Why People Hate McDonald’s

Would you work for a Fortune 500 company with the following profile:

* Has an African-American CEO
* Honored by Black Enterprise as one of the best companies for diversity at staff and corporate levels
* Provides all expense paid college credit eligible education at its business management school.
* Promotes from within and doesn’t discriminate against those without college degrees when hiring for executive level positions, including CEO.
* Invests in progressive businesses — ie. Chipotle — that raise the standard of fast-food and build green storefronts

Who that? You know the answer, title gives it away:  McDonald’s. If you feel thrown off, then we’re ready to begin.

Why People Hate McDonald’s

Top 5 reasons — qualitatively gathered — in no particular order:

1. They treat their employees like shit.
2. Their food tastes like shit.
3. They put shit in their food.
4. Their food makes people look like shit.
5. They use manipulative advertising to get kids addicted to eating shit.

All of which need to be translated, those are just codes meant to deflect attention. There’s something else going on here.  Not just projection, there’s sublimation, that “mature” defense mechanism, says Freud: when you replace urge to do something that *you* think is socially unacceptable with socially acceptable stand-in. Like Luke becoming an NFL linebacker so he doesn’t end up in jail for beating the shit out of that motherfucker.  Jenna marrying ultra-stylish Jack the hairdresser to keep Dad proud. Sam becoming a proctologist because he was raised Catholic strict.

Top 5 Reasons to Hate McDonald’s, Deconstructed and Debunked

They treat their employees like shit
Pay for non-managerial staff is comparable to what a typical hospital pays its resident MDs; similar to what the university pays its graduate student TAs and RAs ; almost as much as what a community college pays its adjunct professors to teach. (I could go on). Yet people aren’t boycotting their hospitals and schools due to employee pay and career growth opportunities.

In providing career growth opportunities, McDonald’s has most businesses — Alive Juice Bar included — beat: you can be of humble origins and degree-less and still become its CEO, as Charlie Bell (who started working at McDonald’s at 15) had.  Free education for its management trainees. One of few businesses willing to give those with no experience and skills (and the wrong color) a chance.

Their food tastes like shit.
It’s how you frame and present something.  Watch this prank: 

Summary for those who can’t watch it: pranksters pose as chefs of high end restaurant.  They serve samples of their food — McDonald’s fare, actually — at food expo.  Some who sample rave about taste and high quality of food:

The ‘Chicken McNuggets’ were neatly cut up and served by a charming young waiter, complete with tidy uniform. “Rolls around the tongue nicely, if it were wine I’d say it’s fine,” an older and presumably more experienced food critic commented.

“The structure is good, yes. Not too sticky,” said one expert about a McMuffin. Then it was onto the ‘real classics’.

“You can just tell this is a lot more pure,” came another comment from a young lady operating an organic stall.

It’s like those studies that show a painting of, say, a boy pissing on a tree. Take that painting, make two of them, date one at 1500, another at present day and attribute it to someone who doesn’t look like a painter. Most will describe the first as some Renaissance classic.  The latter as ghetto trash.  Which is it?

baroque shit

Renaissance era painting or two boys tugging on each others’ penis. A classic or kiddie porn?

Point is, we’re tools.  We’re not trained to think or to ask questions, we’re trained to respond on cue, like caged rats in an experiment:

Organic……..Fresh
Gluten-free……Healthy
Grass-fed…….Tasty
Fat-free………Healthy
Wild………..Fresh

Even though organic has nothing to do with freshness, gluten-free isn’t healthier if you’re not celiac, and grass-fed isn’t necessarily tastier, you get the idea.  Our brains exaggerate and mix and match correlations.

They put shit in their food.
A few examples: 
Earthworms (1978)
Mutant Lab Meat (2000)
Cow Eyeballs (2006)
Random Rot Preventing Chemicals (200?)

Blood libel, definition (Wiki): “accusation that Jews kidnapped and murdered children of Christians to use their blood as part of their religious rituals during Jewish holidays.”  The world may change, but human nature remains the same: we’re still mean-spirited and vindictive. About what, we’ll get to later.

Who is more dangerous, the person who created this hoax, or those who believe it?

Who is more dangerous, the person who created this hoax, or those who believe it?

Their food makes people look like shit.
You can do a lot worse at a neighborhood Greek diner or Chinese take-out or Tacqueria, where portion sizes and calorie counts are even more ridiculous.  Or at a fine-dining steakhouse like Metropolitan Grill or El Gaucho — 3,000 calories easy for someone who orders 1 entree, 1 salad, 1 drink, and a desert. Grande Frappucino plus blueberry muffin at Starbucks is 700 nutritionally deficient calories. Not saying McDonald’s Value Meals provide the balanced and diverse nutrition we try to get customers to consistently eat, they don’t. I’m just wondering why McDonald’s gets blamed for the obesity epidemic when they don’t serve anywhere near the most nutritionally appalling meals.

They use manipulative advertising to get kids addicted to eating shit.
Anthony Bourdain describes McDonald’s advertising tactics as “Black Propaganda.” (He exaggerates, but let’s work with it). And so?  Try to think of an (effective) ad that isn’t manipulative, that provides a cold, detached, balanced review of a product’s benefits and a brand’s purpose. Is there a nation that doesn’t use propaganda to control its populace?  Find me a person who isn’t manipulative and I’ll stop charging customers $1 for Better Service.

How to Figure People Out
Asking what someone likes doesn’t reveal much about the person.

“The woman I like is smart, sexy, confident, tomboy by day, sex kitten by night, looks good in either jeans or a dress…” which reveals that this guy is a fucking tool, a dull one at that.  A better way to figure out who someone is — personality and social status — and how they’ll act is to mix it up and ask what they dislike. Here’s a real life example, from an interview with an applicant:

Interviewer: What are your career goals?
Applicant: I hope to work at Woman, Infants, and Children (WIC) food stamps program.  I want to help the poor make better choices with their food stamp money.  I want to help the poor eat better.
Interviewer: What do you think about Roger’s Market?  (Roger’s is an independent grocery store in Mountlake Terrace, primarily serving low income residents.  Lots of food stamps).
Applicant: It’s disgusting, everything about it.  I try to stay away from there.
Interviewer: Then you won’t last 2 weeks working at the WIC.
Applicant: Huh?
Interviewer: You just told me you hate poor people.  If you can’t stand shopping at Roger’s, where those with food stamps shop, then how are you going to work with them on a near daily basis?

Not saying she’s insincere about her desire to help the poor eat better. Just saying this desire is driven by a conflict within herself she doesn’t understand and doesn’t want to acknowledge because it’s too painful to do so. When we cross-check this interview transcript with applicant resume and Facebook page, what emerges is a standard lower middle-class female who’s one wrong move from becoming White trash.  That’s why she spends money she doesn’t have on microbrews and listens to college radio. That’s why she goes into debt to get a bullshit degree at a bullshit college, to gain some psychological (but ephemeral) distance from the wrong side of the tracks, even at the risk of having the debt force her to stand in line for food stamps.  And it’s precisely that risk — unacknowledged but instinctively recognized — that makes her hate those she’s afraid of becoming. That’s why she expresses her repressed hatred by seeking a career that allows her to “help” those she hates, that confirms her identity as not one of them.

Why We Actually Don’t Hate McDonald’s
Hating McDonald’s is like hating your great-grandmother for being a racist.  She’s an icon for lasting this long, so you forgive her faults. McDonald’s is an American icon, and they know it, which is why they’re using sentimental ads to make you less pissed off at them, to remind you of a time when everyone, regardless of social class and race, ate at McDonald’s without guilt.

Thesis: those who hate McDonald’s don’t hate McDonald’s.  They hate McDonald’s customers. They hate the stereotype of those who regularly eat at McDonald’s. They hate poor people, and the ones afraid that they themselves will end up poor probably hate themselves too. Let’s return to the 5 reasons why people hate McDonald’s.

1. They treat their employees like shit.
2. Their food tastes like shit.
3. They put shit in their food.
4. Their food makes people look like shit.
5. They use manipulative advertising to get kids addicted to eating shit.

Above 5 is how we routinely describe the poor.  It’s the poor, the thinking goes, who get paid and treated like shit.  It’s the poor who eat food that tastes like shit; who are pathetic enough to eat food that literally is shit; who are obese; who are stupid enough to be so easily manipulated.

But we’ve been taught that it’s socially unacceptable to shit on the poor. So we displace our hate onto the biggest piece of cultural flotsam we see, the number one fast food company in the world. Calling out the Greek diner or Chinese takeout or the dive bar that serves too much alcohol is too politically problematic — these are hard working immigrants making a living by providing what people want and blaming alcohol will lead to riots.  But blaming a giant corporation for serving what people want *is* socially acceptable, a lot more so than telling your daughter she to lose 50 pounds.

It’s easier to blame McDonald’s for making people fat than to blame fat people for making themselves fat, *possibly* from eating at McDonald’s.  It’s more comforting: “It’s not my fault my kids are obese,” rationalizes Mom’s defense mechanism. “If we just get rid of fast food and raise wages, these people wouldn’t act as they do,” the Champagne Socialist who has never lived among non-immigrant American poor surmises. In other words, it’s more comforting to believe that we don’t control our destiny, that virtue and character don’t emerge from that struggle within, that it’s simply a matter of public fucking policy.  Fix the policy and we’ll have Heaven on Earth, the thinking goes, as people wait and wait and wait for the government to get it right.

The problem isn’t McDonald’s.   McDonald’s is just providing what some people want and making McDonald’s disappear isn’t going to make a difference — none at all — because people will get what they want and what they deserve, regardless of public policy and intervening laws. The problem is us.  We’re the ones who are suspicious instead of skeptical, gullible instead of judicious, and fearful of our place in a rapidly changing society.

Nietzsche on the Monsters we fight (from Beyond Good and Evil):

“Those who fight Monsters should look to it that they themselves do not become Monsters.  And when you gaze long into the Abyss, the Abyss also gazes into you.”

And the only experience more terrifying than the abyss gazing back into you is when it offers you a Big Mac and Fries, which you then eat alone.

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1 Comment

  1. yeah thats me

     /  March 4, 2015

    excellent post. i’ll still say they put shit in their food though (the american ones). for some reason they still use a bunch of nasty shit to make their food in comparison to european mcdonalds.

    why is ADA allowed in food product in america, but fuckin banned in europe, and fined in malaysia for like 15k?

    FDA. oh fda.

    Reply

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