OAKLAND, CA—Moments after picking up his carryout order from local restaurant Hunan Palace Monday evening, area man Alden Welch, 31, reportedly experienced a sharp sense of unease upon noticing his takeout bag felt unusually light.
Unable to effectively account for the bag’s seemingly low weight given the amount of food he had ordered, sources confirmed that Welch grappled with his increasing alarm and anxiety as he exited the establishment and walked back to his nearby car, quickly becoming entirely occupied by the disconcerting thought that one or more food items had been left out.
“Wait, this can’t be right,” Welch reportedly said to himself, slowing his pace as he anxiously appraised the heft of the brown paper sack in an effort to ascertain its likelihood of containing the two entrées, sides of crab rangoon and egg rolls, and double order of white rice he had called in. “It usually weighs more than this.”
“It was definitely heavier last time,” he added with audible concern.
As he continued to put distance between himself and the neighborhood Chinese restaurant, sources confirmed that Welch’s mind raced through a number of scenarios to explain the bag’s decreased weight, including a recent change in portion sizes or an uncharacteristic lack of napkins, chopsticks, fortune cookies, and soy sauce packets. In spite of the wealth of hypothetical scenarios he is said to have envisioned, reports indicate that none of these conjectures was able to dissuade Welch from the unwelcome conclusion that at least one item had, in fact, been omitted from his carryout order.
After more than a minute of anguished worrying, onlookers reported that Welch paused on the sidewalk and held the stapled-shut bag aloft at eye-level, rotating it to get a view of all sides. Apparently unsatisfied with his assessment, sources said Welch then scanned the receipt taped to the bag’s side, mentally ticking off each item on the sales slip—including the broccoli beef combo and the extra duck sauce—to confirm that his phone order had gone through accurately.
Witnesses confirmed that Welch, his brow furrowed in evident bafflement and dismay, then resumed hesitantly walking toward his parking spot.
“Maybe they put the rice and the main dishes in the same box, which would mean I got less rice than usual,” Welch said, as he ran his hands over the bag in an attempt to probe the outlines of its indeterminate number of cartons and plastic containers. “And the entrées came with wonton soup last time, but maybe they don’t do that anymore. There’s no way there’s soup in there.”
Reports confirmed that Welch’s thoughts grew even more frantic and distressed as he considered the possibility that the abnormally hectic pace at Hunan Palace during its dinnertime rush could have led to a major oversight on his order. Additionally, Welch’s feverish mind is said to have quickly generated the additional prospect that the new, seemingly untrained employee standing at the register had failed to properly pack Welch’s order prior to his arrival, a revelation that caused the uneasy man to look back over his shoulder at the Hunan Palace awning that was now a distant two blocks behind him.
Moreover, Welch reportedly noted that he himself had sped through the purchasing process in anticipation of getting home to watch Game Of Thrones on HBO Go, leading him to abruptly stop in his tracks and feel a twinge of panic pass through his body as he realized there may have been a second carryout bag sitting on the counter that he had neglected to take.
“Maybe I should go back,” Welch said as he reached his car, carefully weighing his mounting hunger and desire to avoid a long explanation at the Hunan Palace counter against the possibility that his order had been catastrophically botched. “If they just forgot the extra rice, I can live with that. That’s no big deal.”
“But jeez, what if it’s the cashew chicken?” he added with heightened alarm. “I’d definitely have to go back.”
At press time, onlookers observed a frenzied Welch emptying and spreading out the entirety of the bag’s contents onto the hood of his car, opening each container as traffic sped alongside him.