I am not a picky eater.
My wife (bless her heart) can be a nightmare when ordering at restaurants. Just like Meg Ryan in “When Harry Met Sally,” she orders things very specifically and on the side and substitute this for that…let’s just say I cringe whenever she makes one of her “special requests.” And if something is wrong or she isn’t happy with her food, she sends it back.
I sent food back once, and that was because there was a band-aid in my mashed potatoes. I’ve gotten food that isn’t cooked exactly right, but I eat it. Or they give me the wrong dressing, so instead of sending it back I just suck it up. Hell, I’ve found a hair in my food and I forge ahead. Maybe it’s because I started working in a restaurant when I was 15 and still vividly remember how horrible some customers can be, but the point is, I have a very strong stomach and—short of a band-aid—there isn’t much that will bother me.
But congratulations McDonald’s, you raised the bar.
On Sunday we stopped at the McDonald’s near our house, located at 370 MacArthur Blvd. in Bourne, Mass. Will loves chicken nuggets and MJ decided to treat herself to a Big Mac and fries. We walked in, ordered, got our food and sat down. Will began munching away (because we told him he can’t open his happy meal toy until he’s done eating) and MJ tore into her Big Mac. She and I were picking at her fries. I was eating so many of them she decided to dump out half the box on a napkin on top of the table for me.
And that’s when we both nearly lost our lunch, because we saw this:
Yup. That’s right. An inchworm. Wriggling away, still very much alive. It came out with the fries when MJ dumped them on the napkin.
Now first of all, this is not a fake picture. I took it shortly after we discovered it, right there on the table. It wasn’t there before, we didn’t go outside after we ordered and we’re not carrying around inchworms trying to scam free meals. There actually was an inchworm in our food.
Look, as I laid out before I’m not a prude. I can deal with a lot. But even though we weren’t dining at a 5-star gourmet bistro, I still think we’re entitled to food without living worms in it. And while I understand McDonald’s is all about their “healthy options menu,” I think we can all agree this is not what they had in mind when they talked about eating more greens.
Now, being a reporter, I wanted to see how the staff would react.
I sent MJ up with the inchworm and the employees let out a simultaneous “EWWWW!” And yes, they apologized. But amazingly, that was it. We got a “Gee I’m really sorry about that” and then it was back to our table. A few minutes later the girl working the register did come back over and ask if she could get us anything else, but at that point I was fuming. A manager did eventually come over, but I was less than enthralled with his attitude as he said “I know you’re never going to eat here again after this, but here’s a coupon for a free meal in case you do.”
Yeah. That’s what I want after finding a worm in my food. More contaminated food.
My question is, WHERE WAS THE OFFER TO REFUND OUR MONEY?!?!? I specifically didn’t ask for it because I was waiting for them to offer. It should’ve been automatic and without an ounce of hesitation. You find a living animal in your food, you get your money back. I think it would be wise for all restaurants to adopt such a policy, don’t you? But instead I got a belated offer of more worm food.
To be fair, I did get a response on Twitter from a McDonald’s team member who had me call an 800 number to report the complaint. The following day. After the picture of the worm had already been viewed hundreds of times on Twitter. But by that time they had already blown it in my eyes.
I guess I should thank them. This McDonald’s is open 24 hours and less than a mile from my house. After a late meeting it’s the only thing open, and I’ve succumbed to the charm of the Golden Arches more than once. But not anymore. Now I’ll eat healthier, if only by subtracting McDonald’s from my diet altogether. Finding a wiggling little worm in your fries will do that.
But I guess the upside is fishermen can look forward to a Big Mac with free bait!