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By: s.i. wells

Have you ever eaten in a fast food restaurant? What did you do after you finished your meal? The answer is simple. You dutifully took your tray and pushed all evidence of your presence through a slot in the trash bin. My question is: “Why did you do it?”

Are we not under the delusion we are getting a discount on the price of our meal because we clear our own trash? Is it not assumed that the restaurant would have to hire squadrons of “fast food trash handlers” to tidy up after we the customers and that our bargain, high calorie, high fat, high cholesterol delights would skyrocket in price? In reality, all that has happened is that fast food corporations have slyly modified our behavior and mesmerized us into believing if you eat fast food, then you must bus the trash. Are we that thick? Are we that much like sheep? Why have we so willingly allowed ourselves to be railroaded into a “corporate culture” from which we derive no benefit. We have been converted into a nation of unpaid busboys while we were looking the other way. Unless, of course, you need to build your resume and you think spending your summer as a volunteer fast food busboy adds gravitas to your next job search.

What if we all just left our trays where they lay after we finished “dining”? Would the world end? Would the restaurant report us to the “busboy” police? Would we be violating one of the ten commandments or breaching some lofty moral imperative? Do you really think fast food restaurants in difficult economic times could afford to precipitously raise prices to cover our failure to work as their uncompensated busboys? What would they do? Put up signs about helping to save the environment or the trees or some starving orphans in a faraway desert.

Frankly, I think they would just have to cope and clean up after us like regular restaurants do. It might be a good thing. Maybe the “trash patrol” could actually be friendly, courteous and customer service oriented. “Did you enjoy your meal?” “Thank you for spending part of your day with us!” “We really appreciate your business and we hope you will come back again soon.”

Can you imagine? Maybe it’s time to stand up and stop the madness. Don’t bus your tray! Be brave. Take the first step. Make the fast food industry show that they care about you and value your visit.

You have the power. You have the tools. You only need the will.


All opinions expressed by s.i. wells are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of Stay Thirsty Media, Inc.

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