Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Original Sin and Wendy's: aka (Fear and Loathing at Wendy's)

In Christianity, there is a sense that we are created in God's image, endowed with great powers of thought and reason, capable of such love and such tenderness.  Yet we fall from this ideal, committing sin.  In fact, translated from Hebrew, sin essentially means "missing the mark."  The best analogy we have in today's world is that of Wendy's fast food restaurants.  On every billboard, on every commercial, we see a large, juicy hamburger perfectly arranged.  The bun appears crispy and fresh, the lettuce crisp, the fries golden brown, and of course, we need never ask "where's the beef"--it is always there smiling back at us.

Nothing could be further from the truth.  As a fast food gourmand, I take my fast food seriously.  In a world filled with sickness, disease, war, and poverty, one of the few pleasures we get is fast food.  After the occasional  long day of dealing with extreme hardship, the only thing that gets me through is hope, hope that I can have fresh fries and a tasty cheeseburger to drown away my sorrows in carbs and grease.

I have had Wendy's all over the country.  I have tried it in rural locations, in city locations, and in suburban locations.  It doesn't matter where I go--all of them are shitty.  Whether it be rude service or ice-cold french fries, Wendy's never fails to disappoint.  If you are on the brink of despair, just travel to Wendy's to pitch your last loaf of hope.  In this way, Wendy's should be served as a last meal to those on Death Row as one last, final punishment.  This is never going to happen, though, because the Constitution provides against the serving of cruel and unusual punishment.  We can put someone to death, yes, but never make someone eat Wendy's.

In fact, there should be a banner above the door, similar to above that in Dante's Hell, which says "Abandon All Hope All Ye Who Enter Here".  One time I went through the drive through and clearly said I wanted a cheeseburger with "everything except tomato and lettuce."  Knowing they were likely to fuck it up, I said this twice and very clearly.  Ten minutes later, as I am driving home and opening the wrapper to my cheeseburger, they left off everything except tomato and lettuce.  There was no ketchup, no mustard, nothing.  Why didn't they just stone me?  Those fucks.

Giving them the benefit of the doubt another time, I decided to "dine" in the restaurant.  I hesitate to refer to "dining" as what happens at chez Wendy's, but nevertheless I am feeling generous, what with it being Christmas and all.  Anyway, I approached Zeke, the human surprise, working the counter.  He looked at me suspiciously.

 "Yes, I would like a Wendy's single combo meal, please".

Zeke rang up the order.  Less than one minute later, my order was ready.  Zeke and associates, all five of them, were chatting.  Apparently people aren't breaking down the doors to eat at the place.  Looking at the limp, pathetic entities below me, I took a bite.

 "These fries are ice cold, can you please make me new ones?"  I asked.  Zeke came me a the ole' one tooth scowl.

 "Ya," he replied.  "Just a minute".  I sat down and had my cheeseburger, sans the fries.

Ten minutes later, still no fries.  I went up to the counter.  Zeke and Bo were chatting with another associate. They looked at me and kept talking.  No response.  Three minutes later, they were still talking.  I looked over at the hopper and there sat my fries, now cold.  I gave them a look and the best shit eating grin I could bear.  Still no response.

I literally had to leave because they absolutely wouldn't bring me my fries.

Several months passed.  I decided to try another Wendy's, this one far removed from the banner Wendy's of my prior acquaintance.  This time, there was no one standing behind me in the line (surprise, surprise).  I ordered a large french fry.  As part of the order was up, I grabbed a fry and ate it, as I was filled with joy that I was actually getting fresh fries for once.  Wrong move.

"That's not your fry"  the girl barked at me.

"Who's are they?" I asked, as there was no one else around.

"That was a reorder".  "You don't just grab someone's fries without knowing they are yours!" the girl said.

"I'm sorry, I didn't realize they weren't mine.  No one else is around".

"Well, that's not the point.  You don't just grab someone else's fries!"  the girl grew more vehement.

I couldn't believe I was being bitch slapped by a Wendy's associate, and this girl meant business.  My wife was going to defend me given the girl's rudeness.  However, having read the Dante banner above the door, I knew better.  I was being punished for my sins, and this little devil was there to deliver evil justice to me.

Almost a year passed.  Either hopelessly naive or incredibly stupid, I decided to give it another college try.  This time, I embarked upon yet another Wendy's adventure.  "There's no way this is going to get fucked up again", I thought to myself.  Wrong again.  This time, the cheeseburger was half baked.  Or perhaps it was the worker who was half baked, I don't know. Either way, the cheese on my burger wasn't melted.  This only helped to highlight the pathetic state of the burger itself, which was made lopsided and the bread day old and Auschwitz-biscuit hard.  Not wanting to loose a filling, I gave up.  My days of Wendy's were over.  I accepted my fate and knew that no matter how hard the day, no matter which Wendy's I went to, I was going to be tortured.

Not that it is better for the employees, mind you.  I know a woman who worked at Wendy's for over 25 years.  Given the turnover of fast food establishments, this is a marvelous feat in itself.  You would think Dave Thomas would have flown in himself to congratulate the woman upon retirement (this was when Dave was still alive).  Did Dave show up to congratulate and thank her for her many years of service?  Fuck no.  Zeke Jr. practically kicked the woman in the ass, sending her away with stone cold fries and a cheeseburger with nothing but tomato and lettuce, no ketchup or even mustard.

Just the sound of the name "Wendy's" makes my skin crawl.  Tea Partiers are always going on and on about the efficiencies of business over government.  Wendy's is a perfect example of how capitalism can go wrong.  No doubt Marx got the idea for Das Kapital after eating at Wendy's. The post office can deliver my mail for .44 cents to the continental United States and lose money.  Yet Wendy's can fuck up my food any day of the week and make gobs of money doing it.  It's enough to make you join an Occupy Wall Street event.  Seriously, I doubt the top 1% are eating at Wendy's.  If they are, they must also be into other masochistic activities, like getting their Kindle Touches to actually work or using the Mac operating system.

I don't know where Dave Thomas is now.  God rest his soul.  But if he were to be revived after being cryogenically frozen after 200 years, lord knows he would be awakened to a world of new wonders.  Robots that look and act like people with human intelligence, flying cars, and holographic movies.  The only thing he would recognize of his former world would be on the corner--a fucking Wendy's tended by the great great grandchildren of Zeke, chatting while his fries were getting cold.

Some things never change.

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