The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Why Fast Food Isn’t Fast Anymore (and Other Serious Social Problems)

Posted on | August 25, 2020 | 6 Comments


She was an old lady — well along into her 70s, I’m sure — and I didn’t want to be mad at her, but she was causing a problem. Worse than that, however, is that she evidently did not realize how much of a problem she was causing, not only for me, but for the employees at McDonald’s and everyone in line behind me at the drive-thru.

My order was simple: Two McDoubles, small fries, large sweet tea.

Because I used to work in fast food, I understand how important it is for customers to keep it simple, to cooperate with the system, in order to maximize the speed of the service. By the time you reach the drive-thru speaker — or you arrive at the front counter, should you be ordering from inside the restaurant — you should have in mind exactly what you want to order. You’re not there to have a conversation. Don’t make special requests. Don’t mumble or ask questions about the menu — it’s right there in front of you, and if you can’t read the menu, perhaps you should consider going back to fifth grade. Speak slowly and clearly when placing your order. By the way, did I mention, no special requests?

Because I can’t possibly emphasize that enough. As a former fast-food worker, there is nothing that enrages me quite so much as seeing someone trying to get something from a fast-food restaurant that is not listed on the menu. Lady, this is not a-la-carte dining, it’s McDonald’s. Just order a Number 3 combo and get out of my way.

Keep it simple, that’s the secret of fast food, see? They have a limited number of items on the menu. If you don’t like what’s on the menu — served exactly the way they serve it — go somewhere else. Don’t ask McDonald’s to make you a Filet-o-Fish sandwich without tartar sauce or a cheeseburger with no onions. Just order what they’ve got, or just stay home for all I care, but stop slowing down the service with your idiot requests, because the rest of us in line behind you are hungry.

The reason I’m in the drive-thru at McDonald’s is because I want the standardized product that McDonald’s serves, and I want it fast. Therefore, I cooperate with the system. I follow the rules, rather than demanding special treatment by trying to turn a customer-service interaction into a Socratic dialogue about whether the items on the menu can be made differently, to suit my personal tastes and preferences.

Something else about the keep it simple approach to fast-food orders — if you make your order unnecessarily complicated, this increase the likelihood of error. So there I was . . .

What did the old lady order? I don’t know, but apparently they got her order wrong, because as I am approaching the first window — the one where you pay for your order — I see the car in front of me shift into reverse, and begin backing up. What the actual hell is this? Before I could say anything, she had backed up until she hit my bumper. Then she got out of her car and started knocking on the drive-thru window.

Leaning out my car window, I said, “Ma’am, what are you doing? You can’t back up in the drive-thru. You just hit my car.”

This didn’t seem to register. Of course, I drive an old junker, and it’s not as if I was going to call the cops, but still . . .

“Well you weren’t going anywhere,” she said.

What? Excuse me? Before I could figure out what she meant by this, the drive-thru window opened, and the lady began to talk to the employee about what was wrong with the order listed on the receipt.


Keep in mind, this was at the first window. She hadn’t even gotten her food yet, but somehow had time to look at the receipt and decide she needed to have an argument about her order with the cashier.

That’s not how this works. That’s not what you do if the get your order wrong in the drive-thru. Doesn’t everybody understand this? There is a procedure — a system — to follow in case of an error. You park your car and go inside, and they’ll straighten it out. The one thing you do not do, in the drive-thru, is to cause a scene that stops the flow.


This is just common sense, but in 2020, common sense is increasingly rare. Everywhere you look, there are people behaving in ways that are not merely inconsiderate of others, but downright dangerous.

For example, when a police officer asks to see your license, this is not an invitation to a discussion about your “rights.” If you are operating a motor vehicle, the law requires that you have a valid license, and while the cop may say “please” when he asks to see your license, it’s not a request, it’s a command. And never mind why he pulled you over, your failure to comply with his request is a violation of law.

Earlier this month, a four-second video clip went viral on social media, showing a black woman being pulled from a car. This clip circulated widely, with some people making false claims about what happened. So the police department released the entire video of the scene:

Aurora police on Sunday released dash cam video of an officer pulling a woman from a vehicle during a traffic stop in an attempt to correct “a false narrative” after a 4-second clip of it was shared on social media.
The video shows an officer pulling over a 20-year-old woman Thursday for allegedly driving a vehicle with plates that were not registered to the vehicle, police said.
The video shows the officer asking the woman several times to step out the vehicle, and then pulling her by her arm and pressing her against the side of the vehicle.
She was charged with misdemeanor count of obstructing a peace officer and citations regarding the license plate registration, police said.
Police explained that they released the video in an effort to explain the officer’s actions.
“In an effort to provide complete transparency to the community and tell the entire story, the Aurora Police Department is releasing the dash camera video of what happened and a lengthy narrative of the incident,” police said in a statement.
Police said that social media posts falsely claimed the woman did not get out of the vehicle because she could not walk and requires the use of braces, a wheelchair, and a walker. Police said the woman walks on her own and never told officers of any pre-existing conditions or injuries.

Watch the whole thing:


This woman was in the wrong the whole time. She knew damned well she was in the wrong, but when the cops busted her — driving an Acura SUV with tags registered to a Saturn sedan — she decided that she was not going to cooperate with the system, which led to her arrest.

Racism had nothing to do with this. Police now have equipment that automatically scans license plates and so the cops knew as soon as they saw this vehicle that the license plate was on the wrong car. Nine times out of 10, that means the car is stolen, which it wasn’t in this case, but the vehicle this woman was driving was not insured, so she apparently decided to switch plates with her mother’s car, thinking that would solve the problem, but instead it created another problem.

This is why we have rules, and laws, and customs. Like basic courtesy. The policeman was actually polite to this criminal, up until she decided to become non-compliant. Police are now trained to be polite this way, because you get better results that way. So he is saying “please,” and calling her “ma’am,” and otherwise treating her with a level of respect that she didn’t really deserve. She had committed a crime, and knew damned well she was guilty, but instead of cooperating with the officer, she decides she needs to be disrespectful, and as a result, finds herself forcibly dragged from the vehicle. Meanwhile . . .

I’m in the drive-thru line at McDonald’s and cannot believe what this old lady in front of me is doing. Cars are lined up behind us, because she’s got some kind of petty grievance over them getting her order wrong. What disturbed me most about this incident — and you can ask my brother how angry it made me — was that this woman seemed so completely oblivious to the fact that she was the problem. She never even acknowledged that she had bumped my car, let alone that she was delaying everybody behind her by her ridiculous behavior.


Why do I even have to explain this? But we live in an age of declining standards, and this old lady in the drive-thru was a symbol of everything that has gone wrong in America for the past half-century.

Everybody wants to blame somebody else for their problems. We have become entirely too tolerant of such attitudes. This lady in the drive-thru was focused on the McDonald’s employee having gotten her order wrong, and therefore as a victim of the employee’s wrongdoing, she was entitled to cause a scene and break the rules, without regard for the inconvenience she thereby caused for everybody in line behind her.

Fast food isn’t fast anymore, and the convenience store isn’t convenient, because there are so many customers like this who don’t understand the most basic rules of behavior. Like, suppose you’re a family of four out on the road, on your way to grandma’s house or whatever. You stop into the convenience store, and the kids want to get Cokes or whatever. Why does your entire family have to be in line at the cash register? Like, whoever is going to make the purchase — mom or dad — can get everyone’s stuff and go to the register. There is no need to have everybody stand in the cash register line and, now that I’m on a rant, why is everybody in your family so fat? It’s always fat people blocking up the aisle at the grocery store, or getting in the express line with more than 15 items in their cart.

The lady causing a scene at McDonald’s? Fat, of course.

Is there a connection here? Some cause-and-effect relationship? I’ll leave that to the sociologists to figure out. My point is that people who cause problems seldom never seem to realize that they are the cause of the problem. They are blind to their own responsibility, instead claiming victimhood while blaming others for the problem.

Believe it or not, there have been times in my own life when I have caused problems for others. And I felt ashamed of myself. When someone else is inconvenienced because of my carelessness, it causes me to experience feelings of remorse. I am a normal human being. I have a conscience, and therefore am capable of feeling shame. But this was not the case with the lady at the McDonald’s drive-thru. She evidently had no shame at all about the inconvenience she was inflicting on everyone else. No, her order was wrong, and therefore she was entitled to break the rules, and it didn’t matter who else had to suffer on her behalf. Meanwhile . . .

A “domestic dispute” erupted Sunday afternoon in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and before the day was over, the city was in flames:

Wisconsin’s governor summoned the National Guard for fear of another round of violent protests Monday after the police shooting of a Black man turned Kenosha into the nation’s latest flashpoint city in a summer of racial unrest.
Democratic Gov. Tony Evers said 125 members of the National Guard would be in Kenosha by night with responsibility for “guarding infrastructure and making sure our firefighters and others involved are protected.” County authorities also announced an 8 p.m. curfew.
The move came after protesters set cars on fire, smashed windows and clashed with officers in riot gear Sunday night over the wounding of 29-year-old Jacob Blake, who was hospitalized in serious condition. In a widely seen cellphone video made by an onlooker, he was shot, apparently in the back, as he leaned into his SUV while his three children sat in the vehicle.

Everybody with an Internet connection has seen that video, but what do we know about the cause of the “domestic dispute”? The situation that led to the police shooting did not begin with cops deciding, “Hey, let’s go down to the black part of town and kill somebody.” No, it began with a 911 call reporting an argument that had escalated to violence.

Who caused that escalation? Gosh, I have no idea:

Cell phone footage shows Jacob Blake entangled in a physical scuffle with police prior to being shot as he ignored officers’ warnings and reached inside his car.
The new video was published by the Daily Mail, which describes Blake “wrestling with at least two Kenosha officers” immediately before the shooting.
Local news in Wisconsin reports that Blake was charged by Kenosha County prosecutors prior to his altercation with the police on accusations of sexual assault, trespassing, and disorderly conduct in connection with domestic abuse.
An arrest warrant had been issued on July 7th, although it is unclear if the encounter with police officers that led to his shooting was linked to that warrant.
Blake had a history of resisting arrest, having previously done so when officers attempted to arrest him following an incident in which he pulled a gun on bar patrons in Racine, a town just north of Kenosha, in 2015.

Look, I’m not the one jumping to conclusions here; the people who burned down Kenosha, on the other hand, immediately decided that “racism” was to blame for this incident — and Joe Biden agrees.

But such an explanation ignores the chain of events before the shooting. If “racism” was the explanation, why didn’t cops shoot everybody on the scene? No, they shot the guy who had a history of criminal violence and why are we supposed to ignore that 2015 incident in Racine when Jacob Blake threatened people with a pistol?

Cooperate with the system. Follow the rules. Know your order before you arrive at the speaker in the McDonald’s drive-thru.

Just FYI, the old lady who caused the scene at the drive-thru was white. And maybe “white privilege” explains why nobody called 911 so that cops could show up and shoot her. Unfortunately.



6 Responses to “Why Fast Food Isn’t Fast Anymore (and Other Serious Social Problems)”

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