Good-Bye Golden Arches

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McDonalds, what happened to you?

I know that the various critics have brought you down.  We’re told that fries are bad for you – too much sodium and far too much fat.  And beef?  Yeah that stuff will kill you.

And secret sauce?  Sure, it really is just thousand-island dressing, but it held a mystique until a plethora of websites let the recipe out of the bag.

Ronald is being held up as an icon of “everything that is wrong with our children,” and he is the smiling face that draws them into the stores to gorge on unhealthy food.   The critics say that McDonalds must be punished for serving the food they do, but no mention that the parents are willing partners in that…

I can remember as a child a trip to McD’s was almost as good as Disneyland.   I drank the proverbial Kool-Aid, knowing now that the food was just a diversion to play on the awesome playground.  I didn’t care about Chicken McNuggets.  I was there to play.

And there are millions just like me.  We’re trying to reconcile our deep ingrained love for the Golden Arches with the fact that their food is truly not good for us.  Saturated fat?  Bad.  Salty fries?  Bad.  Milkshakes?  Not even milk here folks.  And soda?  Diabetes waiting to happen, right?  And I would be hard pressed to point to the part of the chicken that is the “nugget”.

But many are still loyal.  It’s a guilty pleasure.  Truly I’m a sucker for their fries.  Yeah, they’re not the best fries I’ve ever had, but there is something near magical about the first bite of hot, crispy, salty fresh-from-the-fryer fries.  But how are we faithful few repaid?  Worsening food, poor attempts to branch out and a general dilution of the great thing that Ray Kroc built.

So what brings this on Wanderer, you ask?

My lunch today.  It was the most pathetic attempt at a Big Mac and fries that I have ever had.  Wilted limp lettuce, thin little patties, slathered with luke-cold “secret-sauce”, plastic cheese tossed in a bag by a mindless reprobate.  I ate it, hoping it would get better but knowing that it was impossible.

In a blind rush for profit the quality of ingredients suffer, not to mention the amount of product they must keep on hand for their sprawling menu.  Cut corners enough and people notice.  I cut them some slack.  But I can’t anymore.

Sorry Ronald, even your heroin-laced fries can’t bring me back.  There are joints that use quality ingredients, keep prices reasonable and have employees that like to work there.  Maybe at Hamburger University (it’s a real place folks…) you can look at those places, or maybe take a good hard look at the original playbook and change.  But as for me, I’m gone.  And while it’s probably better for me health-wise, I’ll miss it a bit.

Thanks for the memories though.

Addendum… I still support Ronald McDonald House Charities as they gave me a place to stay and take care of myself during one of the hardest periods in my life and for that I’m eternally grateful.

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