Sometimes you have to take a stand - even at McDonald's

Sometimes you have to take a stand - even at McDonald's

Note: This column appeared in the Sept. 1 News-Gazette.

Dear McDonald’s worker,

I feel I owe you an explanation.

I could tell by the look on your face that you were a bit taken aback when I came in for my missing Filet-o-Fish the other day.

You see, your nice friends in the drive-through had given me one of my sandwiches, but not the other one.

Honest mistake. But if you had two hungry kids at home, one of whom had just run in a two-mile race, you’d know that would not go over well.

Actually, they were OK with it. The fries were a good substitute as far as they were concerned.

But I was not.

It’s not that we NEEDED that sandwich.

And I wasn’t being a cheapskate — although I will point out it was $3.88, not just a dollar menu item.

I was there to make a point.

I’m sorry to say this has happened before. Maybe it’s a missing burger. Maybe it’s a chicken wrap that arrives with lettuce and mayo, sending my plainatarian husband into a tizzy. He has lots of restaurants on his “banned” list.

(Then there was the notorious Taco Bell episode — tacos upside down, contents spilling out, covered in dreaded condiments. Muy ugly.)

Usually we overlook it. Not worth the trouble.

But on this day, inspired by Joe Pesci’s immortal words about the drive-through, I decided to make a stand. I was coming back for that fish.

I had to drop off my son at school anyway, and decided to stop at the grocery store on the way to stock up on some actual healthy food. To offset the grease.
I then drove all the way back home before I remembered the stand I was supposed to be taking about the fish.

So I drove BACK to McDonald’s to get it. By this point I was pretty sure I’d used up $3.88 in gas.

That’s when we met. I handed you my receipt. I caught an ever-so-slight eye-roll when you explained my predicament to the manager. And when I told you that I hated to disappoint my daughter you said, very sweetly, “Wow, that’s nice of you.”

Guess I should have just let her go hungry.

Someday when you are older, and you have kids and a house and every penny counts, you will understand.

Maybe it won’t be a fish sandwich.

Maybe it will be the mounds of dirt in your yard that haven’t quite “settled” the way the sewer guys said they would.

Maybe it will be the window that your painter said he’d get to, but never did.

Maybe it will be the fence guy who spent hours carefully laying out a plan for your back yard years ago — and then disappeared without a trace, presumably in witness protection.

Something will push you over the edge.

Probably a customer like me.


Julie Wurth blogs about kids and families and covers the University of Illinois at The News-Gazette. Leave a comment below, or contact her at 217-351-5226, or

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sae6286 wrote on September 15, 2015 at 3:09 pm

Totally agree with you!  McDonald's has been on my banned list for years.  I'm not sure I would have given that fish sandwich to my daughter...who knows what they might have done to it when prepping the sandwich! (Sorry, you probably didn't need that thought put in your head.)