I am pissed off at McDonald’s.
I’m not too worried about it. After all, if I decided never to eat there again, it wouldn’t be a big lifestyle change for me.
It would be more traumatic to my diet if I got angry at the Cape Cod potato chip company, but I can’t image that would ever happen. Just today I discovered their red pepper and garlic chips so they can do no wrong in my book right now.
I used to eat at McDonald’s quite often, back when I worked at the Department of Agriculture. It was the only restaurant that was close by, except this strange Texas barbecue place that serve ginormous baked potatoes with chili, cheese, sour cream and anything else you could imagine on them.
I always wondered what baked potatoes had to do with Texas barbecue.
For a while there was a born-again Christian deli that had really good sandwiches if you could put up with the religious rhetoric that came with it.
That and the picture of Jesus watching you eat corned beef on rye.
So if I hadn’t brought my lunch from home, I ate at McDonald’s. Sadly, that happened at least once or twice a week.
When I started working at the performing arts center, I stopped eating at the golden arches almost entirely.
Once in a while, I’ll grab a fish fillet for a quick lunch when I’m out shopping. Like I did last Christmas when I saw that old guy trying to tip the girl sweeping the floor.
One of my favorite things at McDonald’s has always been the shakes.
I’m a fan of any kind of ice cream shake. When I eat ice cream I stir it up to melt it a little. It tastes better when it’s kind of melty.
And that’s basically what a shake it, right? Partially melted ice cream.
When I was a teenager, the McDonald’s shakes were pretty good. They were chocolaty, at least the chocolate ones were, and really thick. The kind of thick where you had to suck on the straw hard to get any shake. Or use a spoon.
I don’t know for sure, but I think they only had chocolate and vanilla shakes back then. At least I don’t remember any other flavors. I always ordered the chocolate.
But then one day I tried the strawberry. I can’t imagine that I ordered strawberry, so maybe I got it accidentally. But I liked it. It tasted like frozen Quick strawberry milk. Super sweet, but delicious.
I never went back to chocolate.
I even started ordering strawberry shakes at other ice cream places. One now defunct dairy bar put real strawberries in their shakes.
Once I was really sick in college. It was during Easter break and I had stayed on campus to do a show.
My mother had come to see a performance, but I was so sick I couldn’t get out of bed. The only thing I could think of that would possibly taste good was a strawberry shake, so she went out and got me one.
I’ll never forget how good that shake tasted.
Over the years, the quality of the McDonald’s shake has declined. They’re thinner and just don’t taste as good. Maybe I just grew up or maybe they changed their ingredients.
I still order one every once in a while for old time’s sake, but I don’t have high expectations any more. It’s pure nostalgia.
So when I ordered a strawberry shake last Christmas, I didn’t think it was going to be best shake I ever had. I didn’t even think it would be particularly good.
But I didn’t expect that McDonald’s had totally ruined their shakes all together.
First, they are now serving them in plastic cups. The same ones they uses for their fancy frozen coffee drinks.
I don’t like it. Give me the paper coated in wax that gets a little soggy when you let your drink stand too long.
The wax cups are better because I don’t want to see my shake. Especially now that they don’t mix the flavor in completely.
A strawberry shake used to be pink from top to bottom. All strawberry. Now they mix flavors into the vanilla shake, so you can see the swirls of color through the clear plastic glass.
And one of the best parts of the shakes was pulling off the lid to see how much you had left in the cup. Now you can see it the whole time.
But the new cups weren’t the worst part.
My shake had whipped cream and a cherry on it.
I hate whipped cream and I hate cherries.
Shakes are not ice cream sundaes. They are not slices of pie. Whipped cream and cherries do not belong on a shake.
I suppose, if I was feeling generous, I could maybe excuse the whipped cream. You can stir it in and hardly taste it at all. But the cherry is unforgivable.
Even though I did not enjoy my Christmas time shake, I tried again today. I decided I could ignore the fancy plastic cup with the stupid dome lid and too big straw hole and I’d order it without the disgusting whipped cream and cherry.
But then they told me that I couldn’t have a strawberry shake because they had replaced strawberry with the shamrock shake for St. Patrick’s Day.
Ok, I know the shamrock shake is a tradition. It’s been around forever and I guess people love them. So add them to the menu but leave my strawberry shake alone!
I did try the shamrock shake after learning that it’s mint, not pistachio like I always assumed. I think they would have been better off with pistachio.
So I’m pissed at McDonald’s. First they gussy up their shakes to look like a Starbuck’s creation and then they “temporarily” replace the best flavor with their mint crap.
Give me frozen strawberry Quick in a wax cup any day.