then he turned to his left, where an automated, Henry Ford-inspired soda machine seamlessly executed its viscous design.


You get the idea.

After a few moments of juking and maneuvering with the behemoth machine, the boy turned to me.

"Can I have you pull up? Your...uh...water...will be right out to you."

Seriously? I allowed my car to idle forward with beleaguered exhaustion.

Window 3

After what seemed like 10 minutes of waiting for one of the purest liquids available on the face of the planet, a perky young woman comes to the window.

"Here's your water! Have a great day!"

Thanks McDonald's, for yet another memorable experience. I'm loving it all right.

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