Month without McDonald’s, part 5


Once again, on the last day of a month where I did not go to a McDonald’s, I’m presenting another one of their signs as a trophy of sorts. Five months without patronizing this business feels positively great.

By paying their workers minimum wages, and thus ensuring that many of them will go on public assistance in order to survive, the Golden arches have earned all of the worker mistrust that manifested itself with protests at the corporate headquarters in suburban Chicago this past month. Good on those who put themselves on the line for this cause.

Other businesses, particularly in fast food, probably do the same thing McDonald’s does in this regard. But withholding my money from this one business is a good start to realizing that cheap food has costs we aren’t supposed to consider when a food craving sets in.

McDonald’s won’t go under because I don’t eat there anymore. I, however, get the satisfaction of knowing that they depend on sales, and my part of this equation has gone somewhere else, hopefully for good. And that’s more than I was doing a year ago about this.


The summer of my discontent

Twenty-five years ago, I was back in my parents house following my freshman year in college. I think of it as trying to put the bird back into the cage. I was used to setting my own schedule by then, and Mom and Dad’s house was dreadful as a result. It was the final time that I lived under their roof, as every following summer I found something to do on campus, instead.

I had to get a job to make money for the fall, and so I went into a local Dairy Queen. They were slammed with summer business, and so they hired me right away. I had even worked for 3 or 4 days, I think, before they gave me the training that I was supposed to have before I started.

I was forever in my manager’s dog house because I used too much ice cream. A large cone cost 95 cents, and so I gave the customer what I thought 95 cents worth of ice cream looked like. There was a scale, but I can’t recall ever putting anything that I made on it. I can’t imagine that anyone did, really.

It was a minimum wage job, and I knew it was only temporary, so there was minimal effort put into what I was doing. I liked making the Blizzards, which were the new thing back then, and so tonight I had a Butterfinger blizzard, which has always been my favorite kind.

The job came to a halt after I secured a job that paid more money picking up trash at the Illinois State Fair. I worked 12 hour days for the 10 days that the fair ran, so that job turned out to be the financial boon that Dairy Queen never was. But working at DQ was probably the most fun I’ve ever had in a summer job, so it’s worth thinking about at least a little bit, all these years later.