Ermagerd, It’s A Cherkern Merl!

09/03/2012 · 24 comments

in Psychological Warfare, Social Services, What Is Wrong With You?

In a small town in the Texas Panhandle, there lies an Arby’s on the fringe of sanity. It is terribly old, it is terribly small, and it is terribly amazing in its unintentional hilarity.

It is the Twilight Zone Arby’s.

On a road trip Saturday, Adrian and I walked in and stood at the counter for about a minute or so, seeing no employees and taking our time deciding what to eat. Out of nowhere, a tiny employee (1) shoots her head up from behind the fryer, and then…this…ensues.


Noa: MOTHERFUCKER! Shit. I’ll take a…number 20?

1: What number was that?

Noa: (louder now) Sorry, the number 20!

1: No, what was it the other day?

Noa: I…um…what? I don’t know. It is now a number 20. The chicken meal.

1: They changed the menu yesterday. It was something else. What was it then?

Noa: It’s now a number 20. Just the chicken meal, please, and a Beef’n’Cheddar combo?

She then disappeared behind the fryer again, I assume to assemble the meals, but I’ll never really know. Once we had shouted our orders, employee 2 popped up from behind the counter where she was biding her time, because apparently at this Arby’s, only one employee may be visible at any time. She began digging through the fridge, which was 6 inches from the register.


1: (distantly) It’s the chicken in the fridge!


Noa: Sorry, is it the container that says, “Chicken?”

At this point, I figured my chances of dying of salmonella were around 90%. They were operating out of a kitchen the size of my asshole, and the chicken had thrown them off to the point that I knew I must have been the only one to have ordered it for months. Years, possibly. They were perhaps totally unaware that chicken was an available meat option at their establishment.

2: I need a name for the order.

Adrian: How about Oglethorpe?

2: *silence*

Adrian: Okay, it’s Adrian.

2: Is that with an E?

Adrian: No, no E.

2: With an e?

Adrian: Nope. There’s no E.

2: E.

Adrian: You know, we’ll just be sitting right here at one of your two tables. I’ll just come and grab it when you’re done making it.

Adrian and I sat and tried not to laugh uncomfortably at the preparation of what was sure to be our last meal. We’d done a hell of a job guaranteeing that they didn’t really care for our attitudes and our preconceived notions about how a fast food place should operate (answer: not like any other in the goddamn world.) It only kept getting worse.

Noa: Wait, what is that poster all about?

Adrian: Sorry, I’m too busy staring at what I think is a bat hanging over there. That says a frightening amount about the condition our food will be in. Whoa, nope, not a bat. Still don’t know what it is, but it’s not alive. Anymore?

Noa: This poster, it’s just a giant photo of a fat kid stapled to a wall. There’s no text or logos or explanation. It’s just a fat kid. Who lacks context.

Adrian: Rag? Hanging light? What is that thing?

Noa: I feel like this kid might steal all my chicken and laugh at me, and then kick my dog. Or that he’s the mastermind behind the banking system.

Adrian: No idea what it is. They have cowboys and longhorns tiled into the floors, but also a bat doppleganger over the meat slicer?

Noa: And posters of threatening fat kids. Oh no. No. Sweet Jesus, Adrian, look at the fryer.

2 was, at that very moment, fishing out my chicken from the fryer with a spatula, pinning it to the side wall and dragging it up and into the box. I can’t say that at that point I should have been surprised in the least about her chicken removal methods given our earlier interactions, but a spatula would not have been the tool I chose in that scenario. I had, however, already been wrong about many things in this fine eatery–her methods should have been nothing new.

As she bagged our order, we walked to the counter to meet her, saving the trouble of calling out an order for an Oglethorpe who would never retrieve it.


Nailed it.

Ever had a fun/interesting/horrifying/awesomely funny fast food or general restaurant experience?

Favorite Comment From The Last Post:
From Dana The Biped: “Oh, god, I’m so depressed. And all because I know *exactly* what she means when she says, “what in the great blue fuck.” Because that’s the only kind I get. Which is not to say that I’m doing the diddly with Papa Smurf (even though I do have a thing for men with facial hair), but rather that it is a rare thing. It’s like a blue moon, except moons don’t give orgasms.”
Johi September 3, 2012 at 9:01 am

Holy crap. I hope that you and your fine stallion, Erdriern, threw away that food as soon as you left the building. Everyone knows that context-less posters of fat kids and random bat/rags/pendant lights are food poisoning omens. If not those things, the fact that the tiny person drug your chicken up the wall is a pretty clear indicator that you are going to be pale, sweating profusely and decorating the toilet later.
Johi recently posted..Stellar Parenting Moment #4562 with Brock and Johi

Amy September 3, 2012 at 9:23 am

There’s an odd McDonald’s next to my old job, and they have no idea what non-sugar sweetener is.

Me: I’d like coffee with skim milk and two Splenda, please.
Them: Coffee, skim, sugar.
Me: No, Splenda, please. Two Splenda.
Them: Is that a special coffee drink? Did you see that on the sign or something?
Me: No. It’s a sweetener? That’s not sugar? Like Sweet n’ Low. Do you have Sweet n’ Low?
Them: I’m not…sugar? DO YOU WANT SUGAR?
Them: It equals $2.
Me: Oh, holy…just coffee with skim, I’ll dig a Splenda out of my purse.
Them: So…how much sugar did you want in that, anyway?
Amy recently posted..Oh, now I’ve done it. I’ve cut the dickens out of my finger.

Mayor Gia September 3, 2012 at 9:39 am

Bahahahah this is one of the reasons i feel slightly (SLIGHTLY) safer being a vegetarian.
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Delfin Joaquin Paris III September 3, 2012 at 10:05 am

“operating out of a kitchen the size of my asshole”

Obvious joke alarm going off – must… try… to… resist…

Whew – I made it. Very proud of myself.
Delfin Joaquin Paris III recently posted..Being Grateful For Stuff – Let’s Get Fixed

Sarah September 3, 2012 at 10:22 am

There once was a KFC on the way to Dallas in similar circumstances. I did, in fact, contract the salmonella. I’m fairly certain we were the only ones to order the chicken in that fine establishment in several years.
Sarah recently posted..If We All Start at the Same Time…

Jen September 3, 2012 at 10:28 am

ME: I’ll take a half-dozen chicken nuggets, and. . .
DIPSHIT: We don’t have half-dozens. Just 4, 6, or 12 piece.
ME: . . .
ME: Umm, OK, so the 6 piece.
DIPSHIT: Do you want fries with that.
ME: Doesn’t it come with fries?
ME: Well then, no. I will not be needing any extraneous fries.
DIPSHIT: We don’t have extraneous fries, just the regular ones.
ME: . . .
DIPSHIT: Do you want anything to drink with that?
ME: I believe it comes with a drink already.
ME: So, I think we’re good.

End result of said conversation? I received two orders of fries and no drink. Cue sound of me banging head repeatedly against the Playland tunnel.
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Bill G. September 3, 2012 at 10:38 am

That is funny. And Adrian has apparently been watching Slap Shot again (ref: Oglethorpe).

Reminds me of the A&W in my college town. The decor had not changed since the 1970s. The bathroom floor tile and gold & orange wallpaper are a psychedelic experience.

Kella September 3, 2012 at 11:25 am

Four years ago, my husband and I lived in Socorro, New Mexico. The population reflected what would happen if the Duggars went on a road trip and got stranded next to a taco stand, 1.5 hours from any sign of civilization save a missile testing facility…

I worked at the Taco Bell franchise. From 15 year olds fornicating in the walk-in, the lobby, and possibly the roof (I was never certain if it was what’s-her-fuck or rats…), to reinventing the laws of physics using deep-fried, frozen dough and what might have once been meat, it is a testament to the “What they don’t know won’t hurt them” adage that any of the town is left standing.

Thank you for reminding me of the painful, horrifying hilarity.
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Carrie - Cannibalistic Nerd September 3, 2012 at 11:38 am

I have been to a Bojangle’s on a day where they were “out of chicken” AND at a McDonald’s where they were “out of hamburgers.” This wasn’t the same day.

Misty September 3, 2012 at 12:11 pm

I have seen way too many episodes of Restaurant Impossible to not recognize this as the call for help that it really is! I feel like I just read you dying declaration in lieu of a last will and testament. I will make them pay for your untimely demise, Noa. Me and Erdriern will be vigilant in our prosecution of those illiterate miscreant poisoners. We will avenge your demise!!!
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Tracy September 3, 2012 at 12:29 pm

I really like Arby’s curly fries with cheese sauce. Somehow that is all that’s rattling around in my brain now.
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alicia September 3, 2012 at 2:55 pm

I was at a Whataburger when the lazy eyed man employee started yelling about how no one cleans up after themselves. Then he walked away saying he was going to go shoot himself. He also threatened to take my friend to court because he was pretending to slap my friend.
P.S. The master fryer at that Whataburger is the towns drug dealer. Basically, it’s where they shot The Hills Have Eyes.

Haley September 3, 2012 at 4:06 pm

I was at Pizza Hut and I found a chest hair curled under a pepperoni. There’s another place it could have come from, but I’m just going to say it was a chest hair because I don’t want to think about how a gnarly ball hair could have found its way into my pizza.
Haley recently posted..Just tell me I’m conceited and wrong. Please.

Jaime September 3, 2012 at 5:01 pm

I’m very shocked you didn’t die…. do you think you’ll be tempting fate with a 2nd visit?
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Todd September 3, 2012 at 5:33 pm

Every now and then you’ll find a location which has somehow fallen astray of the franchise brand. Like the Pizza Hut which served me the cockroach suspended in an ice cube like Han fucking Solo in carbonite.

I hope this at least led to some awesome Arby’s slogan related tweets: “Arby’s … I’m thinkin’ salmonella.” or “Arby’s … it’s bad news food!”
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Mandi September 3, 2012 at 5:38 pm

McDonalds. Burger patty on my “filetofish” my utter disappointment upon arrival home with my meal sack was immeasurable- I don’t eat burgers. I actually drove all the way back- partly in anger, partly pressed with the magnitude of idiocy required to put a round burger where a square fish should have gone. At least, they left the tartar sauce off and got it in a fish box! (there IS photographic evidence)

Ally September 3, 2012 at 8:11 pm

I’m pretty sure that we ate people at a BBQ joint off of I-81 in Virginia. We stopped in because it was advertised as ‘the best Darn BBQ’ and we’re suckers for that kind of advertising. My wife ordered ribs, which turned out to be gray, gristly, and suspiciously small like they had come from a small child. The bathroom was covered in blood so that’s obviously where they do their children sacrifice/slaughtering. All I am saying is that you should never ever eat at a place called “Smiley’s BBQ.”

Jillian September 3, 2012 at 11:36 pm

I have no words when it comes to your horrific experience, except to say that all of my laughter is “mortified laughter,” naturally.

Also, since I will soon be in an office with six other people, I would like to propose to them all that only one of us be visible at all times, so that we can do the “pop up from behind the desk” move just like your Arby’s friends.
Jillian recently posted..Just Leave The Cow In The Bathroom

downloadable08 September 4, 2012 at 2:57 am

We had a small mom-and-pop frozen yogurt place a few blocks away from my college that was very popular for their $1.10 Tuesdays. There was a teenaged male server who insisted on personally handing my roommates and I our orders every time. No matter how busy it was, we always felt like we had to wait until his back was turned before we started switching to get them RIGHT.

Dylan September 4, 2012 at 8:24 am

I remember one time when I was fifteen and me and my friends went into McDonalds… There were these totally slut-infested herpes school-bitches ordering in front of us. The whole time they were bitching about all the “fat people” that must go to McDonalds and how stupid the staff must be… Just then they saw that the guy serving them was an incredibly attractive man… One of the whore-teens proceeded to hit on him and without batting an eyelid he goes “bitch, I bat for the other team, study law and you need to wipe that crayola off your face” I’ve never seen 15 year old girls resemble a stunned fish before.. but my god was it epic.

Red September 4, 2012 at 9:03 am

Laughing. So. Hard. Tears. Dude.

Wow. My guess? That thing hanging above the fryer was the result of a food fight. It’s probably some ancient roast beef that lodged itself there and petrified. Sadly, funny things don’t happen to me at fast food places, mostly because if I’m going for fast food, I drive thru. Fast food, for me, must be motorized.
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Myth September 5, 2012 at 7:40 pm

I spent most of the day muttering “Ermahgerd, it’s a cherkern merl for Erdriern!” because GOD DAMN, that’s fun to say.

Dave September 12, 2012 at 12:31 am

You know, a high-school girlfriend of mine years ago, had a mom who managed an Arby’s. She told us that they send their “roast beef” to them in powdered form, which is then mixed with water and congealed into a jello-like mold which is then thin-sliced for your enjoyment.

I only had the fries and shakes after that.

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