Saturday, November 27, 2010

The McNugget Dilemma

I have to admit it… I’m a fan of McDonalds.  I know the food is bad for me and I assume that each and every meal I choose to eat at McDonalds probably shortens my life by a measurable amount, and I understand that it is far from fine dining.  I understand the average McDonalds menu item has more sodium and calories in it than many children from Haiti eat in a month, and I wholeheartedly admit that even though they are offered I never order a salad or anything which could in any way be misconstrued for being remotely healthy.

Although I will never even attempt to compare the taste or quality of McDonalds with more expensive eateries, when it comes to fast food McDonalds does it about as good as anyone, and thus when it comes time to decide which drive thru is going to get my business on a particular day, McDonalds probably earns that dubious distinction more than any other.  Maybe it is the fries that are quite simply the best french fry of any fast food chain.  Maybe it is the “limited time only” offerings of the McRib or Monopoly game pieces.  Or maybe it is due to childhood nostalgia that surrounds the idea of a Happy Meal.

One thing I can promise is that my appreciation for McDonalds has nothing to do with Ronald McDonald himself.  It might be due to the fact that he is nothing more than a talking clown (and everyone knows clowns are just scary), or it might have something to do with the overall creepy “pedophile-like” demeanor, but I can honestly say I have never been a fan of Ronald McDonald.

That said, ever since I was a kid I’ve always liked the McNuggets.  I’ve bounced back and forth from sweet & sour sauce to barbeque sauce, and I’ve lived long enough to remember when they sold the nuggets in six piece, nine piece, or 20 piece boxes before they moved to the ten piece standard that is common today.  For a while I thought the chicken selects would soon replace nuggets as my preferred choice for tiny bits of chicken deliciousness, but eventually I migrated back to the nuggets and find myself ordering them more than anything else on the menu.

So of course ordering nuggets as often as I do has led me to a conundrum which I have affectionately labeled “the McNugget dilemma”.  The basic premise is, from time to time I have discovered an order of ten nuggets doesn’t always contain 10 nuggets.  On rare occasion I have been shorted a nugget, but it seems most of the time if there is a counting error it is in my favor, which translates to 11 nuggets (or one time it was 12 nuggets).

Now I fully realize in some cases the McDonalds employee who is putting the nuggets into the little box might have one or two extra nuggets in a batch so they just toss them in my box as a free bonus, but I have to wonder how often this odd number of nuggets is actually due to human error.

Thus, when receiving 11 nuggets should I be happy I have received a free (and tasty) bonus McNugget, or should I be sad that the McDonalds worker who prepared my meal lacks the ability to accurately count to 10?  These are the types of questions I struggle with, and I dare say I’m not the only one.

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