Friday, January 26, 2007

An experiment

Why do I have a picture of empty Mac containers? Well, today I tried an experiment. I found an interesting newspaper article on Flylady that I've been reading with some of my English classes. I decided I ought to try it out myself. Well, I'm amazed that it took me over a week to work up my courage but today I went to MacDonald's in Imaichi and went through the drive through lane.

At first I considered Kentucky Fried Chicken and Mos Burger (the only other places I could think of with drive through lanes) but finially opted on Mac, not because I wanted to eat one of their burgers so much but because it probably has more business then KFC and Mos Burger is too messy to eat in the car. But the reason I was going wasn't to eat a burger. The reason was to buy the car in back of me lunch!

I pulled up to the microphone at Mac and ordered a value meal. ¥550 yen. I noticed a car had pulled in behind me but I decided not to check out who was in the car because then I'd start getting judgemental and think, "oh no. I don't want to buy lunch for him." I drove up to the window and by now my heart was pounding. I paid for my meal and the girl gave me my drink. My palms were sweating. I told her that I wanted to pay for the order of the car behind me and she looked at me like I was nuts. That's what I was afraid of. She said she hadn't taken their order yet and I said if she would take their order, then I would pay but please not to mention it to them. She got a strange expression on her face. She sort of disappeared into the kitchen area and I'm pretty sure she was asking her manager what she should do about this strange lady. The manager came and glanced at me and must have given the ok, because the girl came back and said the order behind me was ¥1750. That was ok by me. I had decided that the sky was the limit this first time around. She gave me my order, and I paid the next cars' order and the girl asked me if I knew the people in the next car. "No". I said. "Just wish them a nice day". In Japanese "yoi ichinichi wo." Then I left before the next car got up to the window.

Hmmm... My hands were shaking by this time. Why? Why was I feeling like I had done something bad? I didn't feel particularly like I'd done a good deed. Rather, maybe I'd caused problems for the girl, the manager, the person in the car behind me. Did the girl really tell the driver behind me that someone had paid for his order? Did the person feel that someone was playing a trick or out to get him some other way? Did they all think I was part of some strange cult? I could have used my money for a purpose I was sure about but I chose not to. Why?

Hopefully the driver behind me will have been pleasantly surprised that he didn't have to pay for his order. He might feel like he could someday do the same for someone else but I sort of doubt that. Maybe it brightened his day. Maybe it made a good story to tell people for the next couple of days and then a few people could get a laugh out of it and wonder about the strange experience. That at least might brighten up a few people's day. The absurdity of it all! The girl and the manager at Mac at least can ponder what it all meant and why anyone would be so crazy as to buy someone a meal when they didn't know them. Anyway, it was an interesting experiment.

1 comment:

Holly said...

I love this post about your McDonald's experiment. I would have been shaking, too, even though I'm in a culture where people wouldn't scratch their heads and wonder why quite so much.