I went to McDonald’s the other night with a friend. We were ravenous and ordered a couple of wraps from the specials menu. We kidded ourselves that we had managed to order the healthiest option on the menu, but ‘though we knew in our hearts it wasn’t true, we were cheered by the thought that it was definitely the cheapest, and the two meals came in at under 10 Euros.
We both walked away from the counter with a large Ronald McDonald smile on our faces, despite the fact that our ‘healthy’ options were going to take a whole FIVE minutes to prepare. We pretended we were busy people with hectic schedules, and tried to look quite put out by the unreasonable waiting time, but I don’t think the staff member serving us thought we were all that special, and we sloped off to lurk by a table to get our order. We couldn’t sit, since all the tables were occupied, except the long one where 12 or so people are close enough that their elbows poke into your chips, and you can see the mastication take place REALLY close-up.
We could see other people approach the long table with their trays, consider it, then veer away. After a few minutes a cluster of The Unseated developed at the foot of the stairs leading to the first floor. One after another, we arrived, stared at the sign hung across a rope that said CLOSED, paused for consideration, then sadly dismissed the idea of going upstairs. I have to admit, I tried to goad a few of them into going up the stairs, safe in the knowledge that I was waiting for the arrival of my food, and therefore free of the responsibility of being the scouting party or trend-setter that would start the stampede, and therefore also free of the blame if a giving-out to was going to ensue. No dice, even the couples, who had a partner to discuss options with, rejected the idea of going to the upstairs seating area as too radical. One after another, the sheep wandered back to the fold of the by now completely full downstairs seating area to eat their meals standing up. Our meals arrived. Our bluff had been called. The sheep watched us furtively to see if we would find the grass greener upstairs.
We took a deep breath, and clutching our trays, marched past the sign and up the stairs, where we discovered an almost empty floor, except for a few other rebels, who seemed to nod slightly in recognition as we entered to claim our natural rights, a seat to eat at. And no angry Ronald McDonald anywhere (unless he’s waiting outside)!