You do want fries with that!
Via The Basement comes a link to a kind of McDonald's fan blog called McChronicles. The writer obviously loves Mickey D's and expresses disappointment when he sees one of their stores fail to be all it can be. His first entry, from January:
I LOVE McDonald's ... and I HATE McDonald's. This blog will chronicle this love:hate relationship. It will include thoughts, experiences, and information regarding how McDonald's created an awesome brand - and how they seem to be systematically destroying it "Billions and Billions" at a time. It also breathes life into the notion that there is hope to resurrect the once-great image of McDonald's.
I too have a love-hate relationship with McD's, tending more toward love these days.
The summer of '84 I worked at the Catoosa McDonald's when it first opened. I remember coming home every day in my crimson polyester uniform, which was impregnated with the odor of grease and onions. Sometimes I worked the cash register, but most of the time I was on the quarter pounder grill. I learned two things that summer: (1) Eat the fries first. They put them in the bag last because they cool off the quickest. (2) A Quarter Pounder is a better value than a Big Mac. A Big Mac has two 1/10th pound patties -- same patties used in regular hamburgers and cheeseburgers -- and a half-inch of lettuce. Besides the meat advantage, the Quarter Pounder's two slices of cheese help glue the thing together, making it less likely to fall apart if you're eating it while driving. (Not that I would recommend such a practice, of course!)
We ate at McDonald's quite a bit during the driving parts of our recent Florida trip. One of the advantages is that we always knew what we would order. The kids always want Happy Meals -- plain cheeseburger for one, chicken nuggets for the other -- with Apple Dippers (peeled apple slices with caramel dipping sauce) instead of fries, and chocolate milk. (The older one will take a soda if he can talk us into it. Sometimes he can.) If we're eating in, the grownups get grilled chicken salads, which are quite good. I tried to be very clear about our order, and to make sure that it was correctly repeated back to me, but every time, no matter whether we ordered at the drive-thru window or in the store, the Happy Meals came with fries, and we always had to ask again for the apples. This streak of spud luck followed us to Perkins, a sit-down family restaurant, when our four-year-old wanted broccoli with her lunch (really!), and they brought her fries instead.
I like the new look of the stores. I call it technogoogie -- a 21st century update of the coffee shop modern look (aka Googie architecture) from the '50s, but without so much orange and brown. (Or avocado or harvest gold!) Most of the remodeled stores have wide screen TVs, usually playing Fox News or CNN, and most of them also have Wayport Wi-Fi. (SBC Yahoo DSL subscribers can access McDonald's Wi-Fi through the FreedomLink service for an extra $2 a month.)
During our trip to Little Rock, while my wife and mother-in-law were at a luncheon at the Governor's Mansion, I kept the kids busy while I worked at a McDonald's on Markham in west Little Rock. I positioned myself outside the door to the play area, where I could see them, but didn't have to listen to the racket. They kept amused with the climbing equipment, the video games (free!), and the air hockey table. Everyone was happy.
I never would have guessed, back in 1984, that I'd ever be able to say this, but McDonald's is my kind of place.