1.23.2009

Dinner in the Mall





Last night I did something that I have never done before. I took my three year old son to the local mall and per his request decided to eat dinner in the food court. This is a true account of what transpired.

Right off the bat I knew I was a little out of my element. My pants fit properly, I had no chains hooked to any part of my clothing, and I was obviously the oldest person in the food court. My son tells me he wants the standard Happy Meal for dinner, so we head over to McDonald's. Three teen aged workers were standing there talking as I approached. I stood there and waited for someone to recognize me, but it didn’t happen. They each looked over at me with contempt and then resumed their conversation. I said "excuse me" and they didn’t budge. I’m start getting mad but don’t want to ruin my little outing with my son so I kneel down and convince him that we should try A&W instead. Still holding his little hand we head over to A&W when my son says "I want chicken nuggets though". I turn back around and see someone ordering at McDonald's so we flip around and head back.

As I approach for the second time there is one person ordering at one register and three teenagers loitering in front of the second register. Actually, they were not so much loitering as they were sitting on the counter just being obnoxious. I stand behind them waiting for them to order when they finally tell the worker, "We don’t want any food. We were just lonely and need a place to talk." So the worker looks past them and asks if he can take my order. The three kids don’t move. I talk over them to the guy and then hand my cash through the group. Five minutes later the kids leave and shortly after that we get our Happy Meal.

I don’t do Micky-D’s so I figured I would try Panda Express for my dinner. The line is pretty long, but I was Jonesin’ for some Orange Chicken so we waited. When I order I see that they are out of the Orange Chicken so I ask how long. He calls back and the cook says 1-2 min. I decide to wait, continue through the line and pay. My son and I then stand there for 15 min. while roughly 30 other people go through the line and get their food. After much stress and waiting he slaps some chicken on my now cold plate and we head to a corner table to eat.

Now the food. I break open the happy meal and find the napkins inside are sopping wet. The fries are obviously tainted with the same moisture of unknown origin so they are out. I try to hide them in the sack so kiddo won’t see and hopefully won’t remember them. I break open the nuggets and as he grabs the first one, he bumps the carton and flips two of them onto the filthy table at which we were seated. Cleanest one we found by the way. So I grab those up and throw them in the bag with the soiled fries too. My son now has a drink and one and a half chicken nuggets left for his dinner.

At this point I look up to see some amazing things. The girl that works at McDonald's is yelling her head off trying to get number 47 to come up and get their extra value meal. She is literally screaming 47 over and over. To my left, I see a high school guy sitting quietly, eating his food when another high school punk sneaks up behind him and puts him in a full-on sleeper hold, mid-bite. The kid that was eating is obviously choking but his "hilarious" buddy doesn’t let up and takes him to the ground before his red-faced friend gets loose coughing and spitting. Now, two girls, probably 12 – 13 years old come and sit down right next to us. No sooner than they sit down do they start up a very loud conversation about how the one is changing boyfriends because he only likes her for her body and the hot action. What? Body and hot action at 12? Am I a grandpa? I know it is a new era, but please tell me the 5th graders aren’t all banging each other at recess. If you lose your virginity before you have pubes, it’s probably a little early. Just a thought.

Despite the sea of madness around me, I take a bite of my beloved Orange Chicken to find it completely raw. I spit it out and hand my plate of rice over to my still hungry boy. He chows down on the rice and we leave as quickly as possible.

I’ve eaten in the mall before, but only for lunch. I think on a weeknight it becomes a haven for crappy employees and a looser hang out, really no place for a dad and son to be. Patrons were ridiculous, workers were pathetic (even for high school kids), and the food was disgusting (even for fast food). There is no reason to hit the food court after 3pm. I should have grabbed a Cinnabon and hit the road.






2 comments:

Karen & Gerard Zemek said...

What a terrible dining experience you had. That sounds like something in a comedy show. Unbelievable how those McDonald's workers acted. I've never seen such behavior as you described at our food court. But then, come to think of it, I don't think I've ever been to a food court after 3 p.m. Maybe I should try it just for the experience! My suggestion is next time, you pick the place, and don't let your son decide.

MeatWad said...

Yup, it was a crappy choice for dinner, even from a 3 year old.

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