Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Fast-Food Frustration

I don't want to be the customer from hell. I'd like to treat everyone with respect and make them feel good. But sometimes people make it hard. And my frustration over food issues makes it difficult to maintain patience.

Today we had our dog in the car because we had taken him to the vet. My husband did some shopping while I waited in the car and we both got hungry. I didn't want to leave the dog alone in the car while we ate in a restaurant so I drove to a fast-food drive-thru. My husband loves fast food. I tried to order a low-carb burger because I'm allergic to wheat. I don't tolerate dairy either. I told the unseen clerk on the other side of the intercom that I wanted a low-carb burger and asked "Do you know what that is?"

She mumbled something unintelligible. I don't like talking down to people but half the time my orders come out wrong so I try to be very clear. "I only want the burger patty and lettuce. No cheese, that's important. No bun, no sauce."

She did not read our order back to us and of course, when I opened the bag, my order was wrong. It had a bun. "Can't you just take it off?" asked my husband, although he knew the answer. With allergy, a few crumbs can cause a reaction. I took the sandwich into the restaurant so I could communicate face-to-face. After a short wait in line, I explained what I needed again. The man at the register relayed my instructions to the clerk, who appeared to have a limited command of English. In about two minutes the man gave me a cheeseburger patty with lettuce.

"This is wrong. I can't have cheese. Please get me a burger patty and lettuce ONLY." He did and I thanked him. But I'm sure he could tell I was upset. I was close to tears.

I felt sorry for myself. But we had one more stop, the hardware store. Again I sat in the car while my husband shopped. I listened to a program on public radio about a photography exhibit on hunger. Soundbites from several people were played, people who suffered from hunger. A woman talked about how hard it was to go to bed hungry. I stopped feeling so sorry for himself. At least I had found something to eat.