I've always had a theory that anytime you hear, "I'm sorry, our milkshake machine is broken," it's basically their way of saying that they don't want to make a shake. My wife has a sore throat and the only thing that sounds good is a milkshake. I'm also super-hungry so whomever has the first milkshake I'm also about to blow a bunch of money on food for myself, too. Let's see how many different restaurants I have to go through to find a working milkshake machine before 10 p.m. without having to drive all over the place.

My first stop brings me to Jack in the Box, right down the street from the KATS studios. I love this place. I ask for a chocolate shake and they say, "I'm sorry, our milkshake machine is down." For some reason, the milkshake machine is always down at this time of night. They didn't say it was broken, just that it was down so I'm guessing they have to dismantle and clean it. I wouldn't mind so much if they would simply list the times on the menu. Just like how most places have breakfast from 'this' time to 'this' time, maybe have a sign that says, "Milkshakes available from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m." and I would know. In the meantime, I got suckered again. I backed out and went to restaurant #2.

Arctic Circle. Well, they were closed so I can't complain there. Certainly have the variety of shakes to choose from but, again, closed so off to restaurant #3.

Arby's is closer than Jack in the Box, but I passed it up on my way. No problem, back-track to Arby's. Instead of flat-out ordered a shake, I simply ask, "is your milkshake operable?" Yeah, I didn't have a better word and since I already started my sentence, I had to finish it. Very politely, the lady said, "I'm sorry, I just put down our shake machine." Again, they probably have to thaw and clean it or something, I'm not sure, but there certainly aren't any signs that post milkshake times. Again, I back-up and hit up the next place that should have milkshakes any time of day, Dairy Queen.

Dairy Queen is a farther drive than I wanted, being that I live close to the radio stations but if it means comfort for my wife and grabbing some grub for myself, let's do it. I see Panda Express, Taco Bell and a few other places along my drive as they don't have shakes available. No problem, I'll hit both of them up later for lunch or something.

I see Dairy Queen off in the distance and I see cars in the drive-thru. Nice, I'm sure to have found a winner and it gives me a chance to order their chicken strip basket with that white country gravy that I love so much. I pull in and start to position my car for the drive-thru. *CLICK* go the lights, I look at my clock and it just rolled over to 10 p.m. - closing time for Dairy Queen. I missed it by 'that' much.

So, I call my wife, give her the bad news. She's a little disappointed but understands. I check the hours for Red Robin, just in case, and they also close at 10 o'clock so I head home, no milkshake in hand and no food for me - looks like I'm makin' hot pockets tonight.

Upon telling one of my friends my story, she said:

As a former liar about this - sorry. I was forced! Our machine took a couple of hours to clean, though, and I'm sure our owner didn't want to eat the cost of paying five hourly employees for two hours after the store closes on of the off chance they might sell one or two milkshakes the last hour that one day a week it got cleaned.

which does make sense. However, if it's a 24/7 operation, why would it be down ever? I guess I can understand a couple of hours in the middle of the night where traffic is slower, or even in the morning when nobody is buying a shake.

My question, same as my headline, "Why is it so hard to find a milkshake at night in Yakima?" It really shouldn't be. If you have any ideas or have examples of who would have shakes at night on any given night, let me know!