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Is McDonald's really the worst thing in the world?

(124 Posts)
SoupDragon Sat 30-Apr-05 16:23:35

Friendly debate I'm not trying to get at anyone who has decided that their family will never cross the threshold of the golden arches

I'm curious. Is McDonald's really the worst fast foot outlet or does it simply set itself up for bad press by being the biggest and most recognisable?

Are their business ethics worse than any other company out there?

As for Supersize Me - if someone ate at, say, Pizza Express for every single meal for 30 days, what would their health be like at the end of it? Or TGIFridays? Or any other "family friendly" restaurant/food outlet? Have McDonald's been unfairly singled out in this aspect or did they cover other food outlets in the film?

I am an intelligent human being (honest, I am!), I know you can't eat fast food for every meal for a month and remain stick thin and as healthy as a healthy horse but I don't see the harm in eating there once or twice a month provided our chldren are taught that it is simply not possible to eat stuff like that all the time. I certainly don't give in every time DSs ask to go to McDonald's. I can't help thinking that outright banning of something makes them want it even more... but that's just me. We all have differnet ways of parenting

Don't get me wrong, I do understand that they're not a squeaky clean, healthy company but are they really as "spawn of the devil" as they are made out to be and how do they compare to other companies?

colditz Sat 30-Apr-05 16:27:16

I go to macdonalds occasionally. My excuse is " No, it's expensive and you will be hungry later because it's not real food!"

I don't say it's bad for them (partner and son) because I think all food is bad for you in excess. How can I preach variety if I am going to say "...But not that!"

colditz Sat 30-Apr-05 16:28:04

But I do think their business ethics are worse than, say, Iceland, which I adore!

colditz Sat 30-Apr-05 16:37:21

(but apparently, only you and i think so!)

snafu Sat 30-Apr-05 16:37:41

I'm not sure that their food is actually much worse than plenty of other places. What I hate about them is the unashamed, full-on and - imo - utterly cynical marketing to kids. There is no other junk-food peddler that is so instantly recognisable to children. Not even Burger King, KFC, etc and certainly not TGI or Pizza Express. McD's is quite open about its 'get 'em young' policy and that is what I despise.

Of course you'd be in bad shape if you ate Pizza Express (the middle class mummies fave ) for every meal every day. But the difference is that Pizza Express doesn't sell itself as something to be eaten for every meal every day. It doesn't flog its fat-and-salt laden foods on the back of kid's movies. It doesn't promise free toys if you'll just nip in a buy a pizza. There is no 'breakfast option' in Pizza Express. there's no drive-thru. There's no Happy Meal.

McD's is insidious and cynical. I've eaten and enjoyed a Big Mac or two in my time, and once ds is that much older I can't say that I'd ban them. But I want my kids to enjoy food for food's sake, not because you get a free piece of extruded plastic crap with it. And I don't care how pretentious that sounds

SoupDragon Sat 30-Apr-05 16:42:51

Excessive marketing to kids : one strike against them there I have to agree. BK and LFC are following in their footsteps with the toy-plus-meal concept although not to the same extent.

DH was so proud when DS1 recognised his first letter as a young child - M. Until I pointed out just why he knew it.

However, I won't hear a word said againd the plactic crap you get with the meal (and I don't mean the chicken). Those toys have saved my sanity on many a transatlantic flight and in many a restaurant!!

SoupDragon Sat 30-Apr-05 16:43:13

LFC?? KFC obviously!

oops Sat 30-Apr-05 16:43:19

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oops Sat 30-Apr-05 16:47:37

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baka Sat 30-Apr-05 16:50:30

personally I'm overjoyed that my child has decided (after 2 years of refusing) to eat chips. Means we can get a McD's when out and about and will make life 100 000 times easier. I even put a note in the home-school book to say thanks- and when I saw ds's teacher yesterday I thanked him again (he got him eating chips).

All big businesses are barstards. OK so it's crap food, and although we get an organic box my son won't eat a thing from that, but who knows eating mcd chips one day may lead to fruit and veg another. Not going to eat it every day. NOt a big deal.

Bigger things to worry about tbh.

snafu Sat 30-Apr-05 16:54:25

soupy - thing is I know that once ds becomes aware of McD's then all my good intentions will go out the window and I'll be dragging him into the Whitgift Centre hellhole with the promise of those bits of plastic crap!

McD's is the first and the biggest and the most powerful. When all the other places start to do the same promotional things, they are simply following in McD's footsteps, until we reach saturation point (maybe we already have?) and you can't turn on the tv or walk down the street without being bombarded with this stuff. That's what gets me. Crap food is one thing. Crap food shoved down my and my kid's throats every minute of the day is another.

KBear Sat 30-Apr-05 17:00:05

Jamie's just proved that school dinners aren't very healthy - probably no worse than McD and eaten every day by some children.

Tinker Sat 30-Apr-05 17:26:17

It's not the worst thing in the world and agree, virtually all big corporations are thieving dishonest bastards. When we have gone - and I really can't remember that last time my daughter went [saintly emoticon] it's been becasue we're in a hurry/it's teh only "food" available, not held out as a treat

BadHair Sat 30-Apr-05 17:35:13

I treat McDonalds in the same way that I treat a big bag of sweets - it's OK to eat now and again but it won't do you any good and it's not proper food.
Ds1 knows that if you eat too many Happy Meals you get fat and spotty so I don't mind us all having the odd one, just not too often.

oops Sat 30-Apr-05 19:45:08

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WideWebWitch Sat 30-Apr-05 19:52:24

I have loads to say on this but Snafu said a lot of it, I agree with her posts, and I haven't time to post much tonight!

Aragon Sat 30-Apr-05 19:53:34

No they're no the spawn of the devil or totally evil. I just think that like all fast food companies they've been fairly economical with the truth at times - and they are the biggest and most public and most child focused.

Supersize me freaked me out but this doesn't mean I'll never eat another McDonalds - if anything we buy a meal from them once a year or less.

I think Morgan Spurlock had a point when he showed that there was little infomation about the nutritional content of their foods but that's just bad business practice which I notice they've corrected. Loads of their nutritional info cards have fallen out of various magazines at me.

WideWebWitch Sat 30-Apr-05 19:55:39

Oh and they want to stifle public debate about them and they sue unemployed members of London Greenpeace and are anti union and ooh, I really hate them actually! All this AS WELL as selling crap food that isn't considered a treat in our house!

hunkermunker Sat 30-Apr-05 19:56:37

Hot damn, WWW, I was going to go down the route of 'Snafu has said it all' and now it looks like I've copied you as well!


I agree with Snafu.

hunkermunker Sat 30-Apr-05 19:59:05

Ooh, have just thought - I REALLY REALLY hate the adverts that say "These new people are coming to McD's now" - you know, the middle-class gals having salad, the trendy young things with a healthy sex life who eat McD's bagels, etc.

Obviously they want people to eat at McD's, but I do think they should go for the 'yes it's crap, but your kids like it, so give in to them once in a while' line of marketing. Much as Sunny Delight did after stupidly trying to make out the stuff was healthy (when the liquidised bottle it came in would've been healthier...).

oops Sat 30-Apr-05 20:14:12

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Heathcliffscathy Sat 30-Apr-05 20:14:47

on supersize me it said that eating a McD salad with the dressing it comes with is MORE calories than a big mac.

that aside. i think they are the spawn of the devil. i agree that banning anything is counterproductive, but i will never take ds there or offer him it until he asks (which given their marketing i'm sure he will).

McD is wrong on every level: nutrition, employer, multinational corporation, targeting children for marketing (another supersize me titbit: they call people that eat there often 'heavy users' and approach gaining customer base exactly like the cigarette companies.

i would suggest if you haven't seen it, that you do see supersize me: the fact that eating macdonald's for a month will do seriously damage to your health is the least of what is interesting in it tbh

Heathcliffscathy Sat 30-Apr-05 20:15:50

i also feel incredibly disappointed in the artists that take the money and f*ck their fans: destiny's child, justin timberlake et al...

soapbox Sat 30-Apr-05 20:24:14

McD's peddle crap food. Have seen Pizza Express being made. They are bread dough smear of passata (tomato sauce) then all of the toppings are completely natural. They put about a teaspoon of olive oil on each one before putting into the oven. The food is served on plates with cutlery and human service! Whilst eating you are in an enviroment that is conducive to taking and interacting as a family.

A world of a difference in my opinion to mechanically recovered meat scapings cooked with hydrogenated oils and any other rubbish that they can convince people into believing is a treat! The environment is conducive to feeding yourself with your hands like orangatangs and a feeling of lets just stuff it all in so we can escape this hell hole as soon as we can!

I just can't for the life of me believe that anyone thinks this is a treat!

Anyway Soupie there is something I wouldn't mind asking you if you don't mind. If its okay can you email me on joycemgrant at yahoo dot co dot uk! And don't worry I won't mention McD's

GeorginaA Sat 30-Apr-05 20:24:24

I do find it slightly odd that McD's do get targetted (quite rightly in some instances) for bad behaviour, but someone like Walmart/Asda don't seem to as much? I don't have any figures in front of me but from memory market share of food supplied / bad business practises / harmful environmental practises etc, isn't the latter worse?

I'm kind of with Soupy (well, we still go to MacD's and I don't vilify them for the toys - I actually think it's great that it's one of the few places I DON'T have to cart tons of entertainment with us until the food arrives...) but I have to confess to feeling uncomfortable shopping at many places these days, but floundering as to what constitutes an "ethical" place to shop....

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