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Saturday, February 25, 2006

“Speak the Language”

Recently I saw a sticker on the back of a beat up old pickup truck that showed a pair of deer antlers and the caption said “Speak the language.” I was unaware that deer had a spoken language or that any human had ever deciphered it (let alone learned to speak it). I guess the bumper sticker must refer to the act of rattling some plastic antlers together so that a deer might think you are one of them and thus walk right up to spitting distance to you (all the better in order for you to blow them away from a camouflaged position). My own thought on deer hunting is that it is not a "sport." How can it be a "sport" when you have better camo than that "Predator" alien, you pack more personal firepower than a National Guard unit and you slather yourself in a chemical that tells every male deer for two miles around that you are not in fact a hunter with a big gun / bow / muzzle loader but rather that you are a horny slut-minded doe who is wide eyed, bushy tailed, sloppy wet and ready to get it on with anything sporting two or more points on their rack.

I've never thought much of deer hunting as it seems to be a bit one sided. I have many ideas on what a "sport" is (or what it should be) and sitting all day forty feet off the ground, freezing your ass off, smelling like deer twat, wizzing into an old milk jug, drinking beer and then jumping up and simultaneously trying to use a high powered weapon doesn't sound much like a "sport" to me. No, it sounds more like a Darwin award waiting to happen. Deer hunting would be far more of a "sport" if you had to hunt deer buck naked (no pun intended), run through the woods barefoot and the only weapons you could use would be your choice of either an ice pick or a claw hammer.

However, one thing that I have discovered in life is that you can learn from the behavior of others. There is no need to repeat other people's mistakes and if they can get hurt while you avoid it, too bad for them and all the more good for you. “Speak the language” is apparently a philosophy of many hunters and other primitive food gatherer sects that still exist in our society. What it means, simply put, is that if you don’t learn the language of what you want to eat, chances are, you’re going to starve to death. This is an important fact to know in life as it applies to not only the rural areas but the civilized areas as well in more ways than you could imagine. After all, some of us are smart enough to realize that you no longer have to grab your spear and head out into the woods in order to get something to eat. No, today we have a modern convenience called "fast food" and while you don't have to wait in ambush to secure a meal, there is still a lot of hardship and grief to be spent in filling your tummy. Technology will help you with this, but it is still an uphill battle to be sure.

“Speak the language” I think is an important phrase to remember whether you are out in the woods or walking into your favorite fast food burger joint and no place did I learn that lesson quicker than my lunch time sojourn to the local Church of the One True Clown (lead by the illustrious Pope Ronald McDonald the XVII). One thing I detest is having to deal with the minimum wage fueled personality-free labor oriented automatons that compose the current crop of fast food service employees mainly because they tend to be, well, dumber than a burlap sack full of rusty old nails. These minimum wage fueled personality-free labor oriented automatons also have their own language which is important to learn, since modern day food gathering practices are much changed from the way that your knuckle dragging ancestors once went about getting the job accomplished. Today, gathering food revolves around choosing the correct location then initiating a general barter or exchange where you give them some form of readily accepted legal tender and they give you a hot meal in turn. That, at least, is the principle but it is not always the practice.

The less social interaction between the clueless automaton and you is the preferred mix for success as the truth of the matter is that you really don’t want to talk to them and they really don’t want to talk to you. Anyone who would sell their mortal soul to the likes of the Church of the One True Clown, all in order to earn enough money to buy the latest Eminem CD and have their belly button pierced is not the kind of person you want to try to have a stimulating intellectual conversation with let alone become part of your blood line, mix their DNA with yours and subsequently bear your children somewhere down the line.

One day, hopefully in my life, we may actually see fast food restaurants run by one or two of these minimum hapless automatons at the most with the establishment being nearly completely machine operated. Imagine going to a fast food establishment where you walk in, swipe your credit or debit card (or throw some money at the token organic behind the register), use a touch sensitive audio/visual menu to order and receiving a hot meal that pops out built to your satisfaction further down the line. A hot meal made to order and perfectly correct. Oh, yes, I have a dream bigger than Martin Luther King, Jr.'s and it involves freedom from having to deal with idiots behind the fast food counter. Trust me, some of the people I see moving down the food assembly line are not the kind of people I would generally want touching my food (or me for that matter irregardless of how much money changes hands).

I find it amazing what different dialects and languages each franchise has. The fact that these languages and dialects can very well differ by establishment and locale, even among restaurants in the same organization located in the same geographic location, is nothing short of astounding. Staying on top of being fluent in the language of fast food service can be a heady experience to say the least and should only be shouldered by those with a few favorite establishments that they frequent. Take for instance this example; I walk into the Church of the One True Clown and try to barter for food with the devoutly zealous if nigh often retarded Followers of the One True Clown. I am hungry and I wish to negotiate a transaction, trading some of the hard earned legal tender in my pocket for some of their quickly prepared tasty (and oh so unhealthy) food. The days of ordering food in the same language that you speak (i.e. "English") are long gone and even though the menus are bilingual (in order to aide the illegal aliens from being disenfranchised by The Man and to make it easier for them to adjust to a country where the dollars they earn are more welcome than they are), the language that is spoken behind the counter is something else entirely.

In days gone by (i.e. not quite a decade ago), you could merely state your desires to the person behind the register and all would end well. Money would change hands and you could be assured of a fast, tasty lunch that filled your stomach and clogged your arteries. Those days are long gone and they aren’t ever coming back. Today, you order your food by numbers since the low grade automatons behind the counter aren’t programmed for either etiquette or language translation any more (it saves the corporation money if they hire the low grade models). No, most establishments now have groups of food pre-selected and pre-packaged for quick sale. These groups, or “combos” are shown as big colorful pictures containing tasty arrangements of the most often asked for combinations. Deviation from the norm is generally frowned upon (as we shall discuss shortly).

Yes, Einstein once said, “Everything should be made as simple as possible and not one bit simpler.” He obviously never counted on the current crop of sub-humans entering employment and what measures are having to be instituted to guarantee at least a base level of productivity from them. It is a sad but true fact that fast food restaurants have, for the most part, ignored Einstein’s wisdom. Now, when you want to get something to eat, you can’t just walk up to the drab colored uniform draped, paper hat sporting automaton behind the counter and say “I would like a Quarter Pounder, plain, just meat and bun, no cheese, a regular order of fries and a large sweet tea.” If you do, the look of utter astonishment and despair on the automaton’s face will quickly inform you that you have just thrown a wrench into the guts of what amounts to a precision machine the likes of which would give any Swiss watchmaker a full-on chubby.

The key word to remember here is “minimum wage fueled personality-free labor oriented automaton.” You aren't dealing with a human being so you shouldn't feel guilty if you hurt their feelings as they have none. Any emotion they display is simply part of their programming and isn't real. Most of the automatons found in fast food establishments are drawn from the lowest common denominator in society, that tepid substrata where rap music, reality TV, NASCAR, the WWF and Harley Davidson are all considered intellectual successes in their own right (as well as worthy goals to personally aspire to). What this means is that given the average below par intellect of this group of sub-humans from which the fast food franchises draw their employees from, there is a better than average chance that you can Jedi trick-fuck their minds with the promise of earning approximately $6.50 per hour (a sum which is considered quite the king's ransom in their particularly lowly social circles). However, if you do the math (as a popular quote goes), this lowly amount equates to 0.18 cents accumulated per second (which means that the minimum wage fueled personality-free labor oriented automaton is earning exactly 1.8 cents per every ten seconds, or just shy of eleven cents per minute of labor put forth). This is hardly the kind of income that would allow one to realistically achieve a great amount of personal financial freedom in their life let alone even think about parking something like a Ferrari Enzo in the employee parking lot just two months after being hired. As such, given the rather somber nature of what you are dealing with, a cheerful outlook is hardly to be expected. Hell, you should count yourself lucky if you get the correct amount of change back let alone that your order arrives in a satisfactory manner congruent to elevating you a little bit higher in this moment of time on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.

Rap for your food

Even the registers have been smarted up to accept the slow, single finger pecking input from the otherwise culturally dumbed down operators. I firmly believe that were I to enter the Church of the One True Clown and rap my order in contemporary hip-hop fashion to the automaton behind the counter that I would often achieve a near 100% satisfaction rating on what I received in return for trading my money away. The only side effect that I could see from rapping my order to the automaton is that there is an increased chance for spontaneous co-rapping that might spread not only behind the counter but in front of it as well. Co-rapping is a curious societal effect where one rapper is joined by another and another until soon, no communication is taking place at less than the speed of rap. Given that rap is a very effective and efficient form of communication for those who are either severely intellectually challenged or mentally retarded, it is nonetheless a rather tedious way to communicate for anyone possessing even a fifth grade (or higher) level of education. Indeed, rap often comes off as nothing more than some rock addled crackhead trying to read aloud from some obscure volume of Dr. Seus' seminal work.

WARNING! I should caution you now that the chance for a spontaneous co-rapping resonance cascade to occur is quite high and could quickly lead to a chorus line of employees trying to communicate in various dialects of rap to each other. Needless to say, this completely undermines the Grillspeak (which we will soon discuss) like God did to the crowd at the Tower of Babel. Like a vile computer virus, this spontaneous and contagious rap event could rapidly disrupt the internal machinations of the food assembly line and quickly lead to complete chaos. Violence may ensure when the humorous teachings of the studio gangstas are reiterated or put into effect and it is entirely possible to fragment the entire food assembly group along gang lines if you are not careful. At that point in time, the best policy is to simply run and duck as fast as you can for the nearest exit and hope that they don't have gats. Failing that, pray fervently that they learned to shoot from watching music videos on "Yo! MTV Raps."

Modern technology has not reduced stupidity so much as it has allowed corporations like the Church of the One True Clown to cut their labor costs considerably by scooping up huge segments of the lowest common denominator and depositing them behind the counter, all with promises of being able to one day own their own franchises or, failing that, at least getting free uniforms and a sizeable discount on any food ordered during their lunch break. The cash registers, as well as the computerized food preparation and logging systems you see behind the counter are all geared for efficiency at the direct expense of natural intelligence. If Darwin was amazed at what he discovered on Galapagos, he would be astounded were he to study a typical fast food establishment for a single day. I feel confident that if he had, he would have had to completely rewrite his theory on evolution.

You simply must have advanced technology as the backbone of any contemporary fast food establishment like the Church of the One True Clown when you populate the behind the counter labor force with portions of the population drawn directly from the LCD of society. Yes, technology is the interface between the raw materials being taken from storage, prepared and finally delivered to the waiting customer, after receipt of their hard earned money, of course. If not for all of this wonderful technology on display, you would have utter mass confusion from a group of people who are not only dumber than the product that they assemble and serve but who also just might actually be dumb enough to be considered an alternate food source in their own right.

No longer does the employee have to know how much each item costs (using a keypad to enter the price for that item), no, this process has been replaced with graphics crudely representing the items on the menu, a process of icon form communication that goes all the way back in history to the earliest cave paintings. Yes, one would think that the Human race had moved way beyond having to use simple hieroglyphics to communicate but the Church of the One True Clown depends on the use of hieroglyphics to aid employees in taking and completing orders. By touching the keys faster than a lonely woodchuck can masturbate, the low grade automaton now has a better than 30 percent chance of getting your order correct the first time, thanks mostly to this high technology and the simplicity of the interface. Without this bit of high technology, the percentage chance of success falls to negative numbers (which at first would seem to be mathematically impossible but then physics (and mathematics) work different inside the Church of the One True Clown – and most other fast food restaurants as well - more on that later). You will be pleased to know that even without the threat (let alone the actual application) of negative reinforcement to this labor unit, your chance of resolving any food order conflict or mistake rises approximately by 20 percent (with a plus or minus two percent margin of error) each time you return to the counter which means that if you leave the counter, find a table and discover an error in your order, immediately returning to the counter will give you at least a 50% chance of getting the problem resolved to your satisfaction.

It should also be noted that this increase in efficiency applies during the initial visit only. The margin of error again drops back to a baseline thirty percent if you leave the premises for any reason whatsoever including the very act of simply walking out the door, turning immediately around, walking back up to the counter and ordering something else from the same employee you just dealt with. Even this minor change in action is enough to reset the statistical chance for success. Other instances have been recorded where a momentary step out of line has been enough to reset the statistical probability of success in receiving what you order in the manner in which you ordered it.

CTFAMGAA! - (stopped here) -

I’d like to now present the “Checked Twice For Accuracy, My Golden Arched Ass!” theory. One of the tricks that the Church of the One True Clown employs on special orders is to attach a print out of your order to the box or bag in which your order will be deposited and to affix this print out with a small sticker or decal which shows a big check mark and the text “Checked Twice for Accuracy.” This sticker is geared towards putting your mind at ease and convincing you that you really are dealing with future rocket scientists or Nobel Prize contenders. Neither could be farther from the truth. Don’t take someone else’s word for it, ignore the “Checked Twice for Accuracy” stickers, break the sacred seal and instead immediately do a physical and visual inspection of your selected food choice as soon as it appears on the tray in front of you. There is a better than thirty seven percent chance that what is in the box or bag is not what you ordered and you will have to start the convoluted process of reconciliation, as described above.

If your order is incorrect, then the “Checked Twice for Accuracy” sticker takes on a whole new meaning; double incompetence on at least two levels of assembly and operation. This is not good.

Now, not only are you dealing with a problem in communication with the low grade automaton behind the counter (who could not get your order right in the first place), but you are also dealing with a communication problem with an automaton who is at least one level higher than the assembly level automaton who built your food product. It should be noted that it was this higher level automaton who wasn’t smart enough to catch the lower level automaton’s mistake. It all boils down to a game of stupidity and the grand prize is sitting in front of you on your tray. A bit of caution should be exercised here; automatons do not like to be corrected, at all, in public, especially at certain high pressure times of the day (identified as “breakfast,” “lunch,” and “dinner” times). The automatons can be extremely temperamental in some instances though again their feelings are mostly for show and should never be considered to be genuine (that's what the "personality-free" part means).

The very act of you breaking the sacred “accuracy seal” and verifying for yourself whether the order is correct or not may not be taken well by the automaton who took your order. You are publicly questioning not only their limited authority but their limited intelligence in being able to complete a simple task assigned to them by you. If you immediately present the error to the automaton who took your order, abject confusion will more often than not reign supreme. This situation will often require a higher level automaton, one exhibiting some amount of free will (and often referred to as a “manager”) to be summoned (from the overseer position on the food assembly line) to review and possibly correct the mistake. You should pay careful attention here as the actions which follow are very interesting.

Some type of telepathy will be conducted between the lower level automaton and the management grade automaton through a process that modern science still has yet to understand. The lower level automaton will motion with its hands at the register, and from the register to your item in question. The manager automaton will press several buttons on the register, review the data that is meant for their eyes only (which is why you can’t see it from the side of the counter that you are on) and then will invariably produce a small key often kept tethered on some neon colored plastic cord which they wear around their neck, on their wrist or at their belt. The key will be inserted into the register, some more buttons will be punched, the key will be turned again and removed from the register. The amount of information that has passed between the two automatons on the other side of the counter is startling and one has the distinct feeling that some small amount of knowledge was (hopefully) gained in this exchange. This exchange passes from the management grade automaton to the lower level automaton through a process of wireless, telepathy, osmosis or pure magic (science isn’t quite sure of the process). There is the slight hint that this mistake might be a learning experience for the lower level automaton however the hope that the same mistake won't be repeated in the immediate future is slim if it exists at all.

The manager grade automaton will invariably take your “Double Checked for Accuracy” stickered food item, sneer at the sacred seal which you have broken, personally inspect the item and once it is determined that a problem has indeed occurred on the assembly line (and that there is no way you could have made the mistake up like by carrying a handfull of pickles and lettuce in your pocket, adding them to your sandwich when no one was looking and then trying to blame it on the assembly crew just for fun), the manager grade automaton will quickly move back to the food assembly area and start barking out what I have come to refer to as “Grillspeak.”

Grillspeak

Grillspeak is the solemn language of all grades of automatons employed by the Church of the One True Clown and consists of a kind of verbal short hand interspersed with rapid hand motions, self touching and monosyllabic grunts.

Grillspeak is not a difficult language to pick up, especially if you realize that employees barely smarter than the food that they serve have already mastered it in short order. It is easy to see that an intelligent, tool using creature such as yourself probably shouldn’t have much of a problem with learning this rather simplistic language either (though you may want to practice the hand motions in front of a mirror, in private, to avoid any public embarrassment the first time you try to use these gestures). Grillspeak is understood by all employees of the establishment but strangely uttered most often only by those automatons operating the registers and the manager automatons. This very well could qualify Grillspeak as a language of the masters rather than a language of the slaves. Once you learn this language, your chances for success go up considerably. Not only can you tell if your order is being translated correctly from the register to the assembly crew, but you can also tell what you are getting (or not getting) and you can quickly intercept any mistakes on the front of the counter before a manager automaton has to intervene and become involved (the act of which never bodes well).

Deviation from the holy assembly template is unacceptable and tantamount to religious heresy. Let’s take, for example, my usual order for lunch. There’s a big difference between ordering a Quarter Pounder with Cheese in English and ordering the same sandwich in Grillspeak, especially if you plan on deviating at all from the proscribed assembly template by which the workers of the food assembly line use as a reference in building your sandwich. A Quarter Pounder with Cheese is a multi-part food construct consisting of many different labor steps and organic materials. The high level of speed and efficiency (hence the term "fast" food) is gained when a large quantity of standardization is utilized and deviation from the primary template is kept to an absolute minimum, if it is allowed at all. Each Quarter Pounder is, in essence, an exact duplicate of the one built before it and once you start building them, the same thing over and over again, you not only get into a repetition but you also build speed (much like an exhaust driven turbocharger spinning up and gaining boost).

The urge to maintain standardization and reduce deviance is often given the form of trendy advertising campaigns involving popular media personalities consuming and immensely enjoying the exact same product that you see on the menu boards. Many times, the media personality will have a look on their face which implies that their eating experience is bordering on orgasmic if not downright Earth shaking. Strangely, I have yet to enjoy such a feeling when eating any product purchased at the Church of the One True Clown...

One theory that I have concerning my lack of ultimate enjoyment is that the supreme emotional fulfillment that I see on these people's faces and in their body language may in fact be a byproduct of ingesting one of the "special sauces" which I refuse to have applied to my sandwich. Since I do not receive this "special sauce" on any of my products ordered, I may indeed be missing out on some of the best sex to ever hit my tastebuds. This is one theory that I held until recently when more direct observations of the products being used by ordinary customers lead me to believe that all of these smiling media personalities locked in the spasming throes of culinary orgasm are perhaps just a bit of excessive and rather silly advertising designed to keep you from deviating from the norm and thus lowering efficiency of the establishment.

How do I conclude this?

Easy enough. I've seen a lot of people eat at the Church of the One True Clown and most of them have ordered the standard assembled items with little or no deviation from the template and not one of them ever looked on the verge of culinary orgasm. While I do admit to hearing some grunting every now and then, the other sounds that these people emitted during their meal could in no way lead me to believe that what was going on in their minds had anything at all to do with coitus and that's how I know the people in the advertisements are faking their orgasms.

Deviating from the norm? Yes, the problem with your order happens when you decide to stray from the proscribed assembly instructions. If you were to order, for example, a Quarter Pounder with Cheese, hold the cheese and make the Quarter Pounder instead plain (just meat and bun because the Church of the One True Clown does not offer a regular, cheese-less Quarter Pounder without some noted customization of the basic model presented), then you have not only thrown one hell of a king-size monkey wrench into the fine tuned gears of the food assembly line, you are probably going to send one or more of the poor automatons into a mental state akin to the old computer error code of “Abort, Retry, Fail.”

The reason why special orders take so long at the Church of the One True Clown is that special orders and customization are frowned upon in general. It should be noted and remembered that while the customer is always king in principle, this pious decree is seldom carried out in practice among the clergy of the Church of the One True Clown. Primarily that is because the One True Clown wants you to buy his products and he considers these products to be good and perfect products in their natural state, as he created them. When you start adding components or taking away components from the initial design, you reduce speed by causing the automatons to become creative (something they are wholly unfamiliar with doing). You force the low grade automatons to either skip or add steps and to build a product they are not “programmed” to build, a product that is new and different from what they are accustomed to cranking out. The automatons rely primarily on simple visual cues and retained muscle memory (mainly because it is illegal to use a bullwhip or electrical cattle prod on them). When you order a specialized item, you defeat both of these inputs.

One would think, logically, that if a food product consisting of ten different items arranged in a set order took a minute and a half to assemble, then the same food product constructed with just three of the ten component items (70% less components) would take far less time. One would assume that it would also cost less but that is asking way too much and we won't even address pricing by individual component yet as that is a method that we probably won't see until the full, true automation of these types of businesses.

No. As I previously stated, physics (and mathematics) work a little different within the Church of the One True Clown, especially behind the counter and on the food assembly line. I’m sure that Dr. Stephen Hawking could explain it better (and use bigger words) but I simply cannot. The problem is that the assembly line, as a whole, is not geared towards customization, it is geared towards efficient assembly, using standardization and muscle memory to create speed. As such, when a special order item appears, the automaton in charge of assembly cannot just begin assembling the item according to standard specs. No. The automaton’s muscles go into a kind of hard lock and its substandard cranial matter questions what it must do next. This brings the assembly line to a sudden halt and follow up orders begin to back up like traffic at rush hour in San Antonio.

Something is new here, something is non-standard and there is great cause for alarm!

The typical low grade automaton employed by the Church of the One True Clown is simply not prepared to adjust its assembly procedures on the fly. Instead the hapless automaton must start a backup and often barely remembered binary assembly process in order to cope with the turn of events. Formerly the assembly process was a simple set of ten steps, carried out in repetitious order, whereas now in order to produce the custom product, each step, each component must be submitted to a lengthy binary test, a yes / no or add / do not add type command structure. Steps will be skipped and this is what slows the process down, thus delaying your order (and those stacking up behind it) considerably.

Instead of the traditional “wham bam” style of production, you have just set this assembly line automaton into a state of decreased labor efficiency as it has to check each step of the build process (and because it is a custom built item, an automaton of a higher level of working order will have to "Double Check for Accuracy" the finished product and secure the food container with the sacred seal of (supposedly) guaranteed customer satisfaction). The binary process consists of reviewing the components and deciding if they meet the desired specs for custom assembly. It goes something like this:

Component one: yes / no.

Component two: yes / no.

And so on. Previously, all components were simply rated as "yes" and included in the design. Customization requires that each component be tested, one component at a time, for either inclusion or deletion from the standard model product. The time lapse between testing and arriving at the answer (correct or not) is sometimes considerable, given the mental capacity of the automaton in question. Now you can see where the “Double Checked for Accuracy” fallacy comes into full effect.

The bottom line is now you know why special orders take longer to process and produce. It's a good thing that they don't charge you extra for all the disruption you place on the overall process and the delay which you cause to other people in line behind you when you submit a custom ordered item because the end result is that you are getting away pretty cheap for all of the trouble you ultimately cause.

Ordering protocol

Yes, we must talk about ordering protocol which is one more phase of "speak the language." One last thing to remember when visiting the Church of the One True Clown and attempting to barter with The Faithful behind the counter is that you simply must follow ordering protocol. There is a certain sequence in which your order must be presented and that protocol must be followed, like steps in a dance, if you are to enjoy success in the transaction.

For example… if you take your turn at the counter and, when prompted, place your order completely out of the expected sequence, you also slow down the assembly process on the front end. One would logically think that when you were prompted that you could simply state your food desires along the lines of “I would like a Quarter Pounder with Cheese, hold the cheese. I want that burger plain, just meat and bread. I want a large fry and the biggest sweet tea you have available.” Sadly, you cannot as this is information overload and may short out the data processor array of the low grade automaton who is taking your order. Abject confusion now reigns supreme just a few feet in front of you and it isn’t a pretty sight. Once you have stared into the eyes of a mentally stunned automaton, you will never forget the experience of the soul-less, blank look.

Yes, in one fell swoop, you have just committed the equivalent of a Windows data dump on the hapless automaton who was expecting you to follow established protocol when ordering. If you look closely deep into their eyes, you might even be able to see the infamous “blue screen of death” somewhere back among their rods and cones. Invariably, the look of confusion will pass as professionalism resets itself and you will be asked what combo number that is.

[IMPORTANT NOTE- You must remember that items are now sold in combos which include a primary product (burger), a secondary product (fries or other side item), and usually a beverage. Combos are a very orderly way of allowing the low grade automaton to reduce what would normally be three items worth of input down to a single item being input into the system. Whoever designed the "combo" system was a genius as it reduced the immediate work load of the low grade automatons by 66%.]

If you are lucky, your chosen automaton may actually turn around to look at the menu displayed behind it in order to try to comprehend what you just said. If not, then the automaton may indeed be rendered temporary useless as it scans the register for a clue on how to enter the data you just gave it. If you see smoke or smell something burning, chances are it is the automaton in front of you trying to think on their own. Often, a slow recital of your order will be given back to you, followed by several slow, even cautious finger pecks on the keypad of the register. If the mental shock you have just delivered proves too much, a manager grade automaton may be immediately summoned to assist in the barter transaction.

[IMPORTANT NOTE- Your chance for success in ordering a special custom food item goes up considerably if a manager grade automaton is summoned and subsequently takes command of the data entry procedure. Protocol for food ordering is much less important in the presence of one of these stupendous examples of establishment worker since their translation capabilities are far more advanced than the assembly line automaton and they have what passes for a functioning brain stem as well.]

However, it is important to remember the proper protocol for food ordering at the Church of the One True Clown. Like I said before, protocol is like a dance. If you follow the prompts of the automaton at the register, you will have a very good chance of success in the transaction. Please wait until you are prompted, and then courteously answer each prompt using the smallest words you know and the shortest amount of data. As you answer each prompt, the automaton will key in your order on the register in front of them. This accomplishes two things; it charges you for the items you intend to consume and it places your desired items in the assembly queue (where you may actually see them appear on the big screen just behind the automaton). If you follow the prompts from the low grade automaton, you should stand a better than good chance of having success in your transaction. If you try to force the issue or dictate your desires outside the established protocol format for order taking, you are only causing needless trouble and delay. Confusion and delay are simply not tolerated well by the dwellers and the visitors at the Church of the One True Clown, especially at key bartering times during the day.

I have compiled a list of the more well known and established prompts used by the minimum wage fueled personality-free labor oriented automatons who are employed within the Church of the One True Clown. Please don’t try to offer any extraneous information during your transaction as this only confuses the automaton taking your order and reduces both the speed and efficiency of your transaction (as well as creates a high percentage for error to creep into your final assembled product).

Standard Automaton Prompts followed by the closest possible English language translation.


Automaton: “May I take your order?”
Translation: “What the hell do you want?”

Automaton: “Will this be for here or to go?”
Translation: “Do I have to put your food on a tray or do I just shove it all down into a bag?”

Automaton: “Would you like to try one of our combos today?”
Translation: “Please just order one of the damn combos. I have the brains of a retarded monkey and can’t count higher than ten without taking my shoes off. That’s why there are only ten combos listed on the menu at any given time. Don’t even think about ordering anything that isn’t already pre-packaged and ready for quick assembly or there will be trouble.“

Automaton: “Would you like to upsize that?”
Translation: “Please order the upsize option because we're having a contest and whoever gets the most upsize orders sold this week wins the contest and gets to wear the Bumble Bee Good Employee Award. Yippee!”

Automaton: “What size drink would you like with your order?”
Translation: “Order the upsize drink. You're not smart enough to realize that you can get a small cup and all the free refills you want from the beverage bar but then again there’s only twenty-five cents difference between a “small” and a “super large” so we’re getting our money one way or the other.”

Automaton: “Would you like any desert to go with that meal?”
Translation: “I still see that you have some money that has not made its way from your hand to the inner bowels of my assigned register. Prepare to fully surrender far more legal tender.”

Automaton: “What kind of sauce for your chicken nuggets?”
Translation: “We're all out of barbeque or sweet and sour sauce but we still have a whole lot of sour cream and dog crap flavored dipping sauce which is your only real choice in the matter.”

Automaton: “Uh…. Tee-hee-hee. Hold on just a second, please ...”
Translation: “Serious Processing Error. Input failure. Management unit required to resolve data collision. This automaton shutting down for cranial dump and neural system restart. Bzzzzzzzz.”

Automaton: “We’re out of chocolate mix.” / “the shake machine is being cleaned.”
Translation: “I’m too damn lazy to build you a triple thick shake this late at night. It’s almost the end of my shift, I have a date and if I’m lucky, I can trade some cold fries and a hot apple pie for some serious booty. Bottom line, you aren’t getting your shake, fool, so just deal with it.”


Automaton: “Thank you. Come again.”
Translation: “Screw you and your special order Quarter Pounder, fool. I’m going to be driving a Ferrari Enzo with twenty inch rimths in a few months ‘cause I got mad skillz and I’m working in da Holy House of da True dat Clown. Hallelujah!”


Final thoughts

Now, as for the sharp rise in the use of minimum wage fueled personality-free labor oriented automatons in the service market sector, I think that the general dumbing down of America over the last four decades has resulted in a generation, nay, a sub-species of human being that is going to be ill-equipped to do anything but work at menial labor and fast food franchises. The key will be if we can limit these people to breeding among only other members of this sub-class of genetic discards. In another generation, if the breeding process is successful, we could have an entirely new slave race geared towards nothing but fast food production and menial labor.

Let's face reality, people. If someone can’t figure out how not to fuck up putting a piece of cooked meat between two pieces of bread, shoving it in a box and then throwing it in a bag, chances are, that person isn't going to be building space rockets one day (or driving a Ferrari Enzo anytime soon).

Word.