The wife and I recently stopped in Weed, CA on our way up to Oregon (no, we did not take our picture next to the freeway sign). We had a lot of road to cover, but around lunchtime decided to stop and chow down on some Taco Bell food. It was pretty crowded, but we ordered our meal and sat down to wait.

As we did, a busload of hungry high school kids arrived. They started streaming in, forming a line until it was nearly out the door. At this point, the drive-thru was a total traffic jam as well. It was as if everyone within a 60 mile radius had been mysteriously drawn to that particular food establishment at the same time.
After about five minutes, I decided to go up to the counter and wait patiently for our food to appear. Another five minutes passed, and I noticed that people who had ordered before me were still waiting. Things weren’t looking good, as I noticed the people behind the counter scurrying around and frantically trying to complete orders. It was a madhouse.

Fifteen minutes in, people were starting to get impatient. There were so many people in there that the crowd noise was getting loud. A handful of us were stationed near the counter, wondering aloud what the problem was. I just wanted my Grilled Stuft Burrito.  The store manager was taking orders at the counter, and suddenly one of the girls from the back hurried over to him in a panic.

“We’re out of beef.”

The guy’s eyes grew large.  She had said it loud enough for everyone near the counter to hear, and people started turning toward each other with looks of puzzlement and fear.
No beef?!?

What kind of Taco Bell runs out of beef?

Finally, somebody arrived with our food. I brought it back to the table, wondering what kind of “beef” was in it. Thankfully, our food appeared to have been assembled just before it ran out. The whole place was in a semi-panic by that point, and we had a few chuckles listening to the manager trying to explain the situation. As soon as people learned about the beef shortage, they started leaving.  After all, a Taco Bell without beef is kind of like IHOP without pancakes.