Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The Great McDonald's Smoothie Misadventure (& My New Addiction)

McDonald's hasn't been feeling the love lately, have they? They continue to face declining sales in an environment where other fast food venues held steady or increased their number of customers. A lot of this owes to the perception that McDonald's is what you eat when you really don't give a f**k about what you eat. It's there if you need it. But you try not to need it. 

When I go to McDonald's, I feel like an alcoholic lacking funds for actual booze so I'm forced to buy an off-brand bottle of Dollar General wine that may have once been in the vicinity of a grape. I realize I've lost what's left of my dignity and what little is left of my will to live but until I do keel over and die, I got to eat something.  

To be fair, there are things at McDonald's that I actually like to get there. Most locations, for example, do a great job with the iced tea, some of which still only charge a buck for a 20 gallon Styrofoam cup of that precious chilled, sweetened 
caffeinated beverage! For me, it's liquid crack. Sometimes I could care less what McMatter sandwich I order...burgerish, chicken-like or nearly fish, it doesn't matter... Only as long as I can get my desperate hands around that precious sweet iced tea. 

And yes, it must be sweetened. On occasion I will take a sip of my much desired nectar of the gods only to find it is devoid of the sweetness of whatever carcinogenic pseudo sugar additive that usually goes in tea. I've never understood the concept of unsweetened iced tea. Yeah, you can add your own sweetener except any true iced tea aficionado will tell you that its near impossible to obtain the perfect balance of tea and sugar. Sugar must be boiled in with the tea to evenly disperse the sweetening through out the life giving liquid.  

Am I making too much of this? No! No, I am not. 

Once in a while, I will reluctantly forego my beloved tea in favor of another beverage that I also enjoy from McDonald's, a mango pineapple smoothie. Like most things made by McDonald's, better smoothies can be found elsewhere. But the ones from McDonald's are not that bad, especially for the money. And especially on a really hot day, there's nothing like the nice cool tangy refreshing mix of mango and pineapple sliding down your throat, bringing blessed coolness on a hot summer day.  

Really, I think I'm laying all this on a bit thick. Sorry. I'll try to be a bit more restrained in my verbosity.  

Last week, however, a visit to a local McDonald's drive through produced a most disappointing result when I purchased mango pineapple smoothies for myself and my daughter Miranda. When we were handed our drinks, both of us noticed that they did not look mango pineapple smoothies. They did not in fact look like smoothies. Instead they were these odd, pale, lumpy looking cups of pale white sludge with flecks of something yellow in them. 

"What's up with the smoothies?" I asked.

The woman employee replied, "Oh, they're just putting extra yogurt in the smoothies now."  

That did not sound right but sometimes companies in America do seem to follow the adage, "If it ain't broke, break it!" 

As we drove away, Miranda took a sip of hers and said, "Well, it's not the most terrible thing in the world." I took a sip of mine and respectfully disagreed with her: this was THE most terrible thing in the world. And I'm talking about a world that has Donald Trump and the Islamic State in it so...yeah, pretty damn bad. 

So I drove us back to the McDonald's and I went inside. My daughter followed along to see what would happen. I imagine she thought I might go bug nuts and the police would have to be called and I would be arrested and she would have a really cool story to tell when school starts back up in a couple of months. 

But I don't roll like that. I made my case to the McDonald's employee in a nice, polite and easy going manner that these mango pineapple smoothies were simply...well, just awful. I mean, really bad. 

To her credit, the nice lady proceeded to mix up a new mango pineapple smoothie which Miranda and I sampled and we both agreed we did not think it was possible but this smoothie was worse than the other two. So the McDonald's employee offered to provide us with a comparable drink of another type. I suggested a simple chocolate milkshake which she agreed would be an effective substitute if the milkshake machine was running which it was not. So, no.  

Among the alternatives she gave us was something that got Miranda's attention, an Oreo cookie frappe. Now I'm not a big coffee drinker; no, let me rephrase that: I hate coffee. Whenever I've drank coffee, it feels like a muskrat has died in my mouth. But this comedy of errors had gone on too long as it was and Miranda was certainly a fan of this particular iced coffee drink. 

I'm not sure when or how my daughter became a coffee drinker which makes me wonder what else I don't know about her. For example, that closed, locked door in our house with the "Keep Out Or Die" sign where strange lights coming through the cracks around the door and blood curdling screams can be heard. You know, little stuff like that. I really should check into what's going on there.  

I'm sorry, what was I talking about? Oh yeah. Frappes.  

So on a dare (and after suffering through sips of the curdled sludge that had been passed off as a mango pineapple smoothie, I was feeling a bit daring), I too ordered an Oreo cookie frappe.  

My first sip, I wasn't too impressed. OK, it's not the worst thing in the world but I can really taste the coffee. Still, I'm not going back and try something else now. 

The 2nd sip was better received than the first. Yeah, I'm tasting coffee but the Oreo chocolate is really giving the coffee a good fight. And it's wonderfully chilly! It felt real good going down. 

From the 3rd sip onward, I could care less this was a coffee drink. I was really liking this beverage. I was feeling....I don't know, it was almost better than the rush I get my usual liquid crack, sweetened iced tea. I was feeling good!

Real good! 

I spent most of the rest of the afternoon weirding out my daughter. I was hyper, I laughed at everything. I guess for her it was like seeing me drunk. Well, I felt drunk! Oh Oreo cookie frappe, where have you been all my life? With your frosty goodness, I...

I could've danced all night,
I could've danced all night
And still had asked for more!
I could've spread my wings
And done a thousand things
That I've never done before! 

I wanted another one! But there was a small problem. As a father, I have to be...oh, what's the phrase? Oh yeah, "responsible". Being "responsible" sucks. But I needed to set an example to my daughter and not give in to this sweet, chilled, chocolatey delight that ....oooooooh!

NO! No more! 

The next morning, I had to take Miranda to her orthodontist appointment. She hates going to the orthodontist and this appointment was particularly trying as they tightened up her braces real good. Eventually she will succumb to the torture and tell us what we want to know about the Allies' secret plans. Or something.  

Anyway, afterwards, she thought she deserved some kind of rewards, maybe an Oreo cookie frappe. No, I said, we cannot get in the habit of drinking these all the time.("Dammit! I really want one", I'm thinking to myself.)  

Eventually, I "relented" because the visit had been particularly painful and you know, since we're at McDonald's, maybe I'll have another one myself. I mean, the first one was....okay. ("Oh boy! Oh boy! I'm going to get an Oreo cookie frappe! AGAIN! Yay! I could've danced all night, I could've danced all night and still had asked for more!")  

So McDonald's, maybe no one wants to eat whatever food like substance you provide but I do hope you manage to make it and keep going because I really need my sweetened iced tea and my Oreo cookie frappes! Don't make me go into McRehab. 

And I'm so glad my suffering amuses you. 

MUSICALS AWAY! Mamma Mia! AND Moulin Rouge!

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