“My birthday’s comin’ up,” Swamp Rabbit said. “Maybe I’ll go uptown and treat myself to one of them $700 burgers.”
He was referring to the beer garden in Philly whose menu reportedly includes “the most expensive burger in America.” Presumably, the owners hoped to create a buzz with the story, which appeared in The Philadelphia Inquirer, The New York Post and other venues.
“It was a good way to get publicity without having to run expensive ads,” I said. “They should win the award for Cleverest Food & Drink Gimmick.”
Swamp Rabbit narrowed his eyes. “What you mean by gimmick? You think there ain’t really no $700 cheeseburger topped with caviar, truffles, lobster flambeed with Louis XIII cognac, and a gold leaf on top? That there’s no shot of Louis XIII on the side?”
“Sure there is,” I replied. “But they’re not expecting you to actually buy that stuff. It’s just to draw you to the beer garden. Once you’re there, you’ll buy their regular-priced burgers and drinks. That’s the plan.”
“I don’t want them regular burgers,” Swamp Rabbit said. “I deserve the best.”
I told him he was crazy. He’s so poor, he has to shoplift hamburger patties at the Acme to get by some nights. Why obsess about a $700 burger?
He shook his head. “I ain’t no second-class citizen. If them bougies can buy a $700 burger, so can I.”
I told him he sounded like “Living in the U.S.A.,” the Steve Miller Band’s hippy-era critique/celebration of American culture. The lyrics are dumb but funny. Miller shouts “Somebody give me a cheeseburger!”
“There you go,” Swamp Rabbit said.”Ain’t nothin’ more American than a cheeseburger.”
“Exactly,” I replied. “Prices change, but people don’t.”