"...two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun..."McDonald's has lost its way.
I never thought I'd say this. Always, since my first 15-cent burger, I have counted on McDonald's. Not for health reasons, not for a good date meal, not a place to feed the family--at least, not very often--and not because that burger was the best one anywhere. It never was. Never claimed to be.
But I used a lot of McDonald's free internet over the years. I drank a lot of their coffee, ate more McDoubles and Filet of Fish sandwiches than were good for me, and used to go through the drive-through and get an ice cream cone just because I wanted ice cream. Like the burgers, the cones weren't the best around, but they were cheap and easy and a treat that warmed a broken heart and cooled the heat of anger when you needed it.
One time I left a purse in a McDonald's and an associate found it when she cleaned the table. When we drove back to get it, it and its contents were intact and everyone was nearly as pleased by my gratitude as I was by their honesty.
The restaurants themselves used to have personality. Remember when Peru's had a circus theme?
The drive-throughs were time-savers, especially during Covid. I am grateful to everyone who had drive-through windows or people who would bring meals to your car for pickup. It was a way we took care of each other, wasn't it? Restaurants needed the revenue and many of us needed food we didn't have to cook.
But I'm not grateful for what's happened to McDonald's, arguably the biggest and most successful of the available-at-every-exit food chains.
We were on vacation for a week, which meant several drive-through coffees and the occasional fast-food fix.
At one McDonald's, we waited in the drive-through line for 20 minutes. No one else was open and we were hungry. We gave up and had gas station food instead, where the cashier said sadly that she knew McDonald's had some issues, but she'd never heard of that happening. When we went past, there were still cars in the drive-through lanes and the line had lengthened.
We went to another MickyD's and went inside. I hadn't been inside for a few years and was surprised to find that the interior had all the charm of a storage room in a basement. I was greeted by a kiosk I didn't know how to work and didn't want to. "Can we order from you?" we asked the young woman at the counter.
"Yes!" she said. "Always." She nodded toward the kiosk. "We don't like them, either. They're taking our jobs."
The service was great there. The coffee and my Filet of Fish were good. The dining room looked like...yeah, a storage room, but it was clean. It was nice, Other than its bland looks, it was the McDonald's of old. No 15-cent burgers, no families eating lunch together, but all else was good.
At the next one, we had to order at the kiosk. It didn't give us the receipt it was supposed to, so that someone had to come from the back and look up the order with enough irritation that I felt embarrassed by something I'm pretty sure wasn't my fault. When he gave us the order, we said Thank You and left without further communication. Including You're Welcome. Certainly no hope that we'd have a nice day. No napkins, either.
It had become a "let's see what happens" kind of thing by now, so on Friday morning, we stopped at one final McDonald's for coffee and burritos. The burritos were pretty good. When we found a good place, we stopped and poured the coffee out. It was beyond awful. I thought maybe it had been sent by the store in another state where we'd waited 20+ minutes--it was certainly stale enough.
I'm not--at least I hope I'm not--one of the people who longs for the "good old days." I don't think they were so great (except for 1960s music, of course) or that we were smarter or harder working. I think we did a great job as parents, because the generations that have followed ours have done and will do great things.
But someone's screwed up McDonald's, and I really wish they'd go back and fix it.
Have a good week. Be nice to somebody.