It’s that time of year again, when the streets are awash in drunkard piss and the change in life turns all cellulose gum-based dairy products green. Why it’s almost St. Patrick’s Day!
What better time than to get one of McDonald’s signature Shamrock Shakes? Whoa, slow down there big fella! You’ve gotta find one first.
I was still feeling the sting from the last March 17th, when on that most holy of seasonal dessert days, all three of the McDonalds’ shake machines in the Hollywood area were out of order, so this year I endeavored with the oft-mentioned Todd to beat the holiday rush and get a Shamrock Shake a few days early. What we soon discovered was that our quest would be as challenging as it was insipid. In McDonald’s after McDonald’s, the responses we got from their employees was one that would not pass even the most rudimentary Turing test:
Me: “Excuse me, when is the Shamrock Shake going to be available?”
Meatbag: “err…chocolate, strawberry, vanilla?”
And in some cases, this was from the manager. The response couldn’t have been any more useless if they had answered, “Tell me more about Shamrock Shake?”
So a few days later, we hit the McDonald’s off Sunset & Vine. With St. Paddy’s day but a week away …if not now, when?
Alright, so that was a bust, too. How does the leading fast food chain, pioneer of the seasonal dessert, fall so far behind? We stormed out of that McDonald’s, empty-handed. Sure, Todd wanted to go back for actual food, but I wanted to send the McDonald’s franchise a message.
“Don’t give them the satisfaction.” I spat.
Instead, we settle on the next best approximation of food: Jack in the Box. Wouldn’t it be funny if they had Shamrock Shakes there?
It appears someone at the Jack in the Box corporate headquarters, perhaps even Jack himself, saw a gap in the McDonalds armor and decided to throw their hat into the seasonal shake ring. Because when we got in line, for a limited time: Andes Mint fucking Shake. And it can only be there to compete with the — currently in absentia — Shamrock Shake. I mean, who releases a mint shake in March?
This isn’t the first time the franchise out of San Diego was there to “shake” up the seasonal drink market. Jack has sparred with McDonald’s before, most notably with their rival Egg Nog shakes and their currently unmatched (though not necessarily delicious) Pumpkin Pie shake. I can only wait for a Valentine’s day shake that tastes like chalk candy hearts or a Fourth of July shake that tastes like a sparkler or something.
Sure, by now my thirst for mint ice cream was sated, but what of my esoteric thirst for closure? I had still not found a bona-fide Shamrock Shake. In my hometown of the land that time forgot, there is a McDonald’s that in its history skidded a little bit off the beaten path of corporate monoculture. I’m not saying it’s the restaurant where you could order say, a Mogwai, or a monkey’s paw, but along with such heretofore unimaginable desserts as Dippin’ Dots and Brownie Sundaes, I would be surprised if they didn’t have at least one under a heat lamp.
I saunter up to the register and place my Sphinx’s riddle of a drink order, receiving the usual blank stare. That’s when I notice something. Scrutinizing the menu for any sign of a green milkshake, I see wedged into a corner of their Shakes menu the words Try Egg Nog. I do.
“Okay… can I get an Egg Nog shake?” After all, Christmas is only nine months away.
She checks the register.
“Â¿Small, medium, large?”
Dammit, she called my bluff. Note to self: come back in the winter and try my luck ‘o the Irish then.