Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Adventures in Romania: Part Two

I love a Big Mac. I'm not even going to apologize. I eat Paleo 99% of the time and I'm very happy with my weight. I occasionally splurge by going to MacDonalds. And when I do, I get a Big Mac. And the way I love my Big Mac is to have a whole bunch of extra Special Sauce on it. Over the years I've tried asking them to put extra Special Sauce on it. They never put on enough extra to meet just how much more I want. So I've taken to asking for a side of extra Special Sauce and add it myself.

The first time I asked for this in the United States, many years back, I remember the workers being a bit taken aback by my request.  But it has now been many years in the United States since I have seen anyone bat an eye at my request. They immediately nod and I get a little cup with extra Special Sauce served. Sometimes I pay extra (which I'm more than happy to do), sometimes I don't.

And so, today, in Bucharest, Romania, I decided I would stop in at the MacDonalds in the lower level of the Piata Unirii Mall. This is the place where I bowled my first 200 game. And as I approached the counter, I remembered that a few years back I had attempted to order a Big Mac according to my specifications and had failed. I had explained very clearly to the worker that I wanted a Big Mac and a side of extra Special Sauce in a little cup or something. She nodded and smiled and then told me that my Big Mac would be right up. It seemed to take a long time. And I was kinda in a hurry. She finally puts a Big Mac on a platter and pushes it toward me.
"Um, I asked for a side of extra Special Sauce."

"We put extra Special Sauce on the Big Mac," she says, still smiling. 

I sighed and took the order, in too much of a hurry to make a point of this thing. And it was nowhere near the amount of Special Sauce I had wanted.

So I went there today with a singular plan. I was going to get a Big Mac with an extra side of Special Sauce. Or I was getting nothing at all.

I waited my turn to place my order. I stated that I would like a Big Mac, please. Not the value meal (I'm Paleo, I don't eat fries). And I said I would like, please, in a little cup or something, some extra Special Sauce.

The worker immediately turns and calls for the manager. I've gone off script, you understand.

A tall brute of a MacDonald's uniformed man approaches. She explains what I've requested. 

He tells me, "We can give you a Big Mac with extra Special Sauce on it."

I shake my head. "I'm asking, please, for a Big Mac, with the extra Special Sauce in a little cup or something." (Keep in mind, I've learned that the so-called Big Mac with extra sauce just isn't as much extra sauce as I want.)

"That's not on the menu," he says. "We can't do that."

"Why?" I ask simply. "I'm willing to pay. How much can I pay for extra Special Sauce in a little cup?"

"It's not on the menu," he repeats. "We have extra ketchup, extra Sweet and Sour sauce, but you can't get extra Special Sauce on the side."

"How much do two extra ketchups cost? I ask.

"Four lei," he answers. (Approximately one dollar and change.)

"I'll pay for two extra ketchups and you give me one extra Special Sauce?"

He shakes his head. "No! Don't you understand?" He's raising his voice at this point. "It's not on the menu. Ketchup is ketchup. Special Sauce is Special Sauce. You can't get extra Special Sauce."

I sighed. And I had decided in advance that I was not going to back down on this point. "That's unfortunate," I said to him. "I'm not ordering anything if I can't get extra Special Sauce."

He shrugs. He's done. I'm positive he thinks I'm as crazy as I know he's an idiot.

And I left without my Big Mac.

I found a wonderful place in the Lipscani neighborhood where I ate a Shwarma. And I'll look forward to eating a Big Mac, with a side of extra Special Sauce, when I get back to the United States. In fact, if I see one in the airport in Amsterdam on my way home, I'll order one there. I don't imagine they will think extra Special Sauce is a crisis serious enough to reject my order.