Stanmore McDonalds is dangerous, I can tell you this because I’ve been told. They say it’s among the most dangerous venues in Sydney: the number one place to get glassed—which is something when everything’s served in plastic and any actual weapons have to be B.Y.O. I arrived just after 9pm.
Inside, they’re installing kiosks near the McCafé, upright digital coffins you can punch your order in to and make the food appear. The fresh face on the counter eyes the machine with the kind of jealousy middle children reserve for firstborns. They installed an automated assembly line for drinks some months ago, a moving walkway of cups passing under nozzles, but the cups get caught circling the bend to the drive-thru window. Someone was hired just to unclog the machine—and does so by inserting her fingers deep into the machine’s clinking jaw.
In the car park, there’s an impromptu church meeting. People kneel on the gravel and pray, their drinks’ straws bowing penitently. A Range Rover pulls out and parks in an accessible spot. A carton of lads ask the driver what the fuck will happen if someone in a wheelchair needs McDonalds and what the fuck he’s fucking doing and eventually he turns back and drives off foodless. The most unsatisfied man I’ve ever seen places trays of thickshakes, burgers, and fries into a rolling black luggage set, which he deposits into the boot of his car. Inside, the steam from the fries curdle the thickshakes while the condensation from the shakes wilt the fries. No word on how the tight, airless environment affects the burgers, but expert prognosis suggests Not Well. Somewhere, someone else assures a friend that It’ll Taste Not Just Fine But Doubly-Fine For The Convenience.
I ask the guy cleaning tables what it’s like working here and he tells me it’s routine for people to come around asking and that they aren’t really interested or only want to hear the rumors confirmed. He tells me he’s zipped—no leaks to no one—and that if I have any further questions, I should direct them to McDonalds Media on nine-eight-seven-five, six-six-six-six, which he recites from memory.