TLDR? Short version: I went to McDonald's and ordered a Quarter Pounder without realising that they had launched a new "Fresh Beef" policy for its Quarter Pounders (USA). Near havoc ensues. Long version: I hardly ever go to McDonalds, but when I do I set my expectations pretty low, and just hope it won't be too terrible. My life is pretty routine, so for many years I have always passed the same store, and never stop in, except when desperate. That only happens about once or twice per year, but I always go to the drive-thru, and I always get the same thing: The #2 meal, which is a Quarter Pounder with cheese, fries, and a drink. In my limited experience, this results in a relatively quick drive-thru experience, which is about the only good thing I can say about it. I have come to accept that I might receive a burger that seems like it has been under the warming lights long enough to turn the bun to an almost stale or toast-like texture, or that I might receive fries that are no longer hot. It's just par for the course there. Well, I was desperate today, so I pulled into the drive through, and gave my order, the #2 meal. To my surprise, the fellow taking the order replied with the question, "You mean the Quarter Pounder?" I wondered why he would ask that question, knowing that it should be listed right there on the order entry computer in front of him. I thought, maybe he is taking this order from memory, and just wants to confirm that he has memorized the meals by number. Well, I don't want to get ahead of myself, but suffice to say that was probably NOT the reason for his question. More on this later. I pulled up to the first window to pay, and the girl there asked, "What was your order?" This time I said "the Quarter Pounder with Cheese meal, with diet Coke." I figured I should not use the numbered menu this time, since it seemed to be causing people some trepidation for the first time ever. She looked at me in a way I had never seen before, almost as if I had ordered something special, which McDonalds is known for not being too keen on providing. I paid, and drove on to the second window, where I was given my drink, and asked to pull up into a special parking space usually reserved for people who's food will take so long to prepare that it would hold up the drive-thru. While I waited, I started to get nervous, and wondered what might have caused me to be shuffled over to that dreaded parking space. "Maybe they are making some fresh fries," I hoped. As I waited, I looked over at the posters in their windows and saw "Fresh Beef" posters advertising that their Quarter Pounders are now made with fresh beef. I thought, well, fresh beef should cook faster than frozen beef, so this still could be a win-win situation. Maybe I would get fresh fries, or maybe a fresh juicy burger or both! Nope... As I sat there waiting, I tried to remember if I had seen any McDonald's commercials about this "fresh beef" on TV, but none came to mind. I did vaguely remember some Wendy's commercials that were making fun of some of its competitors for using frozen beef. Time ticked on, and after a pretty long time (I didn't time it but would guess 7 minutes), someone walked out to my car with a brown bag in their hand. As I rolled down my window she asked, "What did you order?" as she unrolled the top of the bag and cautiously peered inside. I repeated the order again, and she handed me the bag, seemingly relieved that the contents of the bag were correct, and that it was finally out of her hands. Now you are probably wondering what I received. Was it freshly made fries? Was it a fresh juicy burger? What was it? What happened? Well, it was NOT freshly made fries. The fries seemed to have been old and cold enough that they might have been in the bag the whole time I waited. The burger DID have a patty that was slightly juicier (greasier?) than normal, and it did have a pinkish hue in the middle. Normally that would be a good thing on a non-fast-food burger, but it was a little strange for a McDonalds burger. The extra juice seemed to have made the cheese go into a liquid state, not the usual McPlastic texture of their cheese that I was used to. And somehow, they managed to still have a bun with a seemingly stale or almost toast-like texture, as if the bun itself might have been under the warming lights while the burger was being cooked. Strange, to say the least, and certainly not worth the wait. After thinking about it , I came to understand the reason for the many strange looks and questions regarding my order. They were sending out a non-verbal message. Didn't I know that know that ordering a Quarter Pounder now meant that it had to be cooked to-order, thereby disrupting the workflow that they had spent years learning and perfecting? No, I did not know that. But now I do.