Plowing through the holidays

It has never seemed easy to adjust and reposition myself following any of the holidays since I began to write several years ago. This recent holiday season appears to have been no different. I begin to wonder if it’s the drama, or the constant busyness entertaining the family and friends; perhaps the shopping and the setting up and tearing down of the holiday decorations. I’m not sure.

I had taken a few pictures of things as 2015 screamed by hoping to get a moment to myself to recollect what it was that I had witnessed or experienced. Perhaps it was a great meal, moment or adventure. Perhaps it was something to remember I was to avoid. I recorded the moment only to realize many times that it’s time for a new smartphone, one which the camera gives a good focus. Mine seems to be dying and requires me to smack it against a hard object now and then to free up the focusing mechanism, Otherwise I think I’ll stay with the Apple products vice returning to an Android. The IPhones are less “buggy”, yet remain cutting edge enough to maintain a competitiveness with the best of the smartphones.

Del Taco 1I saw 2015 finish only to leave me now staring at a speeding 2016 and I had only watched as the days were rapidly passing me by without a single word from my thoughts. Here I am nearing the end of the first month of 2016 already getting ready to set up holiday decorations again if I don’t slow down, fix what is broken and better prepare myself for what is in store for this year. It’s hard, but somebody needs to do it. And yes, everything seems to be breaking already including every known appliance and automobile.

One of the things I did notice during my holiday culinary adventures was a neat idea that I witnessed actually working. Something so simple it fascinated me to sit back and watch myself (customer), my wife (customer) and other customers performing the same procedure without thought. What was once a seemingly abundant commodity in fast food, now appeared to be perhaps the difference between making the bottom line in the black, and stumbling across that line in the red.

After ordering from the counter as I had done in the past at a local Del Taco (no, I don’t eat there often . . . maybe once in a two or three year’s time), I had loaded my hands with packets of “Del Inferno” hot sauce, regular hot sauce, mild hot sauce and ketchup, thinking the usual of taking some extras for the car or home. I mean, why not? Isn’t that the usual routine when visiting anyplace that “gives away” such accoutrements to help the fast burger, fries, burrito or taco? I also grabbed a few napkins, a couple of forks and sat at my seat only to notice there was a basket already at my table with all of the pre-packaged condiments ready to go. Here I sat with a handful of the packets staring around at the other tables wondering if my table had somehow ended up with the special basket and it needed to be returned to the counter where I had first stocked myself. No, these baskets were on each table and there was a nice older lady taking each basket away one at a time, cleaning the table, restocking the basket and preparing the table for the next guest by placing that freshly prepared basket back on each table.

I then realized that I didn’t need the condiment packs I had grabbed earlier after ordering. I proceeded to place them neatly into the prepared table basket as I didn’t want to disturb all of the hard work this nice lady had already performed. I then noticed another table that had recently sat down across from us was performing the exact same routine. They had returned from ordering with a handful of condiment packs and were now placing them back into the table basket. Hey, maybe this store owner or manager had seen the costs associated with those packets of hot sauce and ketchup (probably required of the franchise) to be a pretty penny for meeting that bottom line profit margin. Perhaps that store owner or manager was just following corporate protocol. I don’t know since I don’t visit Del Taco often unless I am specifically craving their fries, nor do I care to pursue the research of this matter. I just thought it to be a great money saver since those packets can’t be especially cheap. Del Taco 2

I then found my self placing the unused forks and napkins in that tray as well once I was done eating. I don’t quickly know of the sanitary guidelines or regulations regarding the reuse of unused plastic forks or napkins, but the unused pre-packaged condiments are fair money to be saved. An interesting concept that I’m surprised isn’t mimicked more often at other fast food dining establishments. Yet this could be perhaps somewhat tricky because no restaurant owner wants to be pre-labeled as being cheap to their customers.





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