Monday, October 24, 2011

Cheeseburgers in Paradise

I've had a nasty cold for the last week, and finally went to the doctor, primarily because I had a bunch of symptoms I've never had before. Swollen lymph nodes that only responded to regular doses of Ibuprofen (I think I've taken more Ibuprofen in the last week than in my entire previous existence) and having to blow my eyes instead of my nose.

Apparently this is a fairly common Australian virus. It makes me think of the great scene in Ursula Le Guin's Rhocannon's World where the space invaders, after several generations, finally begin to catch local diseases. Now I am a true Aussie!

On the way to the doctor's we stopped at Makker's (McDonald's, in the local parlance) and I ordered a cheeseburger, ketchup and mayo only. What I got was two buns, a soup can's worth of red and white sauce, and a slice of cheese. No burger. Seriously.

I took it back, and the shift manager had to ask me three times what I wanted. When I saw the receipt, I understood; the cashier had filled out an order for a cheeseburger sans everything, then added cheese, tomato sauce, and McChicken sauce (what they call mayo). Oddly there appears to be a key on the cash register for subtracting the patty, which shaves 90 cents off the price of the burger. Considering the mayo costs 40 cents, you have to wonder about the relative economics of their ingredients.

I think the problem was not just that the cashier was Asian and apparently had a bad grasp of English, but also that she had a bad grasp of burger culture. To her, a burger without meat was probably no stranger than a burger with cheese. How is she supposed to know what these crazy people consider normal?

I realize that this post, coming as it does on the heels of my paen to multiculturalism, might be construed as ironic, but it's not; it's just coincidental.

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