Thursday, March 13, 2008

Medium Concerns (I'd like fries with that)

Here's a classic rant from the early days:

This one kills me.

I walk into a fast food store and order a hamburger, soda, and small fries. Okay, so I usually get an apple pie too. And a toy, too, if the truth be known. Anyway ...

The brainquest champion at the register sighs, gestures to the menu board, and tiredly explains, "We don't have SMALL fries. All we have is medium, large, and super size. Which would you like?" ARRRRGH!! I always want to throttle them when they say that (but that might be a sign of pent up aggression or a problem with authority wearing polyester, so we won't pursue that conversation).

If you have three things of some category and they are each varied in size, then -- maybe just for that particular collection -- the littlest one is the SMALL!! You can't start with medium! Without both a small and a large, there is no medium. None. Zip. Nada. If you only have two things of different size, one is small, one is large. That's it. Tell your advertising guys to shut up already. (another grumpy end to a paragraph!)

Let's put it to the test. 8 ounce soda. 16 ounce soda. 32 ounc soda. Which one is the "medium"? The 16. It doesn't matter if you consider that a lot of soda. It's the medium. What if you got rid of the 8 and had a 16, a 32, and a bladder busting 48? Well, the 16 is still plenty of soda, but now it is the small -- and the 32 becomes the medium!!! (If you've simply run out of 8 ounce cups, then it's okay to say we don't have smalls right now and still have a medium -- because you still have the small to compare it to ... just don't discontinue your small and expect to keep calling the other a medium.)

Or, a sports analogy. If three offensive linemen are hanging around the locker room ... a 334-pounder, a 326-pounder, and a 312 pounder ... and the coach says the small one has to go get fries for everybody -- he's going to have them running stairs all day if they try to duck the assignment by claiming they're all "large" so there isn't a "small" around. Yeah, the 312-pounder is a big boy, but in this trio, he's the small. Trade the 312-er for a 350-pounder and it's the 326-er who has to get the fries.

What all this ranting and raving boils (or fries) down to, is that "medium" is a comparitive measure. It requries an understanding of "small" and "large" to roughly define itself. Organizations that try to make their smalls look bigger by calling them mediums are deluding themselves and abusing our minds. I'm steamed (or fried) so I, for one, will continue to order SMALL fries when that's what I feel like -- regardless of what they're calling it that week. Just give me the littlest one you've got. That one's the small.

Trust me. It is.

Okay, in the grand scope of things, this is a small thing. Which is fine. It can be a small thing. Or, if you feel more strongly about it, it could be a large thing. Or a "super size" thing. It simply can't be a medium thing unless there are small things and large things to compare it to!!!

Anybody else ever get the feeling the folks at McDonalds are happy when they see your car pull into Burger King across the street?

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