According to their website there are 970 McDonalds restaurants in Australia. I have been to only 5 in my life. The reason is food snobbery and diabetes. So, when my husband suggested we get Maccas for lunch, I was taken aback. ‘You’re kidding.’ Then I got curious. Had McDonalds changed since my last visit one drunken night seven years earlier?

I was on high alert as we walked through the doors. What if someone I knew saw me, what about my blood sugar levels? It was busy, but strangely quiet. There was no-one at the counter, in front or behind it.

Then a section of the crowd parted to reveal a bank of self-service screens. Thank God. I had already felt anxious at the thought of being rushed into an ill-conceived order by some disinterested teenager. Now I could take my time, once we had mastered the screens.

Callum, according to his name badge, saw our confusion and came to rescue us. Callum was not a teenager; he was as old as me.

He patiently helped us through the order process. Two Spicy Chicken Clubhouse burgers, one Double Quarter Pounder and six Chicken McNuggets with sweet and sour sauce. AU$32.50.

I double checked the order, but the amount was correct. I had expected cheap. Then Callum shocked us to the core. ‘Would you like table service?’

We stared at him, open mouthed. ‘Table service?’, I asked in a voice too high and too loud. ‘Sure,’ said Callum smiling, handing us a number on a stick. ‘Find a seat and I’ll bring your order.’

Bemused we zig-zagged through the brown and beige restaurant and found a table.

Within seconds of sitting Callum arrived with our order. Placing the tray in front of us he said, ‘Enjoy your meal,’ and left. As we ate Callum fussed at wiping tables and delivering orders to his customers.

A person sitting at a table eating food

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A guilty pleasure – Photo Josh Langley
A plate of food on a table

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Sugar, salt and flavour in a box – Photo Josh Langley

To my amazement the food was good. The buns were sweet, beef patties moist with a hint of the flame grill, and the chicken succulent. A perfect balance of salt, sugar and meat, with minimal vegetation.

All delivered to our table by a waiter, almost like a real restaurant. This wasn’t fine dining, but combine taste, speed and cost, and I wasn’t complaining.

I did a blood glucose test when I got home. My score was a dangerous 14.9. I had indeed paid a high price for lunch, and realised that as much as things change, they also stay the same.

© Andrew James Macleod 2019

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