Chipsy King for Life
One fateful Amsterdam evening, my friend and I packed ourselves into a tiny, bustling bar in an otherwise unassuming street. Soon enough, we grew conscious of the fact that we were clearly the youngest humans to grace its presence in what could have been many, many years. Naturally, the scent of fresh blood roused many of the bar’s hundred-year-old inhabitants. Before long, numerous grey-haired men—who each wished to dance and tell us tales of their glory days in the army—were handing us fresh pints of dark frothy beer. They asked repeatedly—with wide, disbelieving eyes—how we had managed to wander into “the best bar in Amsterdam!” We simply replied, “We just… walked in?” which did nothing to appease their bewilderment. The beer was free though; so on we raged.
Finally fed-up with the Dutch Mick Jagger lookalike (who spun her around in drunken pirouettes after each sentence in place of punctuation), my friend made a break for the door. I sped after her, leaving a ruddy-faced Santa Claus called Rob in the lurch, calling out to us that we should come by tomorrow at 6pm, as they would all be here waiting for us to return.
Out on the cold streets, bellies full of beer but devoid of real sustenance, we stumbled upon the bright-orange signage of Chipsy King. The spirit of the place suggested that many a hungry, hungry hobo might have stumbled upon these hallowed grounds during the routine drunken-tourist stroll along Damstraat. A medium frites was all we thought we’d need to satisfy our hunger. The chef handed us one generous cone of chips drowned in Flemish mayonnaise (how cultural), and we greedily wolfed them down in the cold street en route to the next bar.
As it happened, a medium fries with mayonnaise was not enough to satisfy the gluttony of two backpackers surviving on the classic Amsterdam diet of free cheese-shop samples and Albert Heijn stroopwafels. After the next bar proved to be a bore (the stingy company of people our own age just didn’t cut the mustard), we returned again, ordering the same medium fries with mayonnaise. Not wanting to pay €2 to use the WC in the next bar (what kind of moneybags do you take us for, Europe? I mean, really!) my friend asked the chef whether there was a bathroom. Unfortunately, no. “But you can always try the McDonalds down the road, if you just need to use the toilet.”
So, our second serving of Chipsy King frites in hand, we set off down Damstraat for the McDonalds – a sorry, half-empty place with greasy surfaces and thoroughly pimpled clientele. Some things stay the same no matter how far around the world you travel.
My friend snuck into the bathroom behind a couple of paying customers, and we were alone at last – just me, the chips… and the McDonalds’ security guard.
Cue double take. McDonalds has a security guard? Apparently – yes, it was a measure management had deemed necessary. The highly necessary McDonalds Security Guard in question (I’m thinking his name was Geerd or something equally Dutch and unpronounceable) strode up to me and growled, “I’m going to have to ask you to leave.”
“I’m sorry?” I replied, hastily swallowing my fistful of chips, suddenly very aware of how very touristy and Australian I seemed – but I didn’t think I was that drunk. Certainly not drunk enough to get cut off at a McDonalds. Then, he pointed to my hand.
“You can’t have those in here.”
It took me a moment to realise he was gesturing to the cone of Chipsy King chips. It came as a bit of a shock – and, to be perfectly honest, a little bit of a joke.
“Seriously?” I responded. I could feel a bit of sass coming on – outrage was beginning to build, and there was no way to stop it now. “But… this is a McDonalds.”
Mr McSecurity was not impressed. At all. Luckily, I was able to convince him to let me stay put with my chips in hand, pleading that I would lose my friend with whom I had no form of electronic contact. I played the dreaded “pity me, I’m foreign” card and it payed off; he issued a stern warning, and let me be.
My friend barely believed my story when she returned from the toilet. Out in the cold again, we found ourselves lost before long. Not thinking, we trudged back to the golden arches. “At least there’s heating and free wifi,” My friend mused.
No sooner had we logged on to the internet, seated before a dizzying portrait of Ronald McDonald, when a familiar and foreboding voice echoed across the room.
My friend and I looked at the table between us – our near empty cone of Chipsy King chips acting as the lighthouse to an armada of oncoming warships.
“You really need to leave now,” McSecurity told us. I rolled my eyes. My friend – never one to bend in the face of injustice – loudly spoke up.
“Why can’t we have these in here?” she said. “This is just a McDonalds after all. We have rights too.”
(This friend would then go on to get us kicked out of a club for passionately arguing that charging 2 Euros to access the toilet is a severe violation of human rights – a true champion of the people.)
“Chipsy King is our main competitor!”
McSecurity, eyes popping and cheeks flushing red with rage, had begun to push us towards the exit – but his grip wasn’t tight enough to stop me from scooping the cone up off the table, thrusting it into the air like a flag during the midst of revolution, and declare loudly to the entire restaurant:
“McDonalds is no competitor to Chipsy King! Chipsy King reigns supreme! Chipsy King for LIFE!”
It only took a small shove from McSecurity to banish us into the street once again. I looked over at my friend, both of us brave and noble soldiers of the Chipsy King legion. Now, how were we to celebrate this fine, proud moment together? Or, taken out of context, the lowest point in our lives as this article’s alternative title “That time we got kicked out of a McDonalds in Amsterdam” would seem to suggest?
“Let’s get some more chips?” my friend suggests. I nod enthusiastically, and we set off for the orange fast food castle once more.