I read today that Taco Bell has decided to go “upscale” with its menu, by which I assume they mean they will stop recycling food from Guatemalan trash heaps. I don’t mean to pick on Taco Bell. I know there are plenty of other fast food restaurants with horrible food that does horrible things to your colon, and truth be told I used to love going on late night drunken Taco Bell runs until my plumber told me that my toilets couldn’t handle that kind of abuse. But let’s not fool ourselves here, Taco Bell. No one looks to you when they want quality food. And I mean no one.
First of all, when the primary delivery vehicle for your food is an oversized caulking gun, all culinary pretenses have gone out the fucking window. The caulking gun is to fine dining what the oversized mallet is to brain surgery. No one sees a greasy teenager manning the sour cream gun in the back and thinks, “Oh boy, this is going to be the best meal ever!” No, they think, “Jesus, I hope I don’t catch dysentery!”
Second, we’ve all seen your average Taco Bell employee. Nothing against people who work at Taco Bell or anything, but given a choice between Taco Bell employees and, say, bush monkeys infected with Simian HIV, I’d honestly have to invoke the tie-breaker and go with whoever had the better hair nets.
Speaking of Taco Bell employees, this is the sign that hangs in the drive through window of my local Taco Bell:
I don’t think that I’m exaggerating in the slightest when I say that no one who works or regularly eats at a Taco Bell is going to be that spry. Maybe if a particularly advanced colony of e coli in the beef has risen up in rebellion and everyone flees in terror, but that only happens three or four times a year, tops.
Anyway, I should be kinder to Taco Bell, as they helped keep me alive in college. I lived down the street from an Oriental restaurant/grocery store, and they sold ten pound bags of rice for something ridiculous like three cents. I worked during the summer and saved my money, and then had the bank transfer it to a checking account on a weekly basis throughout the year. The only problem was that my money became available on Friday, and so it was instantly spent on booze, smokes, and drugs. Whatever pocket change was left over went towards food, and so I bought a lot of rice. Since rice by itself is kind of bland, I then used Taco Bell as kind of a personal spice rack.
I’d enter Taco Bell and purchase a small soda for 69 cents. Then, as I was affixing a lid and getting a straw, I would swipe as many packets of hot sauce as I could fit in my pockets, and let me tell you something, I could fit a metric fuckton of hot sauce packets in my pants. I’d walk out of there looking like I was rocking a double-colostomy bag, but the Taco Bell employees never said a word: They’d all been given corporate-mandated lobotomies! Hahaha, just kidding. They were poor college students just like me, so I’m sure they knew what was going on.
In fact, I’m sure of it because one time I did get accosted. “Hey! How many packets of hot sauce do you need for that soda?” I decided to go the honest route with the guy and explained that I had nothing but rice to eat for the next week and depended on the hot sauce to have some semblance of flavor in my diet. He offered me a challenge. “Let me see how much you want it. If you down five packets of hot sauce at once, you can fill your pockets.” “How about if I eat fifteen packets at once, you give me a plastic bag and I take all of the sauce out here?” “You’re on!”
I have a cast-iron stomach when it comes to spicy food, and if anything it was even stronger in college. So I downed those fifteen packets as if they were nothing and the guy graciously let me empty the bins and take home enough hot sauce to keep me in pathetic rice meals for a month.
So I should be nice to Taco Bell, but if there’s one thing I hate it’s when some mega-corporation puts spin on a shitty product and tries to dress it up as if it’s something it is not. It used to be that if you wanted Mexican food, your choice was either a sit down restaurant or Taco Bell. Now Chipotle and various mom and pop burrito shops have popped up and taken a chunk out of Taco Bell’s revenue. For a while Taco Bell fought back by trying to kill their customers: Liquid cheese on the tacos? Wrapping small tacos in bigger tacos? It started getting out of hand. You got the feeling that the next Taco Bell product was going to get really silly.
Commercial Voiceover: We take a churro, wrap it in a crunchy taco, wrap that in a soft taco, smash it with hammers and roll it in a tortilla with our lava-sauce, add french fries, deep fry it, then liquify it and inject it into a Burrito Supreme with a caulking gun. We put a couple of fried eggs on it, surround it with a layer of cheese, let it age in a homeless guy’s pants for a week or two and there you have it: The Taco Bell Rise-And-Shine Breakfast Burrito!
But just when I thought I had them pegged, they one-upped me: The Dorito-shell taco. Quite frankly, that is brilliant. Serve it with a Budweiser, give away some promotional Taco Bell wife-beaters, and you’ve got yourself a winner there, guys. What you don’t have is fine cuisine, so knock it off with the fucking “upscale dining” and make with the pork-rind Chalupas already. You’re not fooling anyone.