SOCCHI, Russia – If you think Americans rush their dining experience, take a look at the Russians.
They’re gobbling down Big Macs and quarter-pounders at McDonald's faster than you can say McNuggets.
In a weird way, it’s comforting to know that the rest of the world – even Old World Russia – has picked up on our crazy eating habits.
They’re so into fast foods that in Sochi, they have credit card ordering machines to greet you at the doorway.
You choose from a digital menu, insert your credit or bank card to pay and get a number, New York deli style.
This gets those yummy French fries to you a little quicker. There’s no more standing in line waiting behind the big guy who can’t decide if he wants to super-size his meal or just order the entire menu to go.
Welcome to capitalism in its most basic form.
The place was jammed when I arrived on Thursday afternoon and this was around 3, halfway between lunch and dinner. While it is the Olympics, the crowd was impressive. Apparently, the smell of fried food wafting through the hallways of the Main Media Center is just too overpowering.
Standing at the counter, I wondered how many people here know and understand that Mickey D’s is an American invention, part of our culture now, and they’re just borrowing it.
They might have put the first man in space but America won the race to produce the first cheap cheeseburger.
As for the food itself, not bad. The salad is fresh, the apple slices crisp and the McNuggets tastes like. . .chicken!
Also, high marks for the service. Workers might be frazzled by the volume of orders but it looks like they’ve been coached to provide an honest-to-goodness happy meal.
What next? Burger King? Wendy’s? Jack in the Box? Seems like just a matter of time before Russians, and the rest of the Eastern Hemisphere, will have a wider selection of places from which to choose.
Before long, they’ll have a drive-through set up in Red Square.
In plain terms, it isn’t too far-fetched to suggest this “open’’ approach to cultural choices helped bring about the fall of Communism.
After all, what says bourgeois better than an Egg McMuffin?
Wayne Fish: 215-345-3070; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; twitter: @waynefish1