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mcgrew's Journal: Why does McDonalds want to make me fat? 15

Journal by mcgrew

From Food Business News:

NEW YORK â" For McDonaldâ(TM)s Corp., it may seem like a supersized dilemma: Offer a healthier menu or serve customers their coveted fattening fare?

Itâ(TM)s a matter of social responsibility versus sales, said Don Thompson, president and chief executive officer, who addressed the topic during the Sanford C. Bernstein Strategic Decisions Conference in New York on May 29.

âoeToday, we are in this time period where people are defining quote-unquote âhealthyâ(TM) and ânon-healthy,â(TM)â Mr. Thompson said. âoeAnd the question really is, in the restaurant business, what does the customer want? ⦠Whatever it is a customer wants, we will be selling more than anyone else.â

Ok, Mister Bernstein, I say you're full of shit. I think you WANT us to all be fatasses.

I usually go home for lunch, but my car's in the shop today and don't have time to walk home, eat, and walk back, so I walked down to McDonalds. McDonalds is a lot closer than home. They had a promotional thing up with some new quarter pounders, so I decided to try one. I got the habañero Ranch quarter pounder, which I will get around to trash talking later. I ordered a small fry and a small coke to go along.

"That will be $7.52".

"How much was the burger itself?" I forgot what her answer was but it seemed like a hell of a lot for a hamburger. When I was 12 a McDonald's hamburger, fries, and small coke was 37 cents plus tax. Of course, the minimum wage was something like a dollar back then. She told me the price, I winced and said "too much, but I'll pay it anyway."

"The value meal may be cheaper," she said. I said ok. She rang it up. $7.01.

A burger with a small fry and small coke costs more than a burger with a medium fry and a medium coke. Why does McDonalds want me to get fat? I wound up throwing half the fries away, that's way too much food. Plus McDonalds fries are nasty. I didn't like the burger, either. False advertising if I ever saw it. Habañero? Really? Habañeros are one of the hottest peppers there are, and that burger had no hint whatever of any kind of hot pepper.

Of course, there's a sit-down restaurant that's even worse on the spicy front, on the corner of Second and South Grand named the (checks Google Maps... WTF, google? I search for 2nd and South Grand and it gives me 2nd and North Grand. Should I start using Microsoft Bling? Drags map down to South Grand... here it is) sorry, called the MeKong Cafe. It seems that General DuCatt or however you spell it traveled back in time from Cardassia and opened a barbershop in Springfield... anyway, the MeKong's window says they specialize in Vietnamese, Cambodian, and Thai food. Having been in Thailand in the USAF and loving that food, I ate at the MeKong diner once.

I was not impressed.

Thai peppers are ounce for ounce some of the hottest peppers there are; they're tiny little things, half an inch (couple of centimeters) long and eating one will bring far more tears to your eyes than eating a jalapeño. I grew some, years ago -- they're great for getting rid of a sinus headache. Like Mexican food and for the same reason, Thai food is hot. Damned hot. Shirt wringing wet hot, which is why spicy food is so popular in Thailand and Mexico; Thailand is almost at the equator. The whole year I was there it only got cooler than eighty F once.

So I'd stopped at this so-called "MeKong" restaurant and ordered cowpot. Cowpot is Thai for "fried rice".

"Um, what?" the oriental waitress said, obviously not being from Thailand or, indeed, South East Asia at all.

"Thai fried rice," I said.

"Do you want it hot?"

"Of course I want it hot. I want it to taste like what I ate in Thailand. Blistering hot."

It was wimpier than Chinese fried rice.

There are a lot of fake foreign restaurants at that corner, probably catering to all the government employees that work in two large buildings that sit caddy-corner from each other there. There's a Taco Gringo, which is about as far from Mexican food as you can get, a Chinese place called China One, and another oriental restaurant named, hilariously, Dynasty.

Sheesh, I thought software devs came up with stupid names, like GIMP and WinCE. But a restaurant named the Die Nasty?

Anyway, back on topic, it isn't just their "value meals," either. Why is a hamburger with one patty and one slice of cheese more expensive than a hamburger with TWO patties and a slice of cheese?

Why do they want everybody, especially the poor and/or frugal, to be fat?

I will say one nice thing about McFatsos, though -- their side salads are really surprisingly good. Yeah, it's hard to screw up a salad but Burger King manages to. I'll get the salad, take it home, and eat it with a steak and baked potato. THAT's food, not faux cowpot or a hamburger with bacon (to disguise the taste of the beef, of course) or a taco some gringo made.

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Why does McDonalds want to make me fat?

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  • Must be the employee break room at the country club...

  • Weight gain is a runaway positive-feedback reaction (when enabled by modern foods that pack more energy than we could ever get on a day of hunting and gathering, delivered to people expending energy that is a rounding error in comparison to said hunting & gathering), of course they want to get this reaction started, then you'll become a regular customer who places big orders. I'm sure the "value meal" is an intentional loss leader.

    Our bodies are, in today's world, dangerously efficient at stockpiling en

    • With their markup, I'm sure Mcdonalds is taking no losses. If they gave away everything but the soda-pops, they would still make huge profits.

  • Restaurants exist for naught but convenience for me. i seldom go to one unless I'm going with my wife. Even then, though, I am usually disappointed in both the food and the prices. Whether it's sit-down or fast food, though, doesn't seem to have as much effect on the price as you would think. On one occasion, I walked out of a fast food place because it would have cost me more than sitting down across the street.

    It seems the places truly worth visiting, though, disappear unless they are perfectly locate

    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      There are expensive restaurants with lousy food here, too. Location does matter, but here I can think of two who thrive. D'Arcy's Pint was always packed when it was in a strip mall. They built a new, very large building for it in a better location and you still have to wait to get in. Top Cats usually has a waiting line and they're in a strip mall. But both places have delicious but cheap food, which is why they're always packed.

  • These days I can rarely wake up in time to make lunch and get to work, so I end up eating lunch out, not only is this cutting into my budget to the tune of about $200, my belt's been cutting into my waistline. Doesn't help that I end up sitting at this desk 10-12 hours a day. (Doesn't help that I sit here on slashdot instead of getting work done.)

    About spicy food, I think there's a real aversion to "offending" people with spicy food, at least among restaurants that try to cater to everyone. Find one off

    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      Yes, that's true, but if you're going to advertize habaneros it should be spicy. There are a few here that do, a couple of Mexican restaurants that have employees who don't even speak English, and the Chile Den has a bowl they call "firebrand". If you can finish a bowl they put a carved plaque with your name on it up on the wall.

      Part of it is the way most Americans are taught from birth to "clean your plate." My parents were more "take what you want but eat what you take."

      Restaurant portions, not just fast

      • by Qzukk (229616)

        Part of it is the way most Americans are taught from birth to "clean your plate." My parents were more "take what you want but eat what you take."

        I never really thought about why I eat the way I do. You may be right about that, I have an absolute aversion to letting food go to waste (but I also take the 2000-calorie-and-a-cup-of-salt second half of the meal home to eat the next day).

        If we wish hard enough not only could we get smaller portions, they'd cost less too!

        • by rk (6314)

          The problem with that is that the food itself is usually the smallest expense for a restaurant. Payroll, location, and utilities are far more expensive for them. Making a portion 25% smaller saves them almost nothing, but loses them in comparison to other restaurants that appear to be "more generous". It's perverse, but the huge portions served in most places is a result of this.

      • by chill (34294)

        Part of it is the way most Americans are taught from birth to "clean your plate."

        I agree. I had this argument with my grandfather once, who was complaining how everyone was fat today. I told him it was HIS fault. His entire generation, because of the combination of Great Depression and Dust Bowl, was taught to waste nothing in the way of food.

        For the entire lives my parents were told, 3 times a day "clean your plate". I was told that constantly as well.

        Combine it with a grandmother for whom an overflowing table was not only a sign of pride but of success and wealth, and we can easily se

        • by gmhowell (26755)

          Working through this with my son currently. I allow him what he wants to put on his plate, but I encourage him to go small and come back later if he wants more. The only thing I'm a stickler about is vegetable and fruit content. But starch? I don't care if he doesn't eat any of it, honestly.

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