By Pete Kasperowicz
It always hits in late August, when work in Washington stops and people return to their home towns. Not much to do other than watch a ball game, swim, maybe golf or fish or something.
God, what a miserable couple of weeks. No politicians means no stupid comments from politicians, and no stupid comments means no one gets to write any witticisms about dumb politicians.
There are certain places where certain people should be. Hank Aaron should be up at the plate. Jacques Cousteau should be in the water. And Americans should bitching and moaning about politics. It’s where we belong.
It will probably not surprise you to hear that complaining is our top export. You can look it up at the Census Bureau. In June, we exported $4.4 billion worth of petroleum products, and $1.38 billion worth of corn. But these top industrial and agricultural exports were dwarfed by our stunning $38.9 billion in exports of complaining (all seasonally adjusted).
In this country, once you’ve had dinner, seen the movie and shopped, what else is there to do? It’s our true national pastime.
But as the summer wanes, it’s worth trying to find something to cheer. It’s not easy, since the country is still run by humans, our readily available and utterly mistake-prone labor source. But it’s worth trying… usually you can find one.
My nomination this year would be the Chick-fil-A drive-thru. Chick-fil-A is a southern fast food restaurant chain that serves chicken, salads and fruit, and really good milkshakes. They make a peach shake that’s unequalled.
But where they shine is the drive-thru. The simplest way to put it is: it works. Some Chick-fil-A executive must have finally gone insane at some other drive-thru one day:
DRIVE-THRU OPERATOR: (static) … take your order?
CHICK-FIL-A EXECUTIVE: I’ll have a number 3 with a large Coke.
DRIVE-THRU OPERATOR: What? (static)
CHICK-FIL-A EXECUTIVE: That’s the last straw. I’m going to destroy this restaurant chain by building the perfect drive-thru.
DRIVE-THRU OPERATOR: (static) … anything else?
CHICK-FIL-A EXECUTIVE: Just the number 3 with a Coke.
DRIVE-THRU OPERATOR: What? (static)
It probably went something like that. And now, after years of work, Chick-fil-A has really created a marvel. You drive up, they ask nicely what you want, and it doesn’t matter how complicated your order is, they never ask you to repeat yourself. Here’s how one of my last orders went:
CHICK-FIL-A: Welcome to Chick-fil-A. Can I take your order?
ME: I need a grilled chicken sandwich with only lettuce, and eight-piece nugget meal with fruit and a peach shake, a 12-piece nugget meal with fries, two small peach shakes, and another 12-piece meal with a lemonade. And some barbecue and buffalo sauce. Oh, and a small diet coke.
CHICK-FIL-A: (slightly bored) Anything else?
Can you believe that? I throw all of that at her, and she’s bored. She heard me the first time, and apparently even punched in the stuff as I said it. The rarest of rare things: a drive-thru that is actually ready to take your order, unlike so many others, which tempt the customer to ask repeatedly, “Are you ready to hear my order, or will I have to repeat it?”
Then, you drive around, and the food is often waiting for you. It’s so quick you get nervous about having your money out in time for them.
Oh yeah, and the food is good.
The TV is filled with egghead proclamations about what this country needs, and what we should be doing. What will pull us out of this endless recession? What will create jobs? What is the future of this country? Tiresome and useless group-think.
What we like to call the direction of the country is only the aggregate of all the steps we all take individually. Here’s to Chick-fil-A, which has figured out the drive-thru, and leaves you wondering, as you drive away, where they could have invented such a marvel. Turns out it was the United States.
And they say this country can no longer do great things.
Pete writes for TheHill.com and Tinytown© Copyright 2011 Tanna K, All rights Reserved. Written For: Tinytown Unleashed