Sunday, April 01, 2007

For Peace, Love, and Liberty

McDonald's has garnered some bad press here lately and in point of fact for quite some time. I'm happy to report from Guangzhou, the source of the latest scandal that McDonald's is doing very well (but further reports to follow if I'm able to convince/force my quirky nationalist coworker to eat at McDonalds). This picture was taken at 10 pm on Thursday. (Sorry, it's a blurry, I'm a bit shy in the real world, so I took the picture and quickly hid the camera after it flashed.)

McDonald's Rocks! Forget about trying to reform the UN, the unifying force for peace, love and liberty in the world is McDonald's. I decided this as I was eating two double cheeseburgers. I'm far from the first one to suggest this, and not even the first China blogger to talk about McDonald's this year. I wonder if it's a universal second generation emigrant experience? (I wonder if Mike from ShenzhenUndercover also plays a musical instrument)

[As an aside, a tip for ultra-fresh burgers is to have them made "my way" and ask for stuff like extra pickles - of course it makes some my friends cringe and think I'm asking for the world when I do this - but that might be because I also substitute my fries for a salad with french dressing or apple pie but I take this "my way" business seriously.] McDonald's is truly a global phenomenon - as you can see from the picture, in China, you have tailored offerings - everything from the lack of queues to taro pies (ugh!).

I've been spending an extraordinary time at McDonald's - and not necessarily entirely by choice. There really isn't much convenient to me - and where I'm living in Guangzhou at the moment. Thankfully, it turns out that Morgan Spurlock lied, and I'll survive (a big Mac is far healthier than a quiche lorraine according to French nutritionists Jean-Michel Cohen and Patrick Serog). Even when I was working in New York, eating at the McDonald's next door was my favorite restaurant and far less pretentious than Rue 57. It's one of two experiences I really missed while I was East Africa.

The best part of McDonald's is that it's fantastically cheap. One can easily survive living in China on less than 10 USD's a day with a healthy part of that being McD's (they just raised prices which is an indication of creeping inflation last week but a sausage egg mcmuffin meal with OJ instead of coffee is RMB 16, a Big Mac medium meal, plus two pineapple pies is RMB 26).

Heck, even though they say they hate it, the French can't get enough of McDonald's reporting revenues in France of 3 billion - McDonald's most profitable subsidiary in Europe selling over a million sales a day and that was 2003! Eating at McDonald's may be the most populist and liberating statement you can make (except for maybe this). It's become the one true common cultural denominator - particularly here across from the train station - people with suits, the threadbare, the elderly, the young, foreign, local, all appearing to thoroughly enjoy the experience. Yes, indeed, McDonald's may in fact be the second happiest place on earth and loved by nearly all (the bulk of those who don't are elitist snobs I say).

Until the Clinton Administration's illegal bombing of the former Yugoslavia, no two countries with McDonald's franchises ever attacked each other (apparently first noted by Thomas Friedman). I pointed this out to Kyle, a friend of mine who said something to the effect it "was correlation without causation" to which I responded that he was a "warmonger" and that shut him up pretty quickly - yeah Kyle (who claims to read my blog but perhaps no longer), the truth will set you free.

In recent days, much has been made by the desperate moves of Iran in kidnapping British Soldiers in some bizarre attempt to forestall war by committing an act of war. This was all entirely unnecessary. Iraq didn't McDonald's. Egypt does. Iran does not. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad do take note.

PS if you want a good analysis of why McDonald's may truly be the unifying force for peace in the world, do have a look at this link.

1 comment:

Mike said...

Yea i do. I played the piano for 7 years. I dont play any more though...