I am by no means a man who needs an excuse to eat a cheap and horrifyingly unhealthy cheeseburger. At my core, in the truest essence of my being, I am 215 pounds of meat and cheese eating beast. I am a well-greased machine of burger decimation.
So when someone at the Westport Tea "Total Tax" forum made the claim that there was a hidden tax to dine-in at a certain fast food establishment along I-95, well, that was all the incentive I needed for some investigative journalism. That, and I hadn't had dinner.
The control conditions were set. There would be two orders: one inside for dine-in and one for drive-thru. The orders would be exactly the same and I would get a receipt for both. The target: a cheeseburger. Nothing fancy, just the most basic of items on the menu, which still included that semi-melted slab of neon-orange processed dairy. I was thirsty too, so a medium soda. I wanted a large but, since the order would be repeated shortly, the medium seemed reasonable. Diet of course. I mean you have to stay reasonable.
Never have I so delicately plotted and planned the purchase of such a basic, mass-produced burger. And it seemed all was going to plan. Soon, my carefully crafted "research" would yield something more than more clogging of the arteries. The first order came to $3.90. If the second varied at all, the claim held true.
Except that I had failed in all of my plotting and planning to make sure the staff inside actually flagged my order for dine-in. The receipt clearly said "to go" and the burger came in a grease soaked bag. But hope yet remained. Perhaps I heard wrong. Maybe the hidden tax was on the drive-thru and not the dine-in.
That order came to $3.90 as well. As I hit the road heading home, with two burgers and two medium drinks for one guy who should probably consider trying a salad, I couldn't help but feel disappointed. Not because of the failure to prove anything. No, it was the realization that I could have had fries too.
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