By: Emma Gampper
For most people, home away from home is a friend’s house, the library, or maybe even a school’s sports team. But for me, it’s Five Guys––the one near Pet Valu and Panera. The red and white color scheme paired with the smell of potatoes and peanuts is oddly comforting. It’s familiar. This sense of comfort, coupled with the convenience of being a mere five minute walk from my house and a two minute walk from my work, lures me to the Five Guys no less than once a week. In all honesty, if Five Guys had a rewards program, I would be its patron saint.
Due to the frequency of my visits, my life has reached either its peak or its lowest point. Now, a handful of the workers know my order and recognize me when I walk through the door. To make matters worse, if no one else is in line, my order will be waiting for me on screen by the time I make the short walk from the door to the cash register. I don’t even have to exchange any words with the cashier––I can just pay and walk away.
Whenever I bring my friends to Five Guys, I enjoy watching the bewilderment on their faces as the cashier magically knows my order. What’s even more enjoyable is watching their shock turn to shame when I reveal the embarrassing secret behind this seemingly psychic bond I have with the workers.
Another hobby of mine is walking into the restaurant with my various friends and then watching the cashier as she tries to analyze what relationship I have with my new companion. One recurring instance of this is the few times I’ve walked into Five Guys with a boy other than my boyfriend, Alex, who frequents the restaurant just as much as I do. The second that Kenth steps into the store with me I’m hit with a “wait, this isn’t the man you’re usually here with” look from the cashier.
Sometimes I wonder if the cashiers are curious as to what my life is like and if they ever question why I choose to go to their restaurant so often. On September 29th, 2018 my burning question was answered.
I walked in with my friend, and the cashier asked the whereabouts of my boyfriend, my usual Five Guys partner. My friend chose that moment to state the guy I’m usually with is my boyfriend and that sometimes I come in with another boy named Kenth. The woman behind the cash register laughs and makes a remark about how she’s learning more about my life every time I come. It’s rather surreal to have one of your suspicions confirmed, but also makes you question just a few of your decisions.
I also enjoy the kind of camaraderie I now have with the employees compared to when I first started going to the restaurant. At the beginning, few words were exchanged besides my mechanical and generic greetings towards the cashier. Now, it feels like I know the cashiers beyond the shiny robotic exterior that the rest of their customers receive. In a way, it’s almost like we’ve all become included on an inside joke, there’s this feeling of being interconnected that wasn’t there before.
As I sit here, writing this piece and reflecting on my current predicament, I can finally begin to accept how frequently I visit the restaurant. I can honestly say that I genuinely enjoy Five Guys. All of this Five Guys is definitely not good for my health, but I’ve come to terms with the my unhealthy eating habits and my love of Five Guys is something that will always run through my inevitably cholesterol filled veins.
And if anyone was curious, I usually order a little fry and a regular soda.