Free Smiles: March 27, 2001

Free Smiles:
March 27, 2001

Not even a full week after writing last week's column, I received a sign.  Not a useful one, like a stop sign or deer-crossing sign, but a figurative sign that hit me like a rock with a brick attached to it.  If more rocks had bricks attached to them, I really think Humpty Dumpty's situation wouldn't be nearly as ear-catching.  But aside from that, I also think that gummy bears aren't treated nearly as well as actual bears, so let's instead skip to something else and save the gripes for another time...

The sign to which I was actually planning to refer, before I interrupted myself, is the one on any McDonald's menu that reads "Smiles are free."  This is the most prevalent phrase in the place, unless you happen to go to a McDonald's where dangerous snakes are lurking, in which case "Caution: dangerous snakes" is a bit more prevalent.  So the other day I decided to ask for three free smiles in addition to my Extra Value Meal (#2 of course).  I assume smiles are automatically attached to Happy Meals, but then again, I would also assume that extra value was attached to Extra Value Meals, and I'm wrong on that account...

Upon asking for my smiles, the worker had to turn around and look at the menu to see what I was talking about.  This showed me that not many people try to capitalize on this free smile deal.  Some people are probably now thinking, "Wow, free smiles!  If I would have known about those sooner, I would not have paid five bucks for one an hour ago."  Others are thinking, "Dangerous snakes.  Yeah, yeah.  Dangerous snakes."

Despite asking for three, I only received one smile, which really is a broken promise.  In fact, the smile I did receive was hardly worth the nothing that I paid for it.  It was more like a half-smile, which is kind of like a half-mustache but without the hair.  If you are confused about the half-mustache, please refer to last week's column.  It won't clear anything up, but it helps to refer to something, which is why we have encyclopedia sets...

Let's get off of this smile train for now and reflect upon the rest of the McDonald's menu.  I personally think it is a bit empty, really, because it doesn't show the other free things they supply.  You know, things like chest pains and intestinal problems.  Why aren't those on the menu along with the smiles?

Customer: Hey, buddy, I'll take large fries, a Big Mac, a smile and some chest pains please.
Cashier: Would you like to super-size that free smile?
Customer: "Yeah, sure, that way I can enjoy the rest of it while I'm on the toilet for the rest of the night.

The other night while at a supermarket I found a piece of paper on the floor that apparently belonged to a new employee.  It contained the rules that a new employee should follow as he or she wanders the store.  It noted, for example, that employees should not ask the customers if they need help.  Instead, they should ask the customers if they have "found everything they're looking for."  I disagree with this notion, though, because it is far too open-ended.  When you ask someone if they need help, the answer is typically "yes" or "no."  But what about the other question?  You're just asking for some philosophical response, and as we all know -- the good philosophy majors are all working for Santa Claus...

Another rule on this sheet I found on the floor was to stand by the door and ask empty-handed people why they have not purchased anything .  The sheet continued to note that the employee should apologize on the store's behalf, since the customer was not able to find something worth buying.  So not only can we get free smiles these days, but we can also get free apologies.  All we have to do is make sure we don't buy anything.  It's a wonderful world, and it's even better with a milkshake...

But I digress.

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