At some undefined point in our fast food history, there was a brief flash and the 2 Hamburger Extra Value Menu slipped into extinction. One theory is that it is McDonald’s attempt to involuntarily up-sell us to cheese. The casual observer might conclude that the customer must certainly be able to order a 2 Cheeseburger Extra Value Meal minus the cheese, even if said customer has to pay for the cheese. It is not that easy. “At McDonald’s, if there’s no button for it on the register it doesn’t exist,” says “Bagumpity,” a Consumerist Forums reader. Not content with letting McDonald’s play God with his 2 Hamburger Extra Value Meal, Bagumpity discusses the strange world of confusion and twisted logic he is forced to enter each time he tries to order a 2 Cheeseburger Extra Value Meal with no cheese. His letter, inside…
Why won’t McDonald’s sell the 2-hamburger extra value meal (henceforth called the 2HEVM) anymore? Yeah, I know why- they’d have to charge less than a 2-cheeseburger extra value meal (2CEVM). Paying extra for cheese I don’t want ticks me off, but the worse thing is that half the time I can’t even get a 2HEVM!
Have you ever tried to order a 2HEVM? It confuses the heck out of the register drones. There’s no button for it, and as you know: At McDonald’s, if there’s no button for it on the register it doesn’t exist. Some restaurants have it as a “hidden menu” item, so I always ask for it first. The answer is usually “no” (or the clerk doesn’t know, which amounts to the same thing). So I have to ask if they will substitute hamburgers for cheeseburgers. Sometimes I’ll get lucky, and they’ll do that. More likely, though, they’ll tell me they don’t do sandwich substitutions. Actually, the usual response is “there’s no button for that.”
As a last resort, sometimes I have to ask for “Two Cheeseburgers, No Cheese.” Don’t ever do this. As many McDonald’s order takers have tried to explain to me “cheese burgers without cheese are just hamburgers.” In other words, they are a non-item. A thing that cannot exist. Anathema. They tell me this so patiently, as if I’m on the verge of a mental break down or might burst into tears when confronted with this apparent contradiction.
I’ve tried getting clever, but it doesn’t help. Asking for the cheese “on the side” (even with the utterly believable explanation that I “don’t like my cheese to be melted”) is useless since there is no button for “cheese on the side” on the register. Asking for a Kosher cheeseburger will only be met with a blank stare or a puzzled/confused glance at the register just to be sure that “there’s no button for that.”
If I’m lucky, I’ll be able to cajole them into ordering the 2CEVM and pressing the “grill:no-cheese” button. They’ll be nervous about it though. Afterward, they’ll stare at the register as if they expect it to blow up or start waving robotic arms around and shouting “DOES… NOT…COMPUTE….”
This will kick off a bizarre chain of events. The guy nuking burgers and condimentizing buns in the back will see a grill order for cheeseburgers, hold the cheese. Fellow employees will be asked for advice. Manuals and build-a-burger charts will be consulted. Finally, two decisions must be made: Will there be cheese? And what color paper will be used to wrap the tasty little paradoxes?
You just never know. It’s sort of like Christmas that way. Usually, I just get a couple of cheeseburgers wrapped in orange paper. Bizarrely enough, I’ve even received a couple of cheeseburgers wrapped in white paper. Either way, I consider this a necessary step, the follow-up to which is to change lines and tell the next clerk “I ordered hamburgers but got cheeseburgers.” They happily exchange the sandwiches. Exchanges are something they know how to do. I think there’s even a button for it. Everyone’s happy, and I go on my way cheeseless and a better man for it.
On other luckier occasions, I actually get a couple of hamburgers. Cause for rejoicing, indeed! Sometimes they’ll be wrapped in orange paper, sometimes in white. I don’t really care, except it’s a pain to have to check every fricking time.
The one thing I try to look out for is when they wrap my hamburgers in orange paper, and then the kid serving the drive-thru window will snatch them up and send them out the window. I don’t want some poor schmuck to get drive-thru rage from a case of missing cheese.
All this to get the extra 10cts for always up-selling to the cheese level probably costs them a good $1 per order in salaries (since the whole damn restaurant has to get involved) not to mention the cost of the discarded food.
Seriously, what’s so hard about adding another fricking button to the register?
We salute you and your quest, Bagumpity. We should not be forced to endure McDonald’s lactose-laden wrath any longer. You are a modern day Bobby Dupea from the film “5 Easy Pieces.” The next time a McDonald’s employee says, “You want me to hold the cheese?” You say, “I want you to hold it between your knees.”
Two Cheeseburgers, No Cheese [Consumerist Forums]