Fast Food Follies

mcd-meals-2-cheeseburger

Cook County RecordA Des Plaines man has brought a consumer fraud class action against a suburban Chicago McDonald’s franchisee, alleging the restaurant group should be made to pay for allegedly false advertising on its menu, as the group’s pricing of its two cheeseburger “Extra Value Meal” causes customers to pay 41 cents more than they would if they just ordered their two burgers, fries and drink separately.

I like to consider myself a fast-food connoisseur. I make In-N-Out my first stop every time I travel to the West Coast. I wait in line for my free taco (and nothing else) during every Taco Bell “Steal a Taco” promotion. I savor every McRib like it’s my last. Five Guys and Qdoba are a little too rich for my blood. So I blog today to commend this Des Plaines man for doing God’s work.

We’ve all been squeezed by the cumbersome regulations associated with the McDonald’s “value” menus. Who among us hasn’t wandered into a McDonald’s after dark only to find the once-familiar Dollar Menu replaced with the infamous late-night menu? At the McDonald’s on my college campus, McNuggets could only be purchased in multiples of 10 after 11 PM. No wonder the freshman 15 also comes in packages of 25. They must have to put away the four-piece McNugget boxes after dinner.

Occasionally, these regulations could be avoided. I was known to order three four-piece McNuggets off the Dollar Menu to get 12 McNuggets for $3 instead of the standard 10-piece McNugget for $3.69. But the Dollar Menu could be wildly inconsistent. Years ago, you could find the Big N’ Tasty on the Dollar Menu in Weymouth, but only ketchup packets on the Dollar Menu at North Station.

Enough is enough. McDonald’s has long been lauded for its consistency. A Big Mac in Boston tastes the same as a Big Mac in Bismarck. Isn’t it time the menu replicate that same consistency? Isn’t it time the consumer be rewarded for simplifying the ordering process by ordering one meal? Rather than five individual items in one transaction that would almost certainly be fouled up?

I hate to say it, but it’s not about the money. It’s a moral issue at this point. Do better, Ronald and friends. Do better.

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