Has anyone been to McDonald’s lately? There is a janky (read: crappy old) McDonald’s near my place in The Hague. I have been known to stop in on the way home from teaching flamenco for some high-sugar/protein/fat refueling. I’m not a McDonald’s snob. Or a junk food snob at all. I think if you eat it (or anything else) in excess, it might become a problem. But on occasion, no biggie.
So the odd caramel sundae with nuts? Awesome.
My local Mickey D’s looks familiar: the yellows, the reds. It smells familiar: the oil from the fries, the slightly sour scent of mayo… and of children. It sounds familiar: the beeping, the chatter. It’s the McDonald’s I recognise from my childhood. Ok, everyone speaks Dutch rather than Ebonics, but I understand it: the feel, the flow, the flavours. I know what’s what. I know what to expect.
Enter McDonald’s in France. Ce n’est pas pareil. Non, Monsieur.
On our holiday, whilst driving in our go-kart around Le Mans desperately trying to find me some food before I ate a local pedestrian, Adam and I stumbled upon this McDonald’s:
And instead of sitting and eating my delicious high sugar/protein/fat meal like a good little tourist-who-had-given-up-trying-to-find-somewhere-local-to-eat-because-sheer-starvation-won-out-in-the-end-which-is-why-most-McDonald’s-still-exist-at-all, I sat and openly gawped at the surroundings.
I stared. I craned. I blinked. I frowned.
I started shrieking to Adam like a mental patient.
“WHERE’S THE YELLOW?”
“The ‘M’ is still yellow. It’s on the rubbish bins,” he soothingly replied as he ate his fries.
I nibbled on my sundae.
“WHY THE WONKY JELLY BEAN CHAIRS? AND THE GRATES ON THE WALL? SOMEONE ACTUALLY DESIGNED THIS? I FEEL LIKE I’M HIGH!”
“They’re just going for a new look. Trying to appeal to a new generation or something,” as he ate my fries.
I nibbled on my fries.
“ARE THEY TRYING TO APPEAL TO ME? WHAT IS THIS PLACE?”
“Eat your burger,” Adam said as he sipped his drink.
I nibbled on my burger.
“WHERE’S ALL THE KIDDY STUFF? AND WHERE THE HELL IS RONALD?”
“They’re not allowed to advertise to kids anymore. No kiddy stuff. No Ronald. It’s illegal. So this is what you get: McDonald’s for neo-yuppies… the coffee is pretty good,” he said, and started to help me eat my whole wheat Big Mac.
A whole wheat Big Mac. Honestly. I thought it would be interesting to try, but then I spent half the time complaining that I was full after about three bites, then the other half trying to pick the wheaty bits out of my teeth. It was sh*t.
Nicfucius says: New McDonald’s: I’m hating it.