Today we recall with epic sadness that dreadful disastrous day 78 years ago when the first McDonald’s hamburger restaurant opened for service in San Bernadino, California. The extraordinary trajectory of McDonald’s flight to world infamy these past seven decades embodies perfectly postwar America’s deceitful appropriation of Germany’s national socialism; its government’s determination to provide provide provide for its molly-coddled masses allowed, nay turned into missions the American food corporations’ exploitation of less powerful and often Third World resources. But of all these sinister corporations, McDonald’s is the creepiest of all – peddling their virtual meals by festooning them with kiddie crap, the horrifying Ronald McDonald a Baldur von Schirach for his age. Seventy-five years of McDonald’s restaurants. My youngest daughter once had to piss in one in Greece.
[Written by Julian Cope]
They gave us the expression ‘McJob’. How sad. But, on the flipside, giving caught-short shoppers the term ‘McDump’ is about the best they’ve brought to us, really.
On the flipside… nice pun!
Yeah, and if you flip ‘Mc’, you get ‘Wc’ – but I feel sorry for Julian’s daughter all the same.
I can recall the opening of the first McDonald’s in Ireland (on Dublin’s Grafton Street). It was greeted with a fanfare usually reserved for the arrival of a foreign dignitary or legendary movie star. There’s no doubt it brought an exotic feel to what was a grey and depressing city in the 1970s. And I must confess that my child self was just as excited by eating in this shiny new American import as everyone else seemed to be. Thankfully my parents – while not having a philosophical objection to the place – recognised the horribly unhealthy nature of the food and I was permitted but a single visit; to sate all our curiosities, even as it failed to sate our hunger.
I’m told that when the company opened their first restaurants in Serbia, they had their windows smashed every single week for a year. It’s a nice story, though it appears that – sadly – McDonald’s has today been integrated into the Belgrade cityscape along with every other cultural invader.
These days, thanks to the lack of public toilets in Dublin, McDonald’s provides a relatively clean and well-lit place to relieve oneself prior to getting the bus home after a night out. It’s far from a justification for its existence, but it does make it the only restaurant into which I’ve deposited more food than I ever took out.
I remember McDonalds being the only place in my town with an accessible loo for wheelchair users. Sadly, Dublin’s McD’s only has loos downstairs and no accessible one. Dublin is really bad for that.
Here’s a sourly ironic piece of my history which is a little too recent to imagine how this flew with anyone who read it. Just twelve years ago, when I was sixteen I applied for a “McJob” in my hometown of Gig Harbor, Washington USA. (The town was rural when I moved there at 3 ½ – not even a stop-lighted intersection in the whole town. When McDonalds moved in that began a huge growth of commerce of the strip-mall-plaza franchise variety that turned that modest rural town into plastic palace with a veneer of affluence for all the parents of the yuppies-in-training who I went to school with for 12 years.) On the half-page sized application they gave me there was a photo of an upper-middle aged black guy smiling nostalgically, with a caption beneath him that stated with pride “I contribute to a multi-billion dollar corporation that has served billions of people.”
I showed this to my then- girlfriend who related her own story about how she made it as far as watching the training video after the interview. One part featured an interview with a McDonalds executive who said “We’re confident about our ability to expand even more. We have new breakfast items as well as the diner selections, and hey ‘three meals a day’ we can offer people that.”
Neither of us ever worked for McDonalds. I think I threw the application away.