Dear Taco Bell!
No, I need to go straight to the big cheese himself.
Dear Mark King!
My bowels and I have a bone to pick with you! Or should I say, we have major beef!
Now riddle me this: why do I always feel the most disgusted with myself after I consume your food? I’m at 100 percent all day, but once I take a bite into your meat: chicken, steak, or your “seasoned” beef, my stomach feels mangled! The food is always delicious going down, but as soon as it drops into my acids, I feel ashamed that I didn’t go with the healthier option. Overcome with the guilt that once again, you’ve taken my money Mark. Taco Bell has taken my money and destroyed my digestive system all in one swoop. I crumble my paper wrapper filled with regret.
Let’s address the elephant in the room. Where’s your mascot Mark? Where is your mascot! You’re competing with a clown, a pigtailed girl named Wendy, and the buffoon king of burgers! All of your competitors are ready to fight patty to patty with each other and you plop your strange tasting beef in the ring? It’s the default meat option for everything you order, and it may be a fiesta in my mouth every time it hits my tongue, but there’s no way that it’s real. It can’t be. I’m sure it’s all made in a lab, in a vial, right next to where you make your noxious cheese.
You’re being grilled in this fight. All of your critical hits surely feel like a soggy tortilla that your competitors shrug off. You and your team need to get your act together before Ronald McDonald comes and stomps on your tray of salty corn chips with his comically giant clown shoes.
Considering the fact that I decide to subject myself to this physical, emotional, and financial abuse of ordering your food, it would be nice if at the very least, YOU COULD HAVE ACTUAL NEW ITEMS ON THE MENU! You keep putting on different masks and saying you’ve changed! New food! New drinks! New goodies! Make me love you again! All you do is take the same ingredients and reorder them. Every. Single. Time. And I fall for it. A shredded chicken quesadilla? That’s just a regular chicken quesadilla! You think you really did something new just by shredding the meat inside? I grab my keys, grab my wallet, open my belly to you, and once again find myself on the toilet wondering why I let the high-production values of your commercials get the better of me.
Mark, every item that I loved, you forced off the menu. I take this personally. Rest in peace: Cinnamon Apple Empanada, Loaded Chicken Griller, and the 7-Layer Burrito. Your sacrifices will never be forgotten. Your removals from the menu continue to fill me with enough resentment to push me to Taco Mi Nacho instead.
Then you really blew my appetite. I gag just thinking about it now. I turn on my TV one day and I see an ad announcing that now Taco Bell has breakfast items. Like the true abusive partner you are, you found out my weakness. Who thought that was a good idea!? Why do you keep targeting me? I can never escape your grasp! I reach for my phone, open your broken app (that I can’t seem to delete) and navigate through your cesspool of a user interface until I figure out how to add the strange sounding breakfast items to my cart. The Breakfast Crunchwrap followed by the Grande Scrambler. I check my card information over to make sure it’s correct before I tensely push “confirm purchase,” then I hear that all satisfying, fate-sealing bell ring. I drive up to the next window, and the bag is just about thrown into my car. I look back at the drive-through worker as she flashes me an uneasy expression. But remember, this isn’t regular Taco Bell food, this is BREAKFAST food.
I pull into the first clean parking spot, unwrap my piping hot food and devour both as fast as I’m able to swallow. I look in the rearview mirror to see my sickening reflection knowing that once again, Taco Bell pushed me to another low point. Worst of all, I now know the food wasn’t worth the mental anguish and shame. The difference with breakfast is that now I’m gonna have the runs all morning, instead of just in the afternoon. Mission accomplished Mark. Well played. That was a premeditated attack, and it was a direct hit on myself, my pride, and my weakness.
Believe me! I know all your tactics. The gaslighting, the manipulation, the stress. You always find a way to wiggle back in. I’m perplexed at your need to hurt your most loving customers the way you do. Maybe it’s a me problem. Even so, it makes me furious and I blame the entire Taco Bell establishment.
Until I truly see corporate reform the franchise, and you finally get a damn mascot, you’ll remain my secret guilty pleasure. My toxic friend. But we shouldn’t dine together anymore.
I’ll avert my eyes at your commercials, and mute your notifications about new menu items. Until you clean up your kitchen, I’ll be enjoying ice cream with my side chick Dairy Queen. She may give me love handles, but unlike you Mark, she treats me and my taste buds right.
Your Conscious Victim,
Jared Burgess is a staff writer for Blue Muse Magazine