Jon Dawson: Guy Fieri to film at local gas station

Photo by Jonathan Petersson on

With the pandemic on the wane, one would assume we’d be easing back to some sort of normalcy by now. I contend that things are getting stranger by the day. I also believe the alleged shortage of physical currency is complete hooey, but that’s not why you called.

As I recounted on a recent episode of the Bryan Hanks Show, a couple of weeks ago I made the mistake of trying to order food from a restaurant drive-thru. Legally speaking, these establishments shouldn’t be able to even refer to themselves as selling “fast food” anymore. At this point, “eventually, if it’s not out of stock, and we decide to show up, you’ll get it when you get it food” would be a more accurate description.

Did I mention that some of these places are now paying employees by the day instead of by the week? Yeah, that’s a thing now.

Everything a builder needs is at Blizzard Building Supply, located at 405 Walson Avenue, Kinston.

Restaurant #1 (5:40 p.m.)

There’s only one car ahead of me, so I figure it’s a safe bet that I’ll have my chicken sandwich and water before sunrise.

After sitting at the speaker for a little over a minute, I say “Hello?”. For several seconds I hear employees arguing. Then there are a few terse accusations thrown back and forth involving the alleged occupation of one employee’s mother. Eventually, someone realizes the microphone is on and they ask for my order.

“I’d like a chicken sandwich and a cup of water.”

“Would you like to make that a combo?”

“No thank you.”

“Okay, that’ll be $9.76.”

“That’s the price of the combo. I just want the sandwich.”

“You don’t want the combo?”

“I’d like a chicken sandwich and a cup of water.”

“Please drive forward for your total.”

Fall has fallen at Bannister’s Fine Gifts, located at 106 West Railroad Street in La Grange.

Admittedly the ordering process was not as smooth as I’d hoped. Outside of ordering a napkin, I thought my order was plain and boring enough to actually transpire without any pulling of hair or gnashing of teeth. 

I pull up to the window and the employee looks at me as if I’ve just materialized from another dimension. With a furrowed brow and fingernails long enough to scratch the bottom of jets headed to Seymour Johnson, the employee walks over to the window.

Did you place an order?

At this moment, images of my family and my mortgage flash into my consciousness. I foresee how ending up in the police blotter for crawling through a drive-thru window over a chicken sandwich could adversely affect my chances of ever becoming a Chippendale dancer. 

Instead of having any type of reaction, I decided to sit mute. The employee turned to a manager who heard what she’d asked me. The two of them started arguing, and not wanting to be subpoenaed for the impending trial, I decided to be on my merry way.

Restaurant #2 (5:45 p.m.)

The fast food joint next door had a line of cars but they were moving, so I rolled the dice a second time. I placed an order for a turkey sandwich and a cup of water, again believing there’d be no way for such a bland order to devolve into any sort of Dog Day Afternoon-type standoff. Alas, after placing the order the line didn’t move at all for eight minutes. At this point, I got out of line and decided to try restaurant number three which was right next door.

Restaurant #3 (5:53 p.m.)

This third restaurant is a very popular chain that has made billions selling overpriced bean juice to an unsuspecting public. Essentially they are selling speed to cubicle dwellers who are looking for a sugar/caffeine speedball to power them through till their next momentary parole in the breakroom at 10 a.m. All I wanted was a turkey sausage bagel and a cup of water.

In a very annoyed tone, the voice from the speaker told me that they’d been out of that item since Labor Day. 

“I’m sorry, I didn’t see the sign out here stating that you were out of that item,” I said. 

“(Still annoyed and now condescending) Well sir, our menu isn’t digital, so it’s not convenient for us to change it.”

“You know, there’s a Dollar Tree just across the parking lot here,” I said. “If you like, I’d be glad to go purchase some paper, tape and a marker so you could alert people to the fact that the only thing available on your menu are packs of Splenda and sarcasm.”

My offer to help out was refused with extreme prejudice.

Gas station #1 (6:04 p.m.)

By this point you’d think I was defeated, but salvation was just down the road. I stopped at the Mallard gas station on U.S. 70 and found a turkey on wheat sandwich housed in a plastic triangular container. With the sandwich in hand, I grabbed a giant bottle of Springtime water and made the purchase without incident. The cashier even called me “baby” when asking if I wanted my receipt. She calls everybody “baby”.

With “fast food” giving way to “eventual food”, I see gas stations becoming the next hipster hangout. Couples will be dressing up and heading to their local Sheetz or Circle K for supper. Zagat’s will have to add a new convenience store section to their guide. Chevron stations will have hostesses stationed at the door to show you to their sandwich cooler.

Don’t be surprised if you see Guy Fieri filming at a Fuel Warehouse near you.

Jon Dawson’s books are available at

The entire archive of shows can be found at

The Bryan Hanks Show airs on 960-AM in Kinston and daily at 7 a.m. & 3 p.m. It also airs on the suite of stations in New Bern and Greenville (107.5-FM) at 6 p.m.

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