No one, I think, in the western world has all that many illusions about the food being served at McDonald’s. The Golden Arches serves fast food, no one is disputing that. While the recent kick towards “no-trans-fat, no-hydrogenated, no-saturated-fats,” has caught the fancy of some in the fine dining world, McDonald’s is a little more grounded than that, I think. McDonald’s is not the best food for a growing body but with everything in moderation and with all the other potential vices afoot in the world today, McDonald’s isn’t the worst thing which folks could partake in from time to time by any stretch.
It was with that in mind that my wife and I stopped in to a McDonald’s in Nebraska to try and enjoy some “food.” It was after 10PM (nothing but McDonald’s is open after 10PM generally, many places in the nation) and some brief rain showers were just getting heavy overhead so we figured the longer we could delay at the until-midnight dining area, the better. From the looks of the clearing forecast just ahead of us, we might get back out onto the road without too much incident.
The food was its usual bland self but the calories were quick to attach themselves to my midsection. The wife got the fruit and yogurt salad and only ate the fruit, in her blatant rejection of our nomadic, McDonald’s lifestyle. However one thing I noticed on this trip into Ronald McDonald land was a wonderful sign for careers at McDonald’s.
I have no gripes with people who work at McDonald’s. I definitely understand the food-service mentality having worked for years at similar great places to eat such as Friendly’s and Denny’s. I know that often people who work in food service don’t even eat the food they serve. However this sign for employment opportunities at this McDonald’s in Nebraska really got me riled up. It was the contents of this sign which was the thing.
The sign was simple enough and read “APPLY HERE: Careers, Nutrition, Good Works (with the translation in Spanish below).” This seems innocent enough and I don’t know, maybe McDonald’s corporate takes a big part in making sure that their employees get nutritional training or guidance exactly so they don’t eat only McDonald’s food. But the fact that it’s included, so open-ended makes me think that even if they do offer this guidance, that’s not what they’re selling to the potential job applicant at all.
Just having gotten off the road (nine days New York to Los Angeles and back – 6000 miles) and having eaten my fair share of McDonald’s, I was brought back to the idea of choices for individuals in life. Of course this advertisement was only an advertisement and did not represent the McDonald’s experience for many. But we all make choices and even though we’d like to believe that we live in a choice-filled society, many of us don’t have the wealth of choices which others of us do. Like, as an example, some of the low-wage workers who close the store every night at this Nebraska highway McDonald’s. Where are they going to go get a healthy meal at 1 in the morning? How many of these workers really have the time to want to shop for and cook a healthy meal when they have to wake up the next morning, probably to go to some other job just so their kids can have all the things which kids in Nebraska do.
So yes, we are all privileged with choice in America. Still, some of us are burdened with it. One would hope that McDonald’s everywhere would always be working with a chin up and towards a better and healthier tomorrow and away from obesity, over-indulgence, and an increasingly immobile populous who keeps returning to the dreaded “fries with that!” McDonald’s should hope in order to keep their stores running that their employees are at least given the tools and the encouragement to make a better choice for their own better tomorrow.