One lunch time I went into McDonalds with Sheila-from-work and another colleague, Matt.
Sheila and I both ordered items that we could see on the food queue, to prevent too much delay. Matt, however, asked for a Big Mac without any cheese. He isn’t allergic to cheese, he just REALLY doesn’t like it. With my meal in hand, I took a seat with Sheila and our orders, while Matt had to wait 4 minutes for them to make a separate, cheeseless Big Mac. They gave him his fries, so he wouldn’t starve while waiting.
4 minutes later, a Big Mac slid down the delivery chute. It was handed to Matt, and so he came over and took a seat with us.
Famished, he opened the Big Mac and instantly spotted, using his inbuilt Cheese radar, that the Big Mac he had been given had cheese on it. He lifted the top of the bap to confirm before standing up, burger in hand, and walking back to the counter.
“I asked for a Big Mac WITHOUT cheese on it, but this has cheese,” he politely said. It had slightly annoyed him, simply because each time he asks for a Big Mac without cheese, the first one he gets ALWAYS has cheese on it. He has come to expect little else other than the inevitable disappointment with each initial purchase.
“Sorry sir,” the McVendor apologised, “I’ll get you another one. It’ll be about 4 minutes.” He took the Big Mac away, and shouted “THIS BIG MAC HAS CHEESE ON IT” at the food preparation team.
Matt returned to his seat. He told us of his experiences of buying Big Macs and how, despite requesting each and every time, the first delivery always contains cheese. He laughed it off as “one of those things.”
4 minutes later, they called Matt over to the tills and presented him with a new Big Mac, his second one. He brought it back to our table, opened it and again saw cheese.
“Not again!” he murmured angrily.
He stood straight up, practically marched back to the till and announced “This one has cheese on it too!”
Embarrassed McFaces took the burger away and, again, he was promised a new burger in 4 minutes.
Matt sat back down with us waiting and seething. He was understandably angry. “It can’t be THAT hard to not put cheese on a burger, can it?” he began to rant. “I mean, it would take MORE effort to put cheese ON a burger than NOT put it on!” I hadn’t seen Matt in this light before. It was as though cheese was his nemesis.
He sat there, muttering about incompetence, seething slightly, (if it is possible to only slightly seeth,) and waiting.
Eventually they called him over again. He marched over, snatched his third burger from the counter and returned to our table to get seated. His fries were approaching room temperature.
He opened his burger and instantly became enraged. Not just normal enraged, but a type of lactose intolerant superhuman enraged.
It was the first time I’ve EVER seen someone actually say, “……!”
“WTF….Is that cheese?!? IS THAT CHEESE?!?” he blasted, practically squeezing his burger with rage.
He showed the burger to Sheila and repeated his question. “Is that cheese?!?” he asked, lifting the top of the bun and showing her. He was practically shaking with pent-up aggression.
“I don’t think that’s cheese.” Sheila replied calmly.
“But it’s orangey yellow, and it’s where the cheese normally is,” he tried to reason, as if to justify his anger.
“I really don’t think that’s cheese” Sheila reassured him. “It looks like sauce.”
“Is it not melted cheese?” Matt asked her. His voice calmed down slightly and he became relieved, accepting to possibility that it wasn’t actually cheese.
“No, I don’t think it’s cheese.” She nodded, reassuringly.
In the space of 20 seconds, she had managed to calm Matt down from full-blown-rant-mode to placid-calmness-mode.
Matt looked physically and emotionally relieved. He turned to me, “What do you think,” he asked, as if needing a second opinion to confirm the news. He showed me his burger, tilting the top of the bap to anable the best viewing angle. “Is that sauce or cheese?” he asked calmly, slightly smiling, internally hoping I would confirm it was sauce.
I looked. “………. that’s cheese.” I replied.
“RRRRRRRRRIIIIIIIIIIGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT!!!!!!!!!” Matts internal anger detonated, and manifested itself in a huge shout.
He threw his fists down onto the table, grabbed his third burger, stomped up to the counter and slammed it onto the desk.
“OY, MATE!” he shouted at full volume towards the kitchen staff. “HOW HARD IS YOUR JOB? THIS IS THE THIRD BURGER YOU’VE MADE ME WITH CHEESE ON! I DON’T WANT CHEESE!”
On hearing the fracas the manager came running over. Matt continued, “WE’VE BEEN SAT HERE FOR 10 MINUTES NOW WAITING FOR A BIG MAC WITH NO CHEESE, AND YOU KEEP MAKING THEM WITH CHEESE ON. HOW FRIGGING HARD IS IT TO NOT PUT CHEESE ON A BURGER?!?”
The entire restaurant went quiet and looked across toward Matt.
The manager looked at Matts partly squeezed burger and confirmed, “That’s the sauce. That’s not cheese.”
“IT’S NOT….. cheeeeese?!?” Matt shouted, allowing the volume of his rant to trail away.
“No sir, that’s the Special Sauce, not cheese.” repeated the Manager.
“………..ok thanks” replied Matt, breathing out much more than was required for so few words, as if to mask them with breath.
Everyone in the restaurant watched in quiet apprehension as Matt picked up the burger he had attempted to return from the counter and carried it back to our table.
He sat down, and we ate in what felt like a guilty silence for a couple of minutes. Slowly, everyone in the restaurant started to whisper, then murmur, and it built back up to where people were chatting freely.
We ate, and left. Quickly.
I did feel a little guilty that Matt had believed me about it being cheese, but only a bit.
Incidentally, this is something I’ve wondered about for a while…. The Big Mac is the McDonalds signature burger, which is why it’s named after the restaurant. But is why a Big Mac is spelt like that. Why is it spelt M.A.C. when McDonalds is spelt MC, without an A in the middle? Shouldn’t it be a Big Mc?