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Dining

Ketchup confrontations at the Carl’s Jr. drive-thru

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Photo: roeyahram/Flickr

Have you tried the turkey burgers at Carl’s Jr.? Or the baked fish sandwich? Nutritious and delicious—just not as delicious as the burgers.

Every week or two I’ll splurge and get the worst thing on the menu. With fries and a soda. I eat it quickly with the TV running. After that I feel like crap for 10 minutes and move on with my life. But recently I was forced to confront my gluttony and consumerism head-on.

It happened at the Carl’s Jr. drive through window. Which, I’d think, is the last place a fast food company would wants its patrons to feel gluttonous and consumerist. Actually, strike that; the last place a fast food company wants its patrons to feel that way is right before they place their order. Once they get to the window, who cares how they feel?

I asked for ketchup and salt and pepper for my fries, as I always do. And the woman behind the glass said this in return: “How many of each do you want?”

A simple question, but it left me flabbergasted. She might as well have asked me to name the prime minister of Azerbaijan*.

What I really wanted was for her to take a giant fistful of ketchup and shove it in my bag, no questions asked. But now I had to think. How many do I want? How many do I need? If I say 10 is she going to judge me? Probably. But why should I care what she thinks? Sucks that I do.

“Um, can I have four ketchups and two salts and two peppers?” I asked sheepishly. And right when she put them in the bag, I regretted what I'd said. I wanted more ketchup. Between the burger and the fries ...

I didn’t need more ketchup, but I also didn’t need to be eating a $6 burger and large fries in the first place. I was too shy to ask for more, and I didn’t enjoy the meal when I got home. Now I just want to go back to ordering fish sandwiches and Diet Cokes, which don’t pose insufferable dilemmas.

*The prime minister of Azerbaijan is Artur Rasizade.

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Rick Lax

Rick wrote the books Fool Me Once: Hustlers, Hookers, Headliners, and How Not to Get Screwed in Vegas and Lawyer ...

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