You know that thing? The one where the people you love make your eyes roll extra hard?
Yesterday afternoon, my father-in-law calls to ask if we want to join them for dinner. “It’s too hot to eat here,” he says, “So we can go out.”
To Burger King.
Because they have coupons.
Mr. Sandwich’s family is made up entirely of fitness nuts. His dad will comment on someone’s BMI and speculate on their resultant health at the drop of a hat. He once told me that he likes to offer ice cream bars as dessert, because a guest is less likely to ask for seconds.
At the same time, a coupon is a coupon. As Mr. Sandwich says, “My father has always had an appetite for a deal.”
Since we in fact have nothing planned for dinner, we take Baguette to the pool and then head across town (Again, we have been invited across town. To Burger King.) I call to let them know we’re en route, and Mr. Sandwich’s mother is delighted. She calls to Mr. Sandwich’s father to get out from under the car, which he is fixing.
Also, she hangs up just as I say, “We’ll meet you there.” So I call her back a few minutes later, and that turns out to be a good move, because she is startled that we are not coming by the house and then all driving over together.
I do not want to get Baguette in and out of the car an additional time. We say we will meet them at Burger King, and she tells me the intersection and says, “It’s next to the Subway and across from the McDonald’s.”
She also instructs me, “Don’t order until we get there. We have the coupons.”
McDonald’s is about two miles from their house, and is where they get “Senior Coffee” after their morning run. (My in-laws are in their late 70s and win their age divisions in races, so of course they run to McDonald’s).
McDonald’s is also home to the Big ‘n’ Tasty, which, as my father-in-law is fond of saying, is “just as good as In-n-Out.”
NO. NO, IT IS NOT.
We pull into the parking lot, and agree that while we may be waiting to order, we are not waiting to order for Baguette, who is the most likely of us to start screaming when she gets hungry. She screams, “Fash! Faaaaaash!” This means “hungry,” except for when it means something else, and I don’t know why either of those things is the case.
So we order chicken nuggets, fries, and milk for Baguette, who in short order bumps her milk and spills it on her fries, but thankfully is not upset by this turn of events, possibly because there are chicken nuggets to be had.
The woman at the counter says, “Is that all?” I answer, “We’re waiting for my in-laws” and think better of adding, “They have coupons!” because the woman at the counter seems very nice, and it’s not her fault that my in-laws are, um, extra quirky. So while I probably had a completely insane expression on my face, at least I didn’t say anything that went along with that.
I feel even better about it when my in-laws arrive, and it turns out that they are regulars at this Burger King. Apparently there is more than one place to go for Senior Coffee, and they come here so often that the staff gives them gifts.
Fortunately my father-in-law realizes that he cannot reasonably require us to confine our choices to the remaining unused coupons in his coupon book, and we order food that we suppose we’ll be okay with, because neither of us particularly likes Burger King, with or without coupons.
And it was, just as we anticipated, totally mediocre. It wasn’t bad–although I didn’t feel good afterward–it was just meh.
But it did remind me that I never wrote the final post about my Cheeseburger Challenge. So let me just skip to the end: Burger King has an edible small cheeseburger. Del Taco, a late entrant, turns out to do reasonably well (although theirs is priced a little higher). The winner, such as it is–and just as I thought it would be–is Wendy’s.
Based on how icky I felt after last night’s meal, though (and not just last night’s, but the last several fast-food meals), I think my next fast-food adventures will focus on a Salad Challenge.
I just need to come up with a better name for it.