Fast Food for a Fast Life

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Another Saturday - another reason I don't get to sleep in.  This time, it was to take my daughter to her High School for the SAT II tests.  I've never been much into health foods, but I know it's important to eat in the morning, so we did what we always do when taking her to school.  McDonald's drive-thru.  Go ahead, laugh.  It hasn't short-circuited her brain yet.

Please don't think that I would subject my daughter to something I'm not willing to do to myself.  No wheat bran granola something or another for me, later. Nosirree.  That'll be two (2) #1 Combos, with medium Cokes, please.

Upon receiving my hash browns... well, I have to digress.  They were hot, which is a requirement for a satisfactory hash brown.  I know this because, over the years, I've become a connoisseur of McDonald's hashbrowns, a brand of hash brown which continually ranks above their competitors.  But on a taste scale of 1-10, they were only a five. Why?  Well, to begin with, they were slightly too greasy, which is a common but forgivable ailment (after all, they're cooked in a "deep fat fryer"), but the oil was overdue for a change-out, giving it a (refers to and fails for finding a suitable adjective and settles on...) gooky flavor.

Second digression.  Purveyors of quality fried foods should be required to taste a sample from each batch.  Really.  I mean it.  Additionally, I remain very suspicious that gooky fried foods tend to be dropped into carryout bags as customers are less likely to return and complain.  Okay, rant over.

Back to the original story, upon receiving my hash browns of yet unproven quality, I noticed that the Monopoly pieces are back. Again.  My daughter and I quickly peeled these and... boring real estate.  There was a time when I accumulated large collections of non-winning Monopoly tokens, because I used to drive a lot on business.  But I also got a fair amount of free food.monopoly  It was fun. Now, I rarely get free food tokens anymore.  It's sad, really.

But, years ago, there are fonder memories of big winnings - Cokes, fries, and even, yes, Quarter Pounders.  My wife and I first discovered McDonald's Monopoly when visiting her parents in Atlanta, after which we returned home to Birmingham.  This was back in antiquity, approximately 1987 p.k. (pre-kids).  Each token was revealed by tearing strips off the sides, which, as amusements go, was worth stopping by every McDonald's we could find along I-20.

I have to say, those were the good ol' days, lemme tell ya.  You could drive up to the menu board, order Cokes, get to the window, and ask for Monopoly tickets, best done with my wife leaning over from the passenger seat with a pleading look.  They often would give handfuls at a time, enough so that even amongst the all-too-common real estate pieces, we would score on free food items, like a Coke and fries to be used at the next exit.  High livin', that.

A couple years later, McDonald's, to our regret, probably paid a high dollar consultant to tell them that they may actually sell more product if the pieces were attached to the packaging, rather than trusting their window staff to responsibly hand out the goodies by whatever guidelines they had.   That expectantteenie beanies visit to McD's was a dark day, indeed, when they made that change.  It's just not the same anymore.  Sniff.

McDonald's pulled us back in years later with the Teenie Beanies in Kids Meals, posing a digestive obstacle that we, as loving parents, surmounted to better provide for our kids.  The Monopoly games continued every year, but... I guess we outgrew it.

And now our kids are outgrowing us.  It's funny how little things like Monopoly tokens stir related thoughts, but we've been a part of their game since before our kids were born, and our oldest isn't far from leaving the nest.  Maybe I'll get a Big Mac token before she graduates.

1 comment :

  1. Firstly, I must say that I prefer the new Homestyle Hash Browns from Hardee's to any other. They are actually chunks of potatoe with a bit of crispy batter on them. They totally blow all the hash rounds and tatter tots of other fast food breakfasts away. When accompanied by one of their fresh made biscuits, Yum! You should try them.

    Second, IMO Monopoly at McDonalds hasn't been the same since they stopped giving us that large board to attached the pieces to. Now we are supposed to go on-line and enter in the code. Who can remember to do that? I lose the pieces before I can get them back to my computer.