Rich and I ran to Burger King the other night for dinner. Normailly we don't eat out, except sometimes on Sundays. But this particular evening we were running late for something.
Usually when we grab a quick meal, we opt for something like Chick-Fil-A or Wendy's. But Burger King was the best option for us that night.
Now, we live in a particular area of town that is not recognized for its affluent neighborhoods, shopping district or design for outdoor activities. Berclair is a fairly low-income neighborhood and the houses, cars, strip malls and road conditions generally reflect that. Our local Burger King is no exception.
On one occasion, after we had just bought our house and were spending every weekend down here repainting the trim and walls before we moved in, we ate at our local BK and when we asked for ketchup were told they were all out.
Rich said (to me and not to our drive-through employee) "How can you be out of ketchup? You're a fast food restaurant! It's morally irresponsible for you to be out of ketchup!"
Apparently, whoever is in charge of inventory and ordering has a really difficult time with the concept of supply and demand, because when we went there a few nights ago, not only were they out of ketchup (again), but side salads (which was the one menu item that made us decide to eat there that night), Coca Cola, AND Sprite.
Now, I'm not really complaining. It is a privilege to be able to eat out, to have the resources and the luxury to not have to cook for yourself.
But I just can't believe that a store that consistently runs out of staple menu items is still in business.
We often find that in the south, things can be done half-assed and it's "good enough for here".
I really hate that attitude.
As my mind tends to do, this experience led me to once again consider the affect of poverty on a community. I think in most other neighborhoods, a fast food restaurant would be shut down for such flimsy operating. But in Berclair, they can get away with it because it's "good enough". People don't really complain, they just accept that it's just "that way", and unfortunately it applies to more than just a meal out.
Our local grocery store just sucks. I'm torn because I want to support our community and put money back in to it by purchasing locally (although, driving 5 miles to the very wealthy and upscale sister store in the Jewish community could still be considered local) but they rarely have everything I shop for, and I don't shop for much. Our local store seems to get the last of the produce from the warehouse, and stocks most of what we don't need. I'd like to take it up with managment but they really don't seem to care. And, sad to say, it's easier to just drive 5 miles away to the store that is always shiny and clean, and always staffed with employees who greet you, smile at you, acknowledge you and help you.
It's hard to believe that two of the same stores can be so drastically different just because of their geographical location, and hard to believe that in a matter of a few miles the economic gap can be so wide.