He Orders 200 McDonald’s Hash Browns. Did Somebody Say DUI?

surreal hash browns seen under influence of alcoholIt’s hard to pass up a story as unusual as this: a man in Sydney, Australia pulled up to a McDonald’s drive-in window and ordered chicken nuggets a little before five in the morning. Mickey D’s doesn’t serve the nuggets that early, so the man drove around the building and back to the window where he ordered 200 hash browns.

The people at McDonald’s did what was expected of them: they called the police, who arrested the 30-year-old man for drunk driving.

His blood alcohol level was .175, or more than three times the legal limit of .05 (the legal limit in the U.S. is .08, though Utah is about to switch to .05 as well). But why would intoxication lead to the largest potato order in Sydney history?

Alcohol on Appetite

There are a few reasons why the man in question might have ordered 200 hash browns. One was that alcohol can act as an appetite stimulant. It depletes glycogen stores in the body, which causes one to crave carbohydrates. If hash browns are anything, they’re carbohydrates.

Alcohol on Inhibition

Booze tends to reduce inhibitions, which is why shy people get more outgoing when they’ve had a drink or two. It’s also why a mild-mannered person might start an argument when drunk, and why someone who feels a bit peckish might decide to clean out a fast-food joint.

Alcohol on Judgement

This wasn’t a case of outsize hunger, though. It was a case of a drunk person who got irritated at not being able to buy chicken nuggets, and decided to inconvenience the restaurant with an outrageous order. This is ultimately why drunk driving is against the law – the disastrous effect of alcohol on judgement. Someone with judgement that bad can’t be trusted to wait his turn at a light, refrain from speeding or cutting someone off, or correctly estimate the stopping time at a crosswalk.

Police have a long list of warning signs they use to catch impaired drivers. Thus far, excessive carb-loading is not among them, though drive-ins are well-known for attracting drunk drivers. If you’re at your local burger drive-in, watch for unusual behavior, especially in the wee hours. When driving, the effects of alcohol on judgement can be a lot less funny than an outrageous McDonald’s order. That’s the takeaway from this.