By Eric Paulsen Special to Published Feb 18, 2009 at 9:02 AM

On Sunday nights, I work the third of my three main jobs, doing the evening Sunday night show on 103.7 Kiss FM (and no, I can't play that song you called in next, especially if it's by Soulja Boy, but I digress). It's fun but the only drawback is that you're stuck in a studio for six hours -- you literally can't leave or else the station would go silent, which may cause an accidental increase in ratings.

Often, I bring some food with me and graze while I work on the air. It's usually a sandwich from Subway. I'd call up, order a sandwich on my drive and have it ready for me to pick up as I hastily try to make it to the studio on time.

I've learned over the years to call ahead, eliminating the risk of getting there and having to wait behind an overfed family of six spending five minutes each deciding what toppings they want. So I called the Subway on Highway 100 in Greenfield to cheerfully place my usual order.


"Hi, can I order a sub to be picked up?"

"Ummm ... No."

(brief pause, eyebrows change direction) "What?"


"I can't order a sub to be picked up?"


"Uh, Why not?"

"Well, some people have called and placed orders for like five subs and never picked ‘em up, so we don't do call-in orders any more."

"Wait, I've ordered a foot-long sub Sunday nights quite a bit over the past few years here. You're really not going to make me a sub I can pick up on my way to work?"


"Hmmm," I pondered, "Well, okay ... um ... thanks."


So, that was my Subway experience. Off to work I go, a little confused but not willing to bitch about it on the air because they're a sponsor.

After work -- six hours and nine spins of random Rihanna songs later -- I recalled spying a nearby McDonald's that advertised 24-hour drive-through service. I decided to pick up something ... maybe a Big Mac Snack Wrap or perhaps go the "healthy" route with a Filet-O-Fish. After nothing but vending machine consumables available for six hours, anything sounds appetizing.

So I pull into the McDonald's in Hales Corners, with the bright red sign in the front window that barks "Drive-Thru Open 24 Hours" so brightly it would make a casino blush. Looks like of dark inside, but I see kitchen lights on. I approach the speaker thingy.

"Hi, welcome to McDonald's. Would you like to try a McMocha McLatte McCafe today?" says the friendly, apparently pre-recorded voice.

"No, thanks. I'll just have a Big Mac Snack Wrap."

Silence. The screen, which would normally flash the order and price, isn't budging.

"Hello?" I call to the speaker.

If it were summer, crickets would be audible.

"Hellllooooo?" I call. Nothin'.

After another 15 seconds, I pull around. There's a girl visible in the first window. I motioned her. As she heads my way, I see a piece of paper tacked up in the window that announces they're only 24 hours now on Thursdays through Saturdays. It's now Sunday night / Monday morning. I'm SOL.

She opens the window, "sorry, we're not serving now."

"Mmm, okay," I said. "Is there a reason somebody still asked what I wanted to order when I pulled up?"

"I'm trying to shut that off now."

"Ah. You might want to turn off the big sign out front that says your drive-thru is open 24 hours a day, too."

Not like I was really mad, but geez. Excuse me for wanting to fill my pie hole at your establishment, which screams that it's open. But, at least she used the word "sorry." I didn't even get that at Subway.

So there you have it. Sure, I could have tried another place ... Wendy's, Taco Bell, even Webb's for a nice, greasy omelet. But it's not like these meals were important ... they just sounded kinda tasty at the right time. It's like most fast food purchases: impulsive, momentarily appealing, but not necessary (remember, we can live quite well without you, fast food places!).

I went home, had some cereal and went to bed thinking, "how does a guy get rejected twice by places that are supposed to be easy and quick in a single night?"

Based on that criteria, I decided to re-name that evening "Prom Revisited." And I took it as a sign that I should try to eat healthier.

Eric Paulsen Special to
Eric Paulsen is a Milwaukee native but also grew up in Chicago, Detroit and Dallas, which means he’s never lived in a decent climate. Paulsen works as the Communications Officer for the Greater Milwaukee Committee, serves as a writer and contributor for commercials and a national TV show and pops up on 103.7 Kiss FM on weekends, doing his share of overplaying Top 40 hits. Previously, he was a business partner and director in a start-up online research company that began in 1998 and reached the Inc. 500 list by 2005. He was an early contributing writer for, dating back to 1999. He got his MBA from UW-Milwaukee in 2007 and also holds a BS in Consumer Science (a degree he can’t explain, either) from UW-Madison and thus cheers on the Badgers with reckless abandon. Eric is a graduate of the Future Milwaukee Leadership Program and participates in many community-minded events and initiatives, invited or not. When he’s not working, Paulsen enjoys running, road trips and practicing for a future career as a beer connoisseur.