Lately, I’ve been seeing this one commercial for a new McDonald’s promotion a lot.  Buy a Big Mac, Quarter Pounder, Filet-o-Fish, or a 10 piece McNugget, get a second one for $1.  At first, I thought, “what a steal, tonight we will feast like kings!”

But then I remembered the world we live in.  These companies don’t do things like this for no reason.  

Let’s look at the world at large.  We are seeing the beginnings of what could be the biggest labor movement of the 21st century, as workers at fast food places across the country are quitting en masse in light of the abysmal conditions (including having to spend the past year dealing with customers who don’t care whether they live or die) for equally abysmal pay.

There’s pretty much 2 ways that customers have been responding to this movement.  Those who care about the workers have stopped going to fast food places altogether (which, with vaccination numbers in the U.S. up, is starting to actually be feasible as you can kinda safely go to restaurants again).  Those who care more about the convenience they’ve come to rely on have flocked to whatever remaining locations are still staffed, and, since this is fast food we’re talking about, getting frustrated with the longer lines at the drive-thru, and thus going less and less.  Either way, it’s not a good look for Ronald.    

Think about it.  It’s a lot harder to complain about the drive-thru waits when it’s only 99 cents (Are Macklemore references still funny? Were they ever?).  This whole thing’s only about sweeping concerns of their labor practices under the rug by keeping people distracted with cheap food.

And if that wasn’t enough, it may also be worth mentioning that the deal is only available through the app, which, just like that Burger King promotion of “order a Whopper on the app while in a McDonald’s, get it for $1” deal a while back, seems like these fast food places are just trying to get into the data mining business. 

Am I saying you should boycott McDonald’s?  Well, not exactly.  I know I’ve said it before here, but these kinds of talks of “ethics” usually exist in a vacuum of privilege (not to mention the even-more-thoroughly-beaten dead horse “there is no ethical consumption under capitalism”).  If you’re really strapped for cash, there’s nothing wrong with taking advantage of a BOGO $1 deal.   

Hell, play the system for all you can.  Because while I don’t think these sales will have much of an effect on already-overworked employees, they are going to hurt McDonald’s’ bottom line sooner or later.  If McDonald’s is more willing to run themselves into the ground than pay their workers the value of their work, I say we should let them.  And if public pressure isn’t enough to make them raise their wages, maybe scaring their shareholders will.

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