Waving a white flag to White Castle

I don’t do drive-thru’s.

Not when it’s 115 degrees (46.1 C) — which it is for a solid two months here in Phoenix, Arizona.

Not during wild monsoons — which are supposed to happen June-September but this year we got gypped, hence the “Nonsoons” moniker.

Not even if the drive-thru’s wide open.

Only one thing makes me go through: the lobby’s closed. I got no choice. And truth be told, even then more often than not I’ll skip the drive-thru ’cause of the line.

There’s no fast-food or beverage I want or need enough to make me wait in a line of more than 3 cars max.

So I was blown away, though not surprised, when I read this today:

“More than 24 hours after the record-setting opening of the world’s largest White Castle, the first in Arizona, a line of hungry fans snaked from the fast-food chain’s counter out the front door and into the parking lot.”

Okay, I know. Blogged on it yesterday. Continue:

“As the sun began to set on the restaurant’s second day of business, a queue of cars partly blocked traffic on nearby streets. Fortunately for those driving in the area … multiple police officers were on hand to maintain order.”

Well, least they got cops in place. Someone was usin’ his noggin. Continue:

“That line, however, was not for the drive-thru. It was a lane where cars could enter the parking lot to get into another line for the drive-thru, where customers faced an approximately two-hour wait.”

Let me repeat:

“That line, however, was not for the drive-thru. It was a lane where cars could enter the parking lot to get into another line for the drive-thru.”

WHY. THE. HELL. would anyone do that? Choose that? Endure that?

And for what?!

Ain’t like White Castle was handing out plots in Atherton, California, where vacant and residential land ranges from $6,750,000 to $6.9 million (CAD $8,815,837 to $9.1 million) — without a house!!

Where a 1.43-acre property recently sold for $6.9 million.

Ain’t like White Castle was gifting every customer a Ferrari.

Or sodas laced with gold flakes.

Or a lifetime of free burgers.

They swarmed indeed like locusts for a meal. For that day. That’s all.

I still don’t get it any more today than in yesterday’s post.

I seriously do not know what tick is in the brains of people who can, will and do wait in line for 2 hours … 10 hours … 2 days … 4 days … for ANYTHING — in this case fast-food for god’s sake!

If you can proffer an opinion, I’d be interested!

I’ve pondered this quite a bit in my lifetime.

I think it might come down to mob mentality.

That. Terrifies Me.

In a burning building, I’d be infinitely more afraid of being utterly disregarded, unseen and trampled to death by my fellow human beings than dying by smoke inhalation.

Ditto open public spaces where something terrible erupts — be it a force of nature (i.e. lightning strikes, flooding) or manmade (i.e., terrorist attack).

People en masse frighten the fuck outta me.

I’ve SEEN what they’re capable of.  We’ve all read stories like rock concerts turned fatal.

I want NO PART of human swarms and stampedes. In this lifetime or any other!

Let me iterate so the universe hears me unequivocally loud ‘n’ clear: I want NO PART of human swarms and stampedes. In this lifetime or any other!

Even a somewhat crowded store causes me to flee to the sidelines. Or exit door.

So observations inform me that those who can wait for days and hours and smush one another for something — be it burgers or Black Friday — are equally capable of stampeding.

I’m not that person in any event.

Guess it goes without saying that I won’t be paying a visit to White Castle in Scottsdale, Arizona, any time soon.

Not even a free multimillion-dollar acre of land in (barf) California could entice me into those hordes and wait times!

So I’m waving the white surrender flag to White Castle for a good long while.

So it remains me ‘n’ you, babe, In-N-Out Burger. Lobby please. No drive-thru.


So much for home being your Castle in Arizona!

You’d think Jesus came to Arizona yesterday.

One couple parked the trailer and waited at the site four days.

Others slept in their cars for a few nights, pitched tents and pulled out lawn chairs to stake coveted claims on concrete.

Crowds swelled into the hundreds so lanyards were handed out so to keep their places in line.

When at long last the doors opened at 8 a.m. yesterday, the couple that had waited four days — those first in line — were invited to cut the ribbon.

“Storm the castle” they shouted on the blue carpet, faux battle axe and sword raised.

The castle: White Castle. You know, the hamburger joint.

Good Lord! Who by the way was nowhere in sight.

It’s the first White Castle to open here in Arizona, specifically Scottsdale, a Phoenix neighborhood (known for its wealth and called”Snotsdale” by locals).

The masses storming the castle certainly weren’t strictly Scottsdale residents! They arrived from across sprawling Phoenix and the state.

Outside on the sidewalk and in the drive-thru, they willingly waited in line for days, for hours — 5, 6, 7, 8 … however long it took to get hands on “baby burgers.” And not necessarily successfully.

Tweeted one person: “Thank you because yesterday was horrible. I waited in line 7 hours yesterday morning from 6:15 am to 1:15 pm to make it to the counter for another hour wait. I didn’t get anything had to go to work.”

For the unaware, these are the basics about the characteristically unique fast-food burger with a cult following (and yep, same product found frozen in markets): 

  • The patties are square and sport five holes — one in each corner and in the middle.
  • They’re small — 2-by-2 inches (5-by-5 cm). One pound of beef creates 18 sliders.
  • Patties are steamed on a griddle with a bunch of minced onions (originally fresh, now rehydrated) and served in a dinner roll
  • They’re invariably sold in bulk — 10 in the Sack, 30 in the Crave Box, 100 in the Crave Crate.
  • Fans are called Cravers.

White Castle burgers

Shy they were not! — those who finally did arrive at the counter. No way.

The third guy in line, for example, ordered 200.

Eventually, amid massive demand, White Castle imposed a per-customer limit: of 60.

At 8 p.m., there were still some 500 people waiting in line with hopes high.

You see, this White Castle is not only open 24-7 — on paper anyhow — but is the chain’s largest.

By 4 a.m. — a mere 20 hours after opening and amid unrelenting demand — the restaurant closed due reportedly to fatigue and restocking needs.

It was aiming to reopen at 9 this morning.

It’s expecting reduced operating hours for now due to massive demand. As it was, their fridges and storage spaces were busting at the seams on opening day.

So here’s my question:

What makes people behave like this? Seriously.

What’s the tick in their brains that enables them to wait in line for days and hours.

And just for food! 

Not for Krispy Kreme or Chick-fil-A … Popeye’s chicken sandwich … an iPhone … Black Friday … any thing OR event have I waited in lines like this! Lines that stretch around the blocks, down the roads, lines involving hours, even days!

Not even for my most beloved musicians!

In fact, I’m so lines- and crowds-averse that if the line’s a little long, short but customers have loaded baskets and carts or the line’s slow-moving, I’ll cross through the store to reshelve my items — I’m uber thoughtful and considerate that way — and leave.

I don’t get it, I truly don’t …

… these swarms who descended on a “simple store” for “simple burgers.”

It’s creepy Biblical in its way.

Exodus 10:12

“And the LORD said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand over the land of Egypt for the locusts, that they may come up upon the land of Egypt, and eat every herb of the land, [even] all that the hail hath left.”


White Castle comes to Arizona and then this …

Stupid is as Stupid Does. It Tweets Too.


I don’t do social media.

Except occasionally Twitter — for two purposes: (1) to follow a handful of renowned radio talk-show folks and comedians and (2) keep abreast of the American culture — such as it isn’t.

But that’s not a whole other post. That’s a book! A series even!

Today I got a potent whiff of just how stupid we are.

There’s this video of a boy stir-frying rice in a giant wok over a tiny open flame and ashes outdoors on concrete.

He looks to be about 5-6 years old and his brother sitting alongside 3-4. They look to be in India – Hindus. Perhaps Tibetan mixed with Chinese.

I don’t expend much energy reading comments en masse for the very reason I don’t do social media: the Stupidity astounds. Overwhelms. “Drowning in a sea of mediocrity” is putting it generously.

Social media ever reminds that I AM on an alien planet and am grateful and relieved that I get to die, that this here ain’t for eternity.

Back to this video of the older brother preparing and serving their meals — quite adeptly.

Unsurprisingly, many commenters swooned.

“How cute” … “nice brother …” “he cooks better than me …” “That child making a meal is gaining so much self esteem. Kids here have it done for them” … “future ‘god of cookery'” … blahblahblah …

But one woman complained.

“… this is very scary and sad! How old is the boy? 4 ??? He is almost a baby himself and supplies his little brother so professionally, that means he does that for a very long time … that’s frighteningly!”

Setting aside her hyperbolic commentary, laughable grammar — “that’s frighteningly” — and absurd conclusion — that he’s been doing this for a “very long time” as evidenced by all of a 1-min. video — I had to jump in. Stupidity on occasion brings out the devil in me!

I replied:

“It’s never too early to teach kids to accept responsibility and self-reliance. Indeed, not doing so creates the very Entitlers, Spoiled Millennials and Snowflakes now prevailing.”

Nicole’s response:

“Thank you for the indoctrination, but I don’t think that a 3 or 4 year old should cook alone by the open fire and take responsibility for his little brother.”

Indoctrination? Huh?

Anyhow, no place better for Smart Snark than social media so I responded:

“Then you don’t understand or grasp other cultures.”

I’ll defer to your knowledge and/or research of cultures … Asian and South American and African as obvious starters — where cooking over fire, with and without a pot, is completely in keeping with their conditions and culture and from a young age! It’s how they feed one another. It’s how they SURVIVE!

Hey, Nicole, Lesson 1: Ain’t no microwaves in rural African villages!

So refresher — I wrote:

“Then you don’t understand or grasp other cultures.”

She responded:

“If you think, then do it.”


My eyes rolled back into my skull, as they invariably do when cruising Twitter. Doesn’t take long. About 5 minutes max.

Regardless, I persevered.

I asked what the hell is she talking about.

More precisely, I asked “wth are you talking about?”

… as it’s come to my attention that social media sorts, particularly millennials and snowflakes, cannot understand even simple standardized English.

It’s acronyms or brain-freeze.

Her response:

“I am not going to discuss this with you here about the global political situation now.”

What. The. Hell?!?!

Global political situation? Where was that referenced, implicitly or explicitly?!

I know when I’m beaten. And bored bored bored.

My eyes had rolled so far back into their sockets that all that was visible was the Darkness of Dumb. The other’s.

I threw up my hands, laughing at her ridiculous absurdities and crying at Just How Stupid We Truly Are.

These Nicoles and Nicks are the future of America.

It’s frightening.

Or as Nicole would say: “That’s frighteningly.”

I’m o-u-t but not before a final slap-down snark:

“You’re shamefully culturally illiterate and none too bright in English thought either. Thanks for the laughs. Zai jian. (Look it up.)”

God help this American culture.

And gimme a good stiff drink. Perhaps a hot toddy.

Just don’t let the competent Tibetan lad warm it in a humongous wok! … {would say Nimrod Nicole}