Friday, October 05, 2007

Monopolize Your Lunch

PLACE: McDonald's
LUNCH: Big Mac, large fries, 3 piece Chicken Selects with ranch, large orange Hi-C "Lavaburst" Orange, large Arctic Orange milkshake

It's "Monopoly" month at McDonald's, and I get suckered in every year. I never win anything but food, though I did pile some "Best Buy bucks" into a DVD a couple years ago.

This year's board is an all cash game. All cash prizes. There are non-cash prize bonus pieces too for free food and Toys-R-Us and Foot Locker bucks, two places I never ever shop at.

This particular lunch got me eight game board pieces (two of which are duplicates), two Toys-R-Us bucks (stackable op to $5!), a free medium fries, and a free small McFlurry.

I should probably get a game board, huh.

On my way out the door after eating, I happened to catch a glance at the dessert board and saw….ARCTIC ORANGE SHAKE! ARCTIC ORANGE SHAKE! HOLY CRAP IT'S BACK!

(Technically, that was my reaction…not what the menu board actually said…)

I HAD to have one. It's been YEARS.

I still remember my first encounter with the amazing Arctic Orange shake. It was in 1978 at a McDonald's in Prince George, British Columbia. The sign was hand-written and taped to the menu board.


It changed my life.

It's funny how I can remember McMilestones like that.

I remember my first ever Sausage McMuffin with Egg (1984, Kennewick Washington, on the frontage of Columbia Center Mall. They had the "Jungle Concept" interior. Green. Neato. It changed my life. Again.)

I remember my first regular McDonald's as a child (TV Highway in Beaverton, OR. It was an original sloped roof white and red tile beauty with the big arches through it. They built a new modern McDonald's around it at some point.)

I remember the first time I saw Ronald McDonald do his magic act live (McDonald's on Cedar Hills Blvd, Beaverton.)

I remember the time a student at my high school arrived with a duffel bag full of day-old Big Macs and sold them to students for $10 each (we didn't have an accessible McDonald's being the backwater island-locked muskeg-covered rock that we were).

I remember the time I was in the McDonald's at Southcenter Mall in Seattle (a full-sized McDonald's in a regular mall slot) and ordered lunch and a little extra to take home. "20 Big Macs, 20 Quarter Pounders with Cheese, one order of fries, and one large Coke, and pack it up tight because it's going to Alaska". Smiling Counter Girl looked at me in disbelief. The guy who was flirting with her, not missing a beat, asked "Are you planning to share the fries?"

I remember when we DID finally get a McDonald's that I got invited to the "dry run" (where you go in as a customer and order anything you want for free to give the crew practice). That was the first McDonald's in history to have a drive-thru while being located in an enclosed shopping mall, an accomplishment achieved by locating it on one of the mall's corners.

I remember when Ronald McDonald did his live act in the center court at that mall. Everybody was expecting some local McEmployee in a clown suit. But we got an official "Ronald McDonald" complete with magic show. There were people of all ages there. It was amazing to watch that guy mesmerize the kids with his magic tricks. He left everybody smiling.

And I continue to be amazed at how quickly the local McDonald's can move cars through and get the orders right with food that tastes fresh on any given morning I happen to hit the drive-thru.

And now that I've finished this fabulous, wonderful, mystical, magical milkshake, I have to say…

Del Taco's "Orange Cream" shake is better.