Strange Times: Thoughts from the Taco Bell Drive-Thru

Jul 19, 2012 by

11:15 PM, Saturday night – Any town, USA

Before I do anything else, I’d like to mention that Taco Bell, in my humble opinion, symbolizes the armpit of all fast food chains.

That being said, my family happened to make a late night stop last Saturday night at the Taco Bell drive through.  Everyone in the car was pumped for some delicious concoctions of bright orange cheese, suspect meat and lettuce void of any nutrients conveniently bound tightly together in a flour tortilla.  Unsurprisingly, when we were handed our order at the window several items were missing.   We also received a few tacos and whatnot that no one recalled ordering.  How is it possible that Taco Bell screws up my order at the drive-through every single time?  If you are present in a car with more than two other passengers and the group decides to pull in to Taco Bell for some late night snacks, I can guarantee you will be handed a bag of shitty fast food that looks much different than your actual order.

I often wonder what the percentage of orders they successfully fill.

Here are some things you must accept well before you begin talking into a Taco Bell speaker to announce your order:

  1. The Taco Bell employee taking your order doesn’t give a shit in the least bit about you, your family or the specifics of your order.
  2. A strong feeling of disappointment will be the result of giving instructions to hold the beans on your 7-layer burrito.
  3. Taco Bell comes up with new ways to wrap up a tortilla full of cheese, beans and meet almost daily.  The crux of this is they add new items to the menu while neglecting to remove anything from it.  This leads to a complex ordering process.  It’s impossible to drive up and order because staring right back at you is some new piece of shit burrito made with a Doritos shell and fried up for good measure.  Everyone needs a few seconds to scourer over the ever changing menu.
  4. If you have a group of people in your car with an average order of more than two items each, accept what is in the bag and sort out who wants what.  By no means, return to the window bitching that you didn’t get your beef soft taco.
  5. The Taco Bell employee responsible for creating your taco full of surprise and eventual anguish just creates what he or she feels is right for the moment.  No one handed them a receipt of what you ordered.  These are artists for crissakes, you don’t hand back a Picasso because he didn’t paint the old Italian village women the way you envisioned it, nor should you return your sloppy mess of a bean burrito because they forgot to add sour cream.  Be respectful of these artists and don’t piss them off.  You will pay dearly for your actions if you show anything but gratitude.
  6. By all means, try to limit your visits to Taco Bell to once, maybe twice, a decade.  You can thank me later for that little bit of wisdom.

I would like to offer one more piece of advice if you find yourself drunk and hungry late one night and your only option is Taco Bell.  Decide how much you are willing to spend for a meal.  For example, if it’s $10.00, explain to the person taking your order that you would like $10.00 worth of food.  Make no mention of items on the menu – just let them wing it.  It will make your experience a more pleasurable one.

Parental Advisory: Explicit Lyrics

If we value anything in this country, it is the safety of our citizens.  We put so much emphasis on this concept of safety at all points of life.  Every product has a warning label slapped on it.  Every device or young children to sit in has some type of contraption with an assortment of straps to secure them in.  Prescription drug commercials spend the majority of the advertisement explaining to the public a laundry list of side-effects. Flashing lights, sharp piercing sounds, and garish signs all warn us of potential hazards barreling down out way.  The airlines still feel obliged to review the workings of a seatbelt.  Can you step foot anywhere or purchase a product without thoughts of danger lurking in your mind.  Will the future of our society be risk-free?

It worked.  I concede to the auto industry and concern for my personal safety.  I now fasten my seatbelt.

I wore a seatbelt twice from 1990 to 2006.  Now I buckle up about 90 percent of the time.  Sure I take a chance now and then on a two mile round trip to the convenience store.  Sometimes I just want to live dangerously.

Spare me your lecture on seat belts; I have a clear understanding of their purpose in a vehicle.  If you purchase a car or truck, especially those made in the U.S.A., you can’t shift the car in park without bells and whistles reminding you to fasten your seatbelt.  The warnings only cease when you oblige.  Can we stop with the annoying sounds that get faster and faster and never stop going off until the seat belt is fastened?  I mean, fuck, give me second; let me find that right track on the CD before I deal with my own safety.  Cars manufactured over the last decade can be fucking rude.

I learned if you buckle up and tell your life insurance agent that you indeed do this one thing consistently, you may be subject to saving a few bucks on your monthly life insurance premium.  Another aspect of life American’s holds dear to them – a savings!

Forget the seat belts for a moment (unless they’re currently dinging for you to buckle up, fucking buckle up!) how sad is this?  I venture to the grocery store early on a Saturday morning and I am met by a this disturbing site: a grown man wearing safety helmet as he rolls at a leisurely pace through the suburbs on his bicycle. We are certainly living in strange times.

Baby Boomers Neglect 

In response to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal by Jim Fusilli, titled Bias at Rolling Stone?

Jim Fusilli writes about Rolling Stones updated list of 500 Greatest Albums of All Time which recently hit newsstands.  He informs the reader that not much has changed.  Fusilli writes, “But if you miss this year’s rendition, no worries: The top 21 albums on the list are the same as on Rolling Stone’s list from 2003. To call it predictable or a cliché is to let it off easy.”  He then frames his argument for a baby boomer bias due to the fact that many of the albums at the top of the list are from an era more than 40 years ago.  He takes issue with the rankings of certain albums by stating, “The Rolling Stone 500 would be easily dismissed as a marketing stunt were it not for the sad fact that the superiority of boomer-era rock is viewed by some as truth.”

His argument throughout is backed by a host of statistics.  The most telling of those are that 59% of the albums listed were released in the 60’s or 70’s.  (292 out of 500)  He makes a compelling argument and there are moments throughout the piece that I wholeheartedly agree with him.

Jim Fusilli neglects one important element of any music based “best of list” that is subjectively compiled.  The element of time, which is obviously favorable to those albums released some 40 years ago.  Also worth mentioning are the albums rounding out the top twenty are remarkable offerings and exist in the collections of various aged serious music fanatics.   I would argue hen readers glance over the Rolling Stones top 20 albums in the year 2022, the list will not look much different than it did today.  (This might put Mr. Fusilli over the edge.)  Here is why:

The current so-called Baby Boomer bias will eventually be replaced by Generation Xers.  However, Gen Xers will be reluctant to replace Sgt. Peppers or a Dylan album due to the importance placed upon those albums of the X generation.  All the top albums on the list were the ones Xers were exposed to by the Baby Boomer at an early age, shaping their forming music brains.  Those albums are valued highly by Gen Xers, maybe even more so than the Boomers.

Fusilli argues not only newer releases were ignored but also many highly influential albums released prior to 1960 were also neglected.  For example, many great works by Jazz artists such as Monk, Parker and Basie were left off the list.  Here is where time once again comes into place.  Jazz influences are so prevalent in music today that Jazz has become irrelevant.  Artist took certain components of Jazz and made altogether new genres of music, which became immensely popular.  Prog rock, Hip Hop, jam bands and countless others are what people are listening to rather than jazz in its truest form.  It is unfortunate, but Jazz lost its way, it is a rare occasion to find someone entertaining guests at their home with Bitches Brew playing in the background.  Plus there is no Jazz artist of relevance today, at least in the eyes of younger generations.

An album to be subjectively listed high must have a positive response from at least two generations, the more the better.  This validates the strongest and most important debate in art- does it stand the test of time?  Sgt Pepper will certainly always ring true and I have proof.  (Mr. Fusilli takes issue with RS’s top album.)  My daughter turns four this month and the theme of her birthday party- the Beatles.  I am not sure Bjork’s face will don a future birthday cake of my daughters.

Then again, who am I to be the predictor of future birthday cake themes? These are strange times after all…..

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  1. Kelly Green

    I think asking for $10 worth of food and seeing what you get is BRILLIANT. More restaurants should offer that: “I’d like the $5 surprise meal please.” Let’s face it, if you REALLY cared about what was in the bag, you wouldn’t be there in the first place.

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