As far as cheap fast food goes, Taco Bell has always been my personal favorite. There has never been an easier way to kill the surprise hunger that creeps up randomly during late night. The food is also extremely cheap, yet very delicious. It's hard to criticize anything about my favorite quick stop food shop, but lately it seems as if the restaurant is pulling a fast one on their customers.
The source of the Taco Bell scam tactic seems to be coming from their value menu. I remember the revelation of the new value menu like it was just yesterday. In the mid 2000's the revamped value menu was revealed, containing several taco bell favorites for 79, 89, and 99 cents. This was a dream come true for me and my broke teenage friends, being able to afford awesome eats from loose change we'd gather beneath sofa cushions and in the floorboards of our cars. You could say we were living the good life, never hungry and always satisfied. We found particular solace in the newly introduced cheesy bean and rice burrito. A tasty snack that incorporated three simple food elements. This soon became the unanimous dollar menu favorite, clocking in at a mere 89 cents.
We learned the secrets of how to amp up our favorite cheesy bean and rice burritos. A dear friend to me revealed a hidden taco bell secret to me: you can grill any item on Taco Bell's menu for free. Of course my friends and I used this beautiful tidbit of wisdom to soup up our beloved cheesy bean and rice's. By grilling the burrito, we melted the cheese, beans, and rice together and added a bit of a crunch to the soft shell. Experience also taught us to add the fast food chains excellent sauces; mild, hot, or fire (the preferred section for the Taco Bell daredevil). Some of us even payed a little extra to add guacamole or the grilled stuffed burrito sauce to our concoctions. There were a million ways to deliciously alter our favorite fourth meal standard. The cheesy bean and rice burrito was the completely customizable delicious food item that us, or our wallets, would never be sick of. Then one day, disaster started to strike.
Taco Bell's cheesy bean and rice burrito boosted up from 89 cents to 99 cents. It was an overnight occurrence that hit pretty hard, but wasn't a crucial blow. We could spare 10 cents without much damage. The burrito was still cheap enough to keep us ordering it from the value menu. We continued on in our burrito bliss for quite sometime. A friend even put himself on a diet of two cheesy bean and rice burritos a day for two months (he actually lost 15 lbs from doing this). Then once again, they randomly raised the bar. New value menu items were initiated, thus knocking our dearly appreciated cheesy bean and rice burritos onto the legitimate Taco Bell menu. I remember the feeling of disappointment when I noticed the miniature, white, price numbers on the drive-thru glowing a taunting $1.29. With an extremely disappointed voice I shouted "One cheesy bean and rice burrito, grilled" into the speaker, then hung my head in disgust as she told me my total.
I continued to fork over the extra amount, until I reached enlightenment. Taco Bell had reeled all of us in, then spiked the price intentionally in order to gather a little extra money. This was my ultimate conclusion, as I watched the subtle, conniving price raise from 89 cents to $1.29. It seems as if the perfect Taco Bell item was no longer worth the price. Nothing else on the value menu seemed appealing to me, so I frequented other fast food dollar menus. Then one day I saw a glimmer of hope, a commercial advertising a new burrito that looked appealing: the 89 cent chicken burrito.
Due to the experience with the cheesy bean and rice, I knew not to get my hopes up. My prophetic notions came to pass as I witnessed this burrito climb up the ranks from 89 cents, to 99 cents, and ultimately $1.29. It followed the same, disgusting, price raise as the cheesy bean and rice burrito. When I pulled up to the drive-thru the night I realized the price had raised to $1.29, I figured I might as well order my old favorite, the cheesy bean and rice. I looked at the sign in horror, as the glowing numbers casted a haunting illumination of $1.79. I became sick to my stomach, and decided not to eat.
My brother had a similar problem with his taco bell favorite. He would frequently eat the beefy five layer burrito, a simple 99 cents upon introduction to the value menu. Eventually, new additions bumped his fourth meal favorite to the actual taco bell menu, boldly appraised at a familiar $1.29.
The repetitive jump from 89 cents to 99 cents to $1.29 (and possibly more expensive) is enough to make my blood boil. The revelation of this scheme makes the entire restaurant seem like a scam in my eyes. The pattern depicts a sleight of hand to the customers. I would prefer to live without being fish-hooked by Taco Bell's value menu, and then be expected to dish out more money for an item when I had grown accustomed to its standard price rate.
Thus far, McDonalds has remained pretty much spot on with their original dollar menu prices. I live without the feeling that I'm being tricked when I pull up to their drive-thru and order a McChicken. I realize that adding a couple cents to an item may not seem like a major crisis in several eyes, however it's the principal of the fact. You can still live happy through Taco Bell's value menu if you're happy with a fluid lineup of cheap eats, but if you want to have a favorite, you might feel the same discomfort that I've had to deal with. I lost faith in Taco Bell and found salvation in learning how to make the perfect grilled cheese sandwich. I suggest you do the same.