Lesson Learned

Let me tell you a little story about McDonald’s, food allergies, honesty, quality control, and a mother, who’s been hitting the drive through window, a little too much.

Lately, our schedule has been hectic.  On Thursdays, with Little Lady in tow, I pick the boys up from school, make a quick pit stop at home, and then head to Second Son’s piano lesson.  By the time piano is over, it’s close to dinner time and my kids are starving (or so they always claim).  This usually leads to a McDonald’s run.

As you know, First Son has food allergies.  McDonald’s menu, along with ingredients and nutritional information, is available online.  This makes finding something for him to eat pretty easy.  Of course, there are always issues of cross contamination and so, for a long time, I regulated First Son to Chicken McNuggets and fries.  Except, he really never liked the chicken and so, only ate the fries.  Not exactly the dinner of champions.

My boys are picky eaters, and I mean picky.  Since I believe what you put in your body is very important to your health, their eating habits have been a huge source of frustration for me.  I’m not a fan of artificial ingredients, processed foods, food coloring, preservatives, or pesticides.  I blame myself for allowing them to develop their terrible eating habits (I’ve talked about this before), and I’ve been trying to break them of these habits for a long time.  It has not been easy, but as you can see from our McDonald’s runs and other indulgences, I’m obviously not fanatical about the matter, either.

Why bring up their pickiness?  Well, when we finally got First Son to eat cheeseburgers, I was more than happy to order him a cheeseburger from McDonald’s, if for no other reason than to encourage him to have more variety in his diet.  McDonald’s cheeseburgers are not served on seeded buns and sesame is not an ingredient, but everything is prepared in the same kitchen, which means there is always a slight risk of cross contamination.  So, when one day, upon unwrapping his burger, First Son found a sesame seed on it, I was not surprised.  We simply threw the roll out and I gave him a new roll from home.

Lesson learned, check the burger every time.

Two weeks ago, we went through the drive through, only to get home, unwrap First Son’s burger, and find four sesame seeds.  One was on the burger.  This time, we threw the whole thing out and First Son ate Chicken McBites, which I had ordered as an extra side, out of curiosity.

Lesson reinforced, check the burger every time.

Cut to last week (and yes, I am embarrassed to admit how many times we have been frequenting McD’s lately, especially after espousing my belief in healthy eating), this time, I decided, I wasn’t going to get home only to find sesame seeds all over my son’s bun.  So, as soon as we got our order I opened up his cheeseburger and again, to my dismay, found four or five sesame seeds on his bun.  No problem, I hadn’t even left the parking lot.  I drove back around, explained the situation to the order taker and was told, no problem, pull up to the second window and get a new burger.

Except, there was a problem, and confusion, too.  First of all, I forgot to tell them a cheeseburger with JUST ketchup, and second of all, I added another order of fries, since First Son, in all his opening excitement, dropped his Happy Meal, and hence all his fries on the floor of the car (and my husband wonders why the car is always such a mess). And, if I could digress for a moment while were on the subject of Happy Meal’s, can I just say, the apples that now come mandatory with Happy Meals are such a waste. McDonald’s apples don’t even taste like apples, they taste like mushy bites of bitterness, and so now, because they’ve cut down on the fries to make up for the loss on the apples, my kids just steal each other’s fries, and are more than a little hesitant to eat a real apple.

But anyway, the order of small fries plus the free replacement burger, with just ketchup, threw the guy at the second window for a loop.  He was confused.  Wait, you had the burger?  Then whose fries are these?  Wait, they’re both yours?

At first, he didn’t even want the sesame tainted burger back, and I should have never let it go, but, when he realized that I I needed a cheeseburger with just ketchup, and not the fully loaded one he held in his hand, he took my cheeseburger and walked away out of sight.

Moments later, voila! He came back with a small bag and handed it over.

I was suspicious.  “You gave me a new cheeseburger, right?”  I asked.  “You didn’t just wipe the sesame seeds off?  Because my son could still get sick from the cross contamination.”

This was a very awkward conversation, and in hindsight, one I should have had before handing him the cheeseburger back.  He’d already given me the item, so if he indeed did wipe away the sesame seeds, is he really going to cop to it?  Doubtful.

The McDonald’s employee gave me a way too insincere/sincere, no, I would never do that, complete with over exaggerated look.  I drove away and pulled a very loosely wrapped burger out of the bag.  When was the last time McDonald’s loosely wrapped a burger?  Those things are wrapped tighter than a swaddled baby.  Then, I looked at the burger, and right where there had been sesame seeds, a huge chunk of bread was ripped off the side of the bun. I’m pretty sure McDonald’s has strict quality control rules in place, I don’t think a ripped bun makes the cut.  That was enough for me.

I said to First Son, “Sorry, but you’re not eating this burger.”

He was sort of understanding, but he wanted me to drive around, again, and get him Chicken McBites.  I didn’t.  What was I going to do?  Get back in line, place another order, and basically call the guy a liar?  I’m sure that wouldn’t have earned me any better service, and in fact, it may have earned me some extras special sauce that I wasn’t looking for.

So, what did we do?  I drove five miles in the other direction, went to another McDonald’s and ordered First Son some McBites.

Lesson learned.  No more McDonald’s cheeseburgers.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *