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Too Many Choices

June 14, 2019

I remember when Taco Bell first opened in my home town of San Fernando, California. For a poor boy who was working for $1.25 per hour, it was a Godsend. I often stopped in after work for an affordable quick late night meal.

Back then the menu consisted of four items: Taco, Red Burrito, Green Burrito and Tostada. The price for each was a mere 15 cents. Two years later they raised the price to 19 cents and finally to a quarter. The choices however always remained the same.

This year I visited a Taco Bell after an absence of many decades. An impatient employee kept prompting me for my order as I stared vacuously at what had become an enormous menu. Finally I stepped out of line and told the young woman that I would need more time to understand the menu. With a look of “whatever,” she turned to the person behind me and took his order without hesitation: A taco salad and a bunch of things no Mexican has ever heard of.

I stared at the hovering menu above me for quite awhile. Where were those four vintage items that I used to love? Were they hidden there somewhere in the sea of non-Mexican entrees? I’m not the slowest guy on the block but still I squinted and tried to comprehend the enormity before me.

Finally, I re-positioned myself in a long line, determined to succeed in the simple task of ordering fast food. When at last it was my turn, I blurted, “Do you still have a cheap taco and burrito?” A new millennial sighed in unblinded disgust and motioned to the Value Menu. I started my order with two tacos but was immediately interrupted: “Soft or crisp?” Not knowing the difference for sure, I replied, “One of each.” I thought that would settle the question nicely. I threw in a bean burrito and thought I had made it over all the hurdles. Then came the selection of a soft drink. It used to be Coke or Mountain Dew. Now it was a selection of seven different drinks in four different sizes. Finally I said, “I just want a small Coke.” The whipper snapper gave me a pathetic look, nodded and then asked, “Senior drink?” Sure, whatever; I just wanted to move things along.

Next as I paid I inquired about some hot sauce. They used to come in two flavors marked green and red. She motioned silently to a table with napkins. I thought I saw some packets of hot sauce there. Upon closer inspection I winced. Whoa Nellie! There were now five or more varieties with names like Fire. What was this geezer to do? I snatched up a fist full of every variety and headed to a vacant table to consummate the feast.

As I polished off the last of the offering, a soggy bean burrito that resembled a leaky diaper, I reflected on a simple fact of modern life: There are too many damn choices!

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  1. I used to love Taco Bell when I lived in America. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Couldn’t agree more with your last sentence.. I can’t be bothered going through these huge menus… and if I do occasionally venture into a takeaway, I tend to order the simplest item. Otherwise, I send my husband off and let him choose…so long as it’s less than half the size of his order!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Love this recollection of geezer vs. the world.i can relate. Dirty diaper reference was. Eewwtiful

    Liked by 1 person

  4. KiM permalink

    I will never look at a bean burrito the same way ever again.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Reblogged this on allenrizzi and commented:

    Soft or crispy?


  6. James Rogers permalink

    I Can remember what you stated about the old taco bell.. But one thing I Remember is there was always what we called bums or Hobos there .. this one
    guy seemed like to me he was just more than that.. I Asked the guy taking my order what’s the deal with that guy .. He said he was a Doctor and his wife had died or was killed but he just lost it . Very Sad never forgot that Guy..

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I used to like Taco Bell back in the ’80s-’90s, but the menu got more complicated and the food got worse. Two of them closed where I live.

    Liked by 1 person

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