Fast Food Napkins

As most of you probably know about me, I enjoy the occasional bacon cheeseburger—or pile of cheap tacos, or 18-inch long sub or chili dog, for that matter—just as much as the next guy. There’s an old saying, “You get what you pay for.” And most of the time, that’s true. But if you’re like me, a significant contributing factor to grabbing a quick bite at the drive-through is to fulfill a more basic need: I need some napkins.

Especially in my car. I try to keep a minimum of 300 fast food napkins in my car at all times, preferably stashed around in strategic places like the glove box, the center console, the storage bins in the doors, and if I’m really desperate, even some under the seats.

But it’s not just me. The Beautiful Kendra supports my habit, helping me hoard fast food napkins at our house like they’re going to prove more valuable than gold after the inevitable zombie apocalypse. (Anybody who’s seen Book of Eli knows that KFC wet wipes are a much better investment than any 401(k).) We have enough napkins to insulate a house—not a nice house, I’ll grant you. Occasionally when they start to get out of control, we’ll have these cycles where we use them at every meal. That seems a simpler solution than having to buy a bigger house.

I saw this article where this woman kept a Happy Meal for a year and it didn’t decompose. (I don’t possess that level of self-control. It would be a minimum of three months before that thing would be safe from me.) While that kind of longevity is of course a fine selling point in any food or food-like product, I’d honestly rather still have some of the napkins a year later.

Maybe napkins aren’t your thing. Lots of “freebies” and “extras” are off the menu at fast food places. You just have to look for them. They’re usually hiding around the soft drink refills station. We used to keep piles of McDonald’s ketchup and Taco Bell salsa packets in our fridge for safekeeping. Not to mention the odd extra straw in the silverware drawer. I’ve walked out of Subway with what some might call a fistful of toothpicks before. I consider all of these treasures kind of like the swag you can get at conferences, only far more useful.

But it’s always the napkins that keep me coming back. Fast food napkins are the Swiss army knife of the inevitable car mess. I always seem to need them, whether it’s to sop up a spilled Route 44 Sonic Cherry Limeade with extra real cherries or my Jamba Juice Orange Dream Machine with sorbet instead of sherbet with an energy boost. I don’t know how many times a couple of spare napkins have saved me when I’ve spilled ketchup on my pants. Unfolding one or two and laying them across my lap like a makeshift paper table is a great option when I need to have a slice of pizza or a calzone on the go.  But now that I’m thinking about it, maybe I wouldn’t actually need them…if I didn’t always have so much food in my car. Hm. Food for thought.

What’s your favorite free swag from “restaurants”? What do you hoard? Do you ever eat on the go, or are you one of those Commie Pinkos who think people shouldn’t eat in their cars?

6 Responses to “Fast Food Napkins”

  1. Kendra Golden November 3, 2010 at 9:43 pm #

    After clicking on the Happy Meal link, I ended up reading and enjoying that blog post almost equally as this one.

    And for the record, I think we have a perfect amount of napkins in the car. What’s stockpiling now for some reason are the little clear plastic packets with a fork (or a spork if I’m lucky), a napkin, and sometimes a gratuitous salt and pepper packet. We have a brazillion of those.

    • Brannon November 6, 2010 at 10:20 am #

      I feel pretty good about the current napkin level too. There’s never really any such thing as “too many napkins.” For whatever reason, I’m not allowed to actually use any of the wrapped eating utensils. If I ever tear one open, may God have mercy on my soul.

  2. Mom November 4, 2010 at 5:10 am #

    I’m not allowed to stockpile. Dad tired long ago of the Volkswagen bus filled with fast food paraphernalia and cleans out my cars as quickly as I can accumulate. If we get stuck in a snowstorm, we’re toast!

    • Brannon November 6, 2010 at 10:22 am #

      It’s true. Stories abound about people surviving on ketchup packets and Taco Bell sauce for several days. That’s why anytime I have to venture out in a snowstorm, I make it a strict policy to always pack a few sandwiches and cookies.

  3. Joe Bednarz November 8, 2010 at 11:11 am #

    Have to say: Preaching to the choir! Fast food napkins are the best! ‘nuf said.

    • Brannon November 8, 2010 at 12:01 pm #

      I wonder if it qualifies as some kind of fetish. (Oooh, I hope so!)

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