Breaking up with McDonald’s breakfast

We had a nice little McDonald’s breakfast routine going. Every week, on the way to the kids’ swim lessons, we would drive thru a neighborhood Micky D’s and eat in the car.

I would get a McGriddles sandwich combo and give the drink, always a chocolate milk, to one of the kids. Then I’d order a second chocolate milk and four orders of McGriddles cakes (“just the bread”). Big kid gets his milk in the jug while I expertly pour the little one’s into a Tupperware sippy cup. I bring my own water and a Monster to drink. I had it down to a science.

The good folks at my neighborhood McDonald’ses, not so much. I think maybe they’re not equipped to handle off-menu ordering. Probably my fault for violating the traditional combo structure.

Whatever the case, they never seem to get that I’m ordering four two-packs of McGriddle cakes (the kids just call them “pancakes”). It happens again and again that I leave the drive-thru light on McGriddles.

A no-kids buddy of mine tells me he almost never uses drive-thrus, and I get a little jealous. I imagine a quick exit from a vehicle, a worry-free stroll through a parking lot, a face-to-face interaction with an adult, a meal that doesn’t pause for a bathroom run. The closest I can get is three grubby humans stuffing high-tech pancakes into their faces as we speed away to swim lessons.

Days like today, I’m in a hurry. I let my guard slip. I know the drive-thru requires constant vigilance, or at least basic counting skills. I’ve had an entire dinner ruined by a missing Quesarito.

I caught it the last time (confession: it was yesterday). It was a different McDonald’s. They rang me up wrong and were indignant about the whole thing. I had to pay twice.

I didn’t catch it the time before and tried to make amends by giving the big kid one of the cakes from my sandwich. There were tears (mine).

Making all this worse is the so-called All-Day Breakfast. Guess what isn’t on the menu after 11 a.m.? The McGriddles. In fact, most restaurants stop making the improbably mapley cakes long before the breakfast cutoff. If they run out before 11, oh well. And yes, my kids and I learned this the hard way.

So it’s over, McDonald’s breakfast. I know we have history. Yeah, we’ll come for lunch next time a Batman Happy Meal comes around. Maybe you won’t screw that up.

For now, I’m resolving to make my own damn pancakes (I like Kodiak Power Cakes mix from Costco), which we will drench in flavored corn syrup like real Americans. It won’t always be fast enough for swim days or school days, and I know I’ll be stuck doing all the dishes.

But enough is enough. I won’t abide your drive-thru negligence anymore.

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