Would you like The Force with that?

Dec. 27, 2013 @ 05:20 PM

Several management types sat at tables in the McDonald’s dining room, holding a breakfast meeting while I munched on a burrito.

The senior manager leading the meeting made a comment: “You’ll find that in your R2D2 report.”

No one around the table giggled.

No one made humming lightsaber noises.

Everyone kept a straight face.

I barely suppressed an outburst of “Bloop-beep-beep-bah-loooop.”

He kept referring to the R2D2 report, over and over again. It got to be like Bill Lumberg in “Office Space,” telling Peter to file his TPS report. Except this was worse. So much worse.

The TPS report was just some silly, made-up bureaucratic bit of satire. Apparently, McDonald’s appropriated a cherished piece of my childhood and turned it into some kind of corporate anti-theft tool.

I checked. R2D2 is a technical support system that provides summaries of key events in a restaurant – every reduction before sale, card swipes, unauthorized drawer openings, clearing of the drive-through queues.

I thought my memories took a beating when George Lucas gave my favorite trashcan droid a couple of booster rockets and turned Darth Vader into a weepy Frankenstein’s monster.

But Lucas could at least argue that he owned the rights to those characters and could do whatever he wanted with them. His toys; his playground.

“Again, you’ll find that information in your R2D2 report,” the senior manager said.

I felt a wave of nerdrage building, especially since R2D2 wasn’t the hall monitor in the Star Wars movies. He was a fixer. He repaired things. He wouldn’t snitch if he caught an Ewok pilfering an extra Wookiee cookie from the snack jar.

C3P0, on the other hand, was a huge whiner and an unrepentant tattletale. If you’re looking for someone to rat on employees sneaking cash from the till, he’s your droid.

I’ve got a bad feeling about this. Maybe I’ve said too much. If I’m not careful, people may realize I’m just a mullet and a brown bathrobe away from cosplaying a pudgy Jedi.

But, surely, if you’re going to “pay homage” to Star Wars with a store security program, it ought to be called Threep or Goldenrod.

Or were those already taken by the software that controls the fry cooker?

Wes Platt can be reached at wplatt@heraldsun.com or 919-419-6684. Follow on Twitter at @HS_WesPlatt. Connect on Facebook at facebook.com/wesplattheraldsun.