Yesterday we pulled into a burger joint drive-through. We were in kind of a hurry. “Good,” I told my son. “There’s only one car in line ahead of us.” It was before fast food rush hour, so we expected to sail right through and be on our way.
We pulled up behind the first car, and waited. And waited. And waited. Finally, the guy in front of us got to place his order through the speaker box, and pulled forward. We got up to the speaker, and waited. And waited. And waited. The drive-through kid finally got on the speaker box and took our order – no explanation or apology. But the guy in front had not received his order, so we waited. And waited. And waited.
Cars were piling up behind us, half way around the block. After fifteen minutes, several drivers behind us gave up, pulled out of line and drove away. Five minutes later, we got to pull up to the window. “This is not my idea of fast food,” I complained to the window kid. “Do you know we waited 20 minutes?”
“I’m the only one here,” was his defense (meaning it was just him and the cook in the kitchen). Still, he was clearly operating in slow motion – it appeared to be a “slow-down” strike.
I wish this was just a one-time anomaly, but sadly, it isn’t. This same drama has been playing out for months in our neck of the woods, at every fast food drive-through. And don’t even think about eating inside, because almost none of the restaurants with drive-throughs still provide inside dining.
This seems to be a permanent and unwelcome change in the restaurant business model. We may never again be able to enjoy little things like fast, courteous service, napkins and condiments cheerfully provided, free self-served soft drink and coffee refills, and indoor seating.
China Virus • After nearly two years of hysteria by the government, the media, the schools, and the rest of the “establishment”, customers are still willing to trade comfort, fun, and value for a false sense of security. Many businesses use the China Virus as an excuse for everything they don’t want to do. The fast food guys sell as many burgers as they did before the pandemic (maybe more), but without the cost of cleaning tables and restrooms and providing free condiments and refills. Plus they can significantly reduce staffing.
Like the government mandates, their China Virus “safety” practices are hilariously unscientific. My favorite local Chinese food joint, for instance, changed from full-service to carry-out only, keeping ten feet of separation between the customers and the cashier. Rather than take cash or credit card from your hand, she pushes a “tray” across a long table for you to drop your payment. When she retrieves your money, she places your order in the tray and pushes it back to you. The tray, like the door, the table, the pen, and most of the restaurant, has not been cleaned once in the two years it has been in use! Not to mention the cash and cards that are home to billions of bacteria.
Endless Unemployment and Stimulus Checks • Businesses, especially those in lower-paid service industries like fast food, find it impossible to get and keep employees at any rate of pay. Every single fast food restaurant around here has a “help wanted” sign, and the going rate at the more successful ones is $16 per hour – that’s $33k per year, plus benefits, not exactly an after-school gig. Many former restaurant employees are using the same China Virus excuse to stay home and receive government funds. Our current administration promises more of the same on a massive scale, in a naked attempt to buy votes from laborers, entice illegal immigrants, and cause an economic crisis that ostensibly only their brand of fundamental societal change can solve.
Sneak preview: expect shortages and big prices for Biden-gas this summer as the gas truck driver shortage hits. They went on unemployment when the China Virus tanked the economy, and they ain’t coming back any time soon. Biden’s abandonment of pipeline construction and energy production won’t help either, long-term.
I’m going to save my gas, stay home and barbecue my own burgers. Without major pushback, we won’t stop the slow freight-train of woke fundamental change.
Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side
No song today, I just had to give you this clip from the classic movie “Good Burger”.