Thursday, December 22, 2005
Did you watch Seinfeld and do you remember the show about the Soup Nazi? Well, I just found the HAMBURGER Nazi of America.
I was in a town (I will refrain from telling its name) which is about 30 to 50,000 people, but has an obvious arrogance. It has a poshness that is conspicuous. I was in the downtown area which reminds me of Madison Wisconsin's college hangout area, but it is not Madison, in fact, far away from it.
There is a hamburger joint on a street filled with expensive gift shops and fancy pastry shops that advertises it has been making hamburgers since 1907. So, it's been in business since 1907, and it has a cool, small-town drugstore fountain style counter with stools. It looks inviting. I went in and a young man of about 19, not too bad looking with a military haircut, came up to me and asked "do you want a burger?" I said, gleefully, expecting a fun time, "Yes, a California burger please, with lettuce and tomatoe."
He abruptly, almost angrily announced with a fast, slurring tongue, "pickles and onions only."
I said, "no, I would like pickles and onions, but I want lettuce and tomatoe, pickle and onions."
He abruptly corrected me. "No lettuce and tomatoes. Only pickles and onions. We have no lettuce and tomatoes."
Inside, I immediately recoiled. "Weird weird," i thought, but continued to be friendly and said jovially, "why don't you have tomatoes and lettuce?" thinking this an innocent, obvious question.
"DO YOU WANT A HAMGURGER OR NOT?" he lashed back.
"I still want a hamburger," I replied, now getting a little miffed.
Another worker about his age, also with a military hairuct, possibly his brother, corrected him slightly. Then he said, in an cocky manner, "the last guy who wanted lettuce and tomatoe didn't want his hamburger when he saw it didn't have them. THIS IS HOW WE'VE BEEN MAKING THEM FOR 98 YEARS, alright?! "
I said, "I'm not mad at you. I know what to expect now, so I guess I can cope."
"So you want a hmaburger then?" he continued his confrontational approach.
"Yes, I do." I was still looking for the humor, for the Allen Funt to come out to show me the candid camera, still just being lighthearted.
He brought the burger, I ate it while overhearing him talking to a customer about the joint, that his DAD was the OWNER.
Oh, I get it, he is the oooooowner's son. The general idea is: "Look, lady! We been in business 98 years! When they introduced the lettuce and tomatoe idea in 39 (when lettuce and tomatoe could at last be shipped from California)we turned it down! That's right, the almighty Nelson hamburgers (named changed) turned it down! Everyone said, 'You won't make it. If you don't serve lettuce and tomatoe you will lose your customers and your business for good.' But we held our ground. We wouldn't give in, and we didn't go down. The people kept comin' and they aren't gonna stop now just because some little CUSTOMER like yourself comes and complains! We are, after all, the mighty burger makers of this side of the Kalamazoo mountains! Don't think we're backing down now, just cuz of YOU!"
Man, oh man. I swear I've been all over the western world, the world that invented the hamburger. I've been in small cafes in towns across America, and of course, to Burger Kings and McDonald's and Wendys and every kind of burger joint in America, not to mention, been all over Europe and Canada and had burgers in England, and Canada, and I believe it was a McDonalds in France.
I HAVE NEVER BEEN IN ONE THAT DIDN'T HAVE LETTUCE AND TOMATOE, HELLO!
I left angry. Oh, and I didn't tip.