We just need a decision

This past Labor Day, we took a bike ride to McDonald’s for breakfast. Usually, I get a Sausage McMuffin with Egg, but this time I decided to switch things up and ordered hot cakes. They came, as they always do, with packets of butter.

As we were eating and chatting, I noticed the writing on the butter packet:


I held it up. “Hey guys,” I asked. “What the heck does ‘Tips Out’ mean?”

My wife took it first. “Maybe when it’s melted, you’re supposed to just tip it out?”

My youngest son tried next. “I think it’s because of the corners,” he said. “They’re like tips, and you break them to get the butter out.”

“Maybe it tips out even when it’s not melted?” I said.

Nobody agreed with that. We worked the problem from all angles, but still couldn’t come to any sort of consensus. I took the butter to the counter.

“Hello, McDonald’s expert,” I said loudly.

The girl behind the counter glanced behind herself, then smiled nervously at me. “Can I help you?”

“We are trying to figure out what this means.” I showed her the butter packet. “What is ‘tips out’?”

She laughed. “I have no idea. Hold on.”

She waved over another McDonald’s employee, presumably one who was more senior, though he looked substantially younger. I showed him the butter packet and repeated my question.

“Um…” he said nervously. “Maybe it tips? I don’t know.”

He handed it back to me, but I noticed that he kept his hands together, and his fingers kept pulling at each other. I felt bad for him. I hadn’t meant to freak anyone out.

I leaned forward and spoke quietly. “No worries. I just need some kind of authoritative answer to bring back to the table, to settle our argument.”

“Hey,” my family shouted from the table. “We see you! No coaching! That’s not fair!”

“I’m not,” I called back. “Relax!” I turned back to the guy. “Really,” I said, using as reassuring a tone as I could muster. “It doesn’t matter what you say. Just give me something.”

He glanced at me, then looked past me to my family and said in a loud clear voice “I have no idea.”


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