There is never more than 1 person in my town KFC when I am in there, but there is always one, taking a long time at the counter so that I have time to stand there and think of how silly it is to succumb to a KFC craving now and again, and inventing reasons to justify my standing there.
They also have a disproportionate amount of food cooked and ready to be served, to the 2 of us who are going to come in the entire day. Ours is a KFC/Taco Bell store, a pairing I have never understood, but no less than (say) Pizza Hut/D’Angelos. Dunkin Donuts/Baskin Robbins. Brangelina.
Once, on my way to a party, I stopped in for a party box 'o’ wings, which they do sell – 20 of them for 14.99. I asked for 2 orders and the kid behind the counter said, “we don’t have that many.” I said, “It’s on your menu,” pointing to it, to show him where it hangs. From where I am standing, I can see a full banquet of chicken in all of the Col’s recipes. I bet I could find 40 wings in there. I said, “It’s ok if you mix them up,” and he said, “No, he could not do that.” Sometimes Dunkin Donuts will tell you that can’t fill a Box of Joe, which menu item is entirely their idea, but they will gladly sell you a gallon of ice cream.
Today, I went in for just a 5-box, because I had justified to myself that it would feel like eating a lot of KFC without really doing so. The popcorn chicken will serve this purpose, too, because there is no chicken in there. You must realize that.
The menu (still right there…point) offer 5 wings for something like 4.99 in branded sauce names like “hot,” “b-que” and “extra sticky.” I asked… stay with me on this one… could I get 5 original recipe wings.
Counter lady punched the cash register buttons in a purposeless way, like I move my cursor around while running a Webex. Buying time. She pointed at the menu – it is such a helpful gesture – and said, “those are… hot… or buffalo.” I said, “Could I get 5 of the original recipe?” Now I point at the racks of chicken behind her, somehow already made by 12:30 on a Saturday. “It’s not the same price,” she says.
How much is it? Of course, you would ask. There is nothing else for them to do until the next person comes in behind me while I am taking too long at the counter. It comes to over $8, and I say “that’s crazy,” but in a way that includes her as a partner in my surprise. We’re working people; we know that’s crazy. Ri-i-i-i-ght…?
Never mind that. I switch to breast and wing, which the menu lists as a meal. And I say, “can I get just the chicken?” And she says to the cash register, “It’s better if you get the meal.” for whoooom….
While she is ringing it up, I ask, “Why is there such a difference in price? You’ve already cooked them.”
“Those are really small,” she says, and makes a little OK with her finger and thumb.
“That’s interesting,” I say. (No, isn’t.) “Because you would think chicken wings would all be the same size.”
She shrugs and mumbles, “No, those are…” voice trails.
“Not really wings,” I say, with an intelligent nod.
They can’t wait to get me out of there.