Thursday, July 26, 2007

Is Ronald McDonald really trying to kill me?

No, he's just trying to steal from me by trying to nickel and dime me.

Had a goofy little experience at McDonalds today. I found it interesting given all the hoopla about McDonalds and health, especially around the time Morgan Spurlock's "Supersize Me" was released.

As a side note, the movie was actually pretty good. I sort of expected some bleeding heart liberal truth bending attack on the fast food industry like you'd get from Michael Moore. Yet, this did not go in the direction of a Michael Moore flick. The gimmick of the flick is the 30 days of nothing but McDonalds. But rather than it being a war on fast food companies, it really just calls people to realize that we have to take responsibility for ourselves and can't rely on corporate America to look out for our best intrests when they are trying to look out for their own (profit). It just shows corporate America for what it really is: business and making money. That in and of itself is not evil, it's just the nature of business. A company cannot survive if it does not make money. It's also a good little motivator to help you think about your diet.

Anyway, with all the media McFlurry (pun intended), one of the "results" was that supposedly McDonalds would not longer have a "supersize" option. Well, that's not really what happened. They just took away "supersize" and instead made all their combos have options of small, medium, or large. Or some weird "upgrade" thing for only a few cents more! So, really just getting the large or upgrade, you get the "supersize." This actually helps them, because they can post the price of the smaller combo so it looks cheaper, then you upgrade it and pay more anyway. Almost a hidden cost, yet you asked for it.

So I just ordered the combo, I didn't say "supersize," or "large" or anything like that. And it is supposedly McDonald's policy to not even offer to upgrade anymore. So when I pull around and see the lady is about to hand me the ginormous 55 gallon drum of diet coke that comes with the large combo (and the price was more than advertised even with tax), I have to ask her what size I was about to get. She told me large. Interesting. So, I told her I had only wanted the medium, she "downsized it" for me and gave me back the difference. Of course who would really expect McDonalds to suddenly care about all that stuff. Overall, they just want my money. (Had they been "smart" they would have given me the large combo anyway and just given me back the difference, that would have had a much more likely result in repeat business which would have been greater than the little difference they "saved" by downgrading my combo.)

Now, I realize that McDonalds is not healthy. Their main value is that they are convenient. That's really the only reason I ever go there. I rarely have a craving for McDonalds, and unless the french fries are done just right, I never think "I'm Lovin' It" while I'm eating it. [gasp!] (I must be growing up!)

Now to just get over my love of Starbucks hazelnut lattes.



Ronny said...

Here is one bit of consolation about those 55-gallon-drum sodas. I went to Sonic recently and got a Route 44 Coke with a shot of cherry flavoring. I drank it pretty quickly, then noticed that there was still a whole lot of ice left in it even though some had melted. Curious about just how much volume of a 44-oz. Sonic drink went towards ice versus soda, I grabbed a 12-oz. can of Dr. Pepper and poured it into the cup. It only just barely fit -- and remember that some of the ice had already melted.

What this means is that when you get a 44-oz. drink from Sonic, you are likely getting no more than about 10 ounces of soda, which is less than a standard can. The rest is just plain old-fashioned zero-calorie ice.

The moral of the story: getting a 44-oz. drink from Sonic is better for you than getting a 12-oz. can of soda from a vending machine. Drink up!

Roman Sacristan said...

You just pointed out where the food industry makes most of its money: soda sales. That's why you can get free refills almost anywhere. You go to a restaurant and you pay about $2.00 for a glass of cola, which being optimistic is about 12 oz. Even if you get a couple of refills, that only adds up to about 36 oz.
So, $2.00 for about 36 oz. Yet you can go to the supermarket and find 2 liters (about 68oz of cola) for only $1.00, and you know the store is still making a profit off that.
If you want to eat cheaper, then only get water when you go to a restaurant. You'll save a meal's worth of money in about 4 meals.

Ronny said...

Yep. I once read an article by someone who worked at a concession stand at an amusement park. The workers could be written up if they did not max out the cup with ice before filling it with soda.