Saturday, November 22, 2008


I haven't been all that affected by the recent financial crisis in the U.S., so I've had a hard time buying into all the hype about it in the news. I have friends that have been laid off. Even the workload at my job slowed down over the past couple months. But as long as I continue to work at a job I am blatantly over-qualified for, there will always be outbound phone calls for this big fish to make at the small pond that is BRG Research.

I have been oblivious to the hard times that most Americans are apparantly facing. Maybe I'm spoiled; maybe I just have been living within my means all along so the pinch isn't as tight.

Well, that all changed today, after I was asked to pay $1.19 for a Double Cheeseburger at McDonalds.

The McDonalds Double Cheeseburger has been not only the salient feature of the Dollar Menu, but also the de facto U.S. currency of this decade. Gas prices may fluctuate, but I can set my watch to the Double Cheeseburger being a dollar.

Some people's consumer confidence was shot when they actually found themselves questioning whether they really need a new $200 coffeemaker at Linens 'n Things instead of just impulsively buying it. (see Michael Kinsley's November 14th NY Times Op-Ed)

Such pointless purchases were never a temptation for me. This was my crisis of confidence: paying an extra 20 cents for a Double Cheeseburger.

Now, I should have ponied up and sprung for the sandwich. Surely I already have more stuff than I need, and it should be my patriotic duty to pay $1.19 for a McDonalds Double Cheeseburger and stimulate the economy. But I just couldn't bring myself to do it, out of principle.

It's like the time last year when I called 5 Buck Pizza only to be informed that all of their pizzas now started at $6.99. Upon hearing my obvious question: "Are you still gonna be called 5 Buck Pizza?" they had the nerve to tell me that they in fact would. I thanked them for their time and hung up the phone, and have never called them back since.

I recently read that McDonalds is one of the most recession-proof businesses in America. If they want to stay that way, they need the Dollar Menu now more than ever. Or better yet, remember in the late 90's when they had those 39 cent cheeseburger Wednesdays? If they still had that offer, McDonalds would be the 21st century soup kitchen.

By the way, as a side note, the McDonalds guilty of this heinous $1.19 charge is the Orem, UT, Center St. restaurant. I usually try to avoid this one, but they offer the $1 Breakfast Burritos all day, so I couldn't resist.

Incidentally, any McDonald's that charges 25 cents for water, such as the one on University Parkway in Orem, will never make it through a recession. Especially when cheapskates like me are practicing business-as-usual thrift.


Travis said...

how about a new blog post? New post?

Neil Hiatt said...

I remember when Wendy's did the same thing with the Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger.