Can I McHelp You?

I used to go to McDonald’s a lot. Back when I was a kid there was no such thing as a ‘nutritionist’ or whatever (maybe science did not evolve to the point of knowing about food in the 80’s), and McDonald’s was the place to be as a kid. Jungle Gym, Merry-Go-Round, Happy Meal toys, hell, they even had a smoking section for the burnt-out parents.

But since the great health uprising of 2003, McDonald’s business suffered and promptly became an object of ridicule and scorn.

So like any progressive-minded business, McDonald’s had to revamp their image and their food. Sure, they still can their burgers, fries, McNuggets, etc, but they introduced some healthier options, you know for the pussies of our society. Things like ‘salad’ and ‘alternative sides-apples’ started to appear on the McMenu. It is hard to tell whether or not this has helped their overall profits, mainly because I don’t care to research this, but let’s say that it did.

I do not frequent McDonald’s as much as I used to. This is not due to misplaced snobbery; I feel my snobbery is very well-placed, thank you. But mainly due to the fact there is not one that close to me. Heck, I always enjoy saving a few dollars and order off the Value Menu, but sometimes those saving are not within my reach.

Well, yesterday I had the hankering for some McNuggets. It has been over a year since I ventured out to the golden arches, so it was time to sate my appetite with 20 delicious, and widely-underappreciated, Nuggets Micky-D style.

But when I entered into the store, I was absolutely dumb-struck: the menu completely changed!!

First off, the menu is now all digital. I sort of expected this one, but what I didn’t expect was that all the images, prices, and content was moving around. How much was a small fry? Well, once you locate where they list it (in little font on the far right), you have to wait for the prices to cycle through ‘med’ and ‘lrg’. Then when you see the price, the fries part disappears, morphing into another item, like ‘apple pie’ or whatever.

Secondly, there is no more Value Menu. I know this because I literally stood at the counter for 2 minutes watching all the menu items cycle through 3 times. No Value Menu. They have something called ‘Extra Value Meal’, which is just a combo meal, and some little deals on the side (dessert stuff for the kids), but no more Value Meal. I remember when the Value Menu was the $1 Menu, I was a little crestfallen when they changed that to simply the Value Menu, but whatever. But now the Value Menu has gone the way of the Dodo.

Luckily I had a hard and fast game plan before seeing this visual cacophony; 20 McNuggets and small fries. So ordering wasn’t the issue, it was the cost. I had no idea what this would cost. I had to ask the cashier where is the hell is all of this listed on their menu (don’t worry, I asked nicely; it is not his fault that McDonald’s decided to employ the least user-friendly menu board ever) and how much any of this costs. He politely answered, then we began the well-honored tradition of exchanging goods and services for money.

But I later realized that when I was blankly gazing at the menu in utter confusion, I was becoming the thing I hate the most: old man not understanding the world around him, asking for clarification from everyone who is in touch with things, while holding up everyone else behind him. Is this my fate? Am I morphing into a man who cannot decipher a McDonald’s menu?

In my defense, no one was behind me in line and I did not grumpily or selfishly stop the world with my personal bewilderment. Also I have learned my lesson of the menu and will not make that mistake again. But there will be a time….soon…where the menu will change again. Maybe next time it will even be all the more convoluted. And maybe next time there is a line behind me. What then?

Anyway, simplicity breeds happiness and complexity breeds frustration. This new McMenu definitely is on the frustrating side, regardless of who is there reading it. McDonald’s needs to take it down a notch and go back to feeding us with unhealthy food for a reasonable price.

Side note: the McNuggets were delicious!