Archive for February 2010

February 8th, 2010

Consider the Sauce

Let me just start by saying that fast food is gross. It’s greasy and bad for you. And I never eat it. I wouldn’t dream of setting foot in a McDonald’s or an Arby’s or even a Chick-Fil-A, ever…. I rarely even eat meat.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way: I eat at Chick-Fil-A all the time. I love it. I especially love their trademark condiment/slice of heaven, “Polynesian Sauce.” Every single thing they serve there can be slathered with Polynesian Sauce and it will only taste better — the fries, the wraps, the salads, the paper liner on the tray.

And they know they’ve got a good thing going on there. You know they know. They must. What I’d like to know is: why are they stingy, old misers when it comes to giving it out?

While the ketchup, the mustard, and the mayonnaise are widely available, next to the napkins and the straws, you have to ask your cashier for Polynesian Sauce. They keep it in some mysterious nook under the counter, as if it’s produced by specially-trained artisans who are crouching behind the deep fat fryers carefully combining rare ingredients before lovingly placing their creation into those little packets and hermetically-sealing them one-by-one, and who knows how much longer these masters will be around, practicing their craft? And therefore this sauce must be hidden from the world and then rationed out shrewdly. Yes, when a customer asks for “some Polynesian sauce” — with a look on his face not unlike the look a jonesing crack addict gives his dealer — we must hand him but one packet!

That’s right! If you’re lucky they hand you two, but that’s still ludicrous! Crack dealer, Chick-Fil-A cashier, we both know the deal with Polynesian Sauce: 1) it is delicious and 2) my order entitles me to an unlimited quantity of it, free of charge. I ordered the number one and I would like to proceed to my table and drizzle everything with a drippy, gooey, 1/2″ thick layer of tangy gel that will saturate the bun of my sandwich so thoroughly that I will barely be able to pick it up without it sliding out of my hands which, incidentally, I will need 50 napkins to keep clean during the course of the meal.

I suppose I am only complaining because I will no longer just straight-up ask for more sauce.

This is because, as that description I just gave probably conveys, when someone is a fanatic about a particular type of sauce and they get a hold of a large amount of it, it turns their dining process into a borderline-disgusting spectacle. I can’t be that guy anymore. I mean, I most certainly still am that guy, but I don’t want the Chick-Fil-A person to know.

Also, the process of getting more P-sauce just never seemed to go smoothly. After I’d receive my meal and make an initial request for sauce, harried cashiers would often toss a packet on the counter in front of me, and then immediately scamper off to tend to the fries or whatever, meaning I’d have to flag down another employee to get some more. Then there are some Chick-Fil-As (usually the ones in or around college campuses, where the clientele will come in droves, devouring any food item they can get their hands on and making a huge mess in the process) that just refuse to give out more than one packet of sauce. Or, there were times when the person behind the register would ask me how many additional packets I wanted and I would say “three” and they would look at me, utterly shocked, and announce “Three!?!” so loud that everyone around could hear. The very last time I simply requested more sauce I had an inexplicable feeling that there was going to be a full-blown “incident.” Perhaps something like:

Cashier: “More Polynesian Sauce? Sure. How many packets? Three!?! Um…alright. [Under her breath:] What is he gonna do with that much sauce? [Talking to me again:] Oh, I don’t have that many up here. Hold on, I’ll have to ask my manager to get some from the back.” [Yelling over to her manager, who is busy at another register:] “Alice! Hey Alice! I need more Polynesian Sauce up here. I got a customer who wants four packets. It’s wiped my supply out.”

Manager: “Four!?! Who in the world uses four packets of sauce?”

Cashier (shrugging): “It’s what this guy wants.”

Manager: “Sigh. Well, sit tight a minute, I’ll have to go get the key to the sauce room from my office. [To the crowd behind me in line:] Sorry everyone, we’re going to have to cease transactions at both registers until we get this guy’s sauce needs straightened out.”

Crowd (somehow transformed into an angry mob with pitchforks and torches): “Kill the sauce-hog!”

So I’m done with it.

It’s enough to make me just quit cold-turkey (cold-chicken?) and stay away from that restaurant and its confounding condiment etiquette forever. There are reasons not to do that though. For one, even though she doesn’t like Polynesian Sauce, my wife’s affection for the food at Chick-Fil-A dwarfs my own. Also, seeing as how I am rarely at Chick-Fil-A without Steph, I’ve devised a way to get a little extra Poly-Juice, on the sneak. What I do is I frantically beg Steph to ask for sauce too. She doesn’t seem to understand why she has to do this, but she’ll usually humor me.

“Wait,” you are thinking “you just said Steph didn’t like Polynesian Sauce.”

My dear reader, Steph’s sauce is not for her at all, but also for me! I am certain to get at least two packets! See what I did there!?!

Just please don’t let them know what I am up to. These people clearly have some really weird hang-ups about this sauce.

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