Due to a lack of time and the fact that there were roadworks on the Pakenham Bypass, resulting in a long line of stationary traffic, I did not take Mother to the smart new Maccas but to her usual local one.
Without fail, as I stand studying the menus and studiously avoiding eye contact with the staff, they pester me with wanting to take my order. I stand right back, but they just raise their voices to a louder level.
I am usually studying the menu to work out the cheapest way to buy food. Meal deals or individual orders? The menu does not make it easy to calculate and do you think I could find the price of a single small serve of chips?
Mother and I wanted the same thing, a chicken burger. I was happy to have the full deal, with chips and coke. Mother wanted the burger, chips and a cup of tea. I'd reckon they would substitute tea for a cold drink. No need, Mother said. I get free tea with my seniors card.
Mother sat down as I ordered. I want one chicken burger meal deal please and another chicken burger and small chips and a cup of tea. Do seniors get their tea for free, as I flashed Mother's card.
Yes, she replied, but it seems there were complicated cash register buttons to push and cards to swipe. That will be $6.25. Now I am happy to get a cheap meal, but this was much too less money to pay for what I ordered. Back and forth we went and eventually she understood that I wanted two meals. What really hurts is that she thought the Seniors card was mine. How can that be when I barely look over twenty five? She was not only stupid but blind as well.
Collected all the necessary paraphernalia to go with our meal and sat down with Mother, feeling a little flushed and uncomfortable. Sorry to the woman sitting next to us with the zimmer frame. Normally I would offer help if someone sent their tea flying. I studiously ignored what happened in front of me. Staff came and helped her.
My burger was lousy. I don't know why I bother. I never like them. Of course the chips weren't great big pieces of lengthwise sliced spuds fried in hot lard, but French fries boiled in synthetic oil.
I was still a bit hungry. I might have an apple pie Mother. Me too! I can eat them, meaning that they are on her list of self diagnosed non allergic foods. As for me, I haven't had one for perhaps a decade. They used to come with the dire warning with good cause, caution, filling is hot. Invariably the filling was just short of boiling point when served.
But the apple pies are rather nice now, and larger I think. Andrew, get a sundae icecream without any topping so that I can dip my pie into the ice cream. We both dipped. It was the best part of the meal. Mother decided to finish the ice cream off. She did not touch the chips that made the meal complicated to order.
I just know it is going to get even worse if I buy coffee, but I would so like a nice cup of coffee to round off the experience. There is a McCafe. Pictures on the walls of coffee in china cups, cafe lattes in glasses and cakes on plates. There is what looks like a proper coffee machine. It is risky, but if I am to spend the next two hours with Mother, I really need coffee.
Now I am not a coffee snob, I just like a nice cup of coffee. I usually have a double shot latte, sometimes a long black, sometimes a short black, sometimes a macchiatto. If I am ever doubtful about the quality of the cup of coffee I am ordering, long black is the safest, and so I ordered.
I clearly stated that I wanted to 'eat in' and not 'take away', yet would you believe, it came in a paper cup!!! I gazed around and there was no evidence of any china cups or glasses. I haven't been so surprised since my first and only visit to Gloria Jeans and my coffee was served in a paper cup. For a change it was me moaning to Mother. Perhaps they have run out of clean cups, she said. Look around Mother. No one has a china cup. And what I thought was a proper coffee machine was apparently some sort of automatic device. The coffee was just dreadful. The automatic machine at work makes better coffee. And you know what I paid for dreadful coffee in a paper cup? $3.50!!! I can go to the cafe across the road from the highrise and get an excellent cup of hand made coffee for $2.70 and in a china cup, and served to my table. For $3.50 I can go to the upmarket Cafe Vue next door, sit at a table and have waiter bring me a cup of coffee and a glass of water. He or she will take my money and return with the change.
Now I don't go to McDonalds with healthy food in my mind. I know it is bad food. Sometimes I like bad food, but there is food that is bad for you and bad food. Apart from the apple pie, McDonalds was an awful place for lunch. Perhaps I should have been more adventurous and tried the chicken skewers.
A rough toting up tells me I spent about $25. Next time Mother, it will be a cafe or a hotel. Seems I might possibly get away with having a Seniors meal at a hotel.
Bah to McDonalds. I not like.