I went to McDonald's for an iced coffee the other day and had the following exchange at the register.
Me: "Could I get a large hazelnut iced coffee, please?"
Cashier: "Iced coffee?"
Cashier: "What size?"
Me: "Uh... Large."
Cashier: "Would you like a flavor with that?"
Me: "... Hazelnut?"
The cashier may have been hard of hearing — or just distracted. I've learned to give folks a pretty generous heaping of the proverbial benefit of the doubt whatever the circumstance; at my age and, especially, in my less-than-ideal state of health, a little bit of Zen goes a long way. This was really more funny than frustrating, especially when compared to my blog problems or recent dealings with so-called "customer service" at
a couple of different companies or, well, lots of aspects of daily life.
A few summers ago, word of mouth and TV commercials and a coupon — plus, of course, my love of iced coffee — got me to set foot in McDonald's for the first time in years. I must say that it was worth it. The McCafé brand of lattes and mochas hadn't come along yet, and even without a coupon a large iced coffee was no more than $1.99 before tax. For a cool, yummy occasional treat, two bucks is perfectly acceptable, especially if I'm running errands and have a headache coming on. What's more, unlike at Starbucks, Borders, and most local indie coffee shops, flavors are no additional charge — and if there's one taste combination more sublime than coffee and chocolate or chocolate and hazelnut, it's coffee and hazelnut. You can have your bubble baths; I'll take a coffee, hot or iced, with hazelnut, and if you throw in a gentle breeze or my cat
or one of a strangely specific number of soft-rock songs from the '70s, I'm good.
The price of iced coffee has gone up since the introduction of the McCafé beverages, although contrary to the above promotional image the cup is not served on linen with a side of coffee beans. After a few mediocre orders in a row I'd broken what was becoming perhaps a bit too much of a habit, but Friday night I seriously wanted that iced coffee and, I'm pleased to report, it was delicious.
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