What is the Best Legal (Chicken) Tender?

Last night everyone in my family each had somewhere else they had to be, which left me all alone to fend for myself. This is like winning the lottery and getting to eat an entire Costco-size bag of Lays potato chips without gaining an ounce all rolled into one.

Thrilled that I didn’t have to cook I called in Asian take-out at a place I hardly ever frequent. When I went to pick up my order, I walked up to the counter, gave my name, and a young girl handed me a bag.

“Thirteen sixty-two,” she said watching me fish my checkbook out of my purse.

As I started to write a check to pay for the food, I asked her how to spell the name of the establishment. She enunciated each letter as she watched me write. I then asked her to repeat the total amount once more, as I’m pretty brain-dead by dinnertime.

“Thirteen sixty-two,” she offered again without any affect.

I finished writing, ripped the check out of my checkbook, handed it to her, at which time she looks at it like it has lice and says to me with all the sincerity of a saint, “Oh, I’m sorry we don’t take checks.”

About as useful as Spandex on a hippo


“Are you kidding me? You just stood there and watched me write the check. In fact, you HELPED me write it!”

She furrowed her brow, and then studied the check as if she expected it to recite Shakespeare. “I didn’t know you were going to use it to pay for your food,” she said incredulously.

“Really? Then WHY would I ask you how to spell the name of this place? To pay for egg rolls and Moo Goo Main Pan at Super Target?”

This is when he guy behind me with the big beer belly and a ball cap that read “Date Bait” got the mistaken notion that it was his turn to talk. “Maybe she thought you were writing a check for your next stop.”

I looked at him like he was growing a Siamese twin out of his right shoulder. “I’m sorry, do we know each other?”

His face exploded into a nicotine-stained smile. “We do now.”

Eeew. I turned back to the girl behind the counter. “How much again?”

“Thirteen sixty-two.” By now I was sure she thought I was mentally challenged, which, given my state of mind at the moment, was an insult to mentally challenged people everywhere.

I dug around in my purse until I found my wallet and pulled out a fifty-dollar bill that one of my kids had received in a card from my sister at Christmas. I had intended to deposit it in his account, but what-the-hell, I’d owe him the money.

“I’m sorry, we don’t accept any bills over $20.” The girl pointed to a sign above the cash register that said so, which was conveniently located next to the sign that read, “We don’t accept checks.”

Expensive cocktail napkins

I put the money back in my wallet and in it’s place retrieved an American Express card, but before I could even hand it to her she shook her head and pointed to ANOTHER sign which read “We expressly do not take American Express.”

“How cute,” I said. “Did you think that up all buy yourself? Or did J.P. Morgan himself come over here and write it for you?”


“Nevermind.” I pulled out another piece of plastic. “Debit?” I asked.

She shoved a machine in front me and I swiped my card. When it asked for my pin, I stood there looking at it for a full 10 seconds until I finally realized I’d forgotten it. The account was fairly new and I’d completely blanked on the pin number. I tried three different iterations until the machine blocked me out of my account.

I sheepishly looked at the girl behind the counter. “You wouldn’t consider letting me start a tab here, would you?”

She grabbed my bag of food and shouted, ”Next!”

I walked out empty-handed. “Hmm, maybe I should just go to Burger King,” I said to myself. They’ll accept any form of tender. I could probably even trade one of my kids for a Whopper if they happened to be short-handed that day.

Nah. Burger King is gross. So instead I just went home and ate a Costco-size bag of Lays potato chips.

No wonder Americans are so fat.


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Stacy Dymalski is a stand-up comic who gave up the glamorous life of coach travel, smokey comedy clubs, and heckling drunks for the glamourous life of raising kids (who happen to be bigger hecklers than the drunks). This blog is her new stage.

For more of Stacy’s comedy check out her hilarious book Confessions of a Band Geek Mom available in paperback and on Kindle on Amazon.com.

Chinese Take-out clipart courtesy of Pam’s Clipart. Thanks, Pam!