Tuesday, July 12, 2016

The price of fast food

On Saturday, my husband and I were out running some errands. We were in Kerrville, Tx at lunchtime, and since it had been ages since we indulged in bad-for-us fast food, we decided to have a quick lunch at Jack In The Box.

A quick back story to fill in the blanks: I grew up in Southern California. There was a Jack In The Box across the street from my high school- also a Del Taco, but I've been over that. Anyway, when I was a kid, sometimes my dad would have to work late, and miss dinner with my mom and I. He would stop by Jack In The Box on his way home to pick up food for himself, and he would get me a taco. I would either stay up late, or wake up when I heard his truck pull into the drive. To this day, I still get late night cravings for Jack In The Box tacos.

It's been nearly a year since we've eaten at Jack In The Box.

I thought it was a little odd to walk into a food eatery at 12:40 on a Saturday afternoon, and have it be near empty. There was a small group waiting for their food, a lady waiting at the counter to give her order with her family sitting at a table, and us. Second in line.

No employees.

We waited.

A woman who smelled strongly of cigarette smoke went to the counter and yelled to someone at the back. A young man came out from the kitchen, gave her hug, and went back while she left. I noticed the "B" rating from the health department and briefly wondered if he would wash his hands before going back to cooking.

Finally, an employee came out and took the lady's order. She wandered off to wait some more, and we approached the counter where we were told we would have to wait some more.

We waited.

We waited for 15 minutes from the time we walked in the door, until we could finally give our order to an incredibly rude worker. She approached the counter, crouched down to do something behind there, then yelled out to Pedro, "Yo, Pedro! You want me to take them? They're the last ones!" I could only assume she was referring to us as there was no one else in line. Sure enough, she hopped on the register and said, "What do want?"

Customer service at it's finest.

My husband went first, ordering chicken strips, stuffed jalapenos, and a small soda.

"How many you want?"

Thus ensued a farce of epic proportions. Eventually, however, he was able to order the amounts of chicken strips and stuffed jalapenos he wanted.

"Alright, I only heard chicken and jalapenos, you want anything else?"

Oh my.

Then it was my turn, oh joy! Since we'd been waiting so long, I'd been doing eeny meeny miny moe, trying to decide if I wanted tacos or a spicy chicken sandwich. I made the wrong choice. Although, that being said, I don't know if there was a right choice at this particular establishment.

I ordered the chicken sandwich. So here's my next complaint. The spicy chicken sandwich meal, a number 10, is priced at $6.79. I got curly fries, said yes to cheese, and when was asked if I wanted medium or large, I said medium. My meal cost $8.18. I know the "upgrade" to curly fries is 40 cents extra, but what the heck? The only thing I can figure is there's a third option they don't tell you, which is small, and it's ridiculously expensive cheese.

After Miss Rude took our payment and handed me the receipt, she then said, "It'll be a while. You're like the last ones."

Last ones? I'm still not sure what she meant. The hours clearly stated they're open until late at night.

Anyway, we got our drinks and sat down to wait.

For 35 minutes!

Some fast food. It's the only time I've ever finished my soda while waiting for food!

A couple came in a while after we'd been sitting. The woman went to the restroom to wash her hands, and came back gagging. She reported that the restroom smelled awful and she had to hold her breath the whole time. My husband had been to the men's room when we came in, and he confirmed that the men's room also smelled horrible, and the door was falling off the hinges.

The couple was getting impatient for their food, when our number was called. Except it wasn't our number, it was their's. They had lost our order.

Now is about the time we should have demanded a refund and left, but we'd invested time. We had to see this through.

Miss Rude was again at the counter when my husband brought the error to her attention. "Give me the receipt!" No apologies. No respect.

He sat back down to wait some more.

The manager, Pedro, came over with a tray. Finally, lunch is served.

Nope. Not our's. It was the wrong order. I don't think there was a single thing on that tray that we'd actually ordered.

Finally, finally, finally, he brought the correct order. Again no apologies, just something half mumbled about two orders being similar. At least it was hot. Except my curly fries that were cold, soggy, and disgusting. And that really expensive cheese? Yeah, I didn't get it. The lettuce was also brown and tasted like lime. All in all, it was extremely disappointing.

After we choked down as much as we were able and got out of there as fast as we could, we went down the road to our next stop on our errands list. Which is when my stomach let me know it was not happy. Luckily, nothing messy happened, but it was painful, noisy, and embarrassing.

Final verdict: I will never go to the Kerrville, Tx Jack In The Box again. When I feel that craving, I'll make the trip into Cedar Park.

In the interest of fairness, though, I should mention that Pedro did try to make amends. With a free chocolate cake. The smallest chocolate I've ever seen. I guess to be split between the two of us? That would be about half a bite each. It's still in the refrigerator. After what the meal did to my stomach, I'm a little afraid to try it.

I don't give stars, but if I did, I'd give this one a black hole. The absence of light. A soul sucking void.

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