Saturday, June 30, 2012

Get out of the Line!

Recently I visited McDonald's in Aurora for a morning coffee and muffin before starting work.  I walk in on an otherwise relatively quiet Wednesday to the usual one cashier/server working the line.  However, the line fairly lengthy and not really moving. 

The first customer in line is a mother with an 8 year old who is ordering while the mother looked on.    Now eight year olds (and others who are younger) are funny people, you ask them a question and they get thrown for a loop.  They love routine and once focused on something they are good to go.  That was the case of this 8 year old at McDonald's. 

That was until the cashier asked if he would like his Egg McMuffin Sandwich in a combo.   He was stunned, then he couldn't remember the rest of his order and things deteriorated from there.  The rest of the line behind him started to get restless.   Here was a proud 8 year taking his mother out for breakfast for what seemed to be her birthday with his very own money.  A proud day for any kid to say "no Mom, I got this one"  and things were starting to go downhill. 

But kudos to this kid though, he looked at his mother for a little guidance. She smiled and said a combo was fine.  But then came the next question for this flustered would you like your coffee?  Stunned silence from the kid.  Mom hung him out to dry on this one.  The line grew restless again about lack of progress.  No help from McDonald's management on this one either, no manager acting Saintish and swooping in to open another till to make things right.  

Eventually the kid clicked in, finished up the coffee order and rhymed his order off. 

Fast forward to lunch a couple of days later.  Two tills open for lunch.  A single lady who probably is old enough to remember when McDonald's opened, is contemplating her chicken sandwich "grilled or crispy".  She spent at least 5 minutes in line staring at the menu wondering what to order.  She then contemplates "crispy or grilled?" and to make matters worse "fries or salad"...hmmm  decisions, decisions....

The other till has three kids and a mother who is trying to select the toys for the happy meal.  The oldest says "I don't care which one I get" from the 10 different choices.   The youngest is furious that the only choice he eyed, McDonald's happens to be out of stock.  What ever happenned to McDonald's only offering one toy per week and changing it up week in and week out?  Too many choices and so much indecision.  Face it, McDonald's customers are not exactly great at choices...combo or no combo?  Crispy or grilled?  Would you like to upgrade your meal for an extra $0.49?  and on and on it goes.

Some days I feel just like John Pinette at McDonald's......

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Buy your own Newspaper Dam It!

Newspaper reading is quite an art while riding public transit.  It is important to keep in mind fellow transit riding customers while trying to navigate your way through a braodsheet newspaper.  Tabloid style newspapers like the Toronto Sun and Metro have the advantage as they do not take up as much space or require the acrobatics to turn the pages that a broadsheet, like the Globe & Mail, requires.

Normally I am very cognizant of how full the bus is compared to how much of a sectioned broadsheet paper I have out.  If the bus is really full, I have one section out folded in half laying on my lap with a long story to pass the time.  Other times when the bus is less full I can get away with leaving the sections on top of my bag on my lap while I read one section.  I find this is common courtesy for other riders on the bus

This past week I happened to be reading the Toronto Star on two occasions while enjoying my commute home after a good day at work.  The bus was not that busy so I had my bag on my lap with the newspaper sections I was not reading at the time neatly folded while I browsed a section.  Both times the bus was not that  total stranger sitting next to me leaned over and inquired if they could read a section.

Both times I felt deeply disgusted that someone would have the audacity to inquire about reading a newspaper which you pay for.  It is like asking to borrow your shoe so they could wear it.  You dutifully paid for said shoe, but now someone, who you have never seen before, is asking to borrow it to wear.   It was also not like I had been to the local Metro or 24 Hrs box and pulled out a free copy myself and quite possibly had finished reading it.  No, I had picked up the Toronto Star with a purchase of a coffee from the local McDonald's and picked up the paper.  Sure I received it for free from McDonald's with the coffee purchase, but all these other bus riders should have assumed was I dutifully paid $1 or $2 of my money from the local box or store.  Bottom line, they should have assumed the paper was my property and should have laid off.  

In the end, I felt awkward.  how in prey tell do I respond? Do I flip a section over? Or do I come up with some lame excuse?

 The first time I chose the latter, I said I was getting off the bus in two stops and would be taking the paper with me (i.e. make it seem like they would have zero chance of finishing an article before I left with my newspaper).  But as it turned out I was actually get off the bus in four stops, just enough time for the average person to finish a section.

 The second time I actually had the perfect excuse.  I was asked if they could read the Business section.  I replied it was the next section I was going to read.  I then read every article in that section possible.  The only downfall was it had the Classified section included, which cut down the numbers of pages I could read.  In the end I put the entire newspaper in my bag and looked away awkwardly. 

In future, I will refrain from putting the newspaper sections I'm not rading on my lap.  I will politely leave them in my bag.  As the old saying goes, "out of sight out of mind" will hopefully resolve awkward social situations where some stranger asks you to borrow something. 

I just hope shoe borrowing isn't the next pet peeve of mine.  My size 13s are hard to fit in my bag. 

To those of you looking to read the newspaper....BUY YOUR OWN DAM NEWSPAPER!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Swilling in Yogurty's Yogurt

After some lunch at Moxie's, my wife and I headed South on Yonge Street to Yogurty's (4922 Yonge Street, Toronto) with our Dealfind coupons in hand to try out this serve yourself frozen yogurt dessert place.

As we entered, we waited for the attendent to finish up with a previous customer.  Once the customer left, the attendent came over to welcome us to Yogurty's and inquire if we had.  We replied we had not but also wanted to know if our Dealfind coupon would be valid before we began putting together our tastey treat.  The attendend said our coupon was valid and then led us on a tour of the location and how things operated. 

The store concept is pretty simple and exactly like Menchies.  The customer is complete control of the
After the attendent left us we started in to make our sundaes.   I tried some strawberry and creamsicle frozen yogurt mixed with some strawberries and peanut chunks.  My wife enjoyed som green tea flavoured frozen yogourt.   The only complaint, besides the price, was the frozen yogourt was a little soft for our liking.

After paying($10.00 and change for two desserts) we walked northward on Yonge Street doing some people watching and window shopping.  Overall it an decent visit, but I would have to head back again to give it another try to see if it is worth it or if the frozen yogourt is too soft for our liking.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

This place has Moxie to Grill

Had lunch at Moxie's Grill & Bar (4950 Yonge Street, Toronto)  for an adventure for some good food.  We entered to no one at the front desk.  But at least they left a note saying to head toward the main restaurant area where they would be more than happy to see seat you. 

We were greeted by a hostess who ushered us to our seats, waited for us to sit down, handed us the menu and then speeled on about how Moxie's had chef Alex Chen.  She also pointed out that Alex cooked in Beverly Hills, yadda, yadda, yadda, etc. etc.  She then told us our server would be "Monica" and then dissappeared. 

We perused our menues and made a decision on what to eat and drink while waiting for Monica to appear.

Monica stopped by to review again the menu with us including the Saturday specials on drinks and, of course, how great Alex Chen was. 

Really, Alex is that good?  Between the hostess and Monica, it seemed Alex Chen was rattling the pots and pans in this very three quarter empty establishment. However, don't dare ask to speak to Alex as he really is only probably paid royalties for his recipes crafted for Moxies and the use of his likeness in all the over top marketing. I bet you Alex has yet to set even 1 foot inside a Moxies in Canada.   But I digress....

Monica, our server, is an interesting person.  She is quite bubbly in an over the top "I'm trying to hard to please you..." type that seems a little to fake for my liking.  But she was quick to ensure our order was taken right and brought to our table.  But while taking our order I lost count the times she said the word "sure" when acknowledging what we wanted before asking us if we wanted bacon, cheese, etc. that she could upsell us on with our meal.  She was also a fairly noisy person as we could clearly hear her conversation with the manager while she gathered drinks at the bar even though we were a fair distance away.  So much for a nice quiet afternoon lunch with my wife before enjoying some nice weather in the north end of Toronto.

Our Order: Classic Beef Burger with fries and water and The Mediterranean Burger with fries and Coke

Monica dissappeared (Edit: "travelled to the bar", can't really dissepear if I can hear you the entire way to and from the bar) and returned with our drinks in quick order.  She also took this time to inquire if we wanted anything else like appetizers, etc.  We politely declined but it seemed she was just doing her job in attempting to upsell us on additional menu items. 

Ten minutes later Monica returned with our food.  On first observation it seemed Moxie's had skimped on quantities.  Our burgers looked delicious but the fries came in  metal bowl like structure to ensure they didn't splay across our plate.  The bowled fries made the plate look mostly empty. Add to this the ketchup comes in a small condiment bowl instead of in a bottle to put on the table.  I wonder if this method of ketchup serving is to make the place look upscale or an easy way to cut condiment costs.  

But the quality of the food makes up for the skimpyness on the fries and the lack in appearance in quantity of food.

The Mediterranean Burger was delicious with tastey pesto dripping out of it.  The burger meat itself was juicey yet taste.  A well prepared burger.  The fries rivalled the burger in taste being freshly cut and appeared to be carefully prepared.  However, the fries were way to salty which caused me to go drink loads of coke.  But perhaps the saltiness is on purpose as it usually ensures customers drink more beer and thus increase the restaurant's profits. The ketchup though proved a little skimpy, I was having to carefully wipe the last dregs out of the small stainless steel cup when finishing up the last few fries.  A little more ketchup could be provided or perhaps, horrors of horrors, a Heinz bottle could be offered to allow the customer to apportion their own ketchup.

The Classic Burger was exactly the same as the Mediterranean Burger however, sans the pesto and some other toppings.  No worries, the same salty fries are offered in the exact same portions as it's European styled counterpart. 

Overall, Moxies is a nice place for a Saturday afternoon lunch.  Normally it is a quiet place to eat overlooking the waterfall to the Extreme Fitness Centre entrance and decent people watching of the passing pedestrians on Yonge Street.

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