Part II: Wendy’s is back! Hallelujah!
Apparently I’m supposed to be excited about this, but the excitement has been lost on me. Ellie, my wife, was excited. She liked Wendy’s. I might have even seen a tear or two shed when they went out of business. I told her they’d be back. I mean, how could they not come back? How could they not want to be in the St. Louis market based upon our past?
Like a hawk she spotted the “Now Hiring” sign weeks ago. Maybe it was the call for a Wendy’s crew? The number hit the window. We called. It was too good to be true, the triumphant return was near!
Now I’m not trying to say I’m above Wendy’s. In fact, when we were in Traverse City earlier in the year, I think I ate three Frostys (Frosties?) in one day. That’s one thing I’ll give Wendy’s. Frostys are pretty great! Do not attempt to eat three in one day though. Your body will be upset. It will punish you. You will be sorry.
So the grand opening finally arrived Thursday. Between all my errands and running, I think I passed Wendy’s at least 30 times from Thursday to Sunday, and you’d have thought Thomas Keller was opening up a St. Louis outpost the way the line was wrapped around the building. It was as if people were getting their last orders in before the Armageddon. It was a mad house, and at no point did I pass and not see at least 15-20 cars in the drive through along with dozens of people waiting inside.
Ellie couldn’t hold out, so she suited up and braved the Hellstorm Saturday. One Wendy’s burger and one small frosty were all she asked for. When she got to the front of the line (30min inside) , however, they were out of Chocolate Frostys. How do you run out of Frostys at Wendy’s? And, chocolate Frostys?!? Am I the only one that didn’t realize they now have vanilla Frostys?
So that brings us to Sunday, the second Sunday of the month, and there was no dessert. I knew what to do though. It was Wendy’s Hellstorm time! I had a hunger, and a Frosty could cure it.
At 9:50PM Sunday night, there were literally 20 cars in line and 25 people waiting inside. As I was weighing out whether or not I wanted to say, the girl in front of us took a call on her cell phone. I’ve know idea what she was asked, but I swear to you, this was her reply, verbatim…
“I’ve eaten here 10 times already.”
That means in the four days Wendy’s had once again entered the landscape of St. Louis dining decisions, this girl had eaten three meals there on two of the four days they’d been open. 83% of her meals in 4 days (assuming she eats three daily) had come from Wendy’s.
I headed towards the door a little sadder Sunday. Partly because a Frosty isn’t worth a 30min wait and I went home empty handed, but mostly because it makes me sad so many Americans take so little pleasure from their food choices. Even without spending a lot of money, there are better, healthier choices to be made. To eat fast food occasionally is one thing but 10 times in four days? As Adam Roberts said recently, “It’s logic like this that explains why so many people in America eat so badly.”
As we exited, I saw glazed over families eating with their kids and speaking not a single word. I couldn’t help but think about how fortunate we are that each second Sunday of the month we sit down for a meal, cooked from scratch, with family.
It’s the best Sunday of my month, and it’s definitely worth waiting for.