I bought myself a happy meal

So Wednesday, May 2nd was McHappy Day at McDonald’s.  This means that $1 from every happy meal, big mac, or hot McCafe beverage sold that day was donated to local children’s charities like Ronald McDonald House Charities.  This to me, seemed like the perfect excuse to have McDonald’s.  I hadn’t gone in a while, as I tried to stay away from fast food during Lent, in efforts to have solidarity with my friend who had given it up.  And I had decided to have it less often afterwards as well, just for the sake of my own health and well being.

But it’s McDonald’s.  I had to have it again at some point.  Actually, I believe I have gone back since then, I remember getting hash browns one morning.  And I’ve probably gone during the day again too, but I just can’t seem to remember.  Nevertheless, I decided that I would go yesterday since it was McHappy Day after all.

There’s no better excuse to buy yourself a happy meal

So after a day of buying shoes at Army & Navy, and t-shirts at Bluenotes, I went to McDonald’s.  I wanted to order one of the things that was included in the McHappy Day donations, otherwise that would defeat the purpose.  Now, I could have just bought myself a big mac, as adults tend to do.  But no.  Instead I thought, why not get a happy meal?  For myself.  Because I can.

And I did.  I thought about whether I should get the McNuggets.  But the happy meal only comes with four of them.  And I knew if I ordered four, I would be left wanting more.  If I want McNuggets, I’ll go ahead and order myself ten pieces.  I saw a sign in the States one time that says on Sunday, you can get fifty pieces for ten dollars.  I want to have to try that sometime.  Okay maybe not eat them all myself, I’ll have to find someone who’s willing to split it with me.  And then we can have an eating contest to see who eats the most.  And then the loser has to pay for the nuggets.  Seriously.  It’s on my list of goals.

Seriously, who wants to go?

Anyway, I opted not to have mcnuggets yesterday.  I thought I’d just keep it simple and get a hamburger.  As a child, I would have ordered nuggests.  Because I wasn’t into burgers back then.  But I remember when I would order a burger as a child, I would get it plain.  Like no ketchup, no pickles.  Just a hamburger patty on a bun.  And then I would put the french fries inside and eat it like that.  Yes.  Good times.

Enjoying my hamburger

I’m not sure if the guy knew that I was buying it for myself or if he thought I was buying it for a kid.  It really doesn’t matter either way.  But in an effort to be healthy (yeah, I know, once you’re at McDonald’s, there’s no point in trying to be healthy), I ordered milk as my drink.  Because I thought it was exciting that you get a little Milk 2 Go bottle.  When I was a kid, it used to come in those box cartons with a straw and once you open it, there’s no way to close it.  Milk 2 Go is so much more convenient.

My attempt to be healthy

Happy meals also come with Danone yogurt now.  Who knew?  Well I guess anyone who buys happy meals on a regular basis knows this.  But I didn’t.  I took it home and left it in the fridge.  I’m sure someone in my family will eat it at some point.  I remember back when they used to have cookies.  Like animal cookies.  Didn’t they have ones that were shaped like the McDonald’s characters?  I swear they did.  I miss those.

I’d rather have animal cookies

At one point the cashier asked me whether I wanted a girl toy or a boy toy.  That really took me back.  I chose a boy toy (that sounds wrong), because I seem to remember them being somewhat cooler.  I didn’t know they still differentiated.  I guess it depends on what they have at the time, cause I’m sure some toys aren’t really gender specific.  But I remember one time the boy toy was a car and the girl toy was this lame booklet thing about ponies.  Not cool at all.

The only toy option that was left

I figured I would just give whatever it was to my brothers.  They’re 11, so probably too old for whatever crappy toy I got, but whatever.  I ended up getting this spy gear things that lights up and that you can put on your ear.  Apparently that’s all that was left.  Which is fine.  It really didn’t matter either way.

Ooh, it lights up!

I’d like to think that the cashier thought I was actually buying it for my own kid.  I don’t know why.  Why not?  Had I really wanted to give the image of a mom looking out for the health of her son, I would have opted for the apple slices instead of the fries.  But who the hell does that?  Seriously.  Who?  I don’t get it.  Just buy some apples when you do groceries.  Why the hell would you go to McDonald’s to buy apple slices??!  I’m sorry but that makes no sense to me whatsoever.

And so I took my happy meal and left.  I remember back when happy meals would come in those cardboard boxes and there would be drawings and sometimes activities on the side.  Now it just comes in the standard McDonald’s bag.  I guess they’re trying to cut down on packaging.  I sat at the bus stop and started to eat my food.

I got my happy meal to go

The fries were so incredibly tiny.  Not the fries themselves, they were the usual size.  But the french fry container.  So small!  Usually, small fries come in that little bag instead of the red container.  But these came in the tiniest red container ever.  It was like the regular ones had a baby.  And that baby came prematurely and was underweight.

It’s so tiny!

Yeah, I ate it at the bus stop.  Whatever.  I don’t care if the people around me judged me.  I’d already experienced judgement that day, a little more wasn’t going to hurt.  I went home and gave the spy gear toy to my brother.  And my other brother was like “You went to McDonald’s?  And got a happy meal?”.  Yes.  Yes I did.

Hot water costs 25 cents

I’ve been avoiding fast food lately.  A friend of mine gave it up for Lent and that made me think about how often I opt for fast food choices myself.  I’m not cutting it out entirely, but I think it would be healthier for me in general if I were to consume less of it.  Today, however, I went to McDonald’s.  Why?  Because my grandma, of all people, wanted to go. Why?  Because she had coupons.  You can’t argue with that logic.

We went to the one on No. 2 & Blundell in Richmond.  I’m not a big fan of this location.  Yes, I do consider myself to be somewhat of an expert regarding the various McDonald’s locations that exist in my area and the surrounding areas in which I travel.  I can’t remember why I didn’t like it but I think I had a bad experience there in the past.  I think the bathroom was dirty and the service was bad.

Anyway, the service was alright this time.  Except for one thing.  I went and ordered my McChicken sandwiches, fries, and drinks (no, they weren’t all for me, my brother and sister were there as well).  And I asked if I could also get a small cup of hot water.  My grandma also wanted hot water because that’s what she drinks.  It was bad enough that she was in a McDonald’s where they’ve apparently discontinued the grilled chicken sandwich that they used to have there and she used to order in the past.  She had to opt for one of their new bistro sandwiches, while eliminating the sauce, tomatoes, and ingredients that she cannot have in her diet.  Then again, she was the one who wanted to go there.

As for the water, I apparently could not have a small cup of hot water as I had so nicely asked for.  Apparently, hot water costs 25 cents.  Even if you’ve already bought stuff.  If I spend over $10 at McDonald’s, the least they could do is give me a small cup of hot water for free.  Hell, if I buy one item off the $1.39 menu, I expect that they’d let me have free water.  In other McDonald’s locations I’ve been to, they don’t charge you for water if you’ve bought something.  Even if you go to Starbucks or Tim Hortons, you can get hot water if you buy something.  So why does McDonald’s suddenly think that they’re water is such a precious commodity all of a sudden?

I don’t understand what the 25 cents is for.  Are they charging you for the cup?  No, because they’re more than willing to give you a cup to go get cold water.  And they’re willing to give you cold water for free.  So I guess they’re charging you for having boiled it?  The process of boiling it deserves a fee I guess?  But they boil water anyway, to make tea for the customers who order tea.  And those people aren’t being charged for the hot water, they’re being charged for the tea bag.  I guess it’s pretty much just a way for them to make a bit of an extra profit.  But I doubt that many people are asking for hot water.

I’d already paid, and I didn’t want to have to take out my Visa to pay for hot water.  Also I didn’t think I should have to.  So I asked for a cold water instead.  Which you do not have to pay for.  Usually they just give you tap water or something.  But here, they give you a small cup, so you can go fill it with water yourself where you fill your cups at the pop machines.  But there’s nothing to stop you from filling that cup meant for water with pop instead.  I find it interesting how they’re so overprotective of their hot water, but there are no regulations whatsoever put on their soft drinks.  Way to go, McDonald’s, way to go.

They were free for a reason

While many people were out dining in fancy restaurants yesterday for Dine Out Vancouver, I was at Burger King.  Because that’s how classy I am.  And because two days earlier, I had seen a Burger King commercial for Free Fries Friday.

Burger King has changed their fries and now claim that they are thicker cut with more flavour.  So to promote this, they offered free small fries for every customer, with or without purchase.

The first bad sign upon our arrival at the Burger King was that the doors were locked.  But there were people inside eating and business was operating as usual.  So we walked around the building to the other side.  Where the doors were also locked.  An employee looked up and let us in.  Another customer informed them that their doors were locked and remarked how that can’t be good for business.  They seemed surprised and had no idea.  How can you operate with your doors locked an not know it?

The good thing about this experience, was that I spent less than $3 on dinner.  Because I got the king deals sandwich that was on special and then the fries were free.  But it seems as though they were free for a reason.  They weren’t very good.

I thought the whole point of changing something was so that you could make it better.  But they did not succeed in doing so.  I didn’t mind their fries before, although they weren’t my favourite.  They are thicker cut now, but that doesn’t change much.  But if by more flavour, what they really meant was less flavour, then mission accomplished.  It was as if they just eliminated salt altogether.  They were kind of bland, which I suppose at least might have made them a bit healthier.  Or as healthy as fries at a fast food place can be.

So I would say that their free fries promotion was sort of a fail.  If they hadn’t advertised it, I wonder if I would have been able to tell the difference.  Maybe, maybe not.  But even though they weren’t very good, I finished off my own as well as my friend’s.  Because fries are fries, even if they suck.  It’s a good thing people don’t go to Burger King for the fries, they go there for the Whoppers.  So as long as they don’t try to change those, all will be well.