Doublin’ Down with KFC
By Hugh Gallon
A sucker for marketing and meat, I went to KFC on the day of the Double Down’s debut. I felt like Homer Simpson when he traveled the country for the Rib-wich. Truth be told, I regularly go to KFC on Mondays before bocce since its on my way. But as luck would have it, yesterday coincided with the un-bunned sandwich’s debut. Was it delicious? Of course it was. Would it have been better with a bun? Definitely. I ordered two biscuits on the side and ultimately ended up crafting little sandwiches myself. In part b/c the fried meat was piping hot and couldn’t be easily held, even with the little paper pouch. The real story wasn’t so much the sandwich – but the ordering of it.
Walking in, I thought that perhaps it would be sold out, or that I’d have to fight mobs of meat-craving zombie customers. When I arrived, there were actually fewer people than usual. And I didn’t see a single bit of signage for the Double Down. It wasn’t on the menu. Granted, this wasn’t a true KFC – its a KFC/Pizza Hut/Nathans/Tim Hortons. But still – I’d expected some fanfare.
I stepped up (there was no line) and asked in a somewhat lowered voice if they had the Double Down. The woman at the cashier paused, sighed, and looked at the woman at the other cash register. They looked at each other for what seemed like forever – not smiling, or laughing, or frowning. Just looking. I said – “ummm… do you?” She looked at me and said, “yes” with what I think was a roll of the eyes, but it was very subtle. “Okay, I’ll take one.” I said. She half-sighed, turned lazily around and stuck her head in the back area to the “cook.” I heard her mumbling the words “Double Down – one of those things…” The “cook” kept responding very loudly and annoyed, “huh? Double What?”
By now there were other customers lining up behind me, and it looked like I’d started a scene, or requested something insane like a fried bald eagle. Finally the cashier turned around and told me that it would be 10 minutes. Since I was past the point of no return, I said okay, paid, and stepped aside to wait for my meal. Then I noticed in the back, behind the counter, behind the fridge and a trash can, a big Double Down sign. Why wasn’t it out? After 10 minutes of awkward waiting, my Double Down arrived. I went to a table and ate, customers in line and people at the tables craned their necks to get a look at my sandwich.
Foolishly, I sat at a table that was right in front of the cashiers. I felt them staring at me as I ate. They didn’t whisper, or talk, or laugh. They just watched, like they were watching a zoo animal at feeding time. Its possible that my perspective here is exaggerated by paranoia. And I was perhaps a sight to see. It was an awkward eating experience, because it was so hot – it burned my hands and mouth to the touch, (like eating a really hot piece of pizza,) and I surely looked like a disgusting sloppy wild animal tearing at a carcass. But most amazingly, in the 25 minutes I was there, not one other person ordered a Double Down. And some real fat losers besides me were there. I feel like I fell for some sort of bad joke. Am I the only person who decided to try this breadless sandwich? Is there something I don’t know?
Check out Episode 2 of Hungry Dads’ Podcast for more.
Hugh Gallon is a dad. A hungry dad. He can be heard on the podcast Hungry Dads, available in