I had just taken my first bite, and my face must have telegraphed my feelings about what I was eating. My 9 yr old daughter asked, “Why do they call it ‘Ultimate Grilled Chicken Sandwich’ when everyone knows it’s so bad?”
So this was my moment of truth? The Ultimate Grilled Chicken Sandwich? The lens through which I would gently try to show my daughter the ways of the world? She wanted an answer, but I could tell by how she phrased her question that she already knew. I had pointed out to her in the past that, basically, people may lie to you if they’re trying to sell you something.
We were at Wendy’s and I was actually hopeful that the Ultimate Grilled Chicken Sandwich would be better than the burgers, which experience had taught me to avoid.
Silly me! I should have known better. Ultimate Chicken Sandwich came, and God help us if this is the Ultimate. It better not be.
Dried out piece of meat, a too-large slab of that tasteless though presumably easy to manufacture tomato preferred by the industry, a flaccid sprig of lettuce, all on a fresh from the microwave bun.
It was disappointing, I admit it. And annoying. And an example of why I generally avoid fast food. As the colors are bright, the plastic shiny, the signs huge, and the hype relentless, so is the food just plain bad (ok, maybe except Egg McMuffins).
But then I started to think this should be bothering me more. My daughter’s question had me looking at the experience through her eyes, and wanting to deconstruct it further. Of course, we all know that it’s not the Ultimate. They know it too, so yes, they’re misleading us. Hard to get too upset about this. It’s as old as capitalism, right?
Well, yes, but the problem is that there are so many of these little zingers flying around all over the place that the smart person may have no choice but to shut them all down, and start from the assumption that every pitch cloaks a lie of some kind. As never before, ours is a Gotcha! Economy, wherein we’re deceived, coerced, and eluded.
Well, buyer beware, right? That’s as old as capitalism too.
Perhaps, but am I the only one who feels an occasional weariness from all the wariness required to navigate the capitalist landscape?