Advantages Kids Like It and Maccy D's is Everywhere.
Disadvantages Unhealthy, Nasty Food, Overpriced, Grubby Restaurants, Long Queues.
“Oooooh, ‘ook! McDonalds!” cried Little Nephew in a frenzy of excitement, his Thomas The Tank Engine wellies overhanging his car seat and drumming on the dashboard. “Yes” sighed The Boyfriend and I indulgently. “McDonalds.” And then, “But we’re going to Savacentre, aren’t we?”.They say that some ridiculous percentage of children under four recognise the golden arches long before they tune into any other branding and I for one believe that. I hate the place and the way they somehow ply their horrible, sticky, unhealthy food and associate it with fun. The Boyfriend and I avoided hundreds of McDonalds as we trekked across Europe and I’ve only been in there once in about seven years. Until yesterday. A horrible wet bank holiday Monday, when we were down to babysit.
Earlier in the week there’d been plans in place, we would go to the zoo in glorious sunshine. But we had no money, we needed food for dinner, The Boyfriend had taken an eternity over getting Little Nephew dressed and now we were going to Savacentre in the rain. It was midday and Little Nephew was running close to dinnertime. We splashed in the puddles as we crossed the car park, wondering why The Boyfriend hadn’t planned on a coat.I’ve campaigned against McDonalds on San Francisco beach, I begged my mum to buy me the Anti-McDonalds T-shirts. I admired those two troublemakers and signed petitions to support their McLibel case. I lecture other people on the evils of eating overpriced fat filled rubbish and I found it unbelievable that ‘Supersize Me’ could have any bearing on reality. We were even at Savacentre to buy avocado and watercress, not at Iceland buying 99p turkey twizzlers.
The Helicopter kiddie ride at the door was already occupied. We took too long getting around the store because we didn’t know it well enough. In the trolley, out the trolley, want to walk, want to sit here. Crisps. No. “Have I got all of ‘is at home then?” Spaghetti comes in Scooby Doo, Spongebob, Thomas. And a big Balamory tin, enough to feed all of Balamory.Remember kids birthday parties at McDonalds? Sticky reserved tables set out in the plastic shell of a boat and food that no-one wanted to eat served up in cardboard. Teenage years, drinking chocolate milkshake and meeting boys there on a Saturday Morning. Chip fights upstairs until the staff shouted at you. Saying you wanted it to take away and then running round the corner and eating in because it was cheaper. Getting older and people at school leaving to work in McDonalds – “an Area Manager gets £15,000 and a company car”. The variety of McDonalds up and down the country where everything looks the same, from town centre location to drive-through.
If you’ve ever seen a tired, hungry, damp child stomp a Babybel (still in its wrapper) clean through the mesh on the bottom of a trolley, then you’ll understand where we were coming from. “Please, please, we can go to McDonalds * but * only if you’re good”. He sat silently, smiling in the baby seat of the trolley and peace reigned as we put the shopping in the car.
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