But in 1996 I had a good plan. I was working at the University of Texas Annual Fund office, where we called alums and asked them to donate money to the school Wait…not donate…contribute. We were trained that “donate” was a bad word. By the way, we also had these codes we had to put in the computer for “reasons alum didn’t contribute.” Here were a few:
RICH: UT is too rich already
ATH: I already give to athletics
EX: I already give to Texas Exes
MAD: I’m mad at UT about something
LIB: UT is too liberal.
We had comebacks for all of these although I can’t remember how we overcame the liberal one.
Anyway, at this particular job I wore a head set. One day it occurred to me that drive thru employees wore similar headsets and that’s when I decided I would be a McDonald’s worker for Halloween. Now I had the headset and the khaki pants. I just needed an authentic McDonald’s shirt.
About a week before Halloween I went into the McDonald’s on campus and told the person behind the counter, “I want to be YOU for Halloween!” I thought he would be flattered but he just looked confused. I asked him if I could have a shirt. I’m pretty sure I didn’t even offer to pay for it. (Hey, we didn’t make all that much hitting up alums for money.) The guy said he would ask his manager. He did. She said no.
I was bummed. I figured I would have to come up with another Halloween costume that involved a headset. I thought about just wearing the headset and saying I was a telemarketer. But that’s kind of just like going as myself. It’s like going as “sorority girl.”
All this thinking about McDonald’s got me hungry for the golden arches so later that night my friends and I took a trip through their drive-thru.
(Aside: Tips from Thea, you were driving! Remember?)
I was sitting in the back seat so I didn’t even see who was working the drive-thru but apparently it was my buddy from earlier that day. After he handed Thea our food and she passed it around the car he said, “Wait!” and he handed her a big McDonald’s bag and said, “Just go! Just go!” So we drove off before we looked in the bag. “I think it’s a side salad!” I remember Thea saying.
But it wasn’t. It was a McDonald’s shirt! And not just a t-shirt, a nice polo-style shirt. It sort of smelled but still, it was the real deal!
So my costume was complete. But the story didn’t end well: we all went to a fraternity foam party for Halloween and as it turned out, that was the year that girls decided Halloween was code for “dress like a slut.” Since I had on the most conservative costume at the party, I felt like a dork. Plus, there was a lot of explaining about how I didn’t actually work at McDonald’s. “I swear, this shirt was just donated to me! I mean contributed!”