Slow food.

OK, a little breathing space this afternoon, so here goes:

As Connie may have hinted at in the previous post comments, one of my two part-time employers is hosting a conference this week, and it’s been time-consuming. It’s short but pretty dense-packed, and between the tweeting and coffee-swilling and field-trip wrangling, I haven’t had much time to spare. Yesterday was “Detroit Day” for our guests, policy researchers from several different states, and we had sessions on the bankruptcy, the autonomous-vehicle future, the lead neurotoxin menace and to finish the day, a bus tour to two urban farms. There were a lot of details and emails involved, but it all came off without a hitch, so most of the pressure is off now. Tonight is a dinner at the DIA, then the rest is just administrative stuff and waving goodbye.


Let me begin by asking for a show of hands: Anybody been to a McDonald’s lately? If your hand is up, can you tell me what the hell is going on at that place? Because I’ve stopped there twice in maybe the last six months, and if this is the way they’re running, sell your stock.

I guess I have to start with the usual disclaimers: I’m not a regular, although I’ll stop there from time to time when I’m on a long drive and it’s clear there will be no Steak & Shake for at least 100 miles, or if I’m running between errands and ravenously hungry with no time to eat. A small fries and a Diet Coke will tide me over to the next real-food occasion pretty well. Oh, and cards on the table: I still enjoy an Egg McMuffin from time to time. Maybe twice a year.

As it happened, some of these circumstances led me to a Mickey D’s a couple times lately. Both times, the drive-through lanes were backed way up, and I figured I could park, order inside and be on my way in less time. If only. They’ve revamped their order-and-delivery system, and the delays now make the term “fast food” ironic. Gone is the slanting aluminum rack behind the counter, where the cooks kept the wrapped burgers sliding down to the counter people to bag and deliver p.d.q. Now you get a slip with an order number, and you stand around and wait. And wait. And wait.

Both times I’ve been lately, it’s clear why the drive-through lane was backed up, why the lot’s been re-striped with sit-and-wait parking spots. I’ve had faster food service in bars. Hell, even in real restaurants, they can usually get a salad or bowl of soup out within a few minutes of ordering, but the other day it took at least 10 or 15 to deliver a quarter-pounder.

I suspect the labor shortage has something to do with this. We’re long past the time when a fast-food joint was a teenager’s traditional first job; I think the average FF worker’s age is now 31. Every McD’s I’ve been in lately has signs touting the excellent benefits to be gained from working there, and the smiling person on the poster rarely looks 16. It’s possible this is a transitional step to the order-from-kiosks model, too, and the kid running the register is simply dead man walking. Or it might just be that fast food is going through yet another transition as an industry, and I don’t read deep enough into the Wall Street Journal to know what it is.

Anyway, for as long as it took me to get my food, it took the kid in front of me about 20 to get his chicken nuggets.

OK, so a little bloggage:

How America uses its land — a data package with some great maps.

Here’s a piece from my other part-time job — not mine — about the GOP Senate battle here in Michigan. Two candidates are trying to outdo one another in pledging fealty to you-know-who. One is a young war vet, the other an older businessman. Both should know better, but I guess not:

A Pensler campaign ad noted that James’ only campaign contribution ever consisted of a $500 donation to a liberal Detroit City Council candidate who now supports “sanctuary cities,” which shield illegal immigrants from deportation. At the time, James said, he naively backed a local candidate running for office in a district that included his family’s Detroit business.

In response to a counterattack, Pensler was forced to defend a few campaign contributions he made to Democrats two decades ago. The wealthy financier said he has contributed more than 30 times to GOP candidates and his attempt to “cross the aisle” with Dem donations was a mistake.

…As both candidates vie for the affections of staunchly pro-Trump voters, James attacked “liberal” Pensler for saying Trump talks “like a fourth grader.” Pensler cried foul, contending that his remarks in context show that he was complimenting the president. He tried to say that Trump successfully boils issues down to a fourth-grade level, which Pensler views as an admirable political skill.

Not that they’re anywhere close to the bottom, either. Oh, no. This guy is much, much closer.

And with that, I’m going to try to grab a bike ride before I have to change for the evening. Thanks for bearing with the erratic schedule around here.

Posted at 2:25 pm in Current events, Popculch |

46 responses to “Slow food.”

  1. Jakash said on July 31, 2018 at 3:02 pm

    I’d be a “no” on “been to a McDonald’s lately?” But when I have stopped by sporadically in the past, the slowness of the fast food experience there has usually left me wondering how they maintained a reputation for efficiency. If we’re on the road looking for a relatively quick stop, it’s Culver’s or Chick-fil-A where available. Of course, I feel guilty patronizing the latter, but…

    Anyway, I was dropping in to post the following. Yes, this is a cheap shot. Yes, it makes a gratuitous Nazi reference. Yes, there are other photos that don’t look *quite* as staged as this one. But, for a good laugh, check out this OhNoSheTwitnt tweet and many of the photo-shopped images in the replies, especially the one of Uday or Qusay (I don’t know which is which) in a similar shirt sitting on a tree stump.

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  2. beb said on July 31, 2018 at 3:59 pm

    While I don’t normally go to MacDonalds I did so recently due to a potty emergency. (Damn my inconsistent bowels!) Afterwards I went to the counter to order something as thanks for providing a public restroom (I know TMI) It was noon on a weekday. There was a long line in the drive-through and a large number of people waiting to pick up orders. There was no one in front of the cash register and no one rushed to take my order. I waited patiently until other people started demanding their money back because their lunch break was ending and they couldn’t wait any longer. That’s when I decided to leave. On reflection it seemed like there were enough staff but all of them seemed to be standing around waiting for something to happen so they could do their job. Now I recall that McD has been advertising that they were now using fresh meat, not frozen. So maybe there’s a bottleneck when it comes to cooking up fresh burgers, But whatever, McD used to be better at delivering sandwiches on demand. This kind of service is going to kill them for sure.

    Normally I go to a Burger King or WEndy’s. Their burders are better and so is their service.

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  3. Deborah said on July 31, 2018 at 4:56 pm

    About the only food I ever get from McD’s are egg mcmuffins and I love that you can get them anytime instead of just for breakfast. I like their French fries too, but I don’t get them very often.

    The architecture firm I worked for before I retired designed the new McDonald’s headquarters in the city (off of Randolph, west of the loop) moving out of the burbs where they used to be. This was after I retired so I had nothing to do with it. Carol Ross Barney a Chicago architect designed the new McDonalds on Clark that used to be that monstrosity that took up a whole city block. It still takes up nearly the whole block, but it looks completely different, a sleek, boxy, contemporary building with a sprawling, solar paneled canopy/trellis above. They are making changes for sure, whether they are positive changes I have no idea.

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  4. Deborah said on July 31, 2018 at 5:23 pm

    Here’s the headquarters, nothing special about the exterior but the interiors aren’t bad

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  5. Deborah said on July 31, 2018 at 5:27 pm

    Here’s the new McDonald’s on Clark, that replaces the Rock and roll McDonald’s

    Jakash, the Twitter link was hilarious.

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  6. David C. said on July 31, 2018 at 5:54 pm

    All fast food, drive-thrus especially, have slowed down considerably. It seems like they used to make a few of the more common items to keep in reserve, so more often than not, they could just grab one and you were on your way. Because their margins are so thin with dollar menus and such, they seem a lot more careful about making something they’ll have to throw out.

    Our Republican Senate candidates are trying to out tRump each other too. One is such a scummy POS that his own parents maxed out their contributions to our Democratic Senator Tammy Baldwin.

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  7. Julie Robinson said on July 31, 2018 at 7:23 pm

    The only time I go to a McDonald’s is for pit stops when we’re on road trips, as hubs likes their coffee. Except for Culver’s, though, I’m not interested in fast food anymore. It isn’t cheap, it isn’t tasty, and as Nance says, it isn’t fast anymore either. If at all possible, I’d rather schlep along my own sandwich, even if it’s just peanut butter.

    Here’s something I would stand in line for, though: another maple creamy. While we were in Vermont our hosts asked us if we’d had one, and we learned that a creamy is what they call soft-serve ice cream. So to make a maple creamy the soft-serve ingredients are mixed with maple syrup, then put through the chiller and into a cone. The result is just as delightful as you might think it to be, and was another of the only-in-Vermont moments we had.

    Now someone will tell me they also have them in New Hampshire, or Canada, or all over the country. Don’t burst my bubble.

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  8. Suzanne said on July 31, 2018 at 10:01 pm

    I have had long waits at “fast food” places, too. I credit it to the ubiquitous lack of training so epidemic everywhere. Congrats! You have a job. Good luck figuring out how to do it because we can’t waste time training you.

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  9. basset said on July 31, 2018 at 11:15 pm

    Culver’s has the closest thing to a breaded pork tenderloin that I’ve been able to find this side of Evansville. A weak shadow of the real thing, best example of that being at the Food & Fuel in Gnaw Bone outside Columbus, but it’ll do till I can get home and make my own. Cracker meal’s not always easy to find here in Tennessee, but with the proper resolve it can be done.

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  10. Sherri said on July 31, 2018 at 11:19 pm

    While lack of training probably plays a role, I don’t think fast food joints ever did much training and have always tended towards high turnover rates in employees. I think the biggest culprit in slowing down fast food is big data. The companies now have much more information about what’s happening at a given time and location and the ability to manage things at a finer granularity to reduce expenses. Reducing expenses means cutting food waste and “unnecessary” labor, which also means that it’s going to take longer to get your food. It is cheap, though.

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  11. Mark P said on August 1, 2018 at 12:25 am

    My fast food story: Driving nonstop from Georgia to New Mexico years ago. Around 2 or 3 am we stopped for gas and there was a Hardee’s in the station. I was hungry so I asked for a burger. Waited a long time, then the guy behind the counter comes back and says, “I found one!”

    Hint: don’t eat “found” burgers.

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  12. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 1, 2018 at 3:46 am

    Order from kiosks is fully operational in my neck of the woods; first saw them installed last year in Logan on the way to and from Athens, Ohio (i.e., we’re not talking about the heart of innovation and technology), and in the last few months every McD’s in this county was completely remodeled, outside and in, to the kiosk concept — and labor shortages and costs are the stated reason for this massive outlay.

    But the goal is order from the app. You order before you get there, order in the car line, on *your* micro-kiosk in your pocket, and the food is ready for a swipe/tap/ping and carry away, inside or auto. That’s what this is all being configured around. The last stretch of friction is being sanded down, and then . . . whoosh. Or so they say.

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  13. Peter said on August 1, 2018 at 9:13 am

    Well, I’ll plead guilty – we have a family member in the hospital, and after visiting him last night, the only places open were Chipotle (I like, but the lovely bride would eat out of vending machine before thinking of Chipotle) and McDonald’s, so we went for the latter.

    I do miss the slanting rack behind the counter. To me what’s really bizarre is that you can see what they do – they open a hot drawer, pull out a patty, slap it on the bun, wrap and bag. How is that so much better than pulling a finished product off of the rack?

    I thought that McDonald’s claim to fame was that they did have so much data, and used it to figure out how many burgers etc. to make at all times, so they had just the right amount of inventory on that rack to handle the customers.

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  14. Peter said on August 1, 2018 at 9:20 am

    And I’ll kvetch about another McDonald’s item – their corporate move that Deborah noted.

    Have you ever seen their now abandoned headquarters complex? It’s stunning. A nice piece of land on Oak Brook, with two private lakes and low rise buildings – concrete frame, wood and brick infill, very tasteful. Everyone, from the chairman on down, in a workstation with views to the outdoors. And Oak Brook is not in the middle of nowhere – it’s at the intersection of two interstates, so you can get there from here.

    The main reason McDonald’s moved is that they couldn’t get young people to work for them – they all live in the City and don’t want to commute. I don’t know – I know the youngun’s want to live where it’s hip, and I don’t blame them – I live in the City too. But even ten years ago you had young people who lived in some suburbs – cheap homes, good schools, living with the parents, whatever – I know that sort of limits your labor pool but does that justify the $$ in relocating?

    I just feel that companies like McDonalds that moves into the City to attract the hip workers are like some 50 somethings that do the hair implants and work out at the gym because they think they can still get the hot young babes but in reality look kind of sad.

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  15. Randy said on August 1, 2018 at 9:20 am

    Our 17-year-old is nearing one full year of part-time employment at our neighborhood McD’s. She has had a generally positive experience – she’s developing a good work ethic, and she’s learned how to be diplomatic with unreasonable customers, a reality during every shift it seems.

    But it seems inevitable the order kiosk will replace her job one of these days. Hopefully she will have moved on to her next experience in food or retail – will brick-and-mortar retail be around much longer?

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  16. Icarus said on August 1, 2018 at 9:24 am

    I lived on McDonalds in high school and partook more than I should throughout my 20s though less and less later in life. We still hit them on road trips to GP or Memphis, or when out and about and the kids need food and we aren’t gonna get home quickly.

    This thread reminded me of this story, it’s a bit long but an interesting read.

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  17. Icarus said on August 1, 2018 at 9:53 am

    Peter, I don’t know all the ins and outs but I suspect there are tax incentives involved that incentized the higher ups at McDonalds. They may have marketed as “we want to attract young hipsters” but really it was about more money in their already deep pockets.

    I worked in OBT for 4.5 years and the only way to get there from the city is own a car. You could take a series of buses but that requires getting up very early, hoping none are late, early or broken down. it would crush even the most ironic hipster.

    Personally, I think much of Corporate America needs to go to a Work Remote model where possible. “Two private lakes and low rise buildings – concrete frame, wood and brick infill” is better than most office spaces yield but I’d still rather not have a 2 hour commute.

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  18. Deborah said on August 1, 2018 at 9:53 am

    About 13 years ago I worked on a design project for Boston Market which was then owned by McDonald’s. We designed a prototype for a completely different concept in River Forest, IL that was supposed to roll out nationally. It was more like a Whole Foods prepared foods section than the usual rotisserie chickens and Mac and cheese that was the normal that Boston Market was. After the prototype was complete and market research was done they decided to scrap the roll out and keep what they were doing. Anyway during the design process we met regularly with a McDonald’s exec who filled us in on a bunch of the problems they were trying to address, one of the main ones was food waste. Apparently the regulations about how long you can keep cooked foods in the hopper are stringent. They make most of their money he said on soda sales. Each soda you buy there costs them a fraction of a penny.

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  19. Suzanne said on August 1, 2018 at 9:53 am

    I was in a Panera a few months ago that had ordering kiosks. I went up to the counter and asked if I could order from a real person. So far, that was allowed. I hope it continues to be allowed.

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  20. Sherri said on August 1, 2018 at 10:22 am

    I’m sure Mickey D’s Did have a lot of data for back in the day. That’s tiny compared to the amount of data corporations like these gather and use today, and their ability to integrate stat from various part of the process and supply chain to squeeze out efficiencies, as well as the time scale.

    You can walk around with a device in your hand that holds more data than room-sized computers used to be able to handle. Computers are faster, true, but data storage costs have declined incredibly over the last 10-15 years, and companies don’t even have to store the data themselves, with Amazon and Microsoft and Google and Oracle all competing to store it for them.

    Of course, all this data could be used to make a better experience for the consumer, but the consumer has taken a backseat to the stockholder in American business. Cutting expenses in better for the share price than improving customer experience.

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  21. Julie Robinson said on August 1, 2018 at 10:43 am

    I’m imagining my mother at one of these kiosks, the line behind her growing longer and longer, her becoming more confused and upset as people try to help her, and feeling belittled by the whole experience. We would never go back.

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  22. Dorothy said on August 1, 2018 at 10:56 am

    We too use Mickey D’s as a pit stop when we’re on trips; coffee for the Mister and the bathroom for me. Maybe an orange juice if I’m thirsty. Last time I was in a McDonald’s was in downtown Washington D.C. on July 20 when we were hot and sweaty on the way to a museum to see the Rob Rogers (recently fired at the Post-Gazette in Pittsburgh) display. The diet Coke hit the spot but I do recall waiting what seemed like much too long for it; like you, Nancy, a small order of fries and a diet tide me over if I’m ravenous and can eat something else a short time later. BTW Hamilton was all kinds of wonderful – Laura and I saw the matinee at the Kennedy Center on July 21 and we were transported. Absolutely loved it.

    Hey by the by, when’s the last time any of you needed an ID to shop at a grocery store…? Asking for a friend.

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  23. Bitter Scribe said on August 1, 2018 at 10:58 am

    I’ve been there twice in the past 30 days—once to pick up an Egg McMuffin, once to get some lunch at McCormick Place. (If you’ve ever been to McCormick, you know the other lunch options are no better than McD’s and way more expensive.)

    Both times my experience exactly replicated Nancy’s. I got the Egg McMuffin at the drive-thru, and it was like getting stuck on the Eisenhower at rush hour. As for McCormick, I had to stand and wait with a bunch of other cattle for what seemed like 15 minutes (I didn’t time it).

    I figured I just caught two individual franchises on bad days at bad times, although the McCormick lunch was past 1 p.m. But if what Nancy says is true and this is becoming widespread throughout the chain, they are in trouble. Sell your McD’s stock? Hell, short it.

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  24. Julie Robinson said on August 1, 2018 at 11:02 am

    Heehee, Dorothy! Wonder if that was in the speech or he was freelancing it again.

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  25. Connie said on August 1, 2018 at 11:14 am

    I do a McD’s drive through breakfast once every week or so. I order something that is not on the menu: a biscuit with bacon and cheese. My closest place orders a sausage cheese biscuit/BACON SUB and it costs me under $2.00. The next nearest place will only order a bacon egg and cheese biscuit/HOLD THE EGG which costs me $4.00. The older woman who usually staff the pay window told me she has worked there for 17 years.

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  26. Heather said on August 1, 2018 at 11:39 am

    My company is in Oak Brook, IL, where McDonald’s is moving away from, and I wish we would follow suit. The only reason we’re here is because the former CEO wanted to work near where he lived, and then guess what, a few years later he left and is now working at a company downtown. Grrr. It would be OK if I could work from home more, but I’m limited to one day a week. Honestly the commute is a major reason I’m going to find another job, plus the white-bread nature of the ‘burbs out here. It’s hardly an inspiring environment, and I do think it affects the kind of people we can hire.

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  27. Scout said on August 1, 2018 at 12:55 pm

    Since you’re polling the regulars, put me down for a no to McD’s. The closest to fast food I’ll do is Chipotle. Being 5 foot nothing with a slowing metabolism as I get older, I do not waste any of my daily calories on chain restaurant junk.

    This morning, my Mom and I were talking about how increasingly unhinged the MAGAts are becoming and she said something about how we are headed for trouble and I said, I think we’re already there. Have you all heard about Q anon? This is some scary shit.

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  28. Jeff Borden said on August 1, 2018 at 1:37 pm

    Peter, McD’s is hardly alone in moving to the city. Beam/Suntory, ConAgra, Motorola Solutions, Hillshire have all abandoned the ‘burbs for downtown. Millennials are an unusual group. They really seem to hate long commutes. It’s a shame to see these huge suburban office complexes go fallow –I’m thinking especially of Sears’ enormous complex in Hoffman Estates– but the trends are running back to city life.

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  29. Sherri said on August 1, 2018 at 2:36 pm

    There has been a steady decline in drivers licenses for a number of years. I know a number of millennials even in the burbs who don’t have a license and don’t drive. If I hadn’t made her, I’m not sure my daughter would have her license, and since she does, she drives her friends around.

    It’s expensive to get a license these days, much less to own and operate a car.

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  30. Deborah said on August 1, 2018 at 3:03 pm

    We’re driving across Iowa right now, going to stop in Lincoln, Nebraska for the night. Tomorrow we’re stopping in Red Cloud to see the Willa Cather stuff.

    I got the book Ulysses on Audible and boy is it hard to understand the Irish reader. I’m getting about half of it. I put the speed on .75 but that doesn’t help much.

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  31. Sherri said on August 1, 2018 at 4:01 pm

    I’m embarrassed to admit that while I knew about the Move bombing in 1985, I didn’t know about the earlier action in 1978.

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  32. jcburns said on August 1, 2018 at 4:06 pm

    Deborah, you could turn on the closed captions…oh wait, then that’s just…a book.

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  33. Sherri said on August 1, 2018 at 4:25 pm

    Google is going to experiment with a first mile/last mile complementary approach to transit with its autonomous vehicles in Phoenix.

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  34. Dexter Friend said on August 1, 2018 at 6:01 pm

    Here in Bryan, Ohio I have noticed a marked downturn in satisfaction at Wendy’s. Car lane is always backed up 6 or 8 vehicles and the waits are interminable. They always display “$100 sign-on hiring bonus”, but apparently the place is such a pain d’ass to work , people only last a few weeks at most. 19 times out of 20 the order will be screwed up, marginally or majorly.
    McD’s here is great until the oldsters go home and the high schoolers take over, then the place is slow, but nothing like Wendy’s. Tim Horton’s priced themselves out of business…their senior coffee was $1.79 and across the service drive McD’s was $.69. The donuts were 2/3 more than the local wonderful donut shoppe. Taco Bell is quick, courteous, and they fucking never ever ever make a mistake. Arby’s is sporadic…recently I waited 35 minutes in line but usually less than 10. BK is quick but their food is just lame. I rarely eat anything there but their shakes kick ass. Sonic? Never go there, horrible food, just nasty.

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  35. alex said on August 1, 2018 at 6:38 pm

    No McD’s for me anymore. Not that I went there much anyway, but I’ve been forced to cut out white bread and potatoes entirely because of the increasing severity of diabetes and daytime somnolence triggered by eating carbs. About the only “fast food” I can tolerate is a Jimmy John’s “unwich” which substitutes a lettuce wrap for the bun.

    Not that I’m complaining. I feel more alert and perky than I’ve felt in years and I sleep better too.

    Regarding Sears’ move to Hoffman Estates back in the day, it was widely rumored that the company was trying to rid itself of a largely black work force that would sooner accept buyouts than relocate or commute to the exurbs. I worked with a lot of ex-Sears in-house advertising and marketing people (young hipsters) who ended up getting outsourced to a company where I used to freelance. This place was across a side street from Harpo Studios and they did Sears work and also handled accounts of other department stores.

    One company I worked for outsourced most of its in-house creative staff to R.R. Donnelley in Elgin, and Donnelley even set up a loft studio in Elgin and tried to make it hipster friendly, but I suspect it didn’t do well in the long haul.

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  36. basset said on August 1, 2018 at 9:40 pm

    So tell us anout the Steppenwolf show. Seems like half the bands we knew back in the 60s and 70s are still out there in some form with an original member or two and a good catalog.
    John Kay lived outside Nashville for awhile, down the hollow from a friend of mine who ran into him now and then & said he seemed like a good guy.

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  37. Dexter Friend said on August 2, 2018 at 1:27 am

    Totally from left field, I never saw Steppenwolf but I have been to Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theater a few times…last time was 1986 when I saw Tom Waits during the “Frank’s Wild Years” tour. I don’t know if the place is still a viable venue anymore.

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  38. Mark P said on August 2, 2018 at 9:11 am

    My brother was a good cook, and almost never ate fast food. When he was getting chemo for pancreatic cancer, he lost his taste for most food, but for some reason he couldn’t explain, developed a taste for McDonald’s big mac. I happen to like big macs, especially compared to other fast food burgers. Our Wendy’s always seems dry and tasteless. I used to like BK’s whopper, but it seems to have been dried and had the taste removed as well. As to Hardee’s, let me tell you a story. Maybe 20 or 25 years ago a friend and I were driving straight through from Georgia to Albuquerque. In the middle of the night we stopped for gas. I was hungry, and they had a Hardee’s in the station, so I ordered a burger. The guy behind the counter disappeared for a long time. Then he came back out and said triumphantly, “I found one!” Hint: don’t eat a “found” hamburger. I stayed away from Hardee’s for a long, long time after that.

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  39. Joe Kobiela said on August 2, 2018 at 11:29 am

    Just stopped at McDonald this am in Auburn, 2 breakfast burritos thru the drive thru, from order to food 3 minutes.
    Pilot Joe

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  40. beb said on August 2, 2018 at 3:58 pm

    A follow-up to my comment @2. I once again needed to go to the McDonalds for a same reason as before. This time there was no line-up of cars in the drive-thru and not clot of people waiting for their orders. An employee shouted something at me as I entered but I was in too much of a hurry to listen. Seemed like the place was shout down without being locked. Strange.

    Burger Kings still have a slanted table for sandwiches but I never see anything sitting in them unless it is for a large order and the sandwiches are piled up as the order is completed. Clearly the idea of having sandwiches prepared in advance of orders is no longer a thing. Kind of like how all those drive-thru lands put in one window to take payments and the second to hand out the food. Apparently there just wasn’t the time-saving to justify a separate cashier.

    The judge in the Manafort trial has apparently instructed the prosecution that they can’t refer to Russian Oligarchs as Oligarchs because that too prejudicial. That’s kind of like saying you can’t call Goebbles a Nazi because it’s too prejudicial…. What will Mueller’s team call the Oligarchs? “Robber Barons” perhaps.

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  41. Dave Kobiela said on August 2, 2018 at 4:35 pm

    My wife and I are back in the USA, Chicago actually, visiting daughter #2 for a couple of days before going home to DeKalb County. We enjoyed some wonderful meals in Germany and Portugal while on this month long visit, but our one stop at McDonald’s was also memorable.
    Our daughter and son-in-law went to work, and we took off on a sight-seeing tour with our 10 yr old grandson and 8 yr old grandaughter. We drove for a couple hours, but due to construction detours on the Autobahn, the challenge of winding rural roads, and my inability to read road signs in German, we eventually had to stop and feed the hungry kiddos. Golden Arches look exactly the same in Deutschland, and for Owen and Ella this was a rare treat. (Their Momma is a LT COL Army nurse so fast food is seldom on the menu).
    The next day, excitedly telling his Mom about our adventure, Owen says “I had a Big Bacon Burger and Mom, it tasted just like real meat!”.
    It was fun for all, but €2.79 for a .3 litre bottle of water and €,30 for each packet of ketchup was a bit surprising.

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  42. Deggjr said on August 2, 2018 at 5:11 pm

    I used to travel for business and would not hesitate to have McDonalds or BK for breakfast. The food was almost always fast and tasty. That was several years ago.

    One very odd McDonalds experience from maybe 8 years ago; I went from work to an evening meeting with no time for dinner other than McDonalds. I had a chicken wrap and a large fry.

    At that time I was eating limited calorie food which kept my appetite in check. After the McDonalds meal my appetite was out of control for a couple of days. I have eaten non-breakfast McDonalds food maybe once since then.

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  43. Joe Kobiela said on August 2, 2018 at 6:11 pm

    Watch the documentary supersize it, guy ate McDonald’s 3 times a day for a month, he started craving it. He also put on like 30 lbs
    Pilot Joe

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  44. Deborah said on August 2, 2018 at 9:05 pm

    Our last night on the road, tomorrow we’re back in Santa Fe, sometime mid-day (I hope). We’re in SE Colorado in a town called La Junta at a Hampton Inn, our usual road-trip place of choice, we’ve been to about 6 of them on this trip. It’s a weird place for a Hampton Inn, in the middle of nowhere, no interstates nearby. Odd. And MSNBC is not offered on the TV, Fox of course is and CNN.

    We went to Red Cloud, NE to see the Willa Cather museum there, bought some books and a CD of Sound of the Lark because we gave up on Ulysses because of the sound quality.

    I’m tired, CO is our 13th state this trip.

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  45. Mark P said on August 2, 2018 at 9:44 pm

    Deborah, I had to look up La Junta. I knew I recognized the name. That’s where my Datsun pickup transmission locked up completely, stranding me beside Highway 50. A young woman defied all common sense and picked me up in the dark to give me a ride back to La Junta. I had to rent a giant box truck and a trailer to tow the damned thing back to Alabama to have the repair shop refix it.

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  46. David Kirk said on August 5, 2018 at 2:48 pm

    This video came out a few years back. The drive thru was full up so she had to get out her car… well, you can see the rest here I thought you would appreciate. Enjoy!

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