Photo by Flickr User mtume_soul.
Across the United States, fast food workers are throwing down their aprons and spatulas, and taking to the streets to demand a living wage. The current federal minimum wage is a paltry $7.25 an hour. That’s pretty impossible to live on, unless your body can some how process enough sustenance to survive by chewing the same piece of bubble gum for every meal.
Workers are now protesting in 60 American cities, hoping to bump their pay all the way to $15 an hour. If their demand is met, then they can hope to chew a different piece of bubble gum for every meal. Talk about supersizing your income! Wow.
I certainly am supportive of any effort to help people live better lives. The fast food sector continues to grow, where other industries keep contracting, and yet the pay rates remain stagnant. The downside to this strike is that fast food has never been more delicious. We are living in a “post-Double Down” world, and in that world, the fast food arms race shows no signs of cooling down. I can get a taco made out of a ranch flavored tortilla chip. Give yourself a moment to let that sink in. This is some next level shit.
Will we lose the spirit of innovation that has led us to this promised land of convenience and culinary excellence? Could an increase in the minimum wage bring about an extra helping of fast food austerity? I certainly hope not, but here are some of the little bundles of joy we could lose out on in the coming months:
The Fry Burger
It’s a burger that already comes with fries. Not like a value meal. I mean, like the fries are on the burger. I’ve often wondered what the point of separating the two dishes was. Is there some hotshot in the paper products industry who was demanding that fries get their own packaging so that he or she could keep selling us more paper? I commend this burger for breaking down the walls between fried potato mash and charred bovine flesh.
Did you ever imagine you could get a chicken wing from a drive-thru? Who dreamt this up? Were you on peyote? Mushrooms? Molly? Did this vision come to you after intense electroshock treatment? To the person that made this leap of faith, whatever it took for you to go on this spirit-quest, just know that it was all worth it. I will see you in Valhalla.
The Waffle Taco
For a mere 99 cents, you can purchase a waffle folded up like a taco shell. What is inside that waffle is only limited by your imagination. Right now, Taco Bell is shoving just about anything they can find out back into their Waffle Taco. Sausage? You’re goddamn right. Chicken and gravy? Yup. A bunch of fucking berries? Sure, why not? Personally, I’m hoping the next thing they do is put a 7-Layer Burrito in there.
Pop Tart Ice Cream Sandwich
This dish is something you could really just make yourself, much like a lot of fast food gimmicks. I can make a waffle taco at home. I can put French fries on a burger. It’s not that difficult. I have hands with fingers and a brain to make them move. I can use those fingers and that brain to create and experiment with food. The problem with that attitude is that there’s an entire industry full of people whose lifeblood is putting ice cream between a pop tart. Scoff all you want, but the Pop Tart Ice Cream Sandwich is as important to the American economy as the internal combustion engine used to be.
The Big Fat Fatty
For $50 (or one day’s work for a fast food employee… after taxes), you can buy this sandwich. On this sandwich you will receive the following in your mouth:
- Philly cheesesteak
- Chicken fingers
- Mozzarella sticks
- Fried eggs
- Jalapeño poppers
- French fries
- Onion rings
- Marinara sauce
- “Fat” Sauce
All of this comes in between a 27-inch garlic roll. That’s one day’s worth of work for an employee at a fast food restaurant. One single day. You’re looking at enough food to feed a family of four for an entire week. Are you starting to understand? There is an ecosystem in place, a delicate balance. Our demented society has created a new food chain. On top of that food chain are the restaurants, offering convenience, relative cleanliness, affordability, and most importantly, quantity. On the bottom of the food chain is the worker. He or she works for very little, but can take home a 27-inch sandwich covered in fried slop for practically nothing. You might be surprised to find that this “sandwich” does not come in a horse trough. The ultimate convenience would be to just shove your head in the trough and chow down. I’m sure we’ll get there at some point.
When we start paying fast food employees what they deserve, that means either the price of fast food has to go up, or the amount of food they give us is going to have to go down. Fast food workers will start eating real, healthy food, because they can finally afford it. The restaurants will stop making gimmicky dishes to serve to middle class people like me ironically, because they’ll no longer be able to make the same profit margin they used to. The food chain collapses. The drive-thru apocalypse begins.
It’s time to ask ourselves one important question: Can we live in a world where we put our own French fries on our burgers so that other people can live decent, happy lives? I think you know the answer.
Start supporting your local fast food worker as soon as you can. Also, for the price of a Quarter Pounder with Cheese, you can buy Dave's book, Letters from My Therapist on Amazon and iBookstore. There are way less calories in his book.