BOOMERBROADcast

The voice of baby boomers, the silenced majority. Rants and reflections on lifestyle, fashion, current events, books and movies.


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TWICE . . . we found a prize inside


If it’s true things happen in threes, then I hope our lottery tickets are the next big win. Twice this week we’ve been the recipients of unexpected prizes, or more accurately surprises inside something we brought home. The first could require some ‘splainin’ by my husband but I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt about how this gift came about.

He took his car in to get some work done. The shop needed a few days so he was sent to Enterprise to pick up a rental. Coming home with a navy blue Hyundai Santa Fe, he was less than impressed compared with how much he loves his Ford Edge, but c’est la vie. It’s only temporary. The disappointment was mitigated however by the little bonus he found in the vehicle. With a giant smile on his face, he came in the front door waving a little green package that you can appreciate has enormous value to a pair of old boomers (a.k.a. seniors) like us. The previous users of the rental Hyundai left behind a pair of bedroom slippers under the front seat and a pregnancy test kit in the glove compartment. At least that’s the story he told me. You can imagine the “mileage” we’re getting out of that one.

It’s been a bountiful week.

Our second big score was hidden in the lunch he picked up (one of the reasons I love him) at Five Guys on his way home from golf. When I finished eating and slurping the last dregs of my fountain Diet Coke, I popped the top off the cup to pour the ice that was still rattling around in the cup down the drain and out fell a plastic nozzle that probably came off the pop dispenser. I’m now debating how to pursue recourse for that one. Am I entitled to a free drink? A free lunch? A year of free lunches? Or will they charge me with shoplifting?

It’s been a bountiful week and we’re obviously on a winning streak. Much as I’m tempted to start making lists of all the lovely goodies I’m going to buy with my lottery winnings I’d better play it safe and wait until the money is in the bank. As the previous occupant of that Hyundai rental sadly now knows, better safe than sorry. In remembrance of our Paradise By The Dashboard Light days, maybe we should just leave some condoms in the glove compartment, call it a day and walk home.


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Have you checked out McDonald’s lately?


Big things are happening under the golden arches and it started with McCafé and quality coffee to challenge Tim Hortons. I first experienced the change a few weeks ago when I encountered a large touch-screen kiosk to place my order. And, standing beside it was a real live attendant to assist this old boomer as I navigated the new technology. Not easily fooled, I quickly concluded this was just another version of printing my own boarding pass at the airport—get the customer to do the work by reducing the personal service.

One day I might even be able to master the touch screen by myself.

I’m confident that soon I’ll even be able to master the touch screen by myself.

McDonald’s has now upped the ante and totally blew me away when I visited a few days ago and had a customer experience unlike anything they’ve offered in the past forty years. They now have a Create Your Taste build-your-own Angus burger option to rival the popularity of customization offered at Harvey’s and Five Guys. Once the attendant showed me how to scroll the screen up and down (duh!), I was offered a choice of different buns, cheeses and zillions of condiments including grainy mustard and caramelized onions. While I was delighted to finally be able to get a slice of real tomato on my burger, they still don’t offer relish. Can’t figure that out since they offer chipolte, garlic aioli and other exotic selections, but no plain old relish which as any traditionalist knows is an essential ingredient in a burger. Sliced pickles just aren’t the same.

Would you prefer fresh or caramelized onions?

Would you prefer caramelized onions? And check out those buns.

But the fun was just starting. The kiosk attendant helped me pay and handed me an electronic number pad (similar to those at Panera Bread) and asked me to take a seat at a table. A few minutes later, a handsome young (albeit hair-netted) waiter delivered my order to my table, presented like something from a French bistro. My burger was resting on a faux wooden bread board, alongside a mini deep fryer basket lined with a square of crisp paper containing my hot fries. Then, Mr. handsome young waiter went over to the soda machine, dispensed my Diet Coke for me (checking beforehand whether or not I wanted ice), and asking when he returned if there was anything else he could do for me. Unfortunately, as soon as he walked away, in my excitement my elbow accidentally tipped the handle of the fryer basket launching my fries at nearby tables with amazing speed. That kind of thing tends to happen whenever I encounter a cute guy offering himself to be of service to me.

McDonald’s have hired an additional three thousand staff to support this new level of service. Traditional Big Mac combos can still be ordered at the counter for less cost, but, damn, I liked being treated like a somebody and getting my burger exactly the way I like it, except for the relish problem of course. And to promote the new service, my fries and drink were free. Bonus.

happy mealI expect this new level of service delivery originates with John Betts, McDonald’s new C.E.O. I must write him a “Dear John” letter thanking him for thinking of the customer for a change. The experience, the service and the quality of the food exceeded expectations, as we say in the biz. If you haven’t been there lately, visit your local McDonald’s and try this boomer’s version of a happy meal. And, I’m confident I’ll soon be able to navigate the new kiosk without help. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same for getting a boarding pass at the airport.

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