Fast Times

What's with All the Fast Food Freak-Outs?

You've probably already seen the now-infamous footage of 31-year-old bikini-clad Kimesa Smith (dubbed "The BK Brawler") leaping up on the counter and completely obliterating the interior of a Panama City Beach Burger King over a slow-coming Whopper Jr. and fries, a scene described by the cell phone videographer as "best Spring Break ever." Smith now joins a long line of recent fast food felony offenders, most of whom are attached to equally impressive headlines like "Ohio Woman Denied McNuggets Goes on Rampage" or "Woman Strikes Car to Speed Up Drive Through Line."

The eight years I spent working in the food service industry provided for an ample supply of tales both humorous and disturbing, many of the most memorable incidents occurring in the drive-through window of a high-end local burger chain. Employees were given strict instructions to always close AND lock the window after each customer interaction. It only took a large soda to the face and a very indecent exposure for me to understand the logic behind the rule. It also got me asking: What it is about a cheap, quick meal that causes people to completely lose their minds?

For one, it's called fast food, but oftentimes the experience doesn't fit the bill. There are few things more annoying than being made to wait in a slow-moving line when we're tired or in a rush, two of the reasons most people opt for the drive-through in the first place. And then when you do finally get up to the microphone, the person on the other end can't understand a damn word you're saying. While this is often because you're already speaking too loudly or close to the microphone, most people try to compensate by screaming even louder, and the process repeats itself a few more times.

All of these factors, combined with a workforce not adequately trained in customer relations, create a kind of powder keg ready to blow at the slightest provocation - like, for example, forgetting to put the condiments in the bag. Add alcohol to the equation, and you get a stun-gun attack over a missing packet of mayonnaise, or the shoeless, screaming antics of a man dubbed "Cheeseburger Josh," who went in for a burger and left with footage of his bare ass all over the Internet.

Then again, it could just be the clientele. When asked to comment on the incident at Burger King earlier this month, the BK Brawler told the Smoking Gun, "If I knew that was going to happen, I would have gone to Taco Bell."

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Lauren Marmaduke
Contact: Lauren Marmaduke