I am pretty sure the cheeseburger, apple slices, and chocolate milk are not much worse, and probably better, than the typical fare on a slapped together kids meal.
When I was a kid, my dad would take me to the local McDonalds to do math, several times a week. They'd let us sit there ordering nothing but sodas in a comfy booth for hours. These are some of my fondest childhood memories.
There are some issues with McDonalds, but it is a pleasant user experience.
In reality, it's all exactly the same sort of crap that was portrayed on Mad Men. Such prejudice is the same, whether it is enacted by tweed jacket wearing Ivy Leaguers, rural low-brow native americans, "poor white trash," urban black people, affluent Koreans, undergraduate students, "Social Justice Warriors," or Bay Area programmers. I should know, because I've been on the receiving end of it from all of the above, while also being a member of about half those groups. (Often having diametrically opposed things projected onto me!)
When it comes down to it, people should be given a chance as individuals, not summarily judged as units of a group. (Martin Luther King Jr. put it best...)
I swear, when I hear some fellow "liberals" talking about their own rural underclass or Republicans or Christians, the kind of disdain that comes across seems like something that should no longer exist in the 21st century, outside of movies about the Jim Crow south.
Doesn't Vox exist to perpetuate this kind of nonsense? It's undergraduate level politics dressed up as stone tablet commandments. Isn't Vox's very reason to provide political analysis to those otherwise 'too stupid' to know what's going on?
A Guardian columnist walking round one of the UK's poorest districts bewildered that white working class people do not share his opinions on the European Union:
Smugness is certainly a fact, but so is that brexit will leave the UK economically worse off in pretty much all respects. Especially the poor.
Citation needed. But not those made-up by economists, pundits and bureaucrats making money by being pro-EU and working within EU organization and with EC money...
Sterling is up against USD since March. Besides, a low pound can be good for exports/manufacturing. The idea that if the pound drops against the USD it's categorically "bad" is untrue and simplistic.
When David Cameron was campaigning, he said he'd be glad to have a referendum and he thought that a Brexit might actually be better for the UK. Thanks to that he was voted in with a majority, and promptly changed his tune to saying a Brexit would be lead to a catastrophe. Funny how he changed his mind so quickly. Also funny how the "neutral" economists didn't pipe up to correct Cameron during the election.
The US housing bubble collapse was widely and publicly predicted by leading independent (that is, those not working for banks or government) economists of every political stripe for many years before the collapse.
They were widely reported in major news media, including appearances on "media talk shows".
Politicians being politicians. Here's Borris before and now.
And they comingle with people in power and others with large interests all the time.
It's like having a computer science professor in "databases" that's also a stakeholder in MongoDB.
>which sell off everytime the risk of Brexit rises, and rally when the risk of Brexit falls. So people put their money where their mouth is.
That's only short term assets they play with -- to make a quick buck on the uncertainty before and after a Brexit--, it doesn't show anything with regards to the medium- and long-term prospects of a Brexit.
If the Republicans made themselves more like the Lib Dems in Australia, or the Christian Dems in Germany they'd have a clean sweep. But then they'd also lose Wall Street, large chunks of the Libertarian wing of Silicon Valley, and would probably end up having to fracture first.
The point being, you could likely make a party in the U.S. that kept most of the socially conservative stuff from the GOP and still picked up more of the economically "liberal" issues in the U.S., many of which are moderate in Europe, Australia, and elsewhere, and make it work.
They seem like basic facts to me. Not even arguable.
Pretending groups are somehow above criticism is more about manners than fact.
PS: I have watched several people become more and sometimes less racist after moving to DC. This has far more about cultural friction than the people involved.
Individuals are individuals. Sub-cultural mores are products (distortions) of the media. The two are not the same. However, the latter seems to have tremendous power in framing public debate.
Not that everyone in a group identifies with every assumption of that group, but these things are more complex than simply being shaped by the all powerful media.
This notion itself is becoming more nebulous with the rise of social media. Traditional media has lost much of its power, and much of that power has been taken over by social media. When the media merges with and to a large extent becomes us, what happens? I'm not so sure.
Your reply supports this: whether they do or don't (and to what degree) is an individual matter. I wasn't disputing that experience can change a person's attachment to racism.
At the same time you will find people going against type regularly. Which has a moderating effect. It's hard to think X are bums when you see hard working people from X.
I also often see people complain about their own ethic group a lot, though this is more about class than race.
I have noticed a strange flip-flop over the last 30 years or so. While the most prominent in and out groups have changed, the folks who used to talk the most trash about outsiders are now much more reticent. Now many of the folks who used to complain about getting put down are now the ones (mostly in private, but many times in public) with all the trash talk, i.e., acting like they always thought all the other guys did. (This was never actually the case, though.)
I hear friends talking about their neighbors and community in terms I know for a fact are not reciprocated -- and it goes far beyond just condescending. It's a bitter, desolate, and spiteful thing. You'd think they were marooned living in a cave with Stone Age man, waiting for the next human sacrifice to occur.
Very strange. I wonder if they know how they sound to others? We need a name for these guys. "Redneck Liberals" comes to mind. Perhaps "Faux Progressives"
For example, liberals might hyperbolicly call Trump a crypto-fascist, and Sanders supporters might call Clinton a crypto-Conservative, or a crypto-neoliberal. Granted, it's not used in mainstream political discourse much, but I hear it more on the fringes, and it probably has some academic use.
It used to be that the left was anti-authoritarian and the right was authoritarian. Libertarians were extremely anti-authoritarian. What has evolved, however, was that "soft" libertarianism got co-opted by the right. The left also co-opted libertarians, but not to the degree the right did. As the right gained more libertarians, it gave up some of its boardroom elitism. The result here was that the right's base become less elite while the left's base became more elite. (Because in the disparity of how both sides appealed to the libertarian center. In addition the left was naturally filled with smaller, more organized and fervent groups around a single cause, while the right had a broader base)
Then both the right and left became more and more authoritarian (along with the associated in-and-out clanning behavior) What with endless wars and the security state, I think we're seeing the end of the ride for the natural libertarians on the right. Perhaps the left too. Remains to be seen.
It will be interesting to see if the coming election involves a split in either/both major parties, and if so, along what fault line that split occurs.
Since the "right" as we know it remains, as ever, in favor of banning gay marriage, recreational marijuana, and alcohol sales on certain days of the week, I'm very skeptical that this story happened as described.
Insert standard parable of the blind men talking funny about elephant parts. Like it or not, there's at least five "right" wings and its like herding cats. The Christians were dominant maybe two decades ago, neocons were dominant for awhile, not so much recently. You can guess who's on the rise and the progs don't like it very much.
1) Neocon / megacorporate lackey. Never seen an eternal war their defense contractors who pay their re-election funds don't love. Koch Bros. Loves immigration; the middle/lower classes and the whites are to be eliminated. Thinks "Brazil" and "1984" and "brave new world" are instruction manuals. Loves income inequality. Globalist Imperialists. Basically they embrace their inner "bad guy James Bond villain" rather than suppress it. Some women (and men) really like the bad boys. Popularity in the population was much higher in the recent past. Have more money than they know what to do with, none the less struggle to get votes. These guys buy ads on social media and run campaigns.
2) Evangelical progressive Christian. If your church has electric guitars and spotlights and a projection TV and glitter as part of ceremonies you are here. Also see prosperity gospel and theological concept of "buddy jesus". This is where small local businessmen chill. Foreign policy is turn the other cheek. Weakest nominal attachment to the R party. Can't get these people to stop social signalling on facebook ("like and share this prayer" etc)
3) Bible belt southerners. If your church hates gays you are here. Strange alliance with Utah churches. Doesn't like alcohol, caffeine, or weed. Mostly a group defined by who and what they don't like. Like abortion, for example. These guys don't use computers or social media because those and Dungeons and Dragons are a tool of the devil.
4) Establishment / conventional wisdom / co-opted psuedo controlled opposition. These are the guys you see on TV and in congress. Maybe if we steal the platform of the progs from 20 years ago they'll love us. Cut to chase, no, the progs still hate them. Generally don't care about anything but gaining power. Kind of like neocons but less spine and much lower energy. Thinks about morals and ethics in terms of voting poll percentages. These guys buy ads on social media.
5) Alt right / 1488 / Libertarian crowd. Explosively growing. Trump. Average age is about half the above groups or lower. Smokes weed but calls it degenerate when others smoke up. Looks at gays the same way. Build a wall. Abortion is OK but to be avoided. This wing is meme central. Some memes: An alt right is a libertarian who finally noticed the worlds average IQ is below 120. Another meme: A 1488 is a guy who figured out the dominant belief of progs is they are anti-white people. The only group with a sense of humor, which is unfortunately (or entertainingly?) caustic and corrosive and so dark its like blacker than black humor. Foreign policy is non-interventionist, anti-imperialist and anti-globalist. Generally broadly speaking anti-corporate and anti-social media.
Bible belt southerners _don't_ use projectors and bands? What do they use then? I would have thought choir and organ churches were the more left/liberal - they are in Europe.
I'm not saying you're wrong, but this sounds very odd to me.
I don't think that there's anything particularly crypto about Clinton's neoliberalism. She helped create the New Democrats. She may not use the term "neoliberal" on the campaign trail, but the house intellectuals of her own movement applied it to themselves.
Of course, the gotcha with all such labels is that there are many liberal leftists who hear the term illiberal left and reflexively assume it applies tangentially to them, leading them to deny the existence altogether.
Anecdotally, a friend of mine in California is a huge Bernie Sanders supporter. Has attended rallies, fund-raised, and even designed T-shirts to promote Bernie's messages. A few weeks ago he apparently attended a private party of Bernie Sanders supporters, then messaged me back with "Wow, you'd been saying people like this existed, and I didn't believe it. These guys made me feel much more moderate than I once did."
I don't think people realize just what a late group this really is. Often times they're more under the Libertarian umbrella, though, but still... there's more shades of purple than there are red or blue.
And sure, one can somewhat respect the rights of a human being who denies scientific evidence, and I do believe many liberals need to be receptive and open-minded to others' arguments even when they violate their deepest convictions. The rise of safe-spaces and vehement protests against conservative speakers shows that libs are not great in this regard either. You need not and should not make fun of their heritage, their accent or make assumptions about their personality or behavior. At the very least, if you really don't care about being fair, disregarding evidence without offering a counterargument or giving a reason is bad enough of a sin that no one needs anything else to accuse an opponent of.
 I really mean this, a discussion is the right thing that needs to happen.
It's the behavior/mental stance that I'm calling out. Being the victor doesn't entitle one to be a douchebag. Being right doesn't entitle one to be a douchebag. If one subscribes to humanism and to being humane, then it simply doesn't do to view certain people as being less than human. Just because their views are less valid in your opinion, that doesn't make them less valid.
So long as you can make this distinction, you're fine in my book.
It seems like intolerance follows pendulum shift every 30 years or so. Liberals have the new intolerance, its just incredible how much disdain there is for everyone who isn't to the left of Elizabeth Warren and my god, the SJW stuff is out of control.
I have no idea if we've hit a peak with this stuff yet, but its hard to imagine how much worse in can get.
Hogwash. Now, Professor Stearns almost certainly has valid, well researched points which we could use to adjust certain policies, but humans are very much more than economic creatures , though it seems like we forget this readily nowadays in the US. This also means there are many more factors influencing American societal and mores than class divides. There's many strong cultural factors driving various network effects and topologies which require more complex analysis to understand. E.g. trying to use a first level "approximation" will fail to rationally understand our society. Besides in places like California even the idea of a white/Caucasian majority isn't even valid anymore.
This made me smile, as my dad and I did the exact same thing. He would get coffee and I would get eggs and hashbrowns before we set out on the days errands, and I remember doing long division problems with crayons for fun. I hadn't thought of those days in a very long time, thank you :)
The founder of CfA had controversial conservative views, but he is dead now, so you don't have to let that stop you anymore. Personally I wish they had stay out of politics altogether.
And the cleaning agent remains in the oil for subsequent frying. (Or that was the practice 30 years ago, anyway.)
It's not like the old days, where you could get any sandwich fresh as a custom order, and otherwise a maximum of 10 minutes post-wrap hold time.
Oddly, several Jack-in-the-Boxes here are the most clean, with Carl's Jr. being worst -- a complete inversion from 20 years ago.
Oh, and free Android tablets! You can really bask in the judgement of others :)
It's actually quite frustrating because my kids and I are vegetarians and while the wrap suits me just fine, my kids get stuck with their mediocre grilled cheese sandwiches (vegetarian children are still children - they think the wrap is weird).
It's not that I need every place to go to the lengths the clown does. I don't expect Pita Pit or my local felafel place to build playgrounds. I just wish there was a second chain providing this kind of product.
Did they have that brief experiment with the Santa Fe wrap and the Mediterranean Vegetable vegetarian wraps? The latter involved feta cheese, and you can imagine how wonderous McDonald's feta cheese was. In the end they killed the Santa Fe wrap but they made the Mediterranean wrap better, and so now that's my go-to McFood.
Sounds like a false dichotomy. Why not prepare actual healthy food, and not 'slapped together kids meal' ?
(Not saying most fast food is better, but McDonalds is about a 10/10 on the crap-o-meter).
Southwest Grilled Chicken Salad:
Ingredients: Romaine Lettuce, Baby Spinach, Carrots, Baby Kale, Lollo Rossa Lettuce, Red Leaf Lettuce, Red Oak Lettuce, Red Tango Lettuce, Red Romaine Lettuce, Red Butter Lettuce. Ingredients May Vary.
Ingredients May Vary
Speaking of which, a general note: never, ever buy anything with Mechanically Processed poultry or pork... or at least read about exactly what that means first.
Also, for what it's worth, neither chicken nuggets nor the beef patties at McDonalds are made with mechanically separated meat anymore.
If it meets your definition of "meat", by all means stick with it. Just be aware of what MSM really is.
<neither chicken nuggets nor the beef patties at McDonald's are made with mechanically separated meat anymore>
The beef patties never were (it's illegal -- do you know why?) Their chicken nuggets originally were.
I totally get why cow MSM is banned, considering mad cow disease.
But it's mainly connective tissue with little nutritional value -- padding. And I'm not satisfied that pork MSM is completely safe from prion disease.
A: "I don't care what people think. People suck, and are so
B: "I too don't care what people think!"
A: "Let's be friends!"
So suggesting that they don't care so much about something that doesn't matter hopefully makes them think about whether caring what people think is worth the effort.
In general, though they're adventurous eaters at home, they don't eat well in restaurants because they prefer that we are all eating the same thing. And booths are much easier to contain them in than tables.
There are a couple other places in town to grab a meal and let the kids run around and play indoors, but often they're often more crowded, more expensive, and the food isn't any healthier.
I too had some fond memories of those parties.
You were a kid then, you had no role in choosing the venue, and you certainly don't bear some kind of moral responsibility for the putative evils of McDonald's as an institution just because you ate a hamburger there when you were six.
Be happy that you got to have fun on a playground with your friends! It is not tainted.
Just like most of the parents in all of history. People all throughout our history have made "sub-par" decisions. You could say it's the "human condition."
That's interesting, given that McDonalds purposefully designs it's restaurants to get customers in and out as quick as possible. The chairs are hard, uncomfortable plastic, the music is annoying, and the dining room is always set to some arctic temperature.
Most modern McDonald's have quite nice decorum, and many even have wifi.
I think your information is out of date.
I might also add I worked for McDonalds.
See this video for an idea how long the food at McDonalds takes to rot because of these artificial ingredients:
Also have fun time knowing that each time you visit McDonalds, you are supporting the slavery and killing of intelligent animals just to slap together a cheap as possible meal.
It doesn't rot because there's no bacteria in it. There's no bacteria in it because it was cooked thoroughly.
Any well-done burger from any restaurant will last a similar amount of time. Try it.
BTW, what animal do they serve is "intelligent"? That one has me curious. The smartest thing on their menu I suppose would be the pork?
I feel like if people skip sugary drinks and large fries they are eating better at McDonald's than most people eat at home.
McDonald's isn't a large part of our mostly wholesome diet. I feel good about what my kids eat on a day to day basis.
Also, I'm the mother. It's not really germane to the issue, but everyone in this thread assumed otherwise.
I'm curious about how the stigma actually plays out - do people you know actually say things to you about it? Would you actually experience more negative interactions if you just did what you want, or has it been internalized because you know people would disapprove?
Once we hadn't been to the grocery store in unusually long, and spent the weekend eating the things in the freezer and the back of the cupboards. We mentioned to the kids that we were out of food. My son went to preschool the next day and congratulated his teachers on always having food available.
Full stop. No need to continue with the rest of your judgements.
Parenting is a very hard job, and it's only made worse by all the parents (and even worse--non-parents) that want to make judgements.
Being a parent, I now have a profound respect and appreciation for my parents (especially my mother). Things weren't always great, but they did the best they could.
Is parenting some sacred thing, immune from analysis or criticism? Does parenting happen outside the realm of logic or reason, where all decisions are good, and any attempt at measurement or objectivity is worthless?
"Good internet citizenship."
Keep your criticism relevant to the topic, which was: McDonald's used as a community center in poor neighborhoods. Not, how to teach your kids good eating habits.
> Is parenting some sacred thing, immune from analysis or criticism?
Parenting MY kids, most definitely is sacred.
There is nothing sacred about your parenting that makes it above scrutiny. Nothing whatsoever.
Also, I never told a story about how I parent my kids.
In other words, my spouse can criticize my parenting everyone else can go frack themselves. Full stop.
Performing hard work doesn't make you immune from doing that work poorly, and it's kind of alarming to me that this insular attitude is so popular on HN.
That's what I've called 'free from being critisized' so yeah. Not sure what you mean by "No one is free from criticism". If you refer to rights of other people to express their critical opinion - sure, let them run their mouths in their own space.
The problems begin (as usual) when A is being forced to listen to B's opinions either because A cannot move away or because Bs are too numerous. That's where I think that B should have to shut up. "Your freedom to fo X ends etc etc". Participating in hard work is an aggravating factor here, meaning B should have to shut the f up right now or be forcefully removed.
In case of doubt just imaging an idiot shouting their mouth at the working surgeon.
A needs to learn to tolerate B, basically. A isn't performing surgery, A is trying to write comments on HN.
Huh? The topic was about people doing hard work. Writing comments is easy.
Dude, I was growing up in the dying days of the Soviet Union, with empty shelves and lines and ration cards, and growing vegetables on a little private plot to make it through the winter without vitamin deficiency. I know very well what it's like to try to provide the best you can for your family when the circumstances don't allow you to provide much at all.
But there's an enormous difference between going to a fast food place because the kids are hungry and the fridge is empty and that's the place which is open and nearby and affordable, and regularly bringing kids to a fast food place just because I like the ambience.
And as a general principle, if I am not open to criticism and judgment of others, I am hobbling my ability improve. In any aspect of life. Work or scholarship or raising a child.
OP: shared personal experience related to topic of the article.
You: shared off-topic comment that teaching kids to eat at McD's is not good.
Me: Directly--don't share your judgements on how the OP chooses to parent (also off-topic).
You could do much worse.
You are purposely believing all this complete marketing BS so you don't have to feel like a junky if you eat this industrial trashfood.
And I can really not figure out for myself what could be more trashy than McDonalds food. Maybe living solely on peanut butter sandwiches and chocolate, but maybe even that would be better, as they are not full of flavor enhancer.
And actually I am not a McDonalds hater, I love to eat their hamburger. But it's like drinking beer, it's a drug, not food.
The apple: it's raw apple cut into slices... not fried, nor from a fictional bakery that their marketing apparently makes you think they want people to believe.
What does where the cows are milked matter, judge nutritional value between chocolate milk and sugar-filled soda. Maybe your judgement of chocolate milk is negative (sure, it's not the healthiest drink in the world) and I can't say I've ever looked up it's nutrional information, but... it's flavoured milk. It comes from cows, somewhere.
If you can't understand the logic that McDonalds serve lots of types of food and that some of them are more healthy and less healthy compared to each other then I'm not sure how to explain it better.
Same for the chocolate milk. But I leave it up to you to find out what great inventions of the chemical industry enable this always same creamy taste without clumped together cacao.
And the argument about bigger portions has something to do with eating habits, but not with healthy food.
Saying a foodstuff has come into contact with a chemical somewhere in the process means nothing without more information, yet you expect it to be taken as an automatic negative.
> Ingredients: Apples, Calcium Ascorbate (a blend of Calcium and Vitamin C to maintain freshness and color).
Scary stuff! I guess the wax that is on apples at the grocery store is missing, but hey it still seems like real food to me.
And that is wrong, it doesn't matter what you eat at MacDonalds. You can swap the coke against "chocolate milk" to reduce sugar, therefore you get more emulsifier and more preservative. You can swap french fries for apple slices to get less fat, but therefore you get another mix of chemicals without any vitamins left. And all this discussion when the Deli around the corner sells fresh apples ...
That's quite an amusing statement, given that the "mix of chemicals" you're criticising is Vitamin C and Calcium.
I don't like McDonald's either, but they're not the personified evil you insinuate them to be.
That's how you know the McDonalds hate is really about judging and not about health.
It's like people who only care about rape when there's a Muslim suspect. If they really cared about it, they would talk about it outside of the context of religion.
To me it is just another indicator of how broken American society is. A fast food place serving terrible and unhealthy food is becoming a gathering place for poor people who are probably the ones most in need of a healthier and better lifestyle.
It is also a sad reminder of how society has gone so utterly wrong when the cheapest food is the absolutely worst food.
This is of course not McDonalds fault, but society has allowed huge chains pushing cheap unhealthy food to the masses flourish. It isn't just about the food, but the sort of cultural wasteland a place like McDonalds is. Everything mass produced and equal everywhere. A country priding itself in diversity is drowning in homogeneity.
and food at other restaurants are magically healthy? Come on.
I lived in a poor neighborhood, heck I grew up in one. Our McDonalds was mostly a place to get breakfast and coffee and such and a lot of seniors spent all day or at least the morning in there reading, socializing, etc.
Meanwhile across the street you can get all a 3,000 calorie fettucine alfredo at the italian place. Or go to starbucks and get a 550 calorie frappucciono. The idea that only fast food is unhealthy is a bit much.
>but society has allowed huge chains pushing cheap unhealthy food to the masses flourish.
People will go where they want. Choice matters, you don't have to go to the mcdonalds, but it has cheap coffee and cheap breakfast. 300 calories for a McMuffin isn't the society destroying thing you seem to think. In fact, these people hang out at McDonalds because its usually the only place that won't chase them out after x amount of time after buying something. In poor neighborhoods there aren't a lot of boutique coffee shops with wifi or Paneras where hanging out is the norm. McDonalds as a hangout predates those by decades. If anything McDonalds is unusually progressive in this way. I know its un-cool to praise McDonalds, but I think Ray Kroc had his heart in the right place and sincerely cared about customer service and the experience of his customers.
For example, I live in the suburbs of San Francisco. Not far from me there is a delightful and quaint organic bakery, and across from that is a gorgeous park. On weekends after my kids finish lacrosse practice, my wife and I take them there and enjoy some cheap ($9 each) chocolate croissants while they play on their tablets in the park.
People choosing to congregate in a McDonald's is as inconceivable as choosing to meet up in an outhouse or an abbatoir to me.
McDonald's food isn't unhealthy as part of a balanced diet. It's no less healthy than chipotle if you're getting a soda. I don't eat there but McDonald's is simply amazing for providing so much great food at rock-bottom prices.
It's a small restaurant that sells food for a dollar or two more than McDonalds. It's a 10 minute ferry ride from downtown Toronto, and after the work day ends (very soon) it will be full of people talking and laughing.
I'm not going to judge somebody that loves McDonalds going there, but I am going to long for a society where we have less mass produced, race to the bottom, crap. I want artists and greenery and real forks and cups. I don't want to be around a bunch of unheathy food wrapped in wax paper. I don't want to be around shitty "John is gay" graffiti on poorly lit washrooms.
How is there even a discussion here? Can't we hang out in parks and eat veggie loaded wraps? Can't we get people off of transfats and sugar?
In a lot of places, there are publicly-supported community centers equipped with kitchenettes. Even in America, there are often churches, school buildings, or (dare I say it) community centers equipped to function as community centers.
The fact that Americans think "no public place for general socialization" is the default is part of what makes Americans (and the Anglo world in-general) a little weird.
The answer to most of your questions is, on average, yes.
It is neither terrible nor unhealthy.
>the cheapest food is the absolutely worst food.
First, that would totally make sense. Second, it is not the case. Most McDonald foods are better than gluten-free ass-shit, both in taste and health.
>A country priding itself in diversity is drowning in homogeneity.
Breathing oxygen is homogenous. Let's create something else to breathe.
Fucking brainless idiots going after thoughtless tropes made up by malnourished hippies and poorly fed morons!
Your "argument" seems to be: Who calls McD unhealthy or bland must be "fucking brainless", also if McD food were as cheap as it is, because it's of the worst quality, that would totally make sense. But for some reason this isn't the case. Indeed, it is "better than shit."
If you enjoy tasty food, by all means, eat it. But if you think deep-frying or pickling is the best way to serve vegetables, grilling meat puree to death the appropriate way to prepare BBQ and the main ingredient in good ice-cream can be corn-sirup, then you have a lot to discover in the world of tastes.
Go out of your comfort zone and try something new!
Then fuck off! I am not asking for one.
>Who calls McD unhealthy or bland must be "fucking brainless"
Yes because it is healthier than most other "foods" that are available and tastier than most other foods in the world. The existence of healthier or tastier food proves nothing. Is spending the time and money to eat those food instead worth it? NOPE! You know how I know? Because if there was, McDonalds would make it and sell it... or their competitors would and McDonalds would go out of business.
>McD food were as cheap as it is, because it's of the worst quality, that would totally make sense
Yep, if there was excess of it and nobody wanted it, it would be cheap... which is not the case. It's cheap because they have optimized the processes in several ways and sell enough to justify doing it at scale.
Alright, at least in terms of calories, many things are leaner than the typical McDonald's meal. Merely contradicting is not a convincing argument.
McDonalds in the UK isn't particularly cheap, you can feed a family on the price of a BigMac meal (burger, fries, drink). BigMacs here are quite a sweet food, sugary bun with sweetened relish; and certainly fatty though the patties tend to be pretty dry. The fries at McDo are saltier tasting than any other food I eat except "salt chicken" [at the chinese buffet] - pretty sure they put more salt on than the nutritional info suggests. You can get a [sweet, concentrated] OJ instead of carbonated "fountain" drinks though.
It's not cheap [to me] and I've never seen anyone except teenagers hanging out in any in the UK. The seating is firmly padded benches with upright backs or uncushioned chairs. Tables are usually fixed to the floor.
Additionally McDo here tend to be in town centres or adjacent to supermarkets, not really in areas where poor people - other than youths - are hanging around.
Have you never observed in a grocery store what people buy with public aid redemptions ("food stamps", WIC, CalFresh, etc.)
The Burger King closest to me actually has a huge rooftop banner advertising that they accept/redeem CalFresh/WIC.
Yeah McD ain't the bastion of good health but not many places are except maybe a boutique spot
On the positive side, it brings a genuine sense of community where you hang out alone, forge new bonds or maintain old ones. People come and go asking if so-and-so has been in today. Before mobiles, families would call the pub and leave messages for each other. Class lines were much less defined. You leave things behind the bar for other people to pick up later.
On the negative side, well, alcohol, and all the issues that brings.
There was a bar with four or five internet connected tablets a half-basketball court next to the jungle gym and patio seating like you'd find at an upscale resteraunt. It also had a dedicated coffee and desert bar. Also, the cash registers were gone and in their place were four huge touchscreens for ordering. The place was like a restaurant from 50 years in the future.
I was shocked at how nice it was and that we don't have any in the US.
(in UK McDonalds is a franchise operation I think, not too sure, so each restaurant is its own little enterprise with standardised training &c)
I doubt that McDonald's has put much if any particular effort toward building their restaurants into community centers. Without that, I'm not I'm comfortable calling it an achievement on their part. They just sort of fell into the role, and don't seem to have done much to expand it.
As for it being a failure of the society, I'd be tempted to argue the opposite. Lacking a suitable community center (for values of "suitable" that vary from community to community, and which I do not presume to dictate or even know), the community improvised one of its own from what was at hand. We can say that the aesthetics of the implementation are kind of bleak, but to have done it at all is a major success.
Notably with the Sikh's the langar hall (where langar, a free meal, is always served) is the hub of a Gurdwara - seemingly food is the great social leveller!
1. It's clean.
2. It's local.
3. It is welcoming.
4. There is no beauracracy.
Well yes, community centers are literally buildings, and as such, have expenses. Most US communities still have them, however, so it's probably not the money that's preventing them from existing.
A community center however is usually run by volunteers and is funded often as not by government money. The money comes with bureaucracy and there usually aren't enough volunteers to go around.
There are exception to both of the above of course. Some Mcdonald's are dirty and unwelcoming and some Community Centers are clean and simple.
But in the general case the above often holds true.
One thing I noticed is that among all of the boarded-up, graffiti-strewn buildings, homeless people sleeping in the gutters, abandoned houses and cars, the one shining beacon of normalcy was the McDonalds. The building was in perfect condition, the lot was clean, lights were on--it was very striking in contrast to the almost post-apocalyptic looking area of the city that surrounded it.
I can totally understand why such a place would naturally attract people as a place to congregate in a neighborhood as poor as that one. Inexpensive food plus a building that not only still functions as shelter, but has electricity, bathrooms, heat/air conditioning--all things that you may very well not have at home (assuming you even have a home).
There was one location nearby where I went to college and its lot was frequently used by drug dealers and all kinds of shady types.
Then some people began to complain that there were too many "ugly people" (mostly poor and young teens that went there for the very same reasons as anyone else). There were some episodes of security barring the entrance of unaccompanied teens that looked "poor". Of course it didn't last long, cooler heads prevailed and I guess that McFlurries were not selling well :)
I have a soft spot for McDonalds despite what its critics may say. It's an inclusive place which accepts everyone: homeless, indigent, wealthy, kids, adults. It is cheap, unpretentious, and welcoming.
That said, this was a special McDonalds in Pasadena that was clean, had numerous power outlets, and was exceptionally well-run. The McDonalds in the rest of LA were disgusting in comparison and refused to provide outlets, presumably to keep out homeless.
I eventually switched to Starbucks because starbucks always has outlets, the coffee was slightly better (and had more options) and the wifi was significantly faster
Although I have a nice income, 80% of the time I bring my own food to work because restaurants are too expensive in my opinion to regularly use them.
As a side note: I have the suspicion I'm addicted to fast food (McDonalds/Burger King). When I don't go there for some weeks, I have no urge and I'm fine. But as soon as I eat there, I have the urge for days to go back and have another burger.
You can spend $50 up front, and then eat for $3/meal by cooking for yourself...
Or you can just spend $6/meal at McDonalds.
If you only have $10 in your pocket you really don't have much of a choice.
This is, I think, the most important thing to understand about poverty in a capitalist system. It is much more difficult to make good investments when you have very little liquidity.
The other issue I run into is that most of my food goes bad before I even finish it coupled with the fact I refuse to even have "leftovers". I either buy too little of what I need (smaller amounts/sizes) and end up spending more money for not purchasing bulk, or I waste money by throwing away surplus after it has expired. It's a fine balance to try and get "just the right amount". I often find myself throwing away 1/2 a loaf of bread, several meals worth of lunch meats, rotten fruits/vegetables, etc. And that's keeping some items a while after the "use by:" date...
An example of my problem:
1 gallon of milk is often too much. ½ a gallon of milk is often too little. It is cheaper (both economically and time spent going to the store) to buy 1 gallon of milk and dump it when it goes bad than to buy ½ a gallon as I need it.
"throwing away 1/2 a loaf of bread"
I buy 1/2 not a whole bread then.
About the milk: Not sure if you buy fresh milk from the farm, otherwise milk in the fridge does not go bad for days.
Today we had a delicious lentil salad with feta and rucola and a vinaigrette of lemon and tomatoes. The base salad can easily be used 2 days in a row with different toppings with capers and olives and a different dressing. Should be around $3 per meal, whereas McDonalds is >$6 in Germany (the only way to eat cheap at McDonalds is having 3 hamburgers for $1 each).
UHT milk does exist, but most people don't know about it, and it's expensive. Most milk sold isn't shelf-stable and needs to be refrigerated the entire time.
You make a good case with the salad, though.
Correct. I'm not going to pay more for less which is why I end up throwing away surplus. I hate being wasteful of food - but I hate being wasteful of my money (and my time) even more.
In addition to that, in the U.S your size options are "buy a whole loaf" or "buy a different brand of whole loaf". Bread comes pre-packaged in a twist-tied (or clip-on) bag as a whole loaf. Unless you visit a bakery or the grocery store you visit has a bakery section.
Also if you are poor and have no money, and no opportunity to earn more, and perhaps already have a second job, then $3 saved a day makes a huge difference. Though I'd say savings for 3 meals (lunch and breakfast and dinner) should be around $10 not $3 (at least from my experience comparing prices for cooking and going to McDonalds)
In the breakfast example, you can buy a single McD meal or buy a dozen eggs with a container of quick oats - both are ~$6. The latter is much better for liquidity.
Not to mention, the eggs and oats is easy to cook, requires little 'ingredients and tools', is healthier, and will last multiple days (helping w/ liquidity).
I've done it. I think $50 is pretty conservative actually. It would be easy just to spend $50 on some fats and spices.
Plain pasta. Plain potatoes. Rice-A-Roni. Hamburger Helper.
Now, should someone stick to that diet for years? No. Will the savings compound at a fantastic rate using that diet? Yeah.
If it is sufficiently horrifying, a person could even limit themselves to the above for ~1/2 of meals.
Sure, you don't need all of that to get started cooking, but making do with a minimal kitchen is going to make cooking more difficult and is likely to also affect the quality of your food.
It's similar to why poor people buy poor-quality shoes more often, as opposed to one high-quality pair once a year.
EDIT: or cars. Poor people buy cars that are in poor condition because that's all they can afford, and they spend more money on it overall than if they could've gotten a better-quality car instead. It's expensive to be poor.
Take boots, for example. He earned thirty-eight dollars a month plus allowances. A really good pair of leather boots cost fifty dollars. But an affordable pair of boots, which were sort of OK for a season or two and then leaked like hell when the cardboard gave out, cost about ten dollars. Those were the kind of boots Vimes always bought, and wore until the soles were so thin that he could tell where he was in Ankh-Morpork on a foggy night by the feel of the cobbles.
But the thing was that good boots lasted for years and years. A man who could afford fifty dollars had a pair of boots that'd still be keeping his feet dry in ten years' time, while the poor man who could only afford cheap boots would have spent a hundred dollars on boots in the same time and would still have wet feet.
This was the Captain Samuel Vimes 'Boots' theory of socioeconomic unfairness."
- Terry Pratchett, Men at Arms: The Play
People never think about anything but the cash register price when making this comparison for some reason...
Cooking for two is no problem though, especially if you cook the right things. Cooking for more then 2 and you really have no problems with ingredients going to waste.
And you can buy some ingredients for cheap that last, e.g. I buy Japanese rice in 5kg or 10kg sizes, easy to keep in good condition for a long time and much cheaper than 500g from the super market.
Haha man I can hardly count the number of $15 pairs of sneakers I bought at the market as a kid, with the glue visible on the sides. Eventually the soles would inevitably come off, partially cause of the crappy shoe and partially because I was always playing football (soccer) with them.
The notion of buying a decent pair of shoes and another specialised sport-shoe just never even came up as an option in my mind, to drop $250 total on two pairs of shoes.
"It's similar to why poor people buy poor-quality shoes more often, as opposed to one high-quality pair once a year."
On the contrary, poor people buy poor shoes because they are cheaper and they don't have enough disposable income to afford good quality shoes.
Restaurants can buy in much larger quantity and receive a discount for doing so. It is more /resource/ efficient for restaurants to make meals as they disburse labor and ingredients over many households in one day, instead of a single household's resources and labor trying to use perishable items before they expire.
The main issue that comes to my mind is of the more perishable items: greens, vegetables, fruits, and baked goods.
I can, if I like, make my own rice at home, and bring in some fish to make sushi with. By the time I factor in labor and other costs I'm not actually sure that I've come out ahead of just going somewhere. For more complex dishes I don't think I do come out ahead.
The simple dishes, like a sandwich, I would honestly like to be able to make my self, but that doesn't scale down well. A family, sharing the bread, meat, and greens, is really required to make that more economic.
It would be so much easier if there were not-for-profit (or for very limited profit) places to buy freshly made things from.
Bear in mind that most restaurants and similar food-production outlets are practically not-for-profits or "for very limited profits". As are most grocery stores.
Seriously? You buy a loaf of bread and some cold cuts (or rotisserie chicken or whatever), mustard, mayo. Absolutely no trouble getting a week's worth of food for one person.
Yes, you can absolutely cook at home. I admit that I don't have access to good ethnic takeout or restaurants, so I'm inclined to cook, but I'm pretty sure that I save money as well.
Yes, you can cook at home, doesn't mean that by definition it is cheaper. Depends on what you eat and often how often you eat, if you have family, or if you prefer variety or stick with the same few meals.
One issue is due to income inequality most of the population is poor. Perhaps 19 in 20 of their meals are eaten at home, but that 1 in 20, multiplied by most of the population, equals very full McDonalds. Middle and upper class people have this weird idea that most poor people meals are eaten at McDonalds but some simple math about restaurant seats per sq mile just doesn't work. Even poor people like the occasional luxury, its just theirs is a hamburger as opposed to a cashmere sweater or a new car.
A second issue is the usual middle/upper class disconnect from poor people combined with a lack of prediction or creativity. Why if poor people can't afford to cook at home and thus "have to" eat at restaurants all the time because thats so much cheaper, then the restaurant business in Somalia or Haiti must really be booming. What did people eat before fast food in the 70s?
The urge that you report is sugar related. Everything is drowned in carbs, mostly HFCS. Buns today taste sweeter than Hawaiian sweet rolls did when I was a kid. I suspect Hawaii rolls are no longer sold because its impossible to add more sugar to sugar saturated regular 2016 dough. I eat pretty low carb normally, and I feel the same way about cookies or anything else sugary, suddenly three days later I gotta have another chocolate chip cookie. Sugar is addictive.
Finally its a HN trope that home cooking is too expensive and impossible and no one on the planet does it. I donno its like automobile analogies on slashdot or something. Its just a belief, and you show allegiance to the site and its mores by social signalling your agreement with it. Yes yes we all know the numbers don't add up, but like I wrote, its a belief, and nobody ever reasoned themselves either into or out of a belief.