‘Unhappy meal’ over Maccas prices
Talk about an unhappy meal.
Since when has a burger from the Golden Arches been worth its actual weight in gold?
I nearly choked on my french fries this week after being told the total for my Maccas lunch; it was honestly more than I could swallow.
In fact, my local McDonald's is lucky I didn't literally drive through their restaurant such was my sticker shock.
Ordering for just four children, we requested two packs of nuggets, two burgers, four fries and four drinks. It cost $60.
Umm, can I get a loan with that?
The poor drive-through attendant could see my distress as I wiped a tear away with my overheated credit card.
I felt like such an old woman, but I had to ask her to break down the items so I could understand just how I handed over $60. She graciously talked me through the receipt, but she could see that I was none the wiser.
"It's expensive, hey?" she sympathised.
"I work here and I don't get how it's so much. And it's going to be worse next week - prices are going up on Thursday."
Yep, according to my Maccas mole, the fast food chain is giving itself the gift of cash this Boxing Day. While our government continues to fight against record low inflation, it seems McDonald's has unlocked the secret - just raise prices.
Ronald, we need to talk.
The beauty of McDonald's has always been its reliable recipe of fast and cheap. Nobody arrives at the Arches expecting a gourmet meal, but now it seems we're paying for one - even without the speculated price rise.
To put this in perspective, our family ordered a wholesome Thai meal from Uber Eats the previous night (it's holidays and I hate cooking, don't judge me) and it also came to $60 - including delivery. Even better, we didn't feel hungry one hour after consumption and even had leftovers for the next day.
Look, I'll admit I have a bit of a soft spot for McDonald's (a few soft spots from McDonald's too).
Travelling the globe in my 20s, those golden arches were a beacon of comfort and cleanliness. No matter the native language, I knew I was entering a familiar place. It was like Cheers, except instead of everyone knowing my name, I knew the burgers' names.
During one particularly horrific day in Italy, my girlfriend sought solace at those bolted down swivel chairs and tables to treat her fungal wound infections. Next to the hospital, it was the most hygienic place we could think of. Not so much for the next customers to sit at our table, however.
Despite constantly fighting against my children's desperation to do dinner at Maccas, I'll admit I will only encourage their interest in one day working there.
They might only be interested in the staff discounts and the potential for free food, but I'm a fan of the fantastic work effort imparted behind the fry station.
I've lost count of the number of employers I've met who have informed me that any kid with McDonald's on their resume will win an interview - quality control is not just for the food, but the staff.
I realise I don't have to continue giving Ronald my business, and in fact it's best for the health of my children if I don't, but it's a sad state of affairs when some families are priced out of fast food.
It's widely accepted that eating healthy foods will cost you more, but handing over $60 for some fatty fries and burgers just seems unfair.
But maybe that's just Australia. Visit any travel blog for tourists heading Down Under and one of the biggest warnings is how expensive this nation is. We may well be the lucky country, but - depending on how often we dine out - we're also the penniless.
However, I still feel it's unfortunate that this was the week I was charged a fortune at Maccas - and not just because my budget was already busted thanks to Christmas preparations.
There's a large part of me (the part that ate the Big Macs) that wants to congratulate the company for taking such swift and decisive response in firing a franchise owner from Victoria who was filmed delivering a racist rant to his indigenous neighbour.
The truth is that I am more than happy to support good corporate citizenship.
But paying $60 for a fast food lunch?
I'm not lovin' it.