I grew up in the sixties and worked at McDonalds for a while. Food was cheap, appealed to the teenage palette, and was strictly counter service—no drive through or dining room. I used to say that suffrage—the right to vote—should require proof of having worked in a fast food restaurant. It taught people how to interact with others, what customer service meant, and, yes, a little humility.
Today, fast food is definitely not fast and nutritionally, just barely food.
There are times when I’m either on the road or in a hurry and stop at one of the ubiquitous franchise food stops. I usually go inside because: a) The ham radio antennas on my car don’t clear the overhang, or b) if it’s a road trip, a restroom stop is a prerequisite to eating, and c) I get to see the actual operation. Seeing the operation is best avoided. Today’s fast food routine requires:
- Priority number one is to socialize, which in my fast-food days was met with, “Hey! Get back to work—I’m not paying you to play grab ass!”
- There are no longer any standards as to how long food is kept. It may have spent three weeks under the warmer, but it still takes 20 minutes to put it in a bag and bring it up to the counter.
- There is no reason to worry about keeping soft drinks or coffee available, and no reason to tell a customer when the order is placed that certain items are not available.
- Food must be presented in such a way that any sauce, condiment, or other stain causing liquid or semi-liquid is placed on the bun to ensure that at least 67 percent of it will drop onto the customer’s lap.
- All French cries must have enough salt to clear 1¼ miles of ice encrusted, six-lane interstate.
Maybe I got it backward. Maybe it’s not the voters who need fast food experience—maybe it’s the elected officials—who should be required to spend 1½ times their tenure in office working fast food after they leave office. It just might change their attitudes a bit.
Just a thought.