Observations at Taco Bell

“Hi, I’d like a grande sausage breakfast burrito and that’s all,” I told the speaker at the Taco Bell drive thru.

The speaker crackled back for a couple seconds, and then a muffled yet peppy sounding man’s voice replied, “Wonderful! Your total is $2.58. We’ll see you at the window.”

Indeed. The fattening sausage, cheese, potatoes, eggs, and hot sauce inside of a warm tortilla would be a wonderful combo in my mouth. I knew that drive thru voice. I’d encountered that same man before at this Taco Bell a few times in the past. He always asked me about my tattoos. This time was no different. I pulled up to the window and it slid open. There he was, a bronzed, weathered-looking guy in his late 40s sporting wire-rimmed glasses and a stunning Taco Bell visor and polo shirt. I handed him my card and he glanced at my left arm. “Oh my, I love your tattoos!” he cried out. He had me rotate my arm so he could see the bugs better. Upon handing me back my credit card he was eager to show me his tattoos. On the right arm, an extremely faded red and green dragon. It looked like a blob with a wing coming out of it. “I let my friend do that one on me a long time ago,” he explained. He turned to show me the other arm which had a black distorted Tasmanian devil and a blurry barbed wire band. “And I tattooed these on myself! In fact, I tattooed over 700 people in my lifetime. Yeah, it was out of my basement and I never charged them for anything. I got burned out after a while.”

I tried to think of the nicest thing I could say. “Badass!” I responded. He smiled proudly.

“Hey, I have a small request…” I paused, and he leaned in a little bit closer, nodding. “When the burrito is ready can you just give me the paper-wrapped burrito by itself and not inside of a bag with napkins and stuff?”

“Okay, just the burrito?” he looked a little confused.

“Yes, just the burrito. It’s wasteful when I don’t need the bag.”

“No problem!” The window slid shut, but then through some malfunction it popped open a crack. I saw him walk back into the kitchen. It was then that I heard, “Did you put in the fucking potatoes? No? Jesus Christ! Yes, the grande burrito has potatoes! Put the potatoes in, what are you waiting for! Now she’s gonna have to wait…”

He jogged over to the window and it slid open again. In his most polite voice, he announced, “I’m so sorry, we had to put in fresh potatoes, it’s going to be just a few minutes wait. Would you like something to drink? It’s on the house.”

“That’s fine! Sure, I’ll take an iced coffee,” I requested. He looked so extremely happy to be getting that for me. I almost felt like a celebrity for a minute there. He handed me my coffee and I saw him turn and walk around the corner. The window didn’t shut all the way, once again. In the back I heard him tell a girl, “You shouldn’t eat candy!”

“Why not?” she demanded to know.

“Cause it’s bad for you!”

“Well everything is bad for you nowadays, so I might as well,” she sassed back. He laughed uproariously.

“You got that right! Hell, even breathing is bad for you!” He shook his head and then someone handed him a burrito. Before I knew it, I was being handed a bag with a burrito and napkins inside. I didn’t want to be there any longer so I just rolled with it.

Later after work I made a pit stop at the Hy-Vee grocery store. Once again, my tattoos sparked a little conversation – this time at the checkout line. I could tell right away when the cashier boy said, “I like your tattoos,” that it was a simple, thoughtless comment. I’m sure that very morning his jackass manager said, “And don’t forget, give your best customer service! Make sure to compliment EVERY person in line. It’s easy – find something, ANYTHING, to compliment them on.” And then cashier boy probably rolled his eyes on his way out of the break room. When he spoke the compliment, it was in a disinterested, monotone voice. My arm was resting on this little shelf by the credit card machine and he barely even glanced at my tattoos. After I paid I grabbed my stuff and I heard him say to the lady customer behind me, “Oh what a lovely purse,” in the same flat tone of voice. I started to laugh as I walked away.

In the evening I pulled out my taco bell receipt and went to work filling out the survey on tellthebell.com, where I’d been filling out online taco bell surveys for years in hopes of winning $500.Because tattoo guy is so nice and friendly I didn’t mention the potato mishap. Or the fact that he forgot about my ditch the bag request. He was distracted and hey, I got a free coffee out of the deal. I wonder if he would still give a free tattoo out of his basement, though? By special request…perhaps a jagged little burrito with a heart around it.


19 thoughts on “Observations at Taco Bell

  1. I had on my happy face as I read this. You just can’t beat a burrito/tattoo story. They go together like peanut butter and jelly. I always stop and share ink stories with people. Every tattoo has a story to tell. A lot of times it involves alcohol and dares. I bet Tattoo Guy would gleefully tattoo a jagged little burrito with a heart around it. You’d probably get free coffee every time you drove by after that. The next time someone feigns interest and asks how you got the burrito tattoo you can tell them the warden’s gardener did it while you were in Leavenworth for beating some bonehead with the tail boom of a helicopter. Wink and tell him nobody cared about the nitwit you beat up but damaging a 6 million dollar helicopter without permission was unforgivable. That always makes nosepicker boys back up a little. 😀

    • Upon reading this again I probably sound like a judgmental tattoo snob! I’m sure my tats will look less than satisfactory after a certain age. People love what they love. I just can’t get over lumpy Looney Tunes characters, though.

      Oh, Leavenworth – nice name drop, there. I’m sure his gum would fall out of his gaping jaw! He’ll forget to ask me “paper or plastic” and then we’ll have a real problem.

      • Bwaa haaaa haaaa!!! I can see the YouTube video now as Nice Tats Dude gets reeducated by an Irate Dragon Sister. A shocking thing to see, no doubt. I’ve seen some really blurry tats and always worried about mine getting like that. I can see myself slipping into the pool while all the kids scream and jump out because the guy with the electrocuted spider monkey with the broken tail tattoo tries to explain it’s just a really old Pegasus and that part isn’t his tail so stop looking at it. Once that slips out the life guard will insist I get out of the kiddie pool and go to the adult pool and stay in the deep end away from all the mothers with kids. That day is coming unless a bus intervenes at the crosswalk. Maybe I’ll just go get the fuzzy parts expanded to something more fresh and crisp with bright colors. That should keep me out of trouble at the pool.

      • Just keep it out of the sun as much as you can. Is that a Pegasus or are you happy to see me?! 😀 I absolutely have to see a picture of it sometime. Don’t worry, I’d distract everyone at the pool by throwing in a baby ruth.

    • Happy to entertain as always. Just don’t tell anyone a fitness enthusiast still eats fast food on occasion. If you’re referring to that old photo, it’s a split screen photo to show different angles of my arm. The bug is large enough that it wraps around and you can’t see all of it with one shot. I’ll have to post some pics of it on here soon along with the others. There’s also another bug on the same arm.

      • I reckon the fast food now and then is more than okay. You really have to have gone a while with your standards slack to put on significant fat. I dunno how you can take an insect on your arm. Do they not give you the shivers? They seriously do me. Theres a theory they came from space on a meteor- arent terrestrial dna, hence why we’re so freaked out.

      • 🙂 Oh, I know you weren’t lecturing me. We all have our guilty pleasures. Do you have Taco Bell where you live? I think bugs are neat to look at, but spiders freak me out so I wouldn’t get one of those on me. I haven’t heard that theory but I like the sound of that! Will have to read up some more.

    • Agreed! I need more to complete my vision, though. I’ll share pics soon. Not to toot my own horn but yeah, I’d say I’m fairly stylish. 🙂 But when I get home it’s straight into the pajama pants and ratty old t-shirt!

      • To be precise, my go-to loungewear at home are these blue plaid pajama pants and a bright orange t-shirt with bats all over it (they also glow in the dark). If the bat shirt is in the laundry hamper then out comes the “keep it creepy” shirt with a pumpkin on it. It’s Halloween every day!

      • Ha,ha, I love it! Over here (in winter) everyone wears “Oneies” LMAO I don’t know what to think, I’d like to claim I wear a 3 piece suit, pinstriped, 1950’s style, with cufflinks, I’d rather like to have yellow hair, combover style, and weird lips! I don’t know where this image is coming from, I just know that I do have a very odd aura! I’d actually quite like a onesie for cold nights, I’m rambling awfully now, perhaps a crocodile one, or a Hugh Heffner dressing gown! LOL What the hell planet does he think he’s on anyway?? (Not sure if he’s actually dead now, or just (still) looks that way) Its bloody sweltering hot here today, its very rare, but I haven’t had a shirt on all night, exposing my rippling man flesh all over the damn place like some freakish pot bellied weirdo!! 😀 😀

      • What lovely imagery you conjured up! I used to have a onesie (penguins) and loved it! It shrunk in the dryer, though. 😦 It had a butt flap and everything for taking care of business. I think it’s great when guys wear silky pjs just like Hugh Hefner. They feel awesome! It’s been bloody sweltering hot here for the last 2 months! Gross.

  2. I don’t think anyone should be forced to give compliments, one can hear when they are not real and to be honest I would prefer someone to simply say nothing or a ‘have a nice day’ or whatever and both could be happy! But that burrito guy sounds nice ^^

    • I know, it’s like my old job where they forced us to say “good morning” in a lovely tone of voice and smile BIG. They told us we needed to fake it if we didn’t mean it. I’m not good at faking. 😉 “Have a nice day” and “thank you” is standard here. Burrito guy is genuine and friendly. Good customer service.

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