So I went to Burger King for a Whopper; not exactly the Crime of the Century. And some fries, and a vanilla shake. I love those vanilla shakes.
And this mousy little thing—I forget her name, Brenda I think it was—Brenda says, ma'am, you can’t get a Whopper. Or a shake or an order of fries, she says, it’s 9:35 a.m.
I know that, I told her. I’m aware of what time it is. And she says, ma’am—that’s twice she’s called me “ma’am”—she says, ma’am, we don’t start selling lunch until eleven.
Ma'am. You know what “ma’am” means, right? Bitch. That’s what it means. Welcome to Burger King, bitch. Why couldn't she just say that.
No. She calls me “ma’am”, and then she says, how about a sausage egg biscuit.
It’s hardly the same thing. In fact, it’s not even close. So I said, you’re telling me you don’t start cooking burgers until 11 a.m.? Is that what you’re saying?
And she says, no ma’am, we cook ‘em earlier than that. But we don’t sell ‘em until after eleven. That’s our policy, ma’am. That’s four “ma’ams” now. Count ‘em up.
So I look behind the counter and I see a guy cooking sausage. And bacon, and he’s scooting scrambled eggs around with a long metal spatula.
He looks up at me and he smiles. Pleasant-looking kid. Seems to know what he’s doing. The grill appears to work, and I’m pretty sure there are burger patties somewhere on the premises.
Have it your way, I said. And Brenda says to me, ma’am? I think we’re at five, I’ve lost count. Your policy, I said. I thought it was, have it your way.
I know, I know; that was back in the ‘70’s and ‘80’s, and it was a line from a jingle. “Have it your way” was a slogan. Brenda doesn’t remember, “hold the pickle, hold the lettuce…”
Brenda’s too young to remember that. She’s a mousy, pimply, pasty little thing and she has no idea what I’m talking about.
But a jingle, or a slogan, I would assume, relates in some way to a policy. And the policy of Burger King is to exchange meat for money. In any year, at any time. I have ready cash. They have burgers and they have buns. I’m starving and it’s almost ten; I’d like it my way, please.
The grill guy’s back there scooting eggs around and flipping this and that. I’m there and Brenda’s there, and Brenda couldn’t care less about some old Burger King commercial. She’s sick of me and tired of arguing and she wasn’t even born until some time after 2000. She calls for the manager, Greg, and now Greg’s there.
Greg and I go ‘round and ‘round, we cover the same territory. I say I want a burger, he says, we don’t sell ‘em until after eleven. How about a Croissan’wich, he says. On the house. And that’s where I should’ve stopped. I’ve had a Croissan’wich. They’re alright. I should’ve just let it go.
But I was rankled. I was vexed. I felt as though I’d been wronged. Does that make me a bitch? Maybe it does, and maybe I am. But it irked me to no end that Greg and Brenda wanted me to be quiet and go in a corner and stuff a Croissan’wich in my mouth.
So ‘round and ‘round, back and forth, then Greg delivered the coup de grace: he looked me in the eye and he said, ma’am, have you been drinking?
If they had offered me a Whopper a week for life, it wouldn’t have mattered a whit. If they threw free french fries into the bargain, I would not have been dissuaded. I think it was the “ma’am” prefacing the implication I might be in my cups that really cinched it; at any rate, I let loose with a string of curse words that would’ve made a sailor blush.
I’ll admit, I might’ve been tempted if they’d thrown in vanilla shakes. I love those vanilla shakes. But the memory will have to suffice, as I’m no longer welcome at Burger King. Not at that store, at least. What a fuss they made! The police were called. I was surprised they got there so fast. You’d have thought I slaughtered my fast-food foes and left them dangling from meat hooks.
So I let off a little steam. I spoke my mind. Am I a bitch for speaking my mind? Men do it all the time. You know what they call them? Great men, that’s what.
The police put me in handcuffs, charged me with disturbing the peace. Seemed like a lot of hullabaloo, for such a low-level transgression. I assumed you paid a fine or they gave you a ticket, but no. I spent the night behind bars, with meth-gobblers and crack-eaters.
“Have it your way”, my behind. And all this hoop-de-la, jail and everything, for what? It was hardly the Crime of the Century. “A previous incident", they said. It's barely even worth mentioning.
I said to the girl, an Arby’s Beef ‘n’ Cheddar. Some curly fries. And a Jamocha shake. She said, Ma’am…
It was 10 am.
I loved those Jamocha shakes.