The Fast Food Hierarchy


https://www.thedailymeal.com/healthy-eating/15-fast-food-entrees-least-cholesterol

As a faithful keeper of fast food lore, I have plumbed the depths of the Greasy Fryer many a time, sampling all that the gods of the French and the fried have to offer. I have sampled countless burgers, innumerable nuggets, and fields of fries that boggle the human imagination. And as much as I’d like to believe there are few social barriers among the foodstuffs, I’ve come to realize this:

There is a Fast Food Hierarchy.

If you follow the ways of fast food long enough, you soon realize that not all buns aren’t created equal. Some fast food establishments are simply far better than their brethren, but how should one decide them?

Fortunately for posterity, I’ve developed a ranking system.

The Fast Food Hierarchy is made up of four holy artifacts, which guide the fast food denizen to make a decision as to which establishment deserves their allegiance: the Scales of Price and Food Quality, the Blade on Uniqueness, the Goblet of Variety, and the Parchment of the Value Menu.

 

The Scales of Price and Quality

Many judge fast food establishments based on the quality of their food alone. But this is for the unenlightened. You shouldn’t just like the food at a fast food establishment; you should get what you pay for.

If you’re eating fast food, chances are you’re trying to save money. A restaurant with cheap food that’s okay should rank higher in the hierarchy than one with good food that’s overpriced. I don’t mind paying more money for certain types of fast food, but it’d better taste good.

 

The Blade of Uniqueness

Like a sword slicing through an enemy force, the Blade of Uniqueness helps a fast food establishment slash through mediocrity by making it stand out. If a fast food restaurant wants to capture your attention, it should wow you with a creation you can only purchase at that restaurant, like the Big Mac or Chick Fil-A chicken sandwich.

If a fast food restaurant gives me something truly unique, it makes sure I won’t forget the place and will make a pilgrimage to its plastic chairs again someday.

 

The Goblet of Variety

A restaurant that just serves burgers will bore its patrons quickly. Sure, most fast food restaurants include other menu items like chicken nuggets and fish sandwiches, but if an establishment wants to establish its place in the Hierarchy, it should have multiple types of burgers, different ways of serving chicken, and if possible, animals on the menu with eight or more legs.

 

The Parchment of the Value Menu

This sacred text has been passed down from generation to generation of the fast food faithful. It makes fast food available to all, not just the wealthy or fortunate.

But just having a value menu isn’t enough. Some fast food establishments (I’m looking at you, Burger King) fill the value menu with the items that no one ever wants to order. This is an insult to the value and should be punished through demotion in the Fast Food Hierarchy.

 

Now that we’ve defined the parameters, how do some of the more famous fast food establishments measure up? Let’s give each fast food restaurant a ranking of 1-6 in each category and tally up the final score to see which restaurants are truly a light in the darkness.

 

And just so you’re aware, I did not submit to personal bias in this ranking. It was agony for me to avoid putting Chick Fil-A at the top.

McDonalds

Scales of Price and Quality 6
Blade of Uniqueness 4
Goblet of Variety 3
Parchment of the Value Menu 5
Total 18
McDonalds may not have the highest-quality food, but it’s cheap, meaning you get what you pay for. It also has a lot of unique menu items like the Big Mac and McRib (when it’s around) and has one of the best value menus in fast food. The only place where McDonalds comes up short is in the variety area: they have a lot of burgers, but only the basics in chicken sandwiches, fish, salads, and other items.

 

Burger King

Scales of Price and Quality 2
Blade of Uniqueness 2
Goblet of Variety 3
Parchment of the Value Menu 1
Total 8
Burger King’s business model of being nothing more than an alternative to McDonalds doesn’t help its ranking in the hierarchy. The main problem with Burger King is that their burgers pale in comparison with similar burgers, like the Wendy’s Double or Carl’s Jr. Famous Star, but aren’t any cheaper. Also, their value menu is a disgrace. If not for the chicken fries, there would be no reason to visit a Burger King at all.

 

Wendy’s

Scales of Price and Quality 4
Blade of Uniqueness 3
Goblet of Variety 5
Parchment of the Value Menu 5
Total 17
Dollar for dollar, Wendy’s tends to be the priciest of the fast food establishments. But it’s well worth it. They’re always coming out with something new to try, from a bacon and mushroom burger to ghost pepper fries to a ranch chicken sandwich. Or, if you’re looking for a deal, you can grab a 4 for $4 meal.

 

Chick Fil-A

Scales of Price and Quality 5
Blade of Uniqueness 6
Goblet of Variety 3
Parchment of the Value Menu 4
Total 18
I’ll admit to a personal bias with Chick Fil-A. It’s freaking delicious. And the chicken sandwiches are truly unique, making Chick Fil-A’s price-to-quality ratio superb. Chick Fil-A doesn’t have a value menu per-se, but the kid’s menu offers some pretty good budget choices. The only place where Chick Fil-A falls short is in the variety aspect. It’s pretty much all chicken.

 

Taco Bell

Scales of Price and Quality 3
Blade of Uniqueness 4
Goblet of Variety 2
Parchment of the Value Menu 1
Total 10
Again, personal bias here. I get migraines when I eat the wrong types of food, and for me, Taco Bell is a one-way ticket on the migraine express. I have to admit, though, there’s not much like it, and the food is pretty much priced as it should be. Unfortunately, many of the menu items feel like the same ingredients simply repackaged in different ways, and a lot of the value menu items are downright disgusting.

 

Carl’s Jr./Hardees

Scales of Price and Quality 5
Blade of Uniqueness 5
Goblet of Variety 6
Parchment of the Value Menu 3
Total 19
In some places, it’s Carl’s Jr. In others, it’s Hardees. Either way, it’s delectable. I’m not sure if this is true in other areas, but the Carl’s Jr.s in Colorado actually serve Mexican food in addition to the traditional burgers and fries. And it’s better than anything you can get at Taco Bell.

 

Arby’s

Scales of Price and Quality 3
Blade of Uniqueness 5
Goblet of Variety 5
Parchment of the Value Menu 3
Total 16
I’m divided on Arby’s. On the one hand, their roast beef isn’t real high quality and looks like Jabba the Hutt’s back fat. On the other, they’ve got a lot of menu items, like the gyro, that make Arby’s a truly unique experience. They also bring the sauce, bigtime. Arby’s wide variety of sauce makes one appreciate life a little more.

 

Del Taco

Scales of Price and Quality 5
Blade of Uniqueness 4
Goblet of Variety 6
Parchment of the Value Menu 6
Total 21
Del Taco’s got it all: traditional tacos and burritos. Tasty chicken and ranch tacos and burritos. Rice and beans. French fries. Burgers. Steak and potato burritos. Churros. Milkshakes. And the list goes on! Add to that a stupendous value menu and you have a restaurant worth driving out of your way for.

 

So the Fast Food Hierarchy currently stands thusly:

Del Taco
Carl’s Jr./Hardees
Chick Fil-A (tie broken due to that yellow sauce)
McDonalds
Wendy’s
Arby’s
Taco Bell
Burger King

 

Do you agree with the hierarchy? Let me know if there are other denizens of the fast food world you’d like me to rank.

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Website Changes 09/03/18

Greetings from my dark, secret, mystical, pizza-scented basement domain.

You may have noticed some pretty drastic changes to the website. The cartoon fish is gone, the site is no longer called Classysturgeon, the theme of the site and look of the site and smell of the site are all different. But despair not!

I’ll still be writing goofy posts and talking about my crazy adventure books. Check out the “blog” page for the Classysturgeon-style articles and posts.

I’ve just decided to change the site to emphasize my work as an author, hence the new site name, josephcaldaraauthor.com, and the snazzy, professional-looking headshot. Because of this, you’ll find links to the Bob and the Cyber-Llama series of adventure/comedy books on most of the site’s pages. Think of them like the engravings on the Arc de Triomphe. Only with more llamas.

Check out the “events” page for descriptions of upcoming readings and other events.

I’ve also changed the name of my Facebook account, Twitter account, and Instagram account, as well. Don’t worry, though, it’s still me.

So please join me as, like a digital Magellan, we continue to navigate our way through the seas of the Internet and search for the East Indies of an online community.

Author Reading Event at Sable Elementary

I’ll be holding an author reading event at Sable Elementary on Thursday, February 22!

From 12:00pm to 1:00pm, I’ll be visiting the fine folks at Sable Elementary in Aurora, Colorado, for an author visitation and reading event. During the event, I’ll be reading a short passage from Bob and the Cyber-Llama, as well as speaking about my writing experience and self-publishing. I’ll also be hosting a Q and A. All three books in the series will be available at the event.

This is a closed event, so only the Sable students will be privy to its glorious, meaty goings-on. However, if you’d like to schedule an event like this, let me know by emailing me at classysturgeon@gmail.com.

It’s thanks to your support that I’m able to hold events like this. Stay tuned for future updates. Excelsior!

“Bob and the Black Knight” Now Available!

Sound the horns of plenty and smack your chihuahua’s buttocks with glee! The wait is over; You can now buy Bob and the Black Knight in print from Amazon and Lulu or digitally via Kindle!

In their third escapade, Bob Halibut and his cyber-llama butler, Jeeves, hit the adventuring trail once again, this time in search of the mythical sword Excalibur. As they comb through the remnants of King Arthur’s legacy, they find a world of armored knights, killer cockatrices, an evil sorceress, sweet snacks, salty snacks,  sweet-and-salty snacks, and break-dancing.

If you’re ready to go medieval with Bob and his cyborg quadruped, pick up Bob and the Black Knight today!

Lightsabers, Lightsabers, LIGHTSABERS!!!

When I was but a young lad, I dreamed of owning a lightsaber.

And then the wheel of time turned ever-onward. I grew older and taller and hairier and started noticing young ladies. And I dreamed of owning a lightsaber.

Then I became a man. I put childish ways behind me, put on a suit and tie, and hit the job trail. I built my resume, interviewed at accomplished institutions, and worked diligently to support myself. And I dreamed of owning a lightsaber.

Sure, there were those cheap, plastic ones with the segmented blades that we played with as kids. They broke a lot and stopped working after a few years. But we all knew those weren’t “real” lightsabers and longed for the day we could hold the real thing on our hands and feel like true Jedi.

 

Well, no longer.

Thanks to the folks at Ultrasabers, my roommates and I now possess a genuine, fully-functional, Yoda-worthy lightsabers!

I wouldn’t know, but I imagine this is what the day your child is born feels like. And no, Ultrasabers isn’t sponsoring me to write this post. The sabers are just that awesome.

They’re made of a super-strong, lightweight material that can endure all kinds of punishment. It allows you to engage in full-contact duels and pull off some pretty swanky spinny-moves without damaging your saber or your arms.

Lightsaber dueling is fantastic exercise. If you’re like me and you hate most forms of exercise more than Han Solo hates carbonite, you’ve no doubt morphed into a plump, doughy form over the years. Lightsaber battles are just the thing to bring our your inner ten-year-old and get you moving.

One of the best things about Ultrasabers is the price. People have been able to buy combat-worthy lightsabers for some time, but they’ve had to spend a few hundred bucks. With Ultrasabers, the lightsabers start at around $55, and you can spend as much as you want on them. Sound and a fancy hilt will run up the price tag a bit. Still, you can get a pretty awesome saber with basic sound for around $165.

The sabers also come in just about every color you can imagine: red, green, guardian blue, arctic blue, purple, orange, turquoise, and Aegean silver (or “white” to those of us not enrolled in art school.) The website also sells color discs, which can be used with the white saber to produce a wider variety of colors. I’ve used the discs with my Aegean silver blade to make yellow, emerald green, lime green, puce, light turquoise, silver, gold, “New Hope” blue, and even pink.

However, if really want to engage in some series duels with these things, there are a few facts you’ll want to keep in mind:

  1. The fancier, more expensive hilts, like my “scorpion” handle, contain more metal, which makes the saber heavier. It certainly doesn’t make the saber hard to use, but it will cause your arms to get tired after awhile.
  2. Ultrasabers eat batteries like a sarlacc eats Boba Fetts. When buying your saber, you’ll have a lot of options to adjust before the purchase is complete. You can either get a blade that uses triple-A batteries or some new-age, lithium ion garbage that’s impossible to find. Go with the triple-As. Also, keep in mind that sabers with multiple blades (double-bladed sabers or longsword-style, Kylo Ren-looking sabers) drain the batteries much more quickly.
  3. If you buy a lightsaber with sound (I mean, why wouldn’t you?), you’ll have several different sound options, which increase the cost of the saber exponentially. The basic sound option works great; you don’t need to spend extra money on a fancy-shmancy speaker system.
  4. You can perform basic maintenance on your saber using a tiny alan wrench, which you can buy from Ultrasabers for $1 at checkout. As soon as it arrives, go to a hardware store and buy a few more wrenches of the same size. They’ll inevitably get lost.
  5. The biggest injury risk from lightsaber battles is whacked fingers. A bloody knuckle or black-and-blue thumb will bring your night of fun to an end pretty fast. Unfortunately, there aren’t really any protective gloves designed for lightsaber fighting, so you’ll have to improvise.
  • We’ve found that the best solution is UFC fighting gloves, which have padding above the knuckles  and on the upper part of the fingers. The smooth fabric on the palm can make the saber difficult to grip, but cutting the palm out entirely or adding Velcro (just the soft part) solves that problem pretty effectively.

 

  • The gloves still leave your thumb and the lower part of your fingers exposed, but we’re working on a solution.

Apart from ferret proctology, I’ve never felt something as exhilarating than battling with legitimate lightsabers. If you want to earn a few cool points, get some aerobic exercise, and feel like a Jedi, head over to Ultrasabers and make a purchase. Regret it you will not.

Note: That last sentence made me realize that Microsoft Word’s grammar check doesn’t see anything wrong with Yoda-speak. Depending on how you look at it, that’s either awful or awesome.

Bob and the Cyber-Llama at Western Welcome Week

I have yet another piece of poodle-roastingtly exciting news: I’m going to have a booth at the Western Welcome Week festival in downtown Littleton on August 19!

The Western Welcome Week festival has taken place once a year for almost a hundred years. It’s a huge community celebration in downtown Littleton, Colorado. Events take place from 8am to 5pm on most days from Friday, August 11 through Sunday, August 20.

The real action takes place on Saturday, the 19th. There’s a huge parade, a bunch of vendors selling books, food, entertainment, and other goodies, an obstacle course, gryphon rides, orca-eating contests, and giant robot battles. Or at least, some of those things.

I’ll be sharing a booth with Curt Fulster of C. Fulsty Books, who’s also donating his August profits to charity.

As I mentioned in my last post, I’ll be donating all of the money I make in August to CURE Childhood Cancer and Canines for Disabled Kids. This includes all of my Western Welcome Week sales, so be sure to stop by and support a good cause.

Stay tuned for details on my booth location!