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king of fast foodEver been to Portland, Oregon? I used to live there, so I know firsthand that PDX has some comically awful food service. It’s probably because every hipster with a PhD in Free Range Coffee Studies is convinced they’re too intelligent to serve food cart chow to fellow PBR swillsters. It’s been tough trying to find the absolute worst service in all of Portland, but I finally completed my quest.

My brother and I walked down to the neighborhood food cart pod where I occasionally partake in a falafel or shawarma¬†from the Mediterranean place. Instead of the refreshingly jovial counter lady, I’m greeted by a brand-new, extra surly mouth breather. By “greeted,” I mean “homeboy is slumped against the cash register, passed out cold.” I attempted to awaken him a few times by ringing the counter bell. The cook/owner walked over and prodded the clerk with the end of a spoon while yelling in Turkish.

Much like the mighty grizzly bear, the lumpy greaseball eventually stirred from his long hibernation, failing to recognize the ever-increasing line of customers in his state of grogginess. My brother told the clerk, “Hey, gimme a chicken shawarma.” The clerk furrowed his brow with apelike concentration and finally grunted out some basic communication:

samuel l jackson pulp fiction english motherfucker do you speak it“Huh?”

“Dude, one chicken shawarma.”

“Two chicken?”

“No man, one chicken shawarma. Are you still asleep or what?”

The ever-so-slightly reanimated lardass handed my brother some change, then promptly forgot to inform the cook what had been ordered. The cook poked the clerk with the spoon again, cursing in Turkish and asking what to make. Apparently such a complex question forced a factory reset in the clerk’s brain, so my brother had to repeat his order a third time.

“Dude, a fuckin’ chicken shawarma! God damn, seriously?”

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Tom-hanks-guy-passed-out-in-food

All tuckered out

Grimly accepting the challenge of communicating with the clerk’s sole remaining brain cell, I step up and attempt to order. “Same thing man, just a chicken shawarma.” Grunting with the effort of understanding language, the clerk pulled out his flip phone and starts checking text messages. He then proceeds to drift off into happy slumber time AGAIN. That is, until the clerk nodded off and the pencil he’s holding stabbed him the forehead. I’m blown away. “Dude, are you narcoleptic or what? Pull it together.”

“It’s like, REALLY hot today.” 80 degrees isn’t a passout-worthy temperature in my book, but hey, maybe he’s from Antarctica or something. I hand twenty bucks over to Mr. Sleepy, who promptly shortchanged me a dollar. I informed him, “This is only twelve bucks and you owe me thirteen.”

“Nah man, you ordered a coke.”

“No, I didn’t.”

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Bill cosby drinking a coke

Hey here’s that coke you didn’t order

“Yeah I already charged you for it so what do you want then?” Interpersonal relations are beginning to fail. “Give me my fucking dollar back. What the hell is wrong with you?” Glassy, bovine eyes regarded me as a dollar slid across the counter. I walked to the waiting area in hopes of obtaining spit-free food. The cook hands me my sandwich and I tell him, “You should give this guy a pillow.” The cook laughed and handed me some kind of little snack cake by way of apology. I saw him hand out three more cakes to the next few customers, informing me that our sleepy friend screwed up every single order.

Is simply being awake when I order too much to ask? Yes it is! Well, in Portland at least. Congratulations, you’ve earned the title of Emperor of Shitty Food Service! Tune in next time when I hand out the award for “Best Public Drooler” to a random hobo.

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